Coffee in Timor
Have you ever sat down with a good cup of coffee and wondered how it could be so tasty? Here in Timor-Leste we have the answers! The Timorese coffee has a flavor all its own and people around the world are noticing. So, what exactly makes the coffee here so good?
The Growing Process
Timorese coffee is organically grown in the mountainous regions of Timor. In general, local coffee farmers will care for their coffee plantation with the help of family members; pruning the trees, planting new ones, cutting back other vegetation, and adding layers of natural compost as needed. The coffee trees receive the water they need during the rainy season. Larger trees shade the berries from the harsh sunlight.
There are three main varieties of coffee tree grown in Timor-Leste. 1. Arabica 2. Robusta, and 3. An arabica-robusta hybrid. Each has a slightly different berry shape, taste, and harvesting time. When it comes time for the harvest, each family will walk out to their fields carrying empty sacks. The process of gathering the ripe beans is quite simple, just pick them from the tree! However, once the bag is full, the hard work begins. Many coffee farmers in Timor have little to no access to transportation, as such they must walk from their fields back to their house caring large and heavy bags of coffee beans.
Processing the Coffee
So that was the hard job, right? Unfortunately, not yet! After the harvest comes the process of going from a ripe coffee cherry to finding the beans within. It is becoming slightly more common to have motorized machines; however, many Timorese coffee farmers still process the beans completely by hand. The cherries are gently crushed using a hand cranking machine to squeeze the beans out. Following this skin remnants are separated then the beans washed, and dried for several days. After all that work, many farmers will sell the dried product to Co-Ops.
Are these beans ready to roast? Not. Yet. One thing no one can deny is the fact that Timorese people love their coffee. So, after all this work, a farmer will generally set aside some of the less sellable coffee beans to drink for themselves. The beans sold to a Co-op actually still have a thin shell surrounding the tiny coffee bean within. Using a large mortar and pestle, the farmer will crack this shell and sort out the bean for roasting. This same technique is used later to grind the beans into a useable powder after they’ve been roasted.
If you ask me, all this hard work and dedication is what makes such a tasty cup of joe! But there’s no doubt the organic growing and processing methods help contribute to a wonderful flavor. So, the next time you have a delicious cup of coffee don’t forget to thank the farmers who made it!
Where to get hold of this Timorese Coffee?
Here at Dreamers Dive Academy Timor we love drinking coffee and within walking distance of the where we are there are at least 4 recommendable places. Castaway bar serves local coffee so if you are staying in Timor backpackers you can order some to compliment your breakfast! Letefoho coffee shop serves aero press, french press and (check) as well as lattes, cappuccinos and mochas. Prefer coffee with some lunch – check out Agora food studio specilising in coffee and local food fusion. Finally if you are in the mood for a flavoured frappe style coffee like caramel then head over to Cafe Uht. Another great thing about Cafe Uht is they use plastic bags and straws made from cassava! Thank you guys for helping to reduce our plastic use.
Get in touch to know more about Timor Leste and what we do!