We've had a number of coffee samples this month from East Timor. A place that until only a couple of years ago I didn't know existed let alone knew it produced speciality coffee & thought it would be a great idea to do a little feature on this new country & coffee origin.
The two coffees we've selected from East Timor arrived from 2 very different importing companies both with a shared interest in improving the quality of living in East Timor.
Karstor Organics is a small scale importer & wet mill owner, this two person team spend 6 months of the year in East Timor helping the farmers improve the cultivation of there coffees & also at there coffee processing facility helping in the preparation of the coffee post harvest. The remaining 6 months of the year are spent in the UK working with the speciality coffee community building relationships & selling the coffee.
Raw Materials are a Social Enterprise & 100% of the profits from the organisation goes to producers, directly through payments for coffee and through community-level investments. With offices in New Zealand, Australian & the UK. They work in a number of coffee origins including East Timor where they are based at the Atsabe Wet Mill which has successfully served as the hub for training courses in both cultivation, picking, and processing for local producers.
The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (more commonly known as East Timor) is a small tropical island nation situated in South East Asia. It gained its independence on the 28th November 2002 and became the first new country of this millennium after more than 4 centuries of Portuguese colonisation and 25 years of Indonesian occupation.
East Timor lies approximately 700km to the north of Darwin, Australia, but feels a million miles away from its prosperous and affluent neighbour. With the assistance of international aid, local NGOs and certain factions of the private sector, capacity building has been identified as an essential focus to facilitate the Timorese people in developing their country and slowly establishing itself as its own autonomous state after years of unsettlement.
Coffee plants were first brought to East Timor in the early 19th century by the Portuguese and grow wild in the mountainous regions of the central highland districts flourishing underneath the shade of the natural tree canopies. Well known to be organic by default, East Timor is possibly the only country in the world that produces exclusively organically grown coffee. The Asia Development Bank estimates that coffee is grown by approximately a third of all households who rely on this sector for income.
The Timor Hybrid variety of coffee has naturally evolved in East Timor over the years. This is a unique variety of coffee which benefits from the exceptional taste of Arabica combined with the robust strength against fighting common coffee plant diseases.
Timorese coffee is known to have a clean and smooth body with a complex aroma and taste.