Pink Fire Pointer Kopi Luwak and Other Types of Coffee Grown in East Timor

Kopi Luwak and Other Types of Coffee Grown in East Timor

East Timor has been consistently in the news way back in 1999 when it aspired to be a nation in its own right and politically independent from Indonesia. It gave the territory an ill-fame and these struggles almost crippled it economy-wise. Amidst these political conflicts, when Indonesia was gaining its niche in gourmet coffee because of its Kopi Luwakexportation, East Timor’s once stable coffee industry was almost destroyed.
            Before that catastrophic 1999 event, East Timor was known throughout the world as a competitive exporter in the trade of coffee. Today, although the civil upheaval has mostly ruined their coffee trade, it is again gaining its footing thanks to the aid of various international bodies.
There are five production centers of coffee in the now independent island – they are Ermera, Liquica, Maun-Fahe, Ainaro and Aileu; although these five centers are disputed for two major producing terrains which are Maubesse and Aifu. This may be so, but nonetheless, all of these territories are yielding the three major varieties of coffee which are the Arabica, Robusta and Liberica.
            Almost 80% of the crop yields are quality grade Arabica. Their economic advocacy is to produce coffee that can be successfully marketed in a niche of the coffee industry like that of Indonesia’s Kopi Luwak. Eventually it has been decided to produce organic coffee because it’s easier to grow and it sells better.
            There are many types or varietals of Coffea Arabica that are being cultivated in East Timor but the most celebrated one is the Timor Coffee. This variety of coffee to East Timor is the equivalent of Kopi Luwak to Indonesia in terms of product association. This is despite the fact that the newly independent nation is also producing Kopi Luwak, although they’re calling it kafe-laku.
            Timor Coffee is known to have a cleaner cup profile than the Sumatra and Sulawesi which makes it relatively closer to Java’s profile. Its body ranges from medium to full with a distinct oily or thick viscosity. All in all, Timor Coffee is a cup that can please anybody because of its wholesome and balanced taste.
            Even just being a varietal itself, Timor is also being used to cross other coffee plants. There is the Hybrido de Timor and there is the notorious Catimor coffee plant varietal.
            Crossing or hybrids are being done to discover a varietal that can either provide a good cup profile or to resist certain coffee plant pests. Hybrido de Timor is an interspecific hybrid of Robustica and Arabica which was discovered to have a strong resistance to coffee leaf rust.
            Catimor coffee plant varietal on the other hand is a hybrid between the Arabica Caturra and Timor Coffee. Caturra is a mutation of the Bourbon varietal that is designed to have a higher yield production while Timor is known to have a resistance to the common coffee leaf pest – the coffee leaf rust. In combination, Catimor is known to be the varietal that is designed to produce a higher number of yields while successfully withstanding the coffee leaf pest. It should be monitored closely though during the farming, harvesting and processing in order to get the best Catimor quality. 

History tells us that the two nations, Indonesia and East Timor, have a lot of dealings together but most of them were devastatingly tragic. Majority of these incidents were rooted from a lot of different causes, some of them are easy to discern while others were just too political to be fully understood. One of these easily named root causes is the coffee trade.
             Indonesia is currently the largest archipelago in the world. It is a Southeast Asian country with a leaping economic growth. One of the sectors that contributed to this development is the ever expanding coffee industry of Indonesia’s agriculture.
            Currently, Indonesia is the fourth largest producer of coffee in the world which is a leap from its humble origins as a Dutch colony. The most famous type of coffee being exported by the country is the Kopi Luwak. This variety is celebrated because of its rarity and steep price. Kopi Luwak’s fame can also be described as notoriety since a hundred urban legends and misconceptions have been thrown at it mainly because of the process it undergoes before becoming a luxurious coffee.
            The process, to simply describe it, is bit peculiar but nonetheless interesting. It will all begin with a palm civet ingesting a carefully chosen coffee bean which will not be digested but will only be chemically enhanced by the animal’s digestive tract and enzymes. This coffee bean will be pushed out of its body through defecation forming a clump of intact coffee beans. These same coffee beans will be cleaned, grinded, and later brewed.
            It is surprising how this seemingly “crappy” product can fetch an easy $600 for every pound of it sold. Apparently the Kopi Luwak, once served, will give the drinker an aromatic and tasteful experience unlike any other.
            The exportation numbers are largest in Sumatra although the whole country is benefitting from the popularity of Kopi Luwak. It also sets a trend of new coffee marketing and trending that will be later on adapted by similar nations including East Timor.
            East Timor is a nation with a bitter past and power struggles. While Indonesia has been under the colonization of the Dutch, East Timor was under from the clutches of the Portuguese. Several insurrections and uprisings have been demonstrated by the East Timoreses to gain their freedom. After 400 years, they were finally granted freedom on 1974.
            Shortly, because of lack of leadership and direction, the independence grant was stained with civil riots because of different political parties who wish to take over. One has even proclaimed the East Timor as now the Democratic Republic of East Timor.
            Indonesia, which is a neighboring country, refuses to recognize the democracy of the supposed to be independent nation. Not long after the declaration, it attacked the country leaving on its tail a trail of deaths, famines and epidemics.
            It was said that the Indonesia was concerned about the coffee monopoly among many others. East Timor is producing a type of coffee, the East Timoreses Coffee Turriscai, which is a varietal of Arabica. The production yield was numerous with cheap production cost. Indonesia, with its Kopi Luwak varieties and others, was eager to have it. They used a military backed-up company that forced the farmers to sell it at a lesser price than the world’s standard. This industry exploitation devastated the East Timor’s economy more than anything.
            On 1999, the East Timor has finally achieved its freedom but not after a tragedy that swept the island off its little economy. Ruined but free, many international communities have helped the Timoreses to rise up from the catastrophe. Included in this help was the referendum that declares the free market status of the East Timor Coffee. Now it finally found a niche in marketing its coffee, by selling it organically. 
            Finally, after 20 years, these two nations known for its coffee, one has the exquisite Kopi Luwak and the other has the practical East Timoreses Coffee Turriscai, have finally resolved the coffee conflict but not without the tragedy.