From Small Beginnings: Wild Timor's First Harvest – Wild Timor Coffee

From Small Beginnings: Wild Timor's First Harvest

Coffee photography harvest Timor-Leste organic

Starting a small business is almost guaranteed to be daunting.

"None of us knew what we were doing"

says Cameron Wheelehen of Wild Timor's early days.

The very first coffee harvest Wild Timor participated in was tricky.

Having no prior knowledge of the coffee industry, the boys used a mixture of information gleaned from YouTube, advice from friends and the villagers themselves.

"We were looking up videos using the village's very patchy internet and a laptop at night, and picking during the day."

The villagers had very basic equipment and consistency in the product was hard to maintain. One of the first things on the agenda was to raise enough money to buy a moisture tester*. 

Even paying for the coffee was difficult to figure out as the socioeconomic dynamics of the village are very different to that of Melbourne's. We soon found ourselves asking questions like, "Who do we pay?", " How do we pay?" and "What's a fair price?"

Persistence and research has gradually paid off. We learned the secrets of ensuring consistency and high quality with our coffee. We spent time in the village and learned to communicate more effectively, and how to delicately navigate this unique culture and its very different economy.

As a fledgeling Wild Timor grappled with all the challenges that starting a small business bring, more and more hurdles cropped up in front of us.

This was only the beginning!


*(Moisture testers allow the user to take sample amounts periodically from batches of drying coffee and determine the water content. Coffee has to be below 13% water to be fit for export.)

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