CROWN JEWEL TIMOR LESTE FARMGATE ORGANIC DUCURAI HOME PROCESSED AND RAISED BED DRIED CJO1523 – Lot 1 – 30186-1 – SPOT RCWHSE

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Flavor Profile Red apple, black cherry, butterscotch, floral, milk chocolate

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Overview 

This is a traditional home-processed coffee from Ducurai, Timor-Leste, produced by 14 smallholders in association with Café Brisa Serena. It is certified organic and has farmgate pricing transparency. 

The flavor profile is clean and easy to appreciate, with dominant notes of sugar browning and caramel, and citrusy flavors like orange and lemon.  

Our roasters found the coffee’s relatively low density to respond well to a slightly gentler heat application and overall slightly slower roast. 

When brewed, our barista team found the coffee versatile, offering bolder or softer options across many brew devices, including espresso, with small recipe changes. 

Taste Analysis by Chris Kornman 

A balanced and easygoing coffee, this small lot from Huapu village in Ducurai, is sweet and silky, with a surprising amount of nuanced complexity to it. The Crown Jewel team tasted all of the recently landed Timorese microlots and this lot was our favorite. As a sample roast, it showed a clear lemon-like acidity that we enjoyed – multiple cuppers noted lemongrass, soft lemon, and lemon merengue in their notes. Its elegant cleanliness and softer fruit tones won us over – we tasted light raspberry, green guava, and pomegranate in addition to a spiced, nutty undertone. 

Doris’ initial production roast offered similar bright citrus acids, but developed alongside a deep cacao-like richness that ended up playing well as both a traditional style espresso and an easy-to-drink pour-over. Sweet notes like brown sugar, maple, caramel, and honey accompanied a more subtle fruitiness – we thought of fresh fig, golden raisin, and orange. While it works well as a light roast, we’ve begun the process of dialing this coffee in as a darker offering, as it takes slow caramelization especially well. 

No matter which way you spin it, this is a really easy-to-appreciate coffee, and sure to be a crowd pleaser on your menu. One of the great pleasures of working at The Crown is the opportunity to introduce coffee drinkers to the people and places behind their morning cup. We can’t wait to share this uncommonly featured origin with the world. 

Source Analysis by Charlie Habegger and Evan Gilman 

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 14 farmers from Haupu village. Haupu is just north of Tatamailau’s peak. It is one coffee in a small portfolio we import each year from Café Brisa Serena, 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. Each year we receive a spreadsheet with farmer names and farm data, as well as parchment prices paid. This harvest Lacau group farmers received $3.25 per kilogram of dried parchment, which after final dry milling is roughly equivalent to $2.11 per pound of exportable green coffee. 

Coffee in Letefoho is not young. Trees have been 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 Casuarina “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, Haupu 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/ 

 

Green Analysis by Chris Kornman 

Microlots, like this one from just 14 smallholder producers in Timor-Leste’s Haupu Village, benefit enormously from the infrastructure and support provided by export groups, in this case, Café Brisa Serena. In addition to general support, marketing, and sales functions, CBS facilitates final processing, which could otherwise be prohibitively expensive and/or complex. 

In this case, good post-harvest practices and dry milling put the coffee in great shape for shipping, storage, and roasting. Sorted to 16-19 sizes, on the slightly large side, and to a density of just about average, this coffee should develop evenly in your roaster and not put up a ton of resistance to heat absorption. Water activity and moisture figures also look excellent, indicating good drying practices, and you should expect good shelf life from this green coffee. 

As in years past, the cultivars are a mix of two important legacy trees. Typica is the world’s first internationally commercially cultivated variety outside Ethiopia and Yemen, brought to Indonesia and the rest of the South Pacific via India by the Dutch. It is characterized by generally low yields and oblong shaped leaves, fruits, and seeds. The Timor Hybrid is the tiny island’s iconic contribution to coffee genetics. After the rust epidemic of the late 19th century, robusta trees were introduced to Pacific Island plots, and on the island of Timor, robusta and arabica spontaneously hybridized against all odds. The result is a hardy plant that’s used as a baseline for breeding resistant varieties. Rarely included in specialty arabica exports on its own, here it shines, grown on the terroir on which it evolved, under the careful cultivation of a small group of farmers in Haupu. 

Diedrich IR-5 Analysis by Doris Garrido. 

It is now time for the Indonesian coffee to arrive, and I have the time to get into roast analysis. This coffee has an average moisture content of 10.5% and fairly average density.  We found this coffee clean with bold body, citrus acidity, lemongrass, lemon, greenish guava, citrus zest, nutty, and sweet caramel notes. I got a lot to work on the 5.5lb batch on Diedrich with this coffee. First, I would roast this coffee for up to 10 minutes, soft in the beginning, looking to highlight the lemon, and lemongrass, and going softly during caramelization to exploit the body, bringing out caramel but trying to avoid the caramel getting bitter.  

To start, I decided on a charge temperature of 400F. I watched how fast my coffee was dropping and before turning point I added 100% gas, let it run for little up to 4 minutes, and started lowering my speed on the rate of rise by reducing gas to 70% and then 45%, waiting for a moment longer and reducing again to 30%. I noticed the color change and marked it at 304F. My roast didn’t slow down enough, and I wanted to go slow at this point, so I went to 0% gas (I call 0% when I stop the pilot) for about a minute and as soon as I went back to 30% I started 50% airflow. I finished the yellowing phase at a great pace and hit the first crack at 380F, after which I opened the airflow to 100%. Temperature management went great on post-development and let it run for 1:31, with an end temperature of 387F. 

On the roast curve, I achieved my goals, and on the tasting table, these were the notes: Grapefruit, lemony, lime, on sweetness: brown sugar, fresh fig, raisin, honey, maple, nougat, pecan. On mouthfeel: Bold, syrupy. 

Overall, the acidity was great, and I tasted some savory notes. This is probably part of the coffee profile the coffee came with, and if I want to shadow it on the next roast, I will work the airflow during drying as my first approach. Regarding sweetness, I was more than happy mouthfeel and sweetness went as I pictured.  

Then I moved it to an 18lb batch on the Loring Falcon 15, this time not trying to match the profile but using the characteristics we have found in this coffee as our delicate dark roast offering here at the Crown. For this, the main goal was to use the body, bring the sweetness and use the savory taste in our favor. After 14 minutes total time in the Loring, I went fast on drying and stretching Maillard for long development, and a great amount of air at the end. This is kind of a short explanation of the dark roast, but I look forward to explaining it in the future as this profile is going to need some shape. As always even when it tastes good, we know it can taste better and we put a big amount of work into the profile base in our tasting. Because this is a long and slow roast, we need to manage to work carefully the caramelization to get the elegant dark roast we want. To be continued… 

 

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, P8 power, F2 fan, and d6 drum speed. Take a look at our roast profiles below, as they are constantly changing! 

At long last, new crop arrivals from Café Brisa Serena Timor-Leste have arrived! This is our fifth year working with them, and roasting their coffees always marks a pleasant rhythm in the year for me as spring begins. Of this year’s seven arrivals this one was the unanimous favorite, and while we have featured other partner villages working with CBST-L in the past, Haupu village took the lead this year. 

A fellow roaster noted that these coffees perform a little bit differently than expected in the roaster, and I wanted to offer them advice for this year’s selections. What better way than through this Crown Jewel analysis? To show the breadth of expression available in this coffee, I roasted it up two very different ways. 

My first roast was one that I believed would work best, given information from last year’s harvest. I approached the coffee with middling charge temperature of 446F and really drew this roast out, taking my sweet time making it sweet. I started out with the usual P8 power and F2 fan, then reduced to P7 at peak RoR of 33.7F/min and added fan to F3. Then I just rode this one out, slowly increasing fan speed along the way, and toggling between P7 and P6 to modulate the roast. I reached my drop temperature of 397F at a whopping 11:32 – quite a long roast for me, but right in the pocket for what I was aiming for.  

My second roast was fast and hot. Did I mention fast? Because it was, though thankfully I avoided any scorching flavors. With 464F charge temperature, P9 power, and F1 fan speed, everything here was designed to rush through Green/Drying stage. And it worked! I achieved almost 40F/min RoR, though I generally try to avoid numbers above 35F/min, to be quite honest. After that, I ramped down heat and increased fan speed dramatically, ending at P5 and F5 just before First Crack. My end temperature was a little higher here at 403.7F, and my final roast time … 7:01!  

In the cup, the first roast was my absolute favorite. Super juicy ginger, grapefruit, black tea, and clean dried fruit notes came through in this cup. The finish was clean, and had just a touch of something like dark berry juiciness. The long roast didn’t flatten this cup out at all, and sweet lemon acidity was still shining through brightly. I’d suggest taking your time with this coffee, giving it gentle heat. 

The second roast was not terrible by any stretch, but just didn’t have the panache of the first. Dark chocolate fudge, brown sugar, and a bit of root beer-like sarsaparilla made this roast one I’d consider replicating for espresso. This was a sugar bomb, but really lacked the nuance I was enjoying in the first roast. 

Honestly, there’s a lot to work with here despite this coffee having such an approachable and mellow profile. I think you’ll find something you like; no matter how much you push the envelope, it’s still stationery. And this is a coffee I’d write home about.  

Roast 1: https://roast.world/@egilman/roasts/9dLstC-tzmYfj9det7Fqr 

Roast 2: https://roast.world/@egilman/roasts/QJPC9VkxJ83clPMtndAcJ 

Ikawa Pro V3 Analysis by Isabella Vitaliano 

Our current Ikawa practice compares two sample roast profiles, originally designed for different densities of green coffee. The two roasts differ slightly in total length, charge temperature, and time spent between color change in first crack. You can learn more about the profiles here. 

Café Brisa Serena, a social enterprise and exporter, has spent the last 10 years supporting smallholders in Timor-Leste and the fruits of their labor present themselves in this coffee. Their coffees maintain high traceability and we are thrilled to support the 14-farmer lot from Haupu village. This coffee is slurpable and expresses sweetness, dry spice, juicy nectarine, and ripe stone fruit.  

Luckily, I have enlisted the help of Doris to help me with analyzing these profiles. Our high-density roast starts off strongly with heavy dry spices like cinnamon and soft acidity of orange and preserved lemon. With a bitter finish of grapefruit and a slight grassy edge this cup is not overly complex. Our low-density roast turns up the volume of sweetness with notes of caramel, grapefruit, plum, orange and vanilla. This roast has a nice, developed sweetness while expressing complexity the Timor landscape and the nuance that 14 contributing farmers have nurtured from this coffee. Doris and I both preferred the low-density roast that showcased the acidity and sweetness this lot has to offer.  

You can roast your own by linking to our profiles in the Ikawa Pro app here: 

Roast 1: Low Density Sample Roast 

Roast 2: High Density Sample Roast   

Brew Analysis by Colin Cahill 

It has been really fun to work with a few of the delicious coffees from Café Brisa Serena over the last couple years here at The Crown: Royal Coffee Lab and Tasting Room. This microlot from farmers in Haupu village was no exception, brewing up balanced yet complex, sweet, and bright on each of the brew devices that we tried, including a Hario V60, a ZERO JAPAN Bee House, a Kalita Wave, and an Origami dripper. We tasted a consistent presence of crisp lemon notes and complexity, as expected from a typica. For this brew analysis, I focus on one of our V60 brews to highlight the complexity of the acidity in this coffee, and on one of our Bee House brews to highlight the flavor range when dialed for a softer, cleaner cup.   

 

Most of our brews were made with the same recipe, playing slightly with bean dosing and with grind size. On the V60, with one of our starting point recipes, we ground 18 grams of coffee at a 9 on our EK43. We start with a preliminary pulse of 50 grams of 203°F water for a 40 second bloom, followed by a pulse of 150 grams of the same water, and at 1:40, a third and final pulse of 100 grams of water. Our brew with this recipe on the V60 finished draining at 4:45, with a TDS of 1.45 and an extraction percentage of 20.32. The TDS of this brew was on the higher side of our brews of this coffee, and it was noticeable in the body and complexity of the flavors in this brew. We tasted black tea, tobacco, dark chocolate, caramel, orange, strawberry, hazelnut, and almond. This brew had the punchiest, most complex acidity, with bright, citric, lemony notes and a dominant malic, green apple acidity, and was well balanced with nutty and chocolate notes.  

Receiving similarly complex and tasty brews with the same recipe across brew devices, we aimed to lighten the body and soften the acidity, so we coarsened the grind to a 10, and brewed it up with the same recipe on a Bee House brewer. This coarsened grind brew finished draining in 3:35 with a TDS of 1.29 and an extraction percentage of 18.13%. This brew was noticeably softer in terms of acidity and lighter in terms of body, yet was still loaded with layers of complex, tropical flavors. We tasted pineapple, mango, sweet corn, honey, rosemary, and thyme. This brew had a lot of the qualities we look for when selecting coffees for our pourover bar—sweet, complex, and on the softer side. This is a delicious and versatile coffee that can be pushed into bolder or softer profiles while still featuring an interesting range of tasty flavors. We are looking forward to featuring this lovely East Timorese coffee in the Tasting Room!   

Espresso Analysis by MJ Smith 

Recipe #1: 19.5g dose, 39g yield, 29 seconds 

Recipe #2: 19.2g dose, 37.4g yield, 31 seconds 

This coffee makes for an exquisite traditional espresso! It has a nice chocolatey base, a warm, sunny acidity, and a wide variety of sugary and subtle fruity notes to delight your taste buds. I pulled quite a few shots for this analysis, with doses ranging from 18.5g to 20g, but my two favorites had doses of 19.2g and 19.5g. Let’s dive in! 

For my first recipe recommendation, we’ve got a dose of 19.5g, a yield of 39.0gm, and a pull time of 29 seconds. I shared some with the rest of the team and we all agreed that it was a solid, classic-tasting espresso with a lot of exciting sweetness. I picked up notes of cacao, smores, honey, apricot, toasted sesame, apple juice, lemongrass, tamarind, and butterscotch.  

Next up, we’ve got a dose of 19.2g, a yield of 37.4g and a pull time of 31 seconds. This shot was a little lighter in body, which allowed some more delicate floral and fruit notes to come through, but still had that sweet, chocolatey quality. My tasting notes were milk chocolate, nougat, Meyer lemon, lavender, Asian pear, black tea, and honeydew melon.  

Even though these two recipes had similar doses, they were both distinguishable and delightful. This coffee was extremely easy to dial in and work with, tasting good pretty much anywhere in our typical 18-20g range. I could easily sip on this coffee all day long, whether it be as espresso, an americano, or something with a little milk in it. Hope you enjoy!