BEANSCENE ARTICLE: Timor-Leste is a Rising Star

BEANSCENE ARTICLE: Timor-Leste is a Rising Star

Ethan from Beanscene Magazine (@beanscene) spoke to Gina Di Brita about the emerging specialty coffee industry coming out of Timor-Leste: 

Beanscene: What is unique or special about coffee from Timor-Leste?

Gina: As a roaster who has visited this origin numerous times, the coffee has a uniqueness through its varietal the Hibrido de Timor and because of its historical link with Australia.
This coffee is showing a lot of promise as a specialty grade in such a short time. It is quickly gaining momentum in being a reliable producer of increasing quality and productivity and displays so much versatility in the cup. Timor-Leste coffees are sweet, embodying layers of complex nuances of tropical fruit, delicate lime acidity, buttery mouthfeel and lots of chocolate undertones. When roasted medium, it can be  brewed as an espresso, long black, or using any style of filter  including, pour-over, aero press  or drip filter and pairs well with any milk, including plant-based milks.

B: What potential do you see for the future of Timor Leste coffee?

G: A small half-island nation, just an hour and half flight north of Darwin, Timor-Leste is our closest neighbour and yet many Australians don't know it has a very special coffee history. Nor do many know of the unique Hibrido de Timor varietal which has an almost fairytale like story.

Recently in just a few short years, Timor-Leste has become the gathering place for specialty coffee growers, q-graders, judges, roasters, baristas and exporters, as well as international agencies - a community working together to build an exceptional coffee sector - as well attracting those curious to see and taste the original Hibrido de Timor varietal. Some of them include renowned international coffee specialists like Andrew Hetzel, Coffee Strategies who invited me to join Timor-Leste's second Coffee Quality Competition as a specialist judge back in 2017.
Because of our ongoing relationship with the small holder farmers, Numero Uno is committed in supporting the work being done in raising the quality of coffee to align as a more connected, inclusive and forward thinking coffee community.

B: Why should more roasters consider using coffee from the country?

G: Since my first visit to the country in 2017, I have seen how far specialty coffee has advanced because of the incredible passion and perseverance of many people. In this last month alone, June-July 2020, the Timor Leste national coffee association (ACTL) has rolled out preparatory training for Q-Cupping and Q-Grader Arabica courses for Timorese. We saw many producers, baristas, and cafe owners participate. Even under COVID19 lockdown, the future of Timor-Leste coffee looks exciting.

The level of sophistication from the Australian consumer’s point of view is really high when it comes to knowing their coffee.  They know about quality and they’re looking for a story, which embraces ethical and sustainable practises.  It is the ideal time for coffee roasters to “think regional” when it comes to our coffee consumption, helping reduce the carbon footprint by bringing coffee closer from our regional coffee growers, reduce poverty, support women in coffee and provide youth opportunities as well as support the Timorese farmers break out of their commodity cycles into specialty markets such as Australia. 



Thank you!

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