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PNG Producing Partners

PNG Forward Offers

Selling Strategy Overhaul Benefits Producers

Drying bed full of naturals

AAK Cooperative producers sell their milled coffee to the Exporter’s warehouse directly. This radically new strategy has resulted in increased volumes (with higher quality) and producers get paid quicker.



Late summer always brings the lab incredibly unique cups from our partners in Papua New Guinea. More importantly, this is a season of increased communications and ever-deepening relationships with producer groups like AAK, a cooperative with operations across Western, Central and Eastern Highlands, as well as Roteps Washing Station, a wet mill near Hagen in the Western Highlands. This year brings us exciting improvements of a new farmer-empowered selling system and many more beautiful lots to choose from on the cupping table.

A System Overhaul Pays Off

The overall coffee-growing industry in PNG has once again struggled with increasing volume similar to the last few years. During these years of low production, the AAK Cooperative has struggled to convince its members to deliver their coffee to the coop instead of selling to local traders who offer a quicker transaction, but for less cash.

But this year AAK adopted a radical selling strategy that proved to be effective in collecting volume. Here’s how it works: Cluster groups deliver their coffee to a local dry mill where it is milled down into green bean form. The clusters then sell the green beans directly to our exporter’s final mill where we cup and clean/sort the coffees for export. With this change, producers are able to get paid much quicker, addressing the primary complaint of the members. Additionally, this change reduces their need to sell cherry or parchment to cash-ready middlemen that previously impacted AAK’s collection volume.

You’ve likely heard us mention AAK leaders Brian Kuglame and Regina Lusaro in the past. Their expertise and charismatic leadership will always play a role in driving the success of this wide-reaching farmer group, but the change in their selling structure is the main factor leading to increased qualities and volumes this year.

Quality Corner

If you’re wondering how this earlier milling down to green bean form may affect long-term quality, we’ve been testing these lots next to others that have sat longer in parchment. We cup, measure moisture content and water activity and have found no reduction or movement outside of our strict quality specs.

In a normal year, AAK might have one or two lots (20-80 bags each) reaching into the 86-87 point range with the majority of lots falling between 83-84 points. This year, our cupping table has exploded with dozens of PNG options in the 85-87 range. Lots are in the milling/bagging stage right now. We expect these coffees to arrive just before the end of the year.


Peak Harvest Lot Selection On the Water Arrival






AAK Cooperative

In a country that is highly decentralized and culturally separated from valley to valley with different languages, networks and customs, the new selling approach is genius. There are several hundred small cluster groups within the AAK Coop. For each cluster, the new strategy fosters greater ownership over the supply chain and selling decisions. This, in theory, leads to a greater pride in the product and the improved quality that comes with it. AAK is now growing its member base (after a few years of declines). It and is a resource to advise member clusters in subjects like transportation and pricing guidance. Having the clusters in the driver’s seat has already proven to be a success. Crop to Cup is proud to be AAK’s principal buyer since 2014.

AAK Cooperative | 84.5 – 86.5 Cherry, pomegranate, lemon, cocoa, cola, cilantro, apricot, squash

Training with an AAK cluster group.

Hand sorting at a dry mill.

One of the 64 cluster groups that comprises AAK gathered at a collection point.

Roteps Washing Station

Another favorite supplier of ours is back—Roteps Washing Station! Last year, super low volumes meant we couldn’t get our hands on lots from this washing station. Volumes are up and the coffees we are tasting have shown up with head-turning quality. We are excited to be bringing in several lots including a PB lot from Roteps, not only to broaden our offers from this washing station but also to pick back up on last year’s super tasty PNG peaberry. Last year’s PB success was from a larger regional blend, so it’s nice to see the improvement over the year prior as we drill down to more traceable peaberries. Paul, pictured below, owns the washing station which is located in Kuli, not far from Hagen in the Western Highlands.

Paul, owner of Roteps, with producers weighing cherry

Roteps WS 2021 | 85.5 Green apple, tarragon, caramel, lemon, milk chocolate, green pepper

Roteps Peaberry 2021 | 87 Chocolate ganache, malt cocoa break, pomegranate lemon nougat, juicy finish

How to Book:

It’s been an exciting sourcing season, and we’re thrilled to share this year’s spot offers with you. We’ve also been busy booking custom lots for roasters that won’t be hitting our spot list. For these, we’ve been looking to AAK’s commercial-quality volumes, lesser-known coffee provinces like Morobe, and some nice organic-certified lots.

Now is the time to book SAS NANS contracts and request PSS of lots from AAK & Roteps. Coffees will be arriving around the New Year—perfect timing to bring in something fresh.

– The Crop to Cup Sourcing Team