Region: Lacau, Letefoho, East Timor
Altitude: 1700 masl.
Owners: Lacau Co-op
Juicy cup of honey, toffee, melon & strawberry. Best at a light roast, great for filter and espresso.
Timor-Leste has a long and fascinating coffee history. Coffee was first cultivated here early in 17th century when the Island was colonised and divvied-up by the Dutch and Portuguese. The Dutch controlled West Timor and the Portuguese the East and during this time both colonial powers quickly proliferated coffee cultivation. Funnily enough it’s still unknown which Colonial power planted the first seed!
East Timor’s total production is relatively small at around 160,000 bags or 550 containers per year. The local market is primarily dominated by a handfull of exporters that account for around 90% of the total exports. The vast majority of coffee is sourced from small holder farmers. In terms of quality, Timor’s production is dominated by commercial-grade Arabica, with small volumes of Robusta and comparatively tiny volumes of specialty! Despite it’s incredible potential, Timor’s coffee industry has been heavily stunted by years of war and ensuing political, economic and social volatility. The industry and it’s producers still face huge challenges!
MTC’s work in Timor began in 2014 in partnership with a Dili-Based NGO called PeaceWinds. The group has worked in Ermera and Letefoho since 2011, working to organise small-holder producers and improving access to market. MTC came on-board as a quality consultant in 2014, implementing a variety quality procedures and systems including the set-up of a QA lab in Dili. Fast-forward to 2016, our work has moved further up the supply-line working with over 200 farmers across 18 villages, developing new processes and techniques, evaluating hundreds of samples, and overseeing milling and shipment.
This particular lot was built from the top lots produced by the 23 farmers in the Lacau community, a scattered group of households in a beautiful valley SE of Letefoho town. Lacau is one of the most consistent and dedicated farmer groups we work with. Varieties in Lacau are predominantly Typica, locally nicknamed “Arabi”.
During harvest time, the cherry is hand picked and pulped at the pulper in the village. Pulped parchment is fermented for 24-48 hours depending on the local weather conditions at the time. The clean washed parchment is then sent for drying. Once the parchment is at it’s optimal moisture level, the dry parchment is bagged up and sent for processing at a central mill in Dili no more than two weeks prior to shipping.