The story of coffee in Papua New Guinea is unlike any other origin. Roads are often nonexistent, communities are incredibly remote, and most coffee is grown casually in gardens alongside a family’s food supply. In fact, 99 percent of coffee is grown by individuals with an average farm size of .83 hectares and an average production of 10 bags per year.
Without access to mills, these producers pulp, ferment, wash and dry their own coffee, selling small volumes of parchment. Additionally, due to the extreme lack of access, coffee often makes it to exporters through roadside collections or aggregator pickups. This means the large lots of coffee we see exported are in fact the accumulation of many, untraceable micro-volumes which have been combined for processing.
As exporter, the work of our sister company New Guinea Highlands Coffee Exports (NGHCE) is paramount. Rigorous Quality Control ensures that coffee is separated by size and cup quality. Sometimes this process identifies high-end small lots which are kept separate, as is the case with our Limited Edition offerings. Most of the time it results in larger volumes designated by grade. In the case of Papua New Guinea Y Grade, we see a uniform, clean cup with fruit or wine character and pleasant fragrance and aroma, and a maximum of 70 green defects per kilogram.
If you’re curious to learn more about Papua New Guinea and its coffees, InterAmerican Senior Vice President Kayd Whalen traveled there in 2019, and some quick takeaways from that trip are on our blog. You can also follow New Guinea Highlands on Instagram.