Altitude: 1420 – 1500 masl

Lead Farmer: Francisco & Filomena de Deus

Google Earth Co-ordinates: 8°49’40″S 125°26’19″E

Working togetherSince 2018ProcessFully-washed
Harvest PeriodJune – AugustPackaging30kg (Ecotact & Jute)
No. of farmers13Screen Size17, 16, 15
VarietalTypica, Timor HybridWhat we tastePeach,Stone Fruit,Hibiscus

Situated in the western part of Letefoho, Rotutu is our flagship group with whom we were first introduced, back in 2017. Upon this first meeting, we recognised instantly the potential of East Timorese coffee and entered into a partnership with the community to elevate their coffee quality in order to open new opportunities in international markets, and ultimately maximise their earning potential. After 2 years of research and at the request of the community, we built the Rotutu processing facility in 2019. We then implemented a cherry purchasing model whereby the purchase price has continued to increase year on year at an average of 30% above the local commercial price. Whilst we know that the highest price doesn’t always guarantee the best quality, in the case of Rotutu, this has incentivised members to take great care in selectively harvesting only the ripest red cherries for processing. Combined with the expertise of our team who we employ at the facility, together we have been able to see great improvements in the quality of the coffee which Rotutu has been producing since our partnership began.

As the coffee sector slowly develops in Letefoho, so we have learnt to evolve and are now adapting our purchasing models based on the wants and needs of the community. Starting from the 2023 harvest and in addition to purchasing their cherry, we are now purchasing parchment from those households who have requested a preference to process independently. This is largely due to our parchment price acknowledging the value of labour and also the farmers themselves wishing to respect their culture and taking pride in maintaining traditional farming practices. 

By distributing further materials to aid the members with their processing, we can ensure that the methods used and the quality of the parchment being processed is consistent with that of the facility. It is often thought that having centralised processing guarantees consistency in processing high quality coffee, however from our experience in the field, we can see that by implementing good controls and monitoring through weekly visits from us and our field manager – Simao Pedro de Deus, a parchment purchasing model can be as good as a processing facility. This close partnership with the members of the Rotutu group is a great example of how our work together has evolved and developed to the benefit of not only the coffee itself but our partner farmers as well.