Beanscene: What is unique or special about coffee from Timor-Leste?
B: What potential do you see for the future of Timor Leste coffee?
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.
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.