Coffee from Papua New Guinea has always been one of our favorites. We first roasted PNG coffee nearly 15 years ago, as a dark roast substitute for Sumatra. However, as a washed coffee, it doesn’t really fit a typical Sumatra flavor profile. Over the years, we kept coming back to it as a single origin and the roast profile got lighter and lighter.
This particular PNG has the most intense flavor profile out of all the ones we have purchased. It pulls flavors similar to a Kenya coffee with a creamy, butterscotch aroma, citrus acidity and sage-like undertones.
The coffee is from the Riverside Mill in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. Moses Venapo created a unique opportunity for select coffee growers in his area. He built a wash station and invited 50 smallholders to participate in his program. He buys select cherries from the growers at a premium price. He manages the washing for better quality control. Since it is a small project, the quality and interesting flavor profiles have been outstanding.
Coffee cultivation began in Papua New Guinea around 1890 when German colonists planted coffee seeds in the northeastern region of the country. The Germans recognized the potential of the fertile volcanic soils and favorable climate for coffee production. Kabiufa is a village on Highland Highway. Since the country does not have many roads, being on one of the few that exist makes it easier to get the coffee to port. Most of the smallholder farms range in size from 1-2 hectares. They grow coffee and other subsistence crops. Interestingly, they are called “gardens” not farms, a term used in the neighboring tea industry. The country still faces difficulties, including communication, infrastructure, and political instability. However, coffee is the main cash crop, followed by cacao, palm oil and coconuts. More resources are dedicated to the coffee industry due to its importance to the economy.
We hope you give this coffee from Riverside Mill a try. It offers such an explosion of flavor! If you enjoy coffee from Kenya, you will certainly love this one.