Cooperativa Café Timor

Ermera District, East Timor

Dean sorts beans with women farmers

Our coffee comes from Atsabe village in the mountainous Ermera district, southwest of the capital, Dili. The beans are spicy with slight acidity and chocolate tones. We pioneered Direct Fair Trade in East Timor, creating a relationship with Atsabe in 2009. This insures that our profit-sharing and development monies go directly to the farmers.

The independent coffee farmers of East Timor struggled for years against Indonesian rule, and won their freedom peacefully. During that time, we provided funds for democratic organizing by pro-independence groups. At the farmer’s request, we are now funding needed rural maternal health clinics in the coffee areas, staffed totally by Timorese, and supporting Atsabe’s schools and youth programs (computers and soccer!).

Supporting schools and soccer in Timor

Useful Expressions

'Este café e optimo!' - This coffee is great!

'Tem um rabo cumpridou'- You have a long tail (a good memory).

Our Timorese Coffee

A small independent island at the eastern edge of the Indonesian archipelago, East Timor coffee generally gets blended into two large growing regions of Maubesse and Ermera. That means the crop quality fluctuates year to year as buyers can't know what's in each bag. When the coffee is identified and segregated by growing village, like Timor Atsabe, the cup can be full-bodied, slightly nutty, and very aromatic. The beans are spicy with slight acidity and chocolate tones. This is a hard one to find but worth the effort for a real Javatrekker!

People-Centered Development Projects

COVID-19 Relief (2020)

  • Funded COVID-19 measures and supplies in 8 clinics, 28 mobile clinics, and coffee drying fields and processing facilities - reaching 900 workers per day.
  • Clinics provided free primary health care services to 25,600 co-op members and the general public. 
  • Funding: $4,000

Education Support (2012 - ongoing)

  • Providing computers, computer training, school supplies, and language instruction to Atsabe High School.
  • Funding commitment to date: $12,590

Atsabe Village Empowerment (2009)

  • Forged first direct coffee industry relationship with a village in the country.
  • Allowed villagers to share in development and bred accountability.
  • Promoted sustainability and improved standard of living.

Brismo Gomes, elder of Atsabe Village

Soccer Ball Project (2009)

  • Provided 200 fair trade soccer balls for President's Youth Anti-Violence initiative.
  • Gave young Timorese their first insight into progressive business and hope.

Recording Studio (2009)

  • Worked to establish a recording studio for Timorese musicians.
  • Also worked toward a farmer-owned and -operated café/roastery.

Make Coffee Not War (2009)

  • Spread knowledge of how the world coffee communities operate.

Medicine for Rural Clinics (2004)

  • Distributed medicine to doctors and paramedics.
  • Funding commitment: $5,000
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