Unique and flavourful community coffee from the Ermera municipality of central-eastern Timor-Leste.
Roast: Full City (4/7) (Medium)
Tasting Notes: Lemon Sherbet, Butterscotch and Date
Altitude: 1500-1600 MASL
Variety: Typica, Timor Hybrid
Processing Method: Fully Washed and African bed/Tarpaulin dried
Situated in South East Asia with Australia to the South, Timor-Leste holds the unenviable accolade of being one of the few countries in the world to have been both colonised and annexed; colonised by Portugal from 1600s to 1975 and annexed by Indonesia from 1975 to 1999. Having finally gained independence in 2001, Timor-Leste is the world’s second youngest nation-state and still finding its feet in the geo-political world of the 21st century. Coffee was introduced to the island by the Portuguese and went on to become the country’s leading export by the 1900s, however, the industry suffered greatly during the years of Indonesian annexation when the sector was largely ignored. Fast forward to the present day, around 1/3 of all Timorese households grow coffee and you will see that the coffee farmers of Timor-Leste are working hard to collectively carve out a place for Timorese coffee in the global speciality coffee market.
Timorese coffee is truly wild and organically grown underneath the imposing shade trees that dominate the landscape. With time-old traditions in processing coffee, passed on from generation to generation, coffee is helping to build up more opportunities for Timorese people to create a consistent and sustainable income from which to support and provide for their families and the local community.
Of the 13 municipalities in Timor, Ermera is said to produce almost half of the nation's coffee. With high elevations, rich volcanic soil, and ideal weather conditions, it provides the perfect location for growing coffee. Hatuhei is located in the extremely remote eastern highlands of Letefoho, within eastern Ermera, only accessible via the long and winding tracks that traverse the mountain range. It is a cooperative of 26, second and third-generation farmers, who are working hard to develop their speciality grade coffee further.
Given the countries difficult history, working in such a place presents its own challenges. Due to finite education, most farmers rely on coffee traditions passed down from previous generations, which are often not optimal methods for producing speciality coffee. Just one example is the Hatuhei cooperatives leader Carlos de Deus. When contacted by Karst he was concerned about being able to document various aspects of processing. However, after working with Karst over previous years he has developed massively and now confidently monitors and documents drying and fermentation times as well as sharing that need for monitoring with other farmers. Since implementing these methods, the quality of coffee produced by Hatuhei has not only seen continual improvement but has also tripled its output of speciality coffee between 2020 and 2021. Carlos has high aspirations for the future and we look forward to supporting the Hatuhei cooperative in the coming years.
This coffee is imported by Karst Organics. Run by Stewart and Kar-Yee, they first began working in Timor in 2017. With Stewarts' background in education and capacity building and Kar-Yee's background in business, it provided a perfect foundation for implementing and improving coffee farming and processing techniques, such as selective picking and documenting fermentation/drying practices. They have and continue to work with the farmers at origin by spending 6 months of the year living in Timor throughout the harvest season. Their work to date has included:
- Funding the construction of a new centralised processing facility in 2018 for their Rotutu cooperative
- Supporting the installation of new water pipes to the centralised processing plant for improved water supply. Allowing greater consistency during processing and also providing some houses within the local community with access to a direct water source
- Collaboration with the Associasaun Café Timor (ACT) to provide training programs around quality coffee processing and coffee cupping to enable farmers to have a better understanding of their product and how different methods affect the final flavour of the coffee
- Consistent reinvestment into new equipment and the local community to expand their team of locally employed staff and increase the volume of coffee purchased
It is amazing to see the continued development within Timor and this is showcased by the annual improvement in the quality of beans. We feel privileged to be able to offer this impeccable example of South-East Asian coffee. Medium roasted, it emphasises the sweet citrus tones, with a zingy mouthfeel and notes of Lemon Sherbet, Butterscotch and Date.
If you would like to learn more about Karst Organics and the work they do at origin, you can do so on their website here.