Mile High Papua New Guinea
Interesting acidity and high variety define Papua New Guinea coffees. The island is well known for mountainous topography of the island and the cultural diversity of thousands of indigenous groups. Historical changes in infrastructure have reduced the number of centralized coffee plantations typical of most coffee regions. Many New Guinea plantations are actually collections of traditional “coffee garden”. These plots can be as small as 20 plants grown alongside subsistence crops. With increased introduction of modern processing methods, these coffees continue to grow in quality and consistency.
Mile High is the A grade offering from the Arokara Co-op. You can find this coffee growing in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea on the outskirts of the town of Kainantu.
Arokara is a co-operative of plantations (Largest being Tairora and Gadsup) in the surrounding valley. Mountains surround the plantation. 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. The Rural Development Bank set up the original plantations with modern farming methods. In the last 10-15 years the plantations have been returned to the ownership and management of the landowner clans. Chemicals and fertilizers are no longer used in the production process.
Coffee Bean Harvesting Process
The whole clan hand picks the cherries and pulp them on the same day. Then, they ferment in cement vats for 36 hours. After the fermentation process they wash coffee with fresh mountain stream water from the nearby Aru River. The nice even bluish color is a result of the sun drying process. This process 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.