Jason Chen

Father. Husband. Coffee Business Owner.

I am a Taiwanese coffee roaster based in New York. It occurred to me back in 2017 how much I deeply missed coffee from home. I was surprised how few people, even coffee roasters, knew about Taiwan coffee farms. I visited the 2018 Coffee Festival in New York, went around chatted with as many roasters as I could to see if they knew anything about Taiwan coffee. I was shocked that out of about 30 roasters and importers I spoke to, none did. Honestly, that gave me mixed feelings. I felt excited and worried, not knowing if this super niche segment was worth risking my money and time. It took another year of research, talking to family, and planning to become the first US roaster to specialize in Taiwan coffee before I had the courage to decide. In January 2020, after almost three years of planning my coffee roasting business went live and through the support of many people and family the business grew in an especially tough year and I am extremely excited for 2021 and beyond.

 

How does being Taiwanese/Taiwanese American and/or community ally play a role in your life?

I am proud to be a Taiwanese American. Between 1960 and early 1990 Taiwan was a member of the Four Asian Tigers, countries including South Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong that went through significant economic development and maintained an impressive 7%+ growth. To me, Taiwan has always been a nation of extremely hard-working entrepreneurs that consistently focuses on producing high-quality products. I have had the opportunity to meet many Taiwanese American business owners and I am proud to say we all share many of the same values that make us successful and great at what we do: an unwavering focus on creativity, quality, and customer service. One of the most successful Taiwanese-American entrepreneurs that I study and look up to is the late-great founder of Zappos, Tony Hsieh. His daring foresight into revolutionizing the online market by offering a FREE 365-day return policy was brilliant and quickly branded Zappos as the leader in customer service. I feel extremely proud to be a Taiwanese-American business owner offering a truly unique coffee experience to the US market.

 

If you could teach future generations 1 thing about being Taiwanese/Taiwanese American or Taiwan, what would it be?

Do not underestimate how much Taiwan can offer the world. Even though it is an island with a mere 23 million people and is usually dwarfed globally by its larger neighbors, the Taiwanese people are resilient, creative, and full of entrepreneurs. Always be proud as a Taiwanese-American, the support system is strong and if you look around there’s always something unique and exciting being created, built, and offered by a Taiwanese entrepreneur.

 

What does the future of Taiwanese America look like to you?

I am optimistic that Taiwanese-Americans will continue to thrive and build successful niche ventures and businesses. Our DNA is driven to build and create. I honestly think every Taiwanese-American has an entrepreneurial bone and not satisfied with a 9-5 job. The future is promising for us and I am certain with time and diligence Taiwanese-American entrepreneurs will play a larger role in advancing the US economy and continue to lead the way in innovation.

 

Favorite memory of Taiwan/Taiwanese America?

I had to serve in the mandatory military conscription. That experience made me appreciate Taiwan more and drew me closer to its culture, people, and overall discipline of hardwork and a “no-quit” attitude. This experience is truly unique and one of the many memories of Taiwan that I will never forget.

 

Favorite Taiwanese food?

Wow, there are too many to choose they are all good. Night markets in Taiwan are filled with yummy treats and I have always made it a point to get some “Da Chang Bao Hsiao Chang”, or Taiwanese grilled sweet sausage wrapped in rice bun topped with delicious local condiments.


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