Our partners in acquiring this coffee, Karst Organics is one of a small number of progressive, new-wave coffee buyers. Tightly integrated at origin, they deal exclusively with East Timorese coffees allowing them to narrowly focus on the exceptional potential they offer.
Karst Organics have invested heavily in the Letefoho region, building a new centralised processing facility, a new storage facility, and as touched on elsewhere new pulping machinery. They conduct training programs around quality coffee processing and introduced cupping to the farmers to give them a better understanding of what they produce and how the end consumers experience it – this insight going a long way to helping the growers understand why improving the quality of the produce is important.
New water infrastructure has provided constant and clean water for the coffee processing facility, while at the same time providing the local community to a clean water source they didn’t have before.
Not only paying a premium for coffee, in 2019 Karst employed four locals in the processing facility, paying them 40% above the national minimum wage (frankly this is better than most people working in cafes in the UK get) and in 2020 recruited two Project Managers from the Letefoho region with extensive coffee processing experience, paying them double the national minimum wage. In a country where unemployment is huge problem, Karst believes employing locally is of the utmost importance for the fledgling economy and growing speciality coffee industry in East Timor.
Karst have collaborated with an agronomist in East Timor to help educate farmers in regards to improving upon the sustainability of their farms, both in the sense of business and environmentally. Farmers are incentivised to improve their methods and quality, with schemes aimed at rewarding those who consistently supply high quality coffee achieving cupping scores above 85.
We hope to have a long-lasting relationship with Karst, their approach to business very much mirrors our own – transparency, fairness, quality, environmental respect. Together we hope to educate people as to what goes on “behind the scenes” of their cup, and to better understand the true scale and value of their favourite beverage.