5 months ago we began a project with Lake Gaston Coffee Company to bring a unique coffee bean here to Lake Gaston, and do something a little extra along the way.
We selected beans from East Timor that are Organic and Fair Trade certified. By starting with Organic Fair Trade beans, the farmer earns nearly double the price for the beans as he would selling them on the global commodity market - at a price that is unsustainable and forcing coffee farmers to shut down.
East Timor is an island north of Australia, east of Indonesia. They had a robust coffee production dating back hundreds of years, but a leaf rust wiped the plants out. In the mid 1990's as the island fought for their independence from Indonesia, the USDA stepped in and began helping rebuild their coffee industry. They formed the the Cooperative Cafe Timor (CCT) working with small farms in the mountains of East Timor.
Working with Lake Gaston Coffee, we roasted these beans two different ways - one is a light-medium roast that retains the caramel and citrus notes, while the other batch we roasted to a medium-dark that has some dark chocolate and cherry notes in it. Same bean, two very nice cups of coffee!
And while it's always best to grind your beans just before brewing (among other benefits, the smell is amazing if you haven't tried it), in addition to whole bean, we did grind a few bags also. We'll grind more as needed.
For those of you that know us, we love supporting the Lake Gaston community any way we can - and we thought this is a very cool way that a couple local businesses can work together, and along with the greater Lake Gaston community, we can all help a group of farmers half a world away.