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smallholders in resurgence


  • The main body of Papua New Guinea - a nation of 600+ islands and 715 indigenous languages - occupies the eastern half of the South Pacific island of New Guinea, the world's second largest island (Indonesia's Papua Province occupies the western half).  Coffee is farmed in the mountainous and densely forested Highlands region between 5,000 and 7,000 ft elevation.  Home to over 2 million people, the Highlands is a fascinating region that was thought to be completely uninhabited until 1933 when Australian explorers led by Mick Leahy ventured in looking for gold (then later planted the country's first coffee trees).  

    The Highlands Highway, built in the 1960s, revolutionized commerce for the region, connecting large towns as far as Mt Hagen to the northern coastal port at Lae, and the many previously isolated villages and towns in between (interestingly, the country's capital Port Morseby on the southern coast does not connect to the Highlands or any other major region by road).  

    The Highlands today boasts a remarkably modern coffee processing infrastructure.  A strong and necessary middleman network connects smallholder rural farmers with a variety of small and large-scale washing stations, dry mills and exporters in towns like Mt. Hagen and Goroka.  

    Large estates of the Western Highlands region and affordable commercial lots first put PNG coffee on the map, but today it is the smallholders that are mixing things up with more localized production and better lot separation.  Join us as we work alongside newly formed coffee farmer co-operatives (the country's first) and work to put new micro-regions in the specialty coffee spotlight.  

  • Lahamenegu Washing Station

    About 85% of the coffee from Papua New Guinea is grown by smallholders (300,000 of them), which is especially true in the Eastern Highlands. On average a farmer will tend to about 1,700 trees, but may also have a garden as small as 20 trees. This lot comes from 300 smallholders within a catch-basin defined by a 19-mile radius around the Lahamenegu Wet Mill. Well-screened to 17/18, the AA beans are considered the best of the best in this area. Typica and Bourbon cultivars, combined with the PnG “perpetual Spring” climate, gives this coffee a clean, fruit-forward, high-acid cup, which differentiates it significantly from its Indonesian neighbours.

    Lahamenegu Washing Station Photos

  • Apo Angra

    Volume is the challenge for those looking to source from smallholders in Papua New Guinea. Incredibly small plots are scattered over incredibly difficult terrain, resulting in ‘clusters’ of 30-60 farmers that contribute to micro-washing stations.

    The Apo Cooperative, for example, operates two wetmills named Kabiufa and Yonki. The Yonki Wet Mill sits within lush meadows and tall grasses alongside Yonki Lake in the Yonki Valley; an environment unique in the Eastern Highlands. The Kabiufa Washing Station, on the other hand, can be further broken down into 8 clusters, totaling 218 farmers.

    Coming from smallholders each of these coffees has a story to tell, and as the cooperative grows we are more able to do more separation. For example last year this coffee was imported as a blend of three cooperatives, whereas this year we chose to combine just the Apo and Angra Cooperatives for a unique flavor profile.

    Apo Angra

  • Kange Talu

    If you thought PNG was a unique coffee origin, then you’re in for a doozy with this AAK lot. AAK is the umbrella organization tying together 3 coops across the Western and Eastern Highlands – Apo, Anga and Konga Cooperatives, each of the 3 words meaning “brother” in local languages. In a country whose coffee growers are famously independent and who have not traditionally formed many cooperatives or producer organizations, AAK is a newly formed body introducing radical practices to improve coffee quality and livelihoods. Coffee is its main economic activity, but AAK is much more. Its self-described holistic approach includes activities ranging from financial planning, to banking (mobile payment partnership with BSP Bank), to gender equality, to health, to education. On the coffee front (that’s why you’re reading this, right?), AAK takes a very localized approach to organization and coffee quality. 81 “base camps” across member areas form as community centers. Each base camp servers as a training center for quality growing and processing practices, and 59 (and growing) are outfitted with tool sheds where members can rent supplies for use on their farms. While rich in expertise and ideas, AAK has only recently been able to open its own washing stations. It currently manages 3 stations, each quite small but well staffed with knowledgeable machinists and coffee handlers. Each station serves a handful of nearby base camps (currently base camps not near a washing station home-process and deliver parchment).

    Kange Talu

  • Chimbu Lufawa

    The Lufawa Coffee Group was formed in 2014 to unite three Komuni clan tribes around their common cause in coffee. Their name represents this effort; LU, FA, and WA represent traditional birds in the language of the Lunefa, Famundi and Wai Tribes respectively.

    All three tribes live in Chimbu Province in PNGs Western Highlands; the closest town is called Kundiawa.

    It is an extremely rural area with coffee as the only cash crop. Crop to Cup met Lufawa when they formed in 2014. Tasting potential, we kept in touch and have been impressed with the quick and solid work done by during the off season.

    Chimbu Lufawa

  • $11.68 each Mt. Hagen Roteps W.S.
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  • $11.68 each Waghi Valley Ulya Lot 64
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Papua New Guinea Bags Available Location Price Pounds per Bag Quantity Compare
Mt. Hagen Roteps W.S. - NJ -

Waghi Valley Ulya Lot 64 - NJ -