Region: Island Oceania Indonesia
Cupping Notes: Soft melon, mild floral like chrysanthemum, vanilla, chocolate, with citrus
Back for the second year in a row, we’re thrilled to present this lovely organic Timor-Leste coffee from a small group of producers organized around Peace Winds’ Café Brisa Serena project.
It’s a lush and sweet little coffee, soft melon and mild floral notes like chrysanthemum and vanilla accent an otherwise chocolatey coffee with a smooth viscosity and mild citrus elements. A lot of us have been comparing it to similarly mild and chuggable coffees from Mexico, El Salvador, or Honduras, but in truth it stands on its own merits. It’s accompanied this year by a few companion lots available as 30kg bags, in addition to this Crown Jewel Selection, and we’re proud to offer them as very nice examples of some of the best coffee produced on this tiny island nation.
The island of Timor rests just a couple hundred miles northwest of Australia, and is split between the sovereignty of the nation of Indonesia on the west and, since 2002, the independent Timor-Leste on the east. Modern Timor-Leste was until very recently the world’s most coffee dependent nation. Green coffee export accounted for nearly 70% of the nation’s GDP as recently as 2006. However, after cancelling a controversial agreement with Australia, Timor-Leste now retains a significantly higher proportion of its petroleum revenue, making that the country’s leading export product. East Timor is now the world’s most oil-dependent nation.
This microlot is sourced from a community of 12 smallholder farmers in the Eratoi village, each of whom grow coffee on less than 1 hectare of land. It made its way to us via Café Brisa Serena, a social enterprise established by Peace Winds Japan (PWJ) in 2003. PWJ came to Timor in 1999 in the midst of a humanitarian catastrophe, generations in the making. After Portuguese and Japanese occupation, the nation of Indonesia claimed the island from 1975 onwards, stoking guerrilla warfare and a major refugee crisis. By 1999, international support for Timor-Leste’s independence won out, and aid came flowing to the island’s beleaguered residents.
Café Brisa Serena now works with over 400 farming households, primarily in and around Letefoho, the administrative outpost in the municipal district of Ermera, near the center of the island. They provide agronomic support and quality service, a greenhouse for parchment conditioning, access to international markets, and even a roastery to improve the local coffee consumption culture as well. You can read a recent interview with Armando de Araujo of Café Brisa Serena here.