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Guatemala Strengthens its Friendship with Taipei Through High-quality Coffee

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Taiwan and Guatemala have maintained and enjoyed friendly relations for a long period of time. The current ambassador of Guatemala to Taiwan, Willy Alberto Gómez Tirado, has maintained a good relationship with Taipei City since he took office in 2019. In January, Ambassador Tom Chou, the Commissioner of Mayor’s Office for External Affairs, personally led a team to visit the Embassy of Guatemala, where he exchanged opinions with Ambassador Gómez on topics such as the economy, trade, investment, and cultural exchanges. At that time, Ambassador Gómez mentioned that Guatemalan coffee is recognized internationally for its quality; he also said that Guatemalan coffee accounts for about 15% of Taiwan’s coffee market, and that many Guatemalan coffee merchants are hoping to visit Taiwan for investment and cooperation.
With the pandemic situation in Taipei being gradually brought under control, Ambassador Chou arranged for Ambassador Gómez to visit the Deputy Mayor of Taipei City Government, Ping Kun, Tsai on August 12. To promote opportunities for economic and trade cooperation between Taiwan and Guatemala, hand brewing coffee experiential activities were organized for this visit such that both Ambassador Gómez and the Taipei City Government team can experience the coffee cultures of Taiwan and Guatemala. The barista of the event, Alvaro Lopez, is a young Guatemalan in his early 30s. After coming to Taiwan to pursue his Bachelor’s degree, he fell in love with Taiwan and decided to reside in Taiwan. He remained in Taiwan to pursue his master's and doctorate degrees and focused on coffee as his main research theme, with the hope of contributing to the coffee culture of both countries.
Lopez also brought Huehuetenango coffee beans, which were competition-winning Guatemalan coffee beans that were hand roasted by him for the hand brewing activity. During the activity, Deputy Mayor Tsai, Director Chou, and Ambassador Gómez were able to grind coffee beans and experience the fascinating aspects of coffee culture. Coffee was brewed using specially selected filter cups and filter paper and under specific water temperatures and flow rates, and it was light and clear in color and produced a rich layered taste. Deputy Mayor Tsai was amazed by the coffee, and he said that it left a fragrant aftertaste.
Deputy Mayor Tsai said that in the past 20 years, the culture of drinking coffee has gradually developed in Taiwan. The champion of World Coffee Events’ World Brewers Cup Competition in 2017 was a Taiwanese. For the Taiwanese people, coffee is not only a beverage but also a lifestyle and culture. Taipei City has approximately 900 cafes, which account for a quarter of the total number of cafes in Taiwan. Coffee shops can now be found along the streets and lanes of Taiwan, and they are deeply integrated into daily life in Taiwan.
Notably, among the staff who organized this activity was Natalie, a student from Honduras who is currently interning with the external affairs team of the Taipei City Government to help translate essential pandemic prevention information released by the Taipei City Government into Spanish, such that Spanish speakers residing in Taipei can understand the latest pandemic-related developments in Taipei. Ambassador Gómez also approves of the international internship and exchange opportunities provided by Taipei City Government. At the conclusion of the event, Deputy Mayor Tsai gifted locally produced Baozhong and Tieguanyin tea to Ambassador Gómez and expressed his hope that Ambassador Gómez can also experience Taiwan’s tea ceremony culture in the future. A delighted Ambassador Gómez indicated that he looked forward to more cooperation and exchange opportunities with Taipei City.