Mile High Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea coffees are revered for their interesting acidity and high variety. Notable for the mountainous topography of the island and the incredible cultural diversity of thousands of indigenous groups, historical changes in infrastructure have reduced the number of centralized coffee plantations typical of most coffee regions. Thus, many New Guinea plantations are actually collections of traditional “coffee gardens,” small plots of as little as 20 plants grown alongside subsistence crops. With increased introduction of modern processing methods, these already incredible coffees continue to grow in quality and consistency.
Mile High is the A grade offering from the Arokara Co-op. It is grown in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea on the outskirts of the town of Kainantu at an altitude of 1 mile above sea level.
Arokara is a co-operative of plantations (Largest being Tairora and Gadsup) in the surrounding valley. The plantations are surrounded by mountains, two of the closest ones are Yonki Dome(7500 feet) and Elendora(9200 feet). With over 20 years experience in coffee growing and processing in PNG, Arokara has always delivered a quality bean. These plantations were originally set up by the Rural Development Bank with modern farming methods. In the last 10-15 years the plantations have been returned to the ownership and management of the landowner clans who now do not use any chemicals or fertilizers in the production process.
Coffee Bean Harvesting Process
The cherry is hand picked by the whole clan and then pulped on the same day and fermented in cement vats for 36 hours. After the fermentation process the coffee is washed with fresh mountain stream water from the nearby Aru River. The coffee is then sun dried to give it a nice even bluish color, which can take 7-12 days.
The labor in the processing operation is also from the surrounding villages and ranges through the year from 20 up to 60 people in the peak season (this does not include the clan cherry pickers). The total community in the area who rely on the coffee exports is around 10000 to 12000 people.