PRODUCER: Atsabe Community Wet Mill
REGION: Ermera, Timor Leste
VARIETY: Hibrido de Timor, Moka, Typica
ALTITUDE: 1200-1600 MASL
Notes of blackberry, raisin and orange zest with a rich almond and cacao nibs body and creamy mouthfeel
About The Coffee
Having found its sovereignty in 2002, Timor-Leste is one of the world’s youngest countries. As the country finds stability, the development of the agriculture sector is rapidly becoming an important pillar for the structural transformation of the country’s economy.
Timor-Leste currently faces enormous economic upheaval, as its oil reserves begin to run dry. In its place, coffee is set to become that nation’s most vital export. Coffee is Timor-Leste’s most important crop, and with the end of oil income, improving the coffee sector is of critical importance. Coffee is the second-highest earner for the country after oil, with 37% of households dependent on coffee for income.
However, productivity is extremely low, alongside profitability which is both low and volatile. This is because almost all coffee is sold in the commodity market for a discounted C price.
Atsabe wet mill was built in April 2018. All designed in-house, this processing centre uses gravity to move coffee through the stages; no double handling, no unnecessary machinery.
Laclo is the name of one of the main coffee producing villages (or sucos in Tetun), that provide cherry to the Atsabe wet mill. The village’s coffee land sits between 1200-1600MASL, where between 80 and 150 coffee producing families are selling to the washing station at any given time during the harvest season. The village itself has four sub villages, and a total household figure of almost 500 families.
Cherry is first floated in water, to separate the fruit by density. The higher the density, the higher the quality of the coffee. This leaves the low density, less mature cherries to float to the surface, which are easily removed from the water.
The staff then meticulously hand-sort the freshly picked and sorted cherry, removing all damaged or underripe fruit. This well-sorted coffee is then immediately pulped. The remaining cherry is not discarded, rather, it is saved for redistribution as fertiliser to the farmers who grew them.
The parchment is transported to raised beds, where they are dried in high sun for 15 - 20 days. The staff turn the lots regularly to ensure even airflow and sun contact. When the coffee has reached a drying level of around 14%, the coffee is then transported to lower altitudes with higher temperatures, to complete the drying phase. Once the drying is complete, the coffee is prepared for export at the Railaco dry mill.