Coffee Origin Tour Timor Leste

Immerse yourself in the world of speciality coffee on a curated 7-day tour to Timor-Leste from 2nd - 8th July 2024, plus optional 2 night beach escape to Atauro Island 8th - 10th July 2024.

Location

Dili, Timor-Leste

Meeting Point

Dili International Airport

Duration

7 - 9 days

Difficulty

Cruise

Group Size

10

To minimise bank, credit card and booking fees, you can opt to receive an invoice for payment.

Great adventures start with coffee!

Embark on a captivating journey from Timor-Leste’s rugged coastline to its rolling coffee highlands, and discover a new way of traversing the land of the sleeping crocodile*. Crafted specifically for coffee roasters and entrepreneurs, this tour offers a rich and insightful experience, delving deep into the distinctive privileges and challenges associated with growing, harvesting, and processing specialty coffee in the world’s second youngest nation.

Coffee experts from Raw Material’s Timor-Leste team, will guide you through four wet mills nestled in the picturesque hills of Atsabe, you’ll visit their coffee processing facility in Railaco, and engage in plenty of coffee cupping. The tour has been expertly curated and will be managed by Maddog Adventures, a seasoned organiser of bespoke tours in Timor since 2019.

*The tale of the boy and his cold-blooded friend is told often in Timor to explain the island’s crocodile-like shape and why the Timorese have a special affinity with the large reptile.

Located within South-East Asia, Timor-Leste lies 400km north of Australia across the Timor Sea, a short 90 minute flight from Darwin. It is little known to both caffeine enthusiasts and travellers alike, but the history of coffee dates way back to the 1800s, when it was introduced by the Portuguese.

Coffee quickly became responsible for half of the country’s exports, until Indonesia gained control of Timor in the 1970s. During this tumultuous period coffee was largely abandoned by farmers until the nation gained full independence in 2002. Over the past few decades Timor has gotten to work securing its status as a coveted coffee destination.

 

Coffee is Timor’s most historic and important crop and has been the country’s largest non-oil export for the past 150 years. It is grown by around one-third of households in Timor and 37% of households rely on the crop for cash income. Although Timor’s coffee exports make up less than 1% of the worlds coffee, it still accounts for about 80% of the nation’s overall exports. The Timor Hybrid (Hibrido de Timor) began growing on the island in the 1920s as a hybrid of Arabica and Robusta coffee, it is extremely disease resistant and high yielding and serves as the backbone of much of the coffee we drink today.

The Timorese people are long-time coffee drinkers and genuinely appreciate the beverage. This strong coffee culture has worked as a bridge for younger generations to advance 150-year-old farming practices and join modern speciality markets. Come and journey with us as we delve into the world of speciality coffee on a uniquely curated tour of Timor-Leste.

Tour Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Upon arrival in Dili, check in at Hotel Timor, then embark on a sunset stroll to the summit of Cristo Rei, offering breathtaking 360-degree views accessible via a 590-step staircase. Enjoy dinner while soaking in the city’s sights and sounds.

  • Day 2

    Begin your day with a coffee cupping session at Cafe Atsabe, guided by Ameta from Raw Material. Then, venture to Cafe Ahi Matan to discover traditional cuisine by preparing and cooking your own lunch. In the afternoon, journey out of Dili to the historic Balibo Fort, dating back 300 years. Unwind in the evening on the veranda, basking in the cool mountain breeze and taking a refreshing dip in the hotel pool.

  • Day 3

    Start your day by immersing yourself in the rich history at the Cultural & Heritage Centre located within the Balibo Fort, and visit the ‘Australian House’, a memorial honouring the five Australian journalists tragically killed by the Indonesian army in 1975. After visiting the village markets in Maliana, continue onwards to the coffee region of Atsabe for a late lunch. You’ll receive a warm welcome with a traditional dance and ceremony.

  • Day 4

    Explore the village of Atsabe and the regions coffee plantations. Visit Raimutin wet mill and learn about the difference between natural and washed processes and how it impacts consistency and flavour. Stay in the local guesthouse accommodation, offering an authentic Timorese cultural experience. Visit the village weaving centre and enjoy a walk to Mota Bandiera waterfall.

  • Day 5

    Spend the day exploring two remote wet mills nestled in the picturesque Ermera district. Named after their respective locations—Malabe and Loklo —these mills offer a glimpse into the coffee production process in high mountainous regions. Please note that visiting these remote sites is subject to road conditions.

  • Day 6

    Leave the misty mountains behind and journey to Letefoho, passing through our fourth and highest wet mill, Lauana. Enjoy a late lunch at Mana Paulina’s before continuing to Timor Global, the coffee processing plant used by Raw Material. Spend your evening relaxing at Lauhata Beach Escape, watching the sunset, and enjoying a dinner of delicious fresh local fish.

     

  • Day 7

    Today, we’ll journey back to Dili. For those departing for home, this marks the end of your adventure. However, for those indulging in a bit of relaxation at Barry’s Place, get ready for some laid-back island vibes. Catch a 15-minute private charter flight to Atauro Island and spend the day snorkelling at world-class reefs or take a tuk-tuk ride down the main street and explore the village handicraft centre.

     

  • Day 8

    Head out for an early morning swim or snorkel. Spend the day resting and relaxing.

  • Day 9

    Spend the morning snorkelling and relaxing. After an early lunch we’ll board a private charter flight back to Dili International Airport for your return flight home.

Discover the origin, taste the coffee, enjoy the adventure.

Offering in-country tour packages

  • Inclusions

    • All in-country transportation & logistics
    • All in-country accommodation
      • Twin Share
    • All in-country meals & snacks
    • All meals on Atauro Island
    • All attraction entrance fees
    • All workshop fees
    • Wilderness first aid kit
    • Emergency satellite beacon & support vehicle
    • Itinerary & information booklet
    • Clothing & equipment pack list
    • Public liability insurance
  • Exclusions

    • Flights 
    • Airline taxes
    • Entry Visa (USD$30)
    • Travel / medical insurance
    • Passport
    • Excess baggage
    • Personal expenses
    • Medical and evacuation expenses
    • Alcoholic beverages
    • Immunisation requirements / special needs
    • Optional activities
    • Laundry
    • Bank & CC fees
    • Booking fees
      **To minimise bank, credit card and booking fees, you can opt to receive an invoice for payment..**
  • Know Before You Go

    • Payment is required in full prior to your tour.
    • All of your personal administration – medical, flights, travel insurance, and visa application, along with the finalisation of your account – are required no less than 60 days prior to the date of travel.
    • You will receive a comprehensive Tour Booklet containing clothing & equipment pack list, travel itinerary, and country specific information prior to departure.
    • Please be aware failure to pay in full may result in your removal from the tour.
  • Pack List

    • First tip – pack light! A hand-luggage sized bag is ideal. A bag is much better than a hard-shell suitcase as we have to fit a lot of people and luggage into the 4WD vehicles, and bags take less space and can be more easily stowed away.
    • Clothes! We will be travelling during the peak summer / dry season so prominently bring light summery clothes, with a few warmer items such as a jumper and long pants for the hill region. There is the occational ‘summer shower’, so a raincoat always comes in handy.
    • Foot wear! Origin trips involve a lot of walking, sometimes around muddy, hilly farms or washing stations. Bring a good pair of (already worn in) boots or sneakers that can handle mud. Bring some good hiking socks in natural material like wool. These will keep your feet warm or cool as required, and help prevent blisters. Bring a pair of flip flops or sandals for the coastal region and for wearing to a restaurant for dinner.
    • Noise cancelling headphones are a must! Not just for the plane journey, but also to disconnect and get a breather during the trip.
    • Travel pharmacy and toiletries! The most important things are sunscreen (SPF 50) and Imodium (don’t let some dodgy food ruin your whole trip!). Although there are few mosquitos during the dry season and we’re visiting farms above the mosquito line in altitude, some bug spray could come in handy, plus some hydrocortisone for those itchy bites if you do get a few bites. Remember to bring lip balm, deodorant, shampoo, toothbrush and dental floss – whatever you’d normally bring, basically. Travel sickness pills for long car journeys and earplugs are also a very good idea.
    • Coffee! High quality coffee is readily available everywhere, but you may want to bring scales, a hand grinder, and a brewing method (like aeropress or v60) for when we head to the hills.
    • A camera! You’ll be seeing and experiencing a lot, so bring a camera to document it all. This is also a good opportunity to get some insta shots and selfies with the farmers you buy coffee from.
    • Notepad! Bring a small notebook to write everything down at the end of each day. You’ll experience so much in such a small amount of time, recording it will help you remember.
    • A reusable bottle! Always carry water with you (we mentioned walking, right?!). The weather can be hot and humid. Just remember don’t drink the tap water, stick to sealed bottled water which is readily available.
    • Electronics! Adapters, chargers, and USB power bank always comes in handy. Solar powered is ideal.

“I invite you to come and learn about coffee in Timor.”

— Ameta | Raw Material, Timor-Leste

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I use credit cards?

    Limited credit card and ATM facilities are avilable in Dili. Outside of Dili you will need to carry small value cash and coins (maximum USD $20 notes). Please note only Visa debit and credit cards are accepted. No Mastercards are accept at this stage in Timor-Leste.

  • Do I need a visa?

    Yes, you will need to purchase a 30-day visa on arrival. Visa’s cost USD $30 per person. This must be paid in cash.

  • Do I need travel insurance?

    Yes, all participants will require travel insurance. It is highly recommended that this cover is taken out at the time of booking. A copy of your travel insurance policy will need to be supplied to Maddog Adventures prior to your trip.

  • Is it safe to drink water from the taps?

    We do not recommend drinking tap water in Timor-Leste, so avoid it and stick to sealed bottled water which is readily available. This includes steering clear of ice in drinks and brushing your teeth with tap water.

  • What if I get sick or hurt while on tour?

    All our lead staff are Wilderness First Aid trained and we carry a comprehensive First Aid Kit with us at all times and can offer first response care. For more serious ailgments we will take you to Stamford Medical, which is an international standard private healthcare provider based in Dili. We also Care Flight Darwin in case of an evac emergency. **Please note as per our T&Cs any medical care or evacuation organised by Maddog Adventures is at the personal cost of the participant or their travel insurance.

  • What immunisations will I need?

    To travel to Timor-Leste make sure all your routine vaccinations are up to date. We recommend visiting your doctor prior to travel to discuss any additional vaccines or medications you may need.

  • What in-country transportation do you use?

    We use a variety of in-country transportation methods depending on which district we are traveling too. We use 4 Wheel Drives for in-land travel and a combination of Dragon boat, catamaran, and local charter boats for sea travel. Sometimes, we even take a MAF charter flight.

  • What is the local currency?

    USD is the main currency in Timor-Leste. Limited ATMs (Visa only) are available in Dili, but it’s always advisiable to bring cash with you. Smaller notes (maximum USD $20) and coins should be carried for travel outside of Dili, as is can be difficult to get change for larger notes.

  • What is the weather like?

    Timor-Leste has a hot tropical climate, with a dry season from May – November and a wet season from December – April. Coastal temperatures range from 25 – 35 C. It’s cooler in the mountains and can be damp and misty, a perfect retreat from the heat.

  • What is your risk management process?

    We take participant health and wellbeing very seriously. Risk is an inherent part of all tours, but we do our best to mitigate, manage and reduce the risk of these hazards causing harm. We work with our staff and suppliers to ensure that all of our products and experiences meet our high standards. 

  • How do I book flights to Timor?

    We work closely with Lisa Malnar from Travel Managers and highly recommend contacting her to book domestic transfers and international connections to Dili, Timor-Leste. Lisa is based in Darwin and is an all round Timor-Leste travel expert. She can assist with transiting accommodation in Darwin, group bookings, travel insurance and most importantly she will ensure your international connections fit our travel itineraries.