PEACHY, MARY’S FRUIT CAKE, TOFFEE
Farm Name | Rotutu Cooperative (24 farmers)
Region | Letefoho, East Timor
Process | Fully Washed, African bed drying
Variety | Typica, Timor Hybrid
Altitude | 1420 masl
Francisco de Deus
It was in 1995, towards the end of Indonesian rule in Timor-Leste, that Francisco de Deus inherited his farm from his grandparents. Nestled high in the mountains of the central highlands of the country in the district of Ermera, conditions are ideal for coffee harvesting with warm, blue skies during the day and cool evenings at night allowing for consistent growing and processing conditions. Francisco recalls, ‘I always knew that I would one day return to work in Letefoho to work on the family farm and it was not long after I took over harvesting responsibilities from my grandfather that more coffee exporters came to Timor-Leste. This motivated many farmers to once again look to coffee as a potential sustainable source of income’.
Timorese coffee is truly wild and organically grown, a fact that Francisco is incredibly proud of, ‘We work hard to produce the best quality coffee and although the methods we use are time consuming, they’re worthwhile. We believe that Mother Nature has provided us with the best conditions to grow coffee and we now have better processing facilities which has brought our coffee to a quality that can compete in the international speciality sector.’
Thanks to the developments in the speciality sector, Timorese farmers are now able to command a much higher price for their delicious coffee and create a consistent and sustainable income from which to support and provide for their families and the local community.
History of Coffee in East Timor
Situated in South East Asia with Australia to the South, Timor-Leste holds the unenviable accolade of being one of the few countries in the world to have been both colonised and annexed; colonised by Portugal from 1600s to 1975 and annexed by Indonesia from 1975 to 1999. Having finally gained independence in 2001, Timor-Leste is the world’s second youngest nation state and still finding its feet in the geo-political world of the 21st century. Coffee was introduced to the island by the Portuguese and went on to become the country’s leading export by the 1900s, however the industry suffered greatly during the years of Indonesian annexation when the sector was largely ignored.