JUDGING NOTES: Timor-Leste 2019 Coffee Quality Competition Winner - Fatubessi, Natural Process

JUDGING NOTES: Timor-Leste 2019 Coffee Quality Competition Winner - Fatubessi, Natural Process


SAMPLE #101 

FRAGRANCE: Choc., caramel, raspberries, strawb.

FLAVOUR PROFILE: Sweet, raspberries, 

My Total Score 90.5

...is what I had written about this exceptional coffee back in 18 October 2019. I added three ticks next to the score to remind myself "this coffee is going to be the winner this year, and if not, one of the top 3".

I was with seven other judges invited to be part of the 2019 Timor-Leste coffee quality competition -  together we represented palettes from Timor-Leste, Australia, Canada and Japan. We had blind-tasted 125 sample submissions over two intense, hot days. The top forty was selected, which was judged again in order to select the top ten. The best of the best was tasted on the fifth and final day.

Sample #101 was placed on the table at position number 9. The judges' combined tasting notes and average final score were

SAMPLE  #101 Judges' combined notes

Sweet like honey, banana, cloves, silky body, raspberry, strawberry, roseapple*, jackfruit, dark chocolate aroma.
Score 88.09

 After scores were reviewed, Sample #101 emerged as the winner at 1.91 points ahead of the second ranked coffee. We had no idea who produced #101 or which part of the country it came from as the results wouldn't be announced until the Festival Kafe Timor awards ceremony the next day (sadly we had to fly back to Sydney the morning of the ceremony).

Sample #101 is a beautiful arabica typica with elements of catimor, fermented using a natural process and sourced from Fatubessi village, nestled in mountainous Hatulia, Ermera municipality. 

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 national coffee association 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.

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 (more about this in future posts!)

With coronavirus severely restricting travel and trade, it has been a challenge for many coffee producers around the world. We are incredibly thankful to get a small shipment of the Fatubessi. It arrived last Thursday, 2 July 2020 via Melbourne and NZ - big shout out of thanks to friends in Timor-Leste, Timor Global and Raw Material for helping us. We roasted it straight away and today we are cupping it! 


If you'd like to brew this piece of history in your place, it is available now via our online store  - only 40kg in stock.  


Videos by our partners from Agora Food Studio and the  Timor-Leste National Coffee Association.

Sample #101 being roasted by Numero Uno!
From the moment we started roasting, the aroma from #101 told us it would be unforgettable.

The Judges!


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*Syzygium sp. also commonly known as Lilly pilly. 

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