TAIWAN ACACIA PUTS TAIWAN ON THE WORLD MAP OF THE WOOD INDUSTRY, THE SPECIALTY OF TAIWAN ACACIA CAN UTILIZE MANY ASPECTS.
Taiwan acacia is the most well-known trees in the lower altitudes area in Taiwan. In the past, farmers used Taiwan acacia as firewood to cook for their families. Because of its extensive existence, people in Taiwan used to consider this wood cheap and low-class. However, nowadays this wood is regarded by scholars and traders as the most representative and competitive wood of Taiwan in the international forestry.
Surprisingly, apart from the traditional usage, Taiwan acacia even can brew beer!
The first beer made with baked Taiwan acacia, named after the wood itself and certificated by the SGS, launched at February 2020.
“This beer combines the sweetness of roasted Taiwan acacia and the bitterness of the hops, creating rich aftertaste. Also, we insist on one-time fermentation and no artificial additive, creating a truly unique beer among countless brands of beer. We not only try to use every single part of wood but also making Taiwan’s beer into the international market." said by the general manger of Gao-Sen industrial - Mr.Chen.
Using the craft beer to preserve the unique aroma of Taiwan acacia.
Focusing on commercialization of the local wood species, Gao-Sen industrial use Taiwan acacia to build bathtubs, musical instruments, house decoratives and they can make the full use of lumber due to their creativity: THE EGG, their creative team pushes their limit by using the left pieces of manufacture to brew the beer.
They cut the left pieces into regular size, burn them properly, then put them into the fermentation tank with wort, yeast, and hops to ferment for 45 days, and brew "a competitive beer against other giant brands".
“In order to extract the sweet flavor of Taiwan Acacia into the beer properly, we insist to wait triple the time of what normal fermentation takes.” explained by the THE EGG brand director Mr.Sun. Even though Taiwan acacia is common in Taiwan but ordinary people is hard to sense its aroma by smell or taste, however, THE EGG manage to transform its unique scent into craft beer.
Taiwan Acacia is rich in tannin, lignin, cellulose, hemicellulose and high percentage of antioxidant.
These ingredients make this Taiwan acacia craft beer richer than some other craft beer.
“For those who enjoy craft beer, and who don’t want bitter or iced beer, and the people that want to feel the slight tipsy vibe, this beer is the perfect choice to taste the full mouthfeel and mild aftertaste and the slight sweetness in the end.” said by Mr. Sun. This beer begins as the industrial leftover of Taiwan acacia, brewed with a rigorous attitude, ends up enhancing the value of Taiwan Acacia to another level.
The elegant wood grain of Taiwan acacia bathtub got compliments in its first international exhibition.
“Taiwan acacia is the key for Taiwanese wood industry to get better” commented by Mr.Chen. Even though Taiwan acacia is the first Taiwanese lumber he knew, the connection between them was built out of plan.
The flooring in the showroom of THE EGG, located in west part of Taiwan, Xinfeng, is made by Taiwan acacia. The wood grain and color of flooring is fascinating. These are made by the crooked Taiwan acacia, but the inner wood grain is exceptionally beautiful in the eyes of Mr. Chen. According to him, the wood grain of Taiwan acacia is highly varied. In the terms of the industry, there are water ripple, tiger pattern, and flame…etc. These outstanding wood grain enhance the value of the Taiwan acacia when it comes to musical instrument market. A guitar made by Taiwan acacia was offered 4000 USD to sell in an exhibition in Japan.
Speaking of the connection between THE EGG and Taiwan acacia, it always started with a photo of a wooden chair provided by the Forestry Bureau. When an employee of the bureau told Mr.Chen that this chair was made by the Taiwan acacia, he was shocked that Taiwan acacia can grow big enough to make a chair. One day he tentatively bought eight logs of Taiwan acacia of which the diameter reaches over 50 cm. The journey of acquisition started that day.
Another stimulation that hit Mr. Chen, was a random sentence “...all I see is walnut wood..." from a visitor in 2015 ICFF New York which made him making up his mind to develop Taiwan value and Taiwanese character in next international exhibition. Thus, he started to think, “what is the best local ingredient to present the Taiwan value?” The solution is Taiwan acacia, with its intensity reaching 0.7 (g/cm3). It is the best wood that is lacking in the European and American continents. Next, he bought the Taiwan acacia from the northeast Town of Taiwan, Yilan, and created the first Taiwan acacia bathtub with the ingredient cost of 20000 USD. As expect, this project received tremendous appreciation in the Dubai expo and the international market.
FULL USAGE, the ultimate use of Taiwan Acacia.
Last year, THE EGG purchased in total 3000 tons Taiwan acacia. “Unlike traditional wood factories, THE EGG built a number system to record the time of harvest, the weight, the height of every log we bought. “said by Mr.Chen. As long as it is Taiwan acacia and certificated with the legal document, THE EGG will buy it. However, THE EGG only accept the logs north than Miaoli because Mr.Chen consider the Taiwan acacia in North is harder than the Taiwan Acacia in South.
Different parts of Taiwan acacia have their own purposes and reach the goal of FULL USAGE under the plan of THE EGG. “We hope to use every piece of each Taiwan acacia tree” explained by Mr.Chen while he drawing the tree itself on the white board.
“Technically, the upper part of the tree is planned for house decorative ingredients while the lower part of the tree is set to manufacture the instrument ingredients because the this part is strong enough to the small decorative pieces for instrument.” said by Mr.Chen who took Taiwan acacia in a very serious way that he decided to turn down an order request of 400 containers of Taiwan acacia flooring from an American company.
Even though the company is capable for the flooring request, Mr. Chen still considers Taiwan Acacia rare and limited, and it shouldn’t become products with low profit. Taiwan acacia deserves more. His daughter also told him that “Dad, it doesn’t make sense if you sell all the Taiwan acacia abroad while selling nothing to Taiwanese”
THE EGG creates Taiwan acacia cups with lacquer coating which can endure whisky inside overnight.
Instead of launching the Taiwan acacia craft beer, THE EGG also uses the leftover ingredients to create cups, skin care products and smoking salt in order to share the variety aspects of Taiwan acacia to Taiwanese.
The cups made out of Taiwan acacia is coated with six layers of nature lacquer, without the feeling of thickness, in order to salute the traditional lacquer industry. As wood will naturally transport the water thorough the vascular bundle, THE EGG set high standard that the coating has to preserve whisky inside the cup overnight.
The first five-hundred cups with lacquer coating were sold out with 800 NTD in pre-order stage. It also comes with a coaster made of the wood that brew their beer, with the sweet smell of beer.
“When THE EGG uses Taiwanese wood to create design furniture, instruments, and other wooden products, it will have a lot of unwanted pieces. In the past, these pieces were burnt into charcoal or smashed into powder for growing mushrooms. However, these side products do not worth much. That’s why we choose to brew beer with small pieces, elevating the limit of side products for the better value of the Taiwan acacia.” explained by Mr.Sun.
Using the rich in tannin specialty of Taiwan acacia, THE EGG challenge to do mass production of wine cask.
The cask in Europe was made one by one by hands. This industry remains the same today. However, the next challenge THE EGG has taken is to mass produce wine barrel.
According to Mr.Sun, oak barrel relies on its special aroma and distinctive composition of wood to change the flavor of the wine inside. Then he presented us with experimental whisky with the Taiwan acacia infuser inside, it did have the sweetness of Taiwan acacia at the aftertaste while he said “at first, we want to develop the whisky barrels with Taiwan acacia.
Then we discover its specialty of richness in tannin, we re-focus on producing wine barrels because the key of good wine is tannin.”
The biggest problem when it comes to replacing oak with Taiwan acacia is the intensity between these two woods is massive. Taiwan acacia is two-time harder than oak so it’s tough to bend it in the traditional way. In order to shape Taiwan acacia properly, THE EGG works with a machine factory and designs a thermal pressure machine.
Mr. Sun shows us a 3-cm thick, bended Taiwan acacia. Looking at the bending line, the shape of the barrel is very clear. The hot-pressing Taiwan acacia smells like plum and brown sugar to the surprise of the team. Some Taiwanese wineries is already asking for the cooperation to exchange five oak barrel covers with Taiwan acacia.
THE EGG puts a lot of effort to help Taiwan acacia get rid of the stereotypes of “undesirable wood”.
“We pushed our limit to develop the advantages of Taiwan acacia” Mr.Chen commented with relief. However, this development has not yet reached its end, THE EGG will be launching the electric skateboard and surfing board in next year in order to introduce Taiwan acacia to the sports industry. On the other hand, he still feels upset about the fact that Taiwanese still think that Taiwan acacia is a useless tree, even though the final product is eye-catching, but when people know these products are made by Taiwan acacia, they deny the value immediately. Taiwan acacia still can’t earn recognition from Taiwanese.
In the next stage, THE EGG plans to grow their own Taiwan acacia forest in Xinfeng at next Spring. THE EGG is going to work with the Hsinchu Forestry Bureau for the better seedling. The story about where to find better seedling and how to find, it will be the next story.