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Transparent Trade with Timor-Leste

We sat down with our supply partners from Karst Organics to have an open and honest conversation about their work with their coffee farming partners in the Southeast Asian nation of East Timor.

Creating full transparency for our value chain including price transparency, transparency in environmental practices and the social context in which the coffee is grown has been part of our vision here at Kontext Coffee Co. from the beginning. It took us a few years to find our footing in the business, find the right questions to ask and build relationships based on trust and honesty with partners who are willing to provide us with the answers to those questions. We are currently working on finding a meaningful way to present that information to you without distorting it, instead of dumping raw numbers and data on you that won't actually hold any meaning without a proper context. Bear with us as we are working on this and watch this space for more on how we establish transparency to ensure more equity in our coffee trade.

Two of the partners we have come to trust in this process are Kar-Yee Cheung and Stewart Hamilton-Deans from Karst Organics.

Kontext Coffee Co.: Hi Stewart, hi Kar-Yee, thanks for taking the time to talk to us and giving us an insight into your work! We have bought our first coffee from Timor-Leste from and through you this year and it has been a huge crowd pleaser because it is absolutely delicious! So please tell us more about this coffee, who grows it, where it comes from - in fact let's start there: Where is Timor-Leste?

Stewart: Timor-Leste is quite a young sovereign nation in Southeast Asia. It only gained its independence from Indonesia in 2002. Coffee was brought to Timor-Leste under Portuguese colonial rule in the 1500s and has been cultivated there ever since. As a people, the Timorese have gone through centuries of occupation, war and civil unrest which have left Timor-Leste behind in economic development.

Kontext Coffee Co.: That's quite literally the other end of the world - you are both from the UK, what brought you to Timor-Leste of all places?