In 2010 (before Nylon was “born” at Everton Park), we roasted our first coffees from Papua New Guinea. A couple of bags literally hand delivered by a mysterious gentleman, who claimed to be a family member of a fairly large and well known plantation in the Western Highlands. Back in those days, our knowledge of coffee origins were very much driven by hearsay and what the traders wanted us to hear. PNG sounded like an exotic land where head-hunters and cannibalism still exist. So imagine the excitement we had, to be roasting coffees that apparently had the same cup profile of the Blue Mountain cultivar! (Yes, back in those days, we honestly thought Kona and Blue Mountain were one of the better coffees one should drink.)
Fast forward to 2014, we chanced upon a sample that was dropped off at our roastery. Out of curiosity, we roasted and cupped the beans, and was surprisingly wowed by the cup quality - this definitely has the potential to be a special coffee. We contacted the equally mysterious stranger to find out more about this coffee.
The Baroida Plantation, located in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, was founded by Ben Colbran in the 1960s. Ben first purchased the land from a native man named Taro & they were amongst the first people to cultivate crops in those valleys. In 1965, the government encouraged the early settlers to start growing coffee as a long-term sustainable crop. Ben became one of the first coffee producers of the Eastern Highlands when he started to plant coffee trees on the land, which thrived in it’s unique micro-climate.
The Colbran Family is now in its third generation with Ben’s son Nickel and grandson Chris running the Baroida plantation. In 2005, Chris started the Tairora and Lamari Network, coffee projects dedicated to improving pricing and traceability in the local coffee trade. 5 years later in 2010, after years of turning their coffee to various exporters, that would either sell it or blend it into generic lots, the Colbrans decided to process and export their own coffee.
So here we are, found in the most unexpected way - our first coffee from the Indo-Pacific region. The aroma on the nose is distinct vanilla and chocolate but the cup opens up with a distinct fruit mix of grapes, stone fruits and pink guava. But it’s the molasses sweetness that leaves you gaping for more with every sip. Together with a good mouthfeel and clean finish, we are really proud to be able to share with you our first foray into coffee from PNG.
- Producer: Colbran Family
- Local municipality: Aiyura
- Origin: Eastern Highlands, Papua New Guinea
- Altitude: 1615 - 1830m asl
- Varietals: Typica, Bourbon, Arusha, MondoNovo
- Processing: Washed. Coffee is pulped using disk pulpers, and dry fermented for 36 hours. After fermentation, mucilage is removed by pumping the coffee through pipes.
- Drying: Outdoor tarps and mechanical dryers. Coffee is dried on plastic tarps on the ground, and drying times vary greatly on climate and can range from a few days to over 30 days. The last few years, drying has been a challenge as weather has been unpredictable and unseasonably rainy. This causes the Colbrans to use the mechanical drier more frequently, even though the tarps are preferred.