ICONS: Jake Hu

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Jake Hu, CEO and founder of Taster’s Coffee in Taiwan, is one of Asia’s most well respected and well-travelled instructors in sensory skills training and roasting techniques and analysis. 

Jake holds numerous international coffee certifications for education and has been a world certified judge since 2012 and a World Coffee Events Representative since 2014.  His Ph.D in biochemistry, world-class palate, and deeply inquisitive nature combine to give him a unique perspective in the specialty coffee industry that we love to hear more of.  We are honoured to have Jake choose our October ICONS box, and are excited to share his selections with you! 

Jake has grand, inspirational ideas of roasting and roast development that transcend the craft, into the coffees themselves.  His focus on developing sugars and preserving the integrity of origin characteristics while working them seamlessly into a blend is evident in his work, particularly in his blend series (of which we’ve been fortunate to feature Blend #8 in our new coffee shop location in Singapore during our preview week).

Jake’s two selections for us this month are stunning examples of where Jake feels the specialty coffee industry is headed; specifically the direction represented in its most progressive form: a balance between flavours that are intrinsic to the bean and terroir (pre-harvest characteristics) and those that come from processing (post-harvest characteristics).

The first coffee chosen by Jake is an elegant anaerobic processed special selection of Maybel Barrantes Zuñiga’s “Sin Límites” farm in the Occidente region of Costa Rica.  Famously used by three-time Japan National Barista Champion, Miki Suzuki, on her run to an amazing 5th place at her first World Barista Championships in 2011 in Bogotá, Colombia – this is a coffee from a producer with pedigree, and it is the first anaerobic offering from the farm. 

Comprising 100% SL-28 (typically found in Kenya), this inaugural anaerobic lot from Sin Límites placed 14th in the 2020 Costa Rica Cup of Excellence competition, with a long list of complex, citric, and tropical fruit characters in the cupping notes – a balance pre-harvest (terroir, variety) and post-harvest (processing, drying) flavours.

The second selection is another anaerobic processed coffee, from a region that is seeing an increasing number of new and experimental processing techniques: the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia.  This selection from Hambela in Guji is unique in that the anaerobic process is relatively short: 24 hours.  The reason for this is to maintain the origin characters – floral, cherry, and peach – while introducing complexity and tropical notes through processing – passion fruit, hops, and milk tea.

“These two coffees are perfect examples to express my point of view,” says Jake. “Both have pronounced origin and variety flavours, but the processing technique has increased the complexity of acidity, and has also improved the quality of the textural experience of the cup.”  For us, these two coffees represent a new ceiling of potential for specialty coffee, when employed in a careful and specific manner.  We hope you enjoy these two lots chosen for us by Jake Hu!


  • PRODUCER: Maybel Zuñiga
  • HARVEST: 2020
  • FARM: Sin Límites
  • REGION: Occidente
  • ORIGIN: Costa Rica
  • ALTITUDE: 1,500m
  • VARIETIES: Kenia
  • PROCESS: Natural Anaerobic
  • FLAVOURS: Green apple, cinnamon, chocolate


  • PRODUCER: Various small lot producers
  • HARVEST: 2020
  • FARM: Hambela Washing Station
  • REGION: Guji
  • ORIGIN: Ethiopia
  • ALTITUDE: 1,900-2,300m
  • VARIETIES: Heirloom varieties 
  • PROCESS: Natural Anaerobic
  • FLAVOURS: Nectarine, red grapes, blackberries, pineapple


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