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Coffee 101: Coffee Origins – Papua New Guinea

Nov 20, 2019 | Coffee, Coffee & Tea 101

The Independent State of Papua New Guinea inhabits the eastern half of the world’s second largest island, New Guinea. The western half, known as West Papua, is a province of Indonesia. The coffee produced in Papua New Guinea, however, is quite different than the Indonesian product.

A Brief History

Papua New Guinea was not colonized until 1885. While coffee was not native there, Germany and England had established neighboring colonies, and brought Blue Mountain arabica plants from Jamaica.

By the 1920s, commercial exports had launched around the coast. A decade or so later, the Australian discovery of the island’s fertile land helped to foster coffee production on a larger scale.

The coffee-growing infrastructure continued to thrive throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Prices unfortunately began to fall around 2000. Today, poor infrastructure, a lack of good roads, and the ever-present threat of thievery continue to contribute to island struggles. With more than 800 languages spoken by native tribes, internal conflict has frequently been high.

Still, because it didn’t face the strife brought about by colonization and avoided the rust infestation that plagued neighboring islands, Papua New Guinea has experienced a sort of dogged success when it comes to coffee production. And while no longer growing at previous rate, it remains a major coffee exporter for the world.

Papua New Guinea Coffee at a Glance

Approximately 95% of all producers in Papua New Guinea are smallholders who grow their crops in gardens – not farms – which are often shared with other crops like bananas and papayas.

But because of the nation’s widespread lack of connectivity, coffee is largely grown without the use of pesticides, boosting the amount of Certified Organic coffee sold there.

Papua New Guinea only produces 1% of the world’s coffee, but it constitutes 40% of the country’s income. It is the second largest export for the country, employing almost 2.5 million individuals.

Harvest lasts from April to September, with the highlands region producing nearly 75% of the coffee grown in the country. Wet – or washed – processing is most common among farmers.

Many different kinds of varietals are grown here, including:
• Arusha
• Caturra
• Bourbon
• Blue Mountains, predominantly grown in Western Highlands

High altitudes, ideal climates, and fertile soils yield a bright and acidic coffee with a somewhat unpredictable flavor profile. It is often described as crisp and citrusy, with notes of chocolate and tropical fruit.

Now that you have learned more about Papua New Guinea, grab a bag to try today!

Papua New Guinea