Wednesday, January 12, 2011

ADV - Growing Coffee on Jeju Island

I had written that coffee drinks are really popular in Korea. Korea has 4 seasons but Jeju island is almost a subtropical-climate island so planting coffee beans is feasible there.

My previous blog post on coffee shops...

With so many coffee shops in Korea, you are really spoilt for choice. *Click to enlarge*

In Malaysia, we had our famous Kopi-O but until now, I never tasted it. Either you can believe me or not, I never before taste black coffee in kopitiam and not even Nescafe (Korea really changes me in one way or another..). In Korea, coffee shops are common sights. From a place where you meet your friends, doing homeworks, studying, dating, to stealing free Wi-Fi, coffee shops in Korea are damn versatile!

However, it doesn’t come cheaply. The prices there are more like Starbucks in Malaysia for a small cup of espresso. Wah! It’s like highway robbery la wei! Since the "purchasing power" in Korea is quite high and since I am getting Korean money and had stayed in Korea for a long time, I don’t convert it to Malaysian money so buying an espresso at 4000 Won (RM 12) is affordable :)...

Read more at this link


Growing Coffee on Jeju Island

"Love for coffee is getting pandemic these days. You can find coffee shops in every places. Some people go to the extent of buying espresso-making machines and other coffee gadgets to furnish in their homes. (Well, I myself being one of those crazy coffee lovers, I am just being envious.)

Coffee is a highly sensitive plant, requiring specific growing conditions. It grows in subtropical regions where the temperature stays above 10 degrees Celsius even during winter. That’s why farming coffee has been mostly considered out of the question in Korea.

Well, Ms. Roh Jin-Yi doesn’t accept this belief.

Korea’s First Coffee Farmer

The first coffee farmer in Korea, Ms. Roh had invested all her money and energy in coffee farming in her 400-pyeong (1 pyeong equals 3.3 square meters) green house in Jeju City since early 2008.

Despite the unfavorable conditions, even Jeju being sometimes too cold, Ms. Roh has been persistent in realizing her dream of cultivating coffee. And she has succeeded to grow enough coffee for about 10% of Jeju citizens to sample taste.

And last October, Ms. Roh even held the first Jeju Coffee Festival in her own coffee plantation. At the festival, there was coffee tasting, coffee drinking competitions, hands-on experience of roasting coffee beans and hand-dripping.

Hard Work, But I Loving It

Ms. Roh is currently growing some 25,000 coffee trees in a 5,600 square meters plantation. And it is no easy job looking after those highly sensitive plants. They have to be watered twice a day (at the break of dawn and around sunset) for 3, 4 hours. When a storm hits, the fragile plants might get knocked out of their pots, and Ms. Roh has to spend many sleepless days nurturing them back. They also need to get nutrition shots at regular, designated times.

Roh says she does not expect coffee farming to become a profitable business.."

Edited until here. Do read more here.

Some parts of Malaysia do have coffee plantation and most Malaysians (especially the old people) would prefer Kopi-O. I can't drink plain Kopi-O. I will not sleep.

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