Buying Practices


Since 2019, our buying practices have been built on a foundation of trust and confidence and reflect the incredibly hard work required by our partner farmers to produce the speciality coffee that we sell. We believe that they are the ones who should truly benefit from the fruits of their labour and we aim to guarantee a consistent and sustainable source of income.

Cherry Purchase

With the growth of speciality coffee in East Timor, there are a handful of companies who are purchasing premium sorted red cherry at a premium price. This year, Karst Organics paid $0.46/kg (2020 price – $0.45/kg), one of the highest prices paid within the local market. Implementing this purchasing model together with our main cooperative – Rotutu, has allowed us greater QC through centralised processing of larger volumes.

(Note: The standard market rate this year for cherry purchase in East Timor was at an average price of $0.34/kg for mixed quality cherries.)

Through this model, we also employ a team of staff dedicated to processing during the harvest and have steadily grown our team. In 2019, a team of 4 locally employed staff were recruited to work at the processing facility (paid 50% above the national minimum wage) and in 2020, our team grew to 6 with the additional recruitment of 2 project managers from the region of Letefoho, both with extensive experience in coffee processing (paid 100% above the national minimum wage). In 2021, we further expanded our team 8 with the addition of 2 new members of staff.

In a country where unemployment continues to be a national concern, Karst Organics firmly believes that providing employment within the emerging coffee sector in East Timor is crucial to the development of this fledgling country’s economy.

Parchment Purchase

In 2021, Karst Organics paid $2.90/kg for parchment (2020 price – $2.88/kg) and payment was made immediately at farmgate. Approximately 1.2 kilos of parchment is required to produce 1 kilo of green bean.

(Note: parchment purchase in East Timor in some cases continued to be as low as $1.50/kg in 2021.)

To ensure quality control with the parchment buying model, together with our project managers, we visit the cooperatives regularly to discuss and monitor the processing and provide support if required; it is incredibly important to us that there is no disparity of the quality of our coffee between the two different purchasing models, and that coffee quality is always at the core of our work.

Additional Costs  

The incorporated costs to Karst Organics also includes transportation from farmgate to Dili where the final stage of dry processing from parchment to green bean is completed, (hulling, grading, hand sorting, and bagging), packaging and all associated export costs.

2021 was particularly difficult with the challenges presented within the shipping sector, which saw our costs increase by 60% (2020 shipping cost – $2,600, 2021 shipping cost – $4,000).

Karst Organics prides ourselves on being 100% transparent with our purchasing models and the costs involved. Feel free to contact us directly if you would like more information.