2nd in Timor-Leste Coffee Cupping Competition

Date Posted:20 March 2017 |   Author: Brett Inder |  

Our partners, Alter Trade Timor (ATT), were excited to take a very close 2nd place in Timor's coffee competition in December 2016, ahead of 60 other coffees. 

If you’ve been following Tradewinds’ journey with coffee in Timor-Leste, you’d know how proud we are of our partnerships with Alter Trade Timor, ATT, (our Timor coffee partners) and WithOneBean (our Australian coffee partners). We know that these partnerships we’ve facilitated mean that our coffee is the most Ethical, Social and Environmental coffee around. But, if you know much about Tradewinds, you’d also know that we’ve a long history in striving to make trade Better-Than-Fair by thinking and acting big.

That’s why we’re honoured to have been able to support the establishment of the Timor-Leste Coffee Association (Assosiasaun Café Timor-Leste – ACTL), which will support 14 Timor coffee organisations. The ACTL has a big agenda ahead to coordinate and promote the Timor coffee brand internationally, and to deal with numerous challenges with building the industry in Timor-Leste. Our partner and friend, Evang (from ATT) said it powerfully as the ACTL spokesperson:

"Revitalisation of the country's coffee agriculture sector was agreed to be the primary mission of the association, which it will achieve through member training, industry capacity-building initiatives and the establishment of quality standards,” said Evangelino Monteiro Soares. “The  ACTL will be the unified voice representing Timor-Leste's coffee trade domestically and when promoting the Timor-Leste coffee origin brand overseas."

Unlike many Australian associations who get bogged down in discussions about purpose, vision and administration, stakeholders in the ACTL met in August, quickly agreeing on a clear agenda and setting the stage for their first major event. The first Festival Kafe Timor kicked off in late November 2016, with a week long celebration of all things coffee in Timor-Leste. The Festival attracted large crowds to events and launches, and included a coffee quality training roadshow to remote coffee farming villages, and a coffee conference in Dili.

The festival’s coffee competition attracted a huge 62 entrants and 3 national and 6 international judges to ensure the highest quality competition.

After a rigorous, standardised coffee “cupping” judging process which is used internationally, based on protocols established by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), the winners were announced at an awards ceremony at the conclusion of the Festival.


Imagine the honour for the 47 villages collectives whose coffee samples were rates as putting them in the sought after “specialty coffee” rankings. And imagine the pride for the small-holder farmers who heard the news that their sample had been chosen amongst the best in Timor-Leste.

Coming in Second Place, with their sample from Tasakina village of Hatolia subdistrict, was our partners, ATT, and you can be assured that they’ve celebrated this success with the village collective.



So now that the excitement of the Festival and competition have passed, what will be the longer term benefits of this first festival and the establishment of the ACTL? Firstly, we’re confident that ATT will be guiding their village collectives in how to improve the quality of their coffee this season, to command competition winning beans. Secondly, we’re quietly confident that the international attention created by the festival will lead to more interest in Timor-Leste’s speciality coffee from people who value top quality coffee and want to form long lasting and strong partnerships with Timorese coffee farmers and their collectives. And for us, we continue to dream big, enact change and support our friends in Timor-Leste in ways that make a difference to the lives of these coffee-farming households who live in such high levels of poverty.




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