Coffees from Papua New Guinea are revered for their fascinating acidity and variety. The island itself is notable for its mountainous topography and the incredible cultural diversity of its thousands of indigenous groups. Historical changes in infrastructure have reduced the number of centralized coffee plantations. Today, many PNG plantations are collections of “coffee gardens”— small plots of as few as 20 plants, grown alongside subsistence crops. With new processing methods being introduced, these already-incredible coffees continue to increase in quality and consistency.
Mile High is the A-grade offering from the Arokara Co-op. It is grown in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea on the outskirts of the town of Kainantu, at an altitude of 1 mile above sea level—or about 1,600 meters.
Arokara is a co-operative of plantations throughout the valley, the largest of which are Tairora and Gadsup. The plantations are surrounded by mountains; two of the closest are Yonki Dome (7,500 feet) and Elendora (9,200 feet). With more than 20 years' experience in coffee growing and processing, Arokara is well established at producing quality coffee.
PNG's coffee plantations were originally set up by the Rural Development Bank, using modern farming methods. In the last 10 to 15 years, the plantations have been returned to the ownership and management of their traditional landowner clans, who do not use any chemicals or fertilizers in the production process.
Cherries are hand picked, pulped on the same day and fermented in cement vats for 36 hours. After the fermentation process the coffee is washed with fresh mountain stream water from the nearby Aru River. The beans are then sundried between 7 and 12 days, during which time they achieve their nice, even blue-green color.
The processing work is done by members of the surrounding villages, and the workforce varies from 20 people during the year to 60 people in the peak season (this does not include the cherry pickers). The total local community relying on income from coffee exports is between 10,000 and 12,000 people.
Cupping notes: Bright acidity, creamy body, caramel, malt and light citrus notes.