The people behind Really Good Goods are serving up a hot cuppa coffee and helping Timor Leste along the way.
While a caffeine fix has become a daily necessity for most of us, we couldn’t pass up the chance to have a great cup of coffee in addition to helping out the people of Timor Leste. The island nation may not be an obvious choice when it comes to coffee, but boy were we surprised after tasting three of their coffees – two of them award-winning.
Roasted and packed by Singaporean social enterprise Bettr Barista and sold online by TLDG Pte Ltd under the newly launched Really Good Goods brand, the three beans – TunuFahi, Eratoi and Kolkoli – had distinctly different flavours. All three are Arabica beans (Hybrido de Timor) and are meant to be drunk black – no Kopi C here.
First up was Kolkoli – a slightly sour coffee with notes of mango and passion fruit that had a floral tinge. The passion fruit was more evident than the mango; for those of you who prefer a light coffee that is more sour than bitter, Kolkoli is for you.
Next was the single origin Eratoi, which was the winner for the 2017 Kafe Timor Festival Coffee Quality competition. With a similar fruity notes of green apple, there was a subtle taste of chocolate and honey and it was a little richer than the Kolkoli.
In the spirit of saving the best for last, the heady TunuFahi was our favourite. With tasting notes of chocolate, plum and floral, this made for a great caffeine hit. While more bitter than Kolkoli and Eratoi, it packed a bigger punch and was no less smooth than the other two.
Guest barista Fatima Moniz Soares from Letefoho Specialty Coffee Roaster was on hand during the tasting session held at OTC Cafe. A former farmer, Soares became a barista and eventually cafe manager thanks to the help from Café Brisa Serena (CBS), a social enterprise in Timor Leste that works closely with more than 500 coffee farmer groups in the Letefoho region. CBS pays the coffee farmers a higher price for their coffee by teaching them to grow better quality beans (red ripe coffee cherries of a certain size) and do the extra work of processing them into a parchment stage.
Started by a Japanese NGO, Peace Winds Japan, CBS mentors and guides local farmers in producing top quality, USDA certified organic coffee beans. Importers and purchasers of coffee from CBS pay a premium price in order to allow Timorese farmers to live a better life. Premium doesn’t mean expensive though – Really Good Goods sells a 250g pack of coffee online for $18. If you’re a real coffee aficionado, go for the subscription package for $96 for 6 x 250g packs.
“I felt there was room to market great products with social causes and to show that the premium tagged to these products are not merely because of the social causes, but because they are really good goods that are worth the higher price. After exploring various ideas, I settled upon building an online marketplace to retail specially curated goods with social causes and using it as a platform to tell the stories of these products with social causes and the social enterprises behind them,” said Huimin Lock, 30, the founder of Really Good Goods.
If you prefer to curl up with a cup of tea, try the Really Good Tea, available in two flavours: lemongrass and Minty Gotu-Kola. Sourced from the Maubisse region of Timor Leste, the herbal teas are organically grown, handpicked, washed, dried in the sun and packaged by the women in the mountainous region of Maubisse, who are also members of the coffee farmer cooperatives.
This festive season, 100% of the profits from Really Good Goods and Really Good Tea will go towards a school building fund for a Methodist School in Timor Leste, built by the Methodist Missions Society of Singapore. Not only will you be giving amazing coffee to friends and loved ones, but you’ll also be giving the future generations and people of Timor the gift of education.
Really Good Goods is also retailing at OTC Café at the National Library, or online at www.reallygoodgoods.com.sg.