After leaving Yuyupas Cultural Centre and on route to Lai Ji Village, we stopped by Le Ye Village ( 樂野) in the lower altitudes of Alishan. Given its climatic condition, Le Ye Village is suitable for the growth of tea and coffee.
Coffee is readily available roasted and all ready for brewing into a cuppa caffeine in the city. Instead at Le Ye Village, we were taught to make our coffee from scratch, right from the raw coffee beans to a pipping hot cup of coffee.
This experience was hence named Coffee Unplugged.
Above: It all starts with the raw coffee beans. A pack of coffee beans is where we start.
Right: The coffee beans has an external layer of membrane around it which has to be removed before any roasting can be done. The external membrane is removed by first pouring the coffee beans into a fabric sack and smashing these beans on a hard surface to let the beans and the membrane separate.
Right: The membrane has to be removed as they will burn very easily and will affect the taste of the coffee when it is roasted on slow heat. To remove the membrane, the mixture is poured into a huge straw tray and the beans are tossed while we huff and puff to blow the light membranes away.
Left: The coffee bean and the membrane around the coffee bean has been separated from the continuous smashing of the beans on the hard surface.
The coffee beans are now ready to be roast over low heat and continuous stirring of the beans to ensure even roasting and prevents it from being burnt. This process cannot be rushed as a slow roasting will bring about a nice aroma to the coffee as opposed to roasting it at high heat and possibly leading to burnt beans, in turn becomes bitter coffee.
It took about 15mins for the coffee beans to be roasted sufficiently.
Right: The toughest part before we could enjoy a cuppa coffee is the last step which usually is done in a matter of a couple of seconds, the grinding of beans. As this activity is designed to let us experience the original process of coffee making, we had to grind the beans with pure strength with a mortar and pestle.
Below: Boiling hot water through the filter filled with the hand pounded coffee beans, our cup of coffee is finally ready.
IT IS COFFEE O’CLOCK
We brought our coffees outdoors to enjoy in the cooling temperatures and to hear more about the village and of the fond memories these villagers have of their hometown.
I savored every sip of my coffee while listening to their colourful experiences and life in the village. The headgear that you see them wearing here are all individually designed and handmade and it takes about 10 to 12 hours to make one such headgear. My favourite part of it has to be the vibrant pompoms!
GETTING TO LE YE
Enquire at Leye Community Development Association
+886 5 2661002 or +886 5 256 1436
Read More on Le Ye Here
Getting there by Public Transportation
To Chia Yi Railway Station -> Transfer to Chiayi Bus Alishan Line -> Dabang Line -> Leye Station
National Highway No. 3 -> Jhongpu Interchange to Jhongpu, Chiayi -> Provincial Highway No. 18-63k
-> Shizhuo – County Highway No. 169 -> Leye