overview

Overview 

This is an organic, traditional washed coffee from Timor-Leste, produced and processed by a group of 15  farmers organized around an organization called Café Brisa Serena Timor-Leste. It is certified organic. 

The flavor profile is clean and sweet, with comforting notes of fudge brownie, maple syrup, raisin, and orange blossom. 

Our roasters found the coffee worked well with a relatively gentle heat application, and generally recommend plenty of development time after first crack. 

When brewed, our baristas enjoyed the delicate sweetness as pour-overs and were able to dial up the sparkle and balance using a Fellow Stagg. We’re planning to feature the coffee in the coming weeks as espresso in The Crown’s Tasting Room. 

taste

Taste Analysis by Sandra Loofbourow 

This coffee is the result of long-standing relationships with two phenomenal organizations in Timor-Leste and has a stellar cup profile to match. It’s one of the cleanest and sweetest examples of this origin I’ve tasted this year. Complex caramelized sugars come through as distinct fudge brownie (with walnut chunks, my favorite) and amber maple syrup. It also has mild fruit notes, with hints of peach and raisin, and even a whisper of florality in the form of orange blossom. It’s juicy, it’s sweet, it’s chuggable; the perfect comforting cup. 

source

Source Analysis by Evan Gilman 

This is the fourth year working with Café Brisa Serena Timor-Leste, and a great time to reflect on the work they have done with their partner producers and Peace Winds Japan to enhance coffee quality and get access to the international market. It must be said that their coffees have a level of transparency and traceability not commonly found. We can learn about this coffee’s travels from the sub-village level, all the way to export from Timor-Leste; and this is true for all lots of coffee from CBS. They are truly doing some remarkable work. You can read more about them on our blog in the 2018 interview or last year’s interview. 

As for the background of this relationship, the story begins with my trip to the Philippines to do some work with Kalsada Coffee. During this time, I met Hirofumi Yamamoto, who was attending Benguet State University and doing some development work on the side as well. Hiro was doing work with various communities to introduce agricultural programs related to integrated pest management and coffee shrub rejuvenation, and it is from here that he traveled further afield to Timor-Leste, Myanmar, and many other places.   

Hiro introduced me CBS Timor-Leste shortly after my return to the US, when I began working at Royal Coffee. After many exchanges of samples, emails, and video calls, we found their arrivals improving year over year, and have built a great working relationship with them.   

The Eratoi 1 comes from Ducurai village, in Letefoho, Ermera municipality. Peace Winds Japan has worked here for years; farmer training began in 2004, and in 2008 they undertook the major project of building a water tank for the community. In Eratoi sub-village, whose name translates literally as ‘a prayer for water,’ it is extremely important to have access to water. Their local spring emanates from a mountain named Usululi, which is widely regarded as a holy site.  

Through this and other efforts (planting nitrogen-fixing Casuarina trees, introducing composting programs), PWJ has helped support communities throughout Timor-Leste. Their current project focuses on agroforestry education, taught by the inimitable Eko Purnomowidi, a regional expert from Java, Indonesia who has had a hand in innumerable development projects.  

Each year, older coffee trees are culled, and less productive branches are cut after flowering and pollination. In the past, after Portuguese colonialization, trees were allowed to grow to heights up to 10 meters, which meant productivity was severely affected until the new measures were undertaken. Trees are much more productive now after years of training and uncompromising rejuvenation efforts on the part of the farmers in this region.  

During the harvest season, everyone in the sub-village helps pick in a certain area, starting at 8am every morning until the area is finished. Working together to process the coffee using small home mills, the group generally finishes processing by 5pm with coffee already on the raised drying beds. Many hands make light work!   

Water usage and fermentation times are kept to a minimum here, and next year there is talk of trying natural processing. Something to look forward to in 2023…  

 

green

Green Analysis by Chris Kornman 

This coffee is, as it has been in years past, expertly processed and prepared for export and roasting. The moisture is a picture-perfect 10.5% with low water activity. The coffee is somewhat large and spread out in screen size, with an average-looking density. 

The green here is comprised of two cultivars, both historically important globally and with local Pacific Island origins. Typica is the name of the first arabica variety cultivated on nearby Java in Indonesia. It was transported from India’s Malabar, where it had been planted by Baba Budan and/or the Dutch, both of whom “selected” / stole it from a Yemeni garden. Colonizers, especially the French and Dutch, then spread its cuttings widely and, despite its low yield, became the world’s first truly global coffee plant. It remains coveted by roasters for its high sensory quality potential, and is usually characterized by oblong cherries and seeds.  

The Timor Hybrid is a double-edged sword. This spontaneous arabica-robusta cross saved the Pacific from coffee-extinction in the wake of a 19th century rust epidemic. It also provided the genetic baseline for most of the modern cultivars developed for disease resistance, higher yields, larger screen sizes, and general hardiness. Of course, it also has a reputation for qualitative similarities to its “robust” parent species, so it is often shunned by specialty roasters. I’m pleased to say that, at least in this case, the genetic predisposition has been overcome by conscientious cultivation, immaculate prep, and attention to detail at every step from the farm to your cup. For that, we surely have the farmers of Eratoi and the logistics and quality support of Café Brisa Serena to thank.  

diedrich ir-5

Diedrich IR-5 Analysis by Chris Kornman 

This delightful coffee from the Eratoi group in Timor-Leste has graced our espresso menu at The Crown more than once in past seasons, and I wanted to attempt an omni-roast on our Diedrich that toed the line between chuggable and though-provoking. Early sample roast cuppings offered some hints of florality with a lot of potential for sugar browning sweetness without much in the way of really punchy acidity. 

For coffees like this, typically large in size with lots of surface area to absorb heat and somewhat lower density (likely to trend towards low thermal retention and lower-than-average exothermic energy at first crack), my approach tends towards a couple of key targets: low charge, low airflow, and a slow progress through first crack at low temperature and rate of rise. 

I opted to take a plan from Production Assistant Doris Garrido’s playbook this week, inverting our airflow settings a bit, using a 50% setting to help wick away any moisture early, closed during the early stages of color change to allow for a little extra conductive and radiant energy in the system, and then finally moving to a classic open airflow setting towards the end of the roast. The full fan setting at the end helps to move any smoke from first crack out of the roaster quickly, and in conjunction with a low burner setting helps prevent any possibility of the coffee flying off the rails. 

The roast went mostly according to plan, the coffee behaving as predicted through first crack. I really wanted to draw out post-crack development to well over 1:30, but with a rate of rise at around 15F/minute I knew this wouldn’t be possible without cutting the burners completely and crashing briefly. When the RoR hit 5F/minute I clicked the burners back on and let the coffee gently coast to a slow finish as the exhaust and bean probe temperatures realigned. Checking color rather than time or temp, I dropped the coffee a little before I’d hoped with 97 seconds of development and a 53 (ground) colortrack score. 

On the table, the fragrance was earthy and I worried I’d wrecked any nuance, but the cup was clean with excellent sweetness. Doris noted a buttery body with red apple sweetness and tartness. I found good complexity, from fudgy and maple syrup sweetness to mild fruit notes of grilled peach and raisin, with a final flourish of a delicate orange blossom note. 

Take it easy on this coffee; it seems to appreciate a gentle heat approach. 

aillio bullet r1

Aillio Bullet R1 IBTS Analysis by Evan Gilman 

Unless otherwise noted, we use both the roast.world site and Artisan software to document our roasts on the Bullet. You can find our roast documentation below, by searching on roast.world, or by clicking on the Artisan links below.  

Generally, we have good results starting our 500g roasts with 428F preheating, P6 power, F2 fan, and d6 drum speed. Take a look at our roast profiles below, as they are constantly changing! 

 

At long last, the fresh crop from Café Brisa Serena Timor-Leste has landed. Primed to ship during the height of the supply chain disruptions of last year, this coffee spent more time than anticipated in transit, but came out of the experience no worse for the wear. Much like past years, the Eratoi lot came first in our rankings, and I was champing at the bit to roast this coffee! 

I did start this roast off with 428F preheating and F2 fan like usual but tried something a little different for drum speed and power, which I set to d5 and P9 respectively. I wanted to ensure very even tumbling of the bean mass, without too much ‘sticking’ to the side of the drum due to centripetal force. Though the difference between d5 and d6 shouldn’t be too drastic, my roast did turn out very evenly developed. I also wanted to hit this coffee with plenty of heat in the start to push through Green/Drying phase as quickly as possible without scorching.  

Reducing heat to P8 at turning point and increasing fan speed to F3 a touch after, I began the process of slowly reducing heat application and increasing airflow throughout the course of this roast: P7 at 5:10 / 340F, F4 at 6:57 / 370F, P6 at 8:10 / 385F (just before first crack), and finally F5 at 8:50 / 394F (just after first crack). The result was a very even split of 40% / 40% / 18% in each phase of the roast, and the cup was very balanced as a result.  

While I did hit this coffee with a lot of heat at the outset, I agree with Chris and Doris that a balanced approach as the roast progresses is the best path toward a delicious cup. A solid 2 minutes of post-crack development really brought out a lot of hearty goodness in this coffee, and I do recommend giving this coffee plenty of time to develop. It does need a hearty push in the beginning, though. 

Juicy lime, nougat, and deep chocolatey sweetness came through in this roast, and the finish here was exceedingly clean. While I know that this coffee is going to be used for espresso at The Crown, having it as a filter drip was incredibly pleasant. Spiced pear and very smooth mouthfeel become apparent as this coffee cools, and I can only imagine that it will make an amazing full-immersion brew as well, especially after cupping.  

CBS Timor-Leste delivers again! I am so happy to have coffee from this group back on the menu! 

You can find this roast on roast.world here: https://roast.world/@egilman/roasts/O1Cu2WKt0WTgUm8QhkcgV 

 

brew

Brew Analysis by Carolyn McBride 

I was so excited to try this Timor-Leste with our team! I’ve enjoyed a few different coffees from the region, and this one has definitely shone through as a favorite of mine in terms of sweetness and delicacy. We did a couple brews using both the Hario V60 and the Fellow Stagg. Both brews were delicious, but the agreed favorite method was the Stagg.  

For the first brew we used the V60, which took a little longer than we typically would prefer. The result had widely agreed upon notes, such as red apple, slightly overcooked caramel, and watered down grape juice. We knew these notes were a result of overextraction, which led to our decision to next try the Fellow Stagg. This decision was made based on the knowledge that the Stagg would give us a little more gravity, and hopefully even up the extraction.  

And we were right! The acidity shone through a bit more, making a much more sparkly, rounded cup. We got some lovely notes of pink lady apple, raw cashew, milk chocolate, and sugarcane juice. This coffee was surprisingly sweet, silky, and delicate, and we proceeded to make more cups of it throughout the week just for ourselves to sip on during the quiet part of the morning! 

 

Origin Information

Grower
15 producers organized around Café Brisa Serena
Variety
Timor Hybrid, Typica
Region
Ducurai Village, Letefoho Sub-District, Ermera Municipality, Timor-Leste
Harvest
June- September
Altitude
1300 - 1500 masl
Soil
Clay Minerals
Process
Fully washed and dried on raised beds
Certifications
Organic

Background Details

Timor-Leste, or East Timor, takes up the eastern half of the greater Timor island, part of the Indonesian archipelago and not far from the northern coast of Australia. It is a young republic with a long and chaotic political history, having only achieved full independence in 2002, after almost 500 years of consecutive occupations by the Portuguese, the Dutch, and Indonesia. Timor-Leste’s coffee is small in overall scale but highly significant to the Timorese, 25% of whom rely on coffee production for their livelihood. The island’s inland forests also happen to be historically significant, being the origin of coffee’s most adaptive genetic cross—the Timor Hybrid—a natural breeding of local robusta and typica trees that was identified in the 1920s, and whose vigorous genetics can be found in countless timor-based cultivars in almost every producing country today. The island’s isolation has also allowed for a unique preservation of endemic typica variety coffees, whose purity and diversity resembles that of nearby Papua New Guinea, and expresses similarly in the cup. The greater Timor island is sun-baked and humid along its coast, but the interior quickly rises to lush and rugged highlands, with sharp ridges and vibrant grass-covered slopes. The Ermera municipality is one of the island’s highest in elevation and includes its highest peak, Tatamailau. The villages in the mountain’s vicinity are where Café Brisa Serena (CBS), a social enterprise and exporter, has spent the last 10 years developing smallholder coffee value chains. This coffee is produced by 15 select farmers from the Ducurai village, part of the “Eratoi” group, whose name translates to “water spring”, after the source of a nearby waterfall. The Ducurai village is just north of Tatamailau’s peak. Eratoi is one group in a small portfolio we import each year from CBS, who began by training remote smallholders in farm management and processing, and who is now a highly capable exporter with some of the best smallholder traceability in the world. Coffee in Letefoho is not young. Trees are tended to for decades, and due to the lofty, vine-like typica varieties throughout, coffee is often harvested by leaning long wooden ramps against the trunk so that pickers can access the sprawling canopy. Farms range between 0.5 and 1.5 hectares only and tend to be well-shaded by evergreen she-oaks, a natural mulcher and nitrogen fixer. During harvest coffee is picked painstakingly by hand and processed at home on personal or shared pulping equipment, which is often hand-made using wood and textured metal discs. After fermenting in small personal containers, the coffee is dried on raised beds and constantly sorted for quality. Many of the current harvesting and processing standards come directly from CBS, who has helped establish specialty protocols and invested in improvements to processing equipment. The addition of drying structures, for example, has greatly improved farmers’ ability to consistently meet quality standards for moisture content and water activity. In addition to coffee, Ducurai farmers also manage personal crops of taro and cassava, as well as pigs, goats, fowl, and cows, and many also have personal compost programs in addition to being organic certified. Café Brisa Serena works with over 400 farmers in the Letefoho area. The organization was formed in close collaboration with Peace Winds Japan, a Japanese NGO that had been working in Timor-Leste’s coffee lands during the first decade after independence, when violence and crumbled infrastructure had disenfranchised many remote coffee communities. CBS continued the development work of Peace Winds, and in 2015 began a formalized specialty export chain. CBS also runs a café in Dili, the nation’s capital, where it promotes Letefoho’s specialty coffee to locals. For more on CBS and Peace Winds Japan, see Evan Gilman’s interview with Armando de Araujo of CBS, here: https://royalcoffee.com/producer-interview-armando-de-araujo-from-cafe-brisa-serena-timor-leste/