Coffee, what’s the drill

You would think that as coffee is Timor-Leste’s main export after Timor Sea petroleum, that the place is teeming with the stuff. Not exactly the case, really.

So when I first arrive, I go to the supermarket. Lavazza yep, numerous vacuum-packed imported coffees and packets of pre-ground Indonesian-style coffee. For some reason, I fail to be attracted by 1kg packets of talcum powder-like coffee of unknown age.

For weeks, I tried to find evidence of a roastery where I might get freshly roasted beans. Nope. There are a couple of coffee roasteries down near the airport but they try to sell you stuff off the shelf. I guess fresh stuff could be arranged but the word is that the airport roasteries get the low quality cast-off beans from the big exporters, who dominate the market.

But my last lot was 1kg of roasted and plastic packed roasted arabica beans for UD2-50 from one of the airport roasteries. Before that I tried a vacuum pack of Cafe Timor ground beans, but they were of the talcum powder fine grind and not to my taste. Before that was the vacuum pack of Delta coffee which is Timorese beans processed in Portugal and re-imported back here. Delta wasn’t bad.

But before that, an acquaintance provided 1kg of freshly roasted beans from an undisclosed source that he uses to supply the freshly roasted article. I haven’t seen him since but I will definitely get onto it.

Until I got here, I drank coffee with milk but I have given up. I am afraid all milk here is of the long-life variety and while it seems OK for use when cold, it performs poorly in tea or coffee. The taste is all wrong.