Kimel Estate was first established in 1974 by an Australian, Bobby Gibbs; it is now owned by traditional landowners, the Opais being the main tribe. Although locally owned, the plantation is managed by expatriate personnel with extensive experience in plantation management. They are appointed by the local directors. The plantation has a permanent workforce of 432, and they are housed on the estate in bush housing.
Kimel Estate also provides schooling for the children and medical facilities for the workforce and their dependents. Clean running water has been made available to the estate workers by way of a community project financed by one of their overseas clients, and its implementation is overseen by the estate’s management. Since the estate is located along the Kimel river, from which it derived its name, it has access to good clean water for the processing of its crop, which is a prerequisite along with sound husbandry and dedicated management to continually create quality coffees.
The estate’s management also implements some ecology friendly policies with regard to environmental issues, such as the recycling of pulp, which is returned to the fields as organic fertilizer, and the recycling of water used during the wet processing. The cultivation is conducted under shade trees, like Albizias and Gravilleas.
Papua New Guinea shares Indonesia’s second largest island and is located just below the equator and north of Australia. The highlands of Papua New Guinea separate Papua from New Guinea, and the area’s high altitude and relatively cool climate are especially conducive to growing high quality Arabica coffee.
Kimel Estate coffees, grown on a Dutch estate in the western highlands, are as good as they are difficult to purchase. Strong competition and limited supply make bringing this coffee into any roastery quite a feat.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Papua New Guinea Kimel Estate, from PERC Coffee in Savannah, Georgia. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Banz, Wahgi Valley, Papua New Guinea
farm: Kimel Estate
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Kimel Estate Cooperative
elevation: 1500 – 1800 meters above sea level
cultivars: Mundo Novo, Typica, Caturra, Arusha, Catimor
process: fully washed, patio dried
The aroma of the Kimel Estate is certainly alluring—it’s powerful and “big,” but it’s also graceful and even a bit seductive. Beautiful scents of malt liquor, licorice, black cherry, hazelnut, maple, brown sugar, and cedar.
The coffee absolutely explodes out of the cup immediately post-brew with bright, tangy, and juicy ruby red grapefruit and incredibly sweet, equally juicy black cherry. It is immensely full-bodied with a thick, chewy texture that features the flavors and consistency of maple syrup, root beer, chocolate malt, ginger, star anise, pine needles, licorice, and moist, velvety earthiness.
This PNG isn’t strictly all about bass, though; no, it has some really beautiful mid- and high tones, too, so it’s not entirely one-dimensional and it maintains a tremendous balance. Juicy fruits and silky night blooming flowers grace the palate and tantalize the taste buds: violet and gladiolus waft over the tongue and massage the roof of the mouth while apple, raisin, fig, nectarine, occasional flashes of lemon rind, and a tart plum acidity bubble up on the middle of the tongue.
Full body; velvety mouthfeel; plum acidity; clean finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
I’ve said it here before, but it’s worth repeating: much like its Indo/Pacific counterparts Sumatra or Sulawesi, Papua New Guinea is not particularly well-known for stellar coffees. However, just like Sumatra or Sulawesi, every now and again one will come across an exceptional PNG.
The Papua New Guinea Kimel Estate, from PERC Coffee, is that exceptional PNG.
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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.