Origins: Papua New Guinea


Overview

COUNTRY PROFILE 


Size - 462,840 sq km

Capital City - Port Moresby

Main Port City - Port Moresby

Population - 6,909,701

Language/s Spoken - Tok Pisin (official), English (official), Hiri Motu (official), nearly 840 indigenous languages


PRODUCER PROFILE 


Population Involved in Coffee - 280,000 smallholder farmers

Typical Farm Size - 1–30 hectares

Bags Exported Annually - 100,000 bags

 


COFFEE PROFILE 


Growing Regions - Chivu, Eastern Highlands, Western Highlands

Common Varieties - Arusha, Blue Mountain, Typica

Processing Methods - Washed

Country-Specific Grades - Grading here is a semi-complex system following not simply screen size, but also color, shape, defects, aroma, and cup quality. Grades include A, X, AX, PSC, Y1, and so on

Bag Size - 60 kg

Harvest Period - May–August

Typical Arrival - October–November

HISTORY 

The anthropological history of PNG is fascinating, but this is a page about coffee, so: Germans and British colonized Papua New Guinea in the 19th century, with the Germans toward the north and Brits in the south, where they planted coffee in and around Port Moresby in order to sell it to the Australian market. In the 1920s, commercial coffee production was increased through the introduction of Typica coffee from Jamaica, a variety commonly known as Blue Mountain. As was common in most coffee-growing areas of the Pacific Islands, most of the coffee production was from a handful of large European- or Australian-owned estates, with labor coming from the local indigenous population.

Today, while there are still estates and plantations, the majority of coffee production comes from smallholder farmers, each with around 1–2 hectares called “gardens” in which they grow small amounts of coffee as well as whatever else a family or community might need for use or sale. Less than 3 percent of the country is used for commercial agriculture, and forest makes up more than 63 percent of Papua New Guinea’s landscape.

Cultural differences and conflict are partially responsible for the logistical difficulties of sourcing from PNG: The country’s many indigenous populations are often very distinct from one another in terms of custom and language, and individual communities might comprise only a few hundred people, making communication and the cultural sensitivity required to do business here more difficult than in other coffee-growing regions. Less than 10 percent of the population is connected to or uses the Internet for communications, and there are roughly 55 telephones (both fixed-line and cellular) for every 100 people—another impediment when operating within a very digital contemporary global coffee industry.

GRADING

 

One of the unique characteristics of the coffee market in Papua New Guinea is the grading system used here, which measures not simply screen size as in other countries (like Kenya or Colombia), but also bean shape, color, cup quality, and presence of defect.

 

Grade

A

X

AX

PSC

Y1

Y2

Y3

T

Screen Size

> 17mm

mixed

mixed

> 15mm

mixed

mixed

mixed

mixed

Defect per kg

20

20

10

40

70

150

< 30% by weight

> 30% by weight

Shape

oval smooth

mixed smooth

mixed

mixed

mixed

mixed

mixed

mixed

Color

blue-green

blue-green

light green

light green

light green

light green

green-yellow

green-yellow

Aroma

clean

clean

clean

clean

some fruit

acceptable

no foreign odor

no foreign odor

Cup Quality

good

good to fine

good to fine

good, light, fruity

fine average quality

fine average quality

no foreign flavor

no foreign flavor

 


CAFE IMPORTS + PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Since 2012, Cafe Imports’ senior green-coffee buyer Piero Cristiani has made the long trek to PNG to develop relationships, cup new coffees, and to continue to seek means of developing and investing in the specialty production in the country, despite the complications of culture, language, and economics. Our primary partner in PNG is the exporting company Monpi, and through that company we have sourced coffees from individual washing stations and communities such as Kujin, Namugo, and Ulya, as well as through the FTO-certified cooperative Keto Tepasi, located in the Chivu region. Piero is actively working toward developing a microlot program in Papua New Guinea, which would allow us to offer individual day lots from the washing stations such as Namugo, and potentially reward farmers for quality while also encouraging them to make investments back into their production, picking, sorting, and facilities.