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Retiree finds second career growing coffee beans

2012/05/02 22:17:05

Taipei, May 2 (CNA) A retired telecommunications contractor has found a second career in growing coffee beans, which has won him an award in the central county of Nantou.

Tseng Liang-hsiung, 70, said he fell in love with coffee 20 years ago when he smelled its rich aroma for the first time.

He was working at a telecommunications company at the age of 50, when he saw a visiting Japanese engineer pouring coffee from a thermos, Tseng said, adding that scent remains his memory up to today.

Tseng said the engineer told him that Japanese had planted coffee trees in Puli in Nantou during the period of Japanese colonization of Taiwan (1895-1945) because they thought the terrain and climate there were suitable for the crop.

The coffee was meant to be sent to Japan's emperor, Tseng said. That was when he knew that coffee could be grown in his hometown of Puli, Tseng added.

Nowadays, Tseng lives in Taichung and travels to Puli early in the morning with his wife to look after their coffee farm every day.

They did not plan to work after retirement but the Puli Township Office and Puli Farmers' Association advised them to farm their inherited land, instead of letting lie idle.

Tseng and his brother then decided to try planting coffee trees but they lacked experience and had to rely heavily on help from the Chiayi Agricultural Experiment Station.

Last year, Tseng's coffee won second prize in a contest held by Nantou's Guosing Farmers' Association.

Tseng said he uses only organic fertilizers and pesticides on the farm.

"I won't allow people to consume stuff that I don't dare consume," he said.

(By Hao Hsueh-chin Nell Shen)
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