TAIPEI (The China Post) – The white European-style building stands on a large green meadow and offers a beautiful view of the Huadong Valley. This place is not a resort or a recreational area but is the only “prison-café” in entire Taiwan. The planting, harvesting, roasting, and brewing of the coffee beans used inside the shop are all done by the occupants of the place.
There are also handmade cookies, pineapple cakes, and other delicacies to go with your coffee. Outside, there are large-scale installation artworks for tourists to take their pictures with. All these have transformed into a place of interest and a tourist attraction.
The Taitung Drug Addiction Treatment Center was once the Wuling Farm of the Taitung Prison and Correctional Facility. It was later changed to Wuling Prison and Correctional Facility. The large green areas and white buildings are very discernible among the mountains and the forest.
Our tour guide told us that, in the past, some tourists have mistaken it for a resort. They drove in and asked the guards, “Do you still have rooms available?” It became a big joke after they learned that it was, in fact, a correctional facility.
According to the Director, the Taitung Drug Addiction Treatment Center has required inmates to perform manual labor. Since 2010, they have planted 12,000 coffee trees and in 2015, they invited an instructor to teach the inmates the skills of coffee roasting and brewing. They also converted the open space into a café and opened it to the public at the end of the same year.
After he took office this year, he expanded the business, installed air-conditioning, outdoor seating, installation art, etc., which had, since, attracted many tourists to visit and take photos. It is not surprising to see as much as 150 groups of visitors per day during the holidays.
The planting, harvesting, roasting, and brewing of coffee beans inside the café are all done by the inmates. The beans belong to the Arabica variety and have a slightly smoky and fragrant flavor. In addition to savoring a cup of handcrafted coffee, there are also coffee beans and coffee bags for sale, as well as baking classes for handmade biscuits, cakes, pineapple cakes, and other delicacies.