Timor-Leste Kailitlau Coffee Beans 340 gm - Propeller Coffee
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.
For further information check out our brew guides.
About Propeller Coffee:
At every step in the process, we take the extra steps to make our coffee the most sustainable it can possibly be: we maintain direct trade relationships; roast our beans using energy-efficient approaches in our low footprint roastery; use biodegradable packaging for our coffee and offset our transportation with Bullfrog’s bio-diesel program.
Propeller has also attained B Corp status, a rigorous international certification for companies that create local prosperity, strong communities, and a sustainable environment.
Finding unique, high-quality coffees is a never-ending quest for us. Our ultimate goal is to purchase 80-90% of our coffee directly from farmers. Every coffee we buy must be chosen through a meticulous selection process. An inspection of the unroasted (green) beans is done to check for any visible defect such as insect damage, black beans, sour beans, broken beans or foreign matter. This rules out a lot of coffees - upwards of 80% of the world's coffees are poor quality and exhibit all sorts of defects that would never make the cut for us. If the sample passes this first test we will lightly roast 100 grams of it in our sample roaster. Then we will cup this sample according to SCAA cupping protocols. The purpose of cupping is to test for quality and flavour. We score all samples using SCAA cupping forms and on the cupping app Catador. If a coffee meets all our criteria (free of defects, & has good acidity, body, balance, and sweetness) and scores high enough, we will consider purchasing it.
2016 Propeller was named micro-roaster of the year by industry trade publication Roast Magazine.
Using a piece of roasting software called Cropster, we record every single batch of coffee that we roast on our Loring SmartRoaster (uses about 85% less energy than a traditional machine). We use this collection of roast profiles a bit like a recipe book for coffee. When a new coffee arrives we first do a bit of homework to figure out a good initial recipe/profile to use on this coffee. We measure the moisture content and density, then check the bean varietal, growing conditions, and elevation, and then search our recipe book for a coffee that we’ve previously roasted that is similar to this new coffee. We will roast the coffee, then cup/taste it and discuss how we can tweak the roast profile to develop it to its full potential.