More Firsts for the Timor-Leste Coffee Community


The Timor-Leste Coffee Association (ACTL) hosted its first national cup quality contest in conjunction with Festivál Kafé Timor in December, and farmers from the Tunu Fahi village in the Letefoho subdistrict of Ermera took top honors with their TunuFahiB lot.

Overall, sixty-two samples were submitted from Timor-Leste’s six main coffee-growing districts and evaluated by three judges using SCAA sample roasting and cupping protocols. Forty-seven of the roasts earned a score of eighty or higher (qualifying them to be considered specialty coffee).

The first-place TunuFahiB roast, which scored an average of 84.45 points, was described by the judges as “creamy,” with “green apple, sour cherry, lemon and peach” flavor notes. Farmers from the Tasakina village in the subdistrict of Hatolia and the Lebedu village in Letefoho were granted second and third place with average scores of 84.325 and 84.025, respectively.

Timor-Leste coffee association hosts the Festival Kafé Timor
(Photos: My Linh Lee.)

“The results from this first competition show the great potential that Timor-Leste has as a producer of specialty coffee,” says Paolo Spantigati, Asian Development Bank country director for Timor-Leste. “Many farmers still struggle to earn a good living but events like this are inspiring them to improve quality and providing them with a clear path to a better life.”

Four of the contest’s ten award winners reported using the Timor hybrid variety; eight of the winning coffees were produced by smallholder farmer groups working in partnership with local and international exporters.

The Timor-Leste Coffee Association was formed in 2016 and supports a common goal of revitalizing the Timor-Leste coffee farm sector by serving as the unified source for industry standards, industry advocacy, media representation, and international brand development for Timorese coffee.

Chris Lucia is Fresh Cup’s associate editor.