Timor-Leste, the youngest country in Asia, is also a home to quality coffee with a history that can be dated back to 1800s. Throughout the recent history of Timor-Leste, this nation has been suffering from disturbances and wars, which made this young nation extremely difficult to survive. Yet, with its inherent quality of soil and long-efforts in rebuilding the nation, this country is ready to shine again with its great offers.
In 2016, in a group of 3, consisted of graphic designer, travel blogger and me, we went to discover this amazing country with a mission to uncover the story of a social enterprise exporting premium coffee there. The social enterprise, called the Hummingfish Foundation, is a registered charity dedicated to protect the earth’s unspoiled natural environments by adding value to nature itself.
Founded by Daniel J. Groshong (1953-2017), a veteran journalist of seven armed conflicts around the world, the Hummingfish Foundation has been working out a number of significant projects in the Timor-Leste in improving the living conditions of the villagers there.
Laclubar, the destination of our journey, was located in a remote part of the Timor-Leste, is about 6 hours away from Dili, the capital city of Timor-Leste. Yet, it is also the home to a group of diligent, friendly and passionate villagers who grow good coffee.
Despite its outstanding natural environment and good quality of harvest, before the coming of the Hummingfish Foundation, the farmers were not aware of the values of their coffee, and they simply didn’t have the knowledge in marketing themselves and making the way to transport their goods to the city and further.
Under years of guidance and mutual-learning, the farmers are now sophisticated in the production process, and they are more confident in selling their coffee out too.
“Before that, I only knew how to grow the coffee, but I didn’t even taste it. The taste was so amazing and I couldn’t imagine that my product would be of that quality.”
While Timor-Leste might not be the well-known country of coffee, the purity, the passion, and their strive for a better living, has made me so impressed and I hope in one day, more of us would be able to enjoy the coffee from Timor-Leste like we did too.