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Timor Leste - Eratoi - Washed



Timor-Leste is a small tropical island nation situated in South East Asia. It gained its independence on the 28th November 2002, making it the first new country of this millennium, ending four centuries of Portuguese colonisation and 25 years of Indonesian occupation. With the assistance of international aid, local NGOs and certain factions of the private sector, capacity building has been identified as an essential focus to facilitate the Timorese people in developing their country and establishing itself as its own autonomous state after years of unsettlement.

Out with the volatile oil and gas sector, agriculture is the mainstay economy of Timor-Leste. Coffee is the main cash crop and is also its largest exported good. Coffee plants were first brought to Timor-Leste in the early 19th century by the Portuguese and grown wild in the mountainous regions of the central highland districts, flourishing underneath the shade of their natural tree canopies. Well known to be organic by default, Timor-Leste is possibly the only country in the world that produces exclusively organically grown coffee.


Located at an altitude of 1800 masl, the coffee of Eratoi grows in amongst the coffee forests surrounded by the imposing Ai-Samtuku shade trees. These trees provide the coffee with a good balance of sun and shade, which allows the coffee to grow and mature slowly, leading to increased sweetness when harvested and processed. 

The group led by Simao Pedro de Deus, has steadily grown and now consists of 25 small smallholder farmers, all hailing from previous generations of coffee farmers. With a strong sense of unity, the farmers' shared goal is to produce high quality specialty coffee. Through this consolidated mindset, the Eratoi group continues to consistently produce delicious coffee year on year.


All Eratoi group members follow the same processing methods, paying careful attention to ensuring that only the ripest cherries are picked and processed. Once harvested, each farmer will then hand sort and sieve their cherries to remove any defects or overly small cherries. The next step involves floating the cherries in a tank to further remove any defects, with low density beans floating to the surface and removed for being under ripe or insect damaged. The farmers then take the mucilage covered seeds and ferment them, 20kg at a time, for between 40-42 hours, allowing the natural sugars to break down. Traditionally, farmers know when the fermentation process is complete when the coffee feels “Scratchy”, similar to when two pebbles are rubbed together. The farmers confirm the fermentation process is complete by using pH meters to ensure the sweet spot has been achieved. Finally, the coffee is fully washed before being dried on raised drying beds for 7-10 days and checked regularly until it reaches an ideal moisture content of 10-12%.


Lime, Praline, Green Apple