November 2019 - Stunning coffee from East Timor. Secret Label's textured cocoa delight

Date Posted:1 November 2019 


“Sometimes it's better to lose and do the right thing than to win and do the wrong thing.” — Tony Blair



November 2019

East Timor has been an origin that's never really gained a spot in our portfolio over the last decade. We've grabbed a cracking good lot that's also certified Organic and FAIRTRADE. Huge buttery body, dark cocoa and a bold cup that will please the power-shot gods. Our feature coffee this month is a fresh arrival from Maubisse.

This month's Secret Label is a blend that's playing it straight down the middle - textured cocoa, tangy acidity and sublime sweet milk chocolate. So sweet, rich and creamy it's hard to believe it's coffee.

Some companies are milking the on-trend topic of consumer war on waste by stretching the "benefits" of their new packaging. We dive into the complexities of how a simple product like coffee needs such critical protection.

Finally, there's been an annoying problem with Yahoo mail (and Y7) rejecting emails from infrastructure providers - it's being addressed, but it's a slow process in "learning to trust". If you need help with messages, please let us know.


November Secret Label

Our November 2019 Secret Label is now available for a limited time in 1kg packs of whole beans (default), or select your preferred grind setting to be ground from freshly roasted coffee beans (please ensure you select the grind before adding to the cart).

In crafting this month's Secret label blend, we played a straight bat by staying in relatively safe territory to combine rich and creamy coffees into a sweet, smooth and rewarding cup.

It's all about balance and refinement with layers of textured cocoa in a super-sweet cup of tangy acidity.

This month's Secret Label is a coffee for any hour of the day, with a deceptively lush array of body, flavours and finish.

Salted caramel, raw sugar, milk chocolate, honey, toffee and sweet orange acidity works particularly well for milk-based beverages.

For a limited time only - ending when the allotment has run out which may occur before the end of the month.



A stunning coffee from East Timor

In my coffee journey it's easy to lose count of the number of varietals and origins tasted over the many years, possibly running into the thousands of discrete, individual lots.

During those moments, a few coffees clearly did not agree with my personal preferences - robustas from Vietnam, Indonesia, Uganda and India and even some arabicas from Sulawesi (although, to be fair they were part of a special agricultural experiment), Thailand, Java, Bali and a handful of other coffees from Australia, DR Congo, Cuba, etc.

Maybe we can put it down to the fact those memories are from a period when specialty coffee was just beginning and the farming and processing techniques were from another era.

It's unfair to tar every coffee from those less enjoyable samples with the same brush - the absolute beauty and ingenious dynamic of coffee, like many agricultural products, means that things will always change and likely for the better.

Enter East Timor - an origin we had not embraced in the past with any sort of excitement or reverence as the coffees had been, in our opinion, occasionally a hit and miss affair on top of the additional challenges of often being difficult to source and pricey for what the cup delivered.

To contradict our opinions of East Timor coffees, we would often hear comments from our customers, family and friends about their recent holidays into Bali or South East Asia - remarking on the amazing coffee of East Timor.

Perhaps it's far easier to dismiss exuberant portrayals from people being under the influence of holiday coffee goggles - you know the symptoms, struggling to get a half decent coffee for days at a time, unable to be truly satisfied with instant or resort "stew"" and then bang, an espresso coffee blows you away because your mind and body exists in a cappuccino deprived that moment it feels like a miracle and life changing for some - especially those having coffee up in mountain plantations.

But there is indeed something magical about East Timor coffees - in fact it has it's own unique varietal - a kind of hybrid between robusta and arabica and it's a cultivar that's more tolerant to disease and drought given East Timor's relatively low rainfall levels. The East Timor varietal has also been planted in other countries and used as the parent donor to other popular varietals.

Introduced by the Portuguese in the 1860's, coffee rapidly became one of the most important exports for East Timor up until control was handed to Indonesia in the mid 1970's, where it then declined considerably.

Since independence in 2002, East Timor's coffee industry has been rebuilt and along with help from International Development agencies it's now a reliable contributor to global coffee.

An interesting fact about East Timor coffees - it's almost entirely organic as pesticides and fertilizers had never been introduced to the country.

Imagine our surprise when a delicious East Timor FAIRTRADE Organic lot became available.......with an interesting and distinctive cup.......tick, tick, tick......all boxes.

Now here's something different and it also comes with a feel good factor supporting the coffee farmers and their communities via the global FAIRTRADE program.

At first, we thought the scoring on this East Timor cup had been exaggerated or over-stated, but after letting the coffee develop for about 12 days post-roast, it's got some jaw-dropping delicious complexity that's more than a little exciting and different.

Thick buttery body and cocoa flavour carrying delicate green fruits and grape acid.

A coffee of elegant structure with a punchy note and interesting characteristics - works well as a black or in milk it develops some powerful dark chocolate.

There's a lingering chewy finish of nuts and sweet spice.

Like it's neighbouring Indonesian coffees, it needs a finer grind for espresso duty.

Our feature coffee for November is the delightful East Timor FAIRTRADE Organic Maubisse.

Something that's a little different to your everyday offering - coffee drinkers tire of sickly sweet, same-same cups that are boring and inevitably unmemorable. 

Treat yourself to a change - this is one perky surprise package - a coffee we think has been one of the most under-rated and thoroughly enjoyable lots we've had over the last couple of months.

1kg Whole bean packs only. Sorry, no 500g and no ground packs.

Grab it here - East Timor FAIRTRADE Organic


Packaging wars - a fine art of deception and deceit

A couple of months ago we wrote a tongue-in-cheek article about the "Packaging Shame Game" and how the rise in consumer activism demanded we make radical, immediate changes to the packaging of our portion control coffee products.

These demands for change were issued without adequately thinking through the consequences and it could have been considered or interpreted as a form of ultimatum, threat or "boycott".

We have been working for some time behind the scenes on making changes to our future packaging to reduce waste and also introduce features to help in disposal.

There are products in the market promising (or offering) recyclable or bio-degradable features - however, some of the claims may not be fully explained or tested.

Read our report on what's happening in the packaging market globally and how we will play a part in the future - Eco Packaging.