July's Reserve Coffee: Papua New Guinea Arokara

The mountainous topography, fertile soil, and rich coffee seed stock of Papua New Guinea make the nation extremely promising for specialty coffee production. However, due to a variety of infrastructure-related and other economic challenges, it’s often difficult to find a Papua New Guinea coffee that fulfills the region’s potential. This coffee from the Arokara Cooperative of the Eastern Highlands province does just that, and we’re thrilled to offer it to you as our Reserve coffee of the month.

Papua New Guinea is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world, with over 800 languages spoken. The vast majority of the nation’s inhabitants live in traditional rural villages, often isolated from the rest of the country by rugged mountain peaks and poor roads. Although investment by multinational corporations has recently spurred the rapid growth of the country’s mining and resource extraction sectors, about one third of the nation’s 7 million inhabitants continue to live in extreme poverty. Many of these rural citizens are smallholding farmers, who plant as few as 100 coffee trees alongside food crops on their tiny farms, known as “coffee gardens.” For years, much of this coffee was processed haphazardly, with unripe cherries thrown in with ripe ones, and dried either in crude mechanical driers or on plastic sheets left out to battle the elements.

For the last 20 years, the Arokara Cooperative has set an example for meticulous and quality-focused coffee production, improving agricultural practices throughout the nation. The cooperative has trained thousands of smallholding farmers in modern organic farming practices, without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. The Arokara Cooperative also worked to improve processing methods, teaching farmers to pick only the perfectly ripe cherries, wash them in fresh mountain water, and leave them to dry on clean patios under the sun. (Unlike most coffee produced on the Indonesian half of the island, this coffee is washed, not wet-hulled.) The Arokara farmers’ attention to detail produces coffee with a rounded, juicy body, and their captivating terroir brings sweet, earthy, spiced flavors to the profile.

Papua New Guinea Arokara exemplifies the highest potential of the nation’s coffee industry, with a delicious sweetness that will delight you. As producer organizations like the Arokara Cooperative improve production practices throughout the nation, you can be sure that Papua New Guinea will continue to build its reputation as an exciting new source of truly specialty coffees.

You can find Papua New Guinea Arokara in our online store, available for a limited time only.