Timor-Leste Kailitlau 12oz

Process: Washed
Altitude: 1400-1900 meters
Varietal: Timor, Typica
Tasting Notes: Almond + Cocoa + Caramel

Timor-Leste has had a long and tumultuous history that has seen colonization, several occupations, independence and a long and difficult path to peace. Coffee has played a role in Timor-Leste’s economy since the beginning of the country’s modern history.

Although it is unknown whether coffee production started first in the West or the East, it is clear that the crop on the eastern side of the island was introduced by early Portuguese traders. After years of extracting sandalwood for trading abroad, wild-growing sandalwood forests were dwindling and, in search of another source of income, Portuguese colonialists established coffee plantations. As early as 1860, coffee accounted for at least 50% of the total export value from Timor-Leste. Unfortunately, most of this production was owned and overseen by a select group of Portuguese landowners. While local communities were frequently hired for harvesting, they saw very little profit from coffee.

After the Portuguese landowners withdrew and Indonesia annexed Timor-Leste in 1976, the focus on coffee diminished and production in Timor-Leste shrunk considerably. After regaining independence in 2002, the coffee sector was quickly rebuilt as a means of economic development. With the help of international aid, coffee soon became the country’s only cash crop. Today, coffee accounts for about 80% of total export revenue.

The name “Timor-Leste” may sound familiar because the word “Timor” is also the name of a widespread coffee variety. “Timor” also appears in other varieties like “Catimor” or “Sarchimor”, names that, like their coffees, are hybrids of the two parent plants’ names.

It’s no coincidence the name “Timor” is so ubiquitous in our variety names, the first widely studied hybrid was found growing in Timor-Leste in the 1920s. The hybrid was the product of one Robusta and one Arabica plant mating. The resulting plant, which soon came to be known as 'Hybrido de Timor', after the island on which it was found, took on traits from both parent plants. The Timor hybrid was resistant to coffee leaf rust (CLR), like its Robusta parent, but also had higher cup quality, thanks to its Arabica parent.

The discovery of the Timor Hybrid coincided with the expansion of CLR across most of Central and East Africa and Asia. Since CLR spores can remain in soils long after the infected plants die (making it difficult to replant the same varieties), new CLR-resistant hybrids became essential to revitalizing coffee production in these regions. Since Timor’s discovery, scientists have bred countless other hybrid varieties to combat the CLR epidemic and the older Timor variety has played a central role in continuing to breed new resistant varieties with good cup quality, such as Marsellesa, Obata and Oro Azteca, to name a few.

We’re proud to bring you this superb coffee from our importer Sucafina who has been active in Timor-Leste. Sucafina works alongside farmers, cooperatives and agricultural extension officers to help farmers increase yields and quality and ultimately to produce larger incomes for farmers.

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