Papua New Guinea is an extremely diverse country with over 800 different languages spoken. Most of the tribes from the highlands had contact with white men not until the 1930s as exploration in PNG had been minimal. PNG is now a paradox between Western influence and indigenous traditions.
Commercial coffee production started in Papua New Guinea in the 1920s with seeds brought from Jamaica’s Blue Mountain, a Typica known as Jamaica Blue Mountain. At that time most of the coffee production came from 18 large plantations. Plantations still exist in PNG but they only account for 15% of the total production; most of the production now comes from smallholders who tend to their coffee gardens, as they call them locally. The small-holders are subsistence farmers (meaning they live of their land) and they also grow coffee—there are no coffee farmers, per se. Each garden might have anywhere from a couple to a couple hundred trees of coffee and parchment deliveries can range from 25-65 kg.*
This coffee comes from smallholder farmers between 1000-1200 meters above sea level from the Wahgi Valley in Western Highlands in close proximity to the town of Mt. Hagen.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Papua New Guinea Wahgi Valley, from H+S Coffee Roasters in Laramie, Wyoming. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Wahgi Valley, Kunjin, Papua New Guinea
producer: smallholder farmers
association: A/X Exchange
elevation: 1000 – 1200 meters above sea level
process: fully washed, patio dried
The aroma of this coffee is very mellow and subdued; it has scents of chocolate and citrus, subtly cloaked in a shroud of roast and spice.
Taking my first few sips of the cup immediately post-brew, my palate is coated by a massively, densely full-bodied coffee with a thick syrupy mouthfeel. It comes oozing out of the cup slowly, like molasses, and lazily rolls over my taste buds, blanketing them with flavors of bittersweet dark chocolate, orange marmalade, panela, and, indeed, molasses.
The coffee is really fully developed, too; I wouldn’t say it’s over-roasted, but it is definitely a bit roasty. So, in addition to these flavors, I’m also tasting spices like anise and clove, some “natural”/”organic” flavors, like earth and mesquite wood chips.
As the cup cools off, the coffee’s savory elements and its fruity elements become more and more intertwined, making the coffee’s profile a bit more one-dimensional. Having said that, though, I am tasting some new flavors here in the back half of the cup: cantaloupe, vanilla, and very, very mellow strawberry.
Full body; syrupy mouthfeel; citric acidity; slightly dry finish.
*content provided by Cafe Imports
Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.