Tribal Aromas

Chimbu Province, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea coffee farmer shows off harvest

Our Papua New Guinea is grown by the members of Tribal Aromas, a collective of small grower groups in the Chimbu Province, in the Eastern Highlands, a very remote region. The region is roadless, and so remote that the coffee must be taken out by airplane, costing the farmers about fifty cents per pound (more than a third of what they sell it for). The coffee is cultivated on small clusters of plots, ranging from 0.5 to 1 hectare per farmer.

Coffee is the only source of cash income for the growers as all other land is used to grow food crops for family consumption. All coffee is shade grown and certified by Australia Certified Organic, accredited by USDA and IFOAM. This is a washed coffee that is pulped by hand using river stones - it is the only place in the world where this occurs.

We are working with the coops to improve processing and delivery time, bring them new buyers and increased income. We have also worked with international development agencies to bring microcredit to these remote farmers. The first baby born during our visit was named Dean, Jr. - Now that's an impact! 

Hand depulping with riverstones

Useful Expressions

'Dispela cofi em i swit moa yet' - This coffee is delicious!

'Igat pukpuk long wara' - Are there crocodiles in this river?

Our Papuan Coffee 

A wild, untamed land that is relatively new to the coffee world, PNG coffee only began in the 1920's when Jamaican coffees were transplanted there. But it takes many hands to make a great cup and most PNG coffees suffer from erratic processing or poor roads and infrastructure. At the same time, well-tended and processed PNG from the Eastern Highlands can match a good Sumatran in body and earthiness.

Deliveries typically feature a mixture of bean sizes. Many beans have a cast of orange and purple on them in contrast to the uniform green of most other coffees. This appearance is most likely due to the on-farm processing methods of the small grower and the paucity of water used in the washing of the beans. The resultant cup is thus wilder and fruitier than the other New Guinea coffees, as well as heavier in body but slightly lower in acidity. The coffee is harvested from April through August. We use this coffee in our Ring of Fire blend.

People-Centered Development Projects

Community Organizing (2021) 

  • We sent money to Bismarck Ramu Group, a progressive community development group, for general funds to help them through the pandemic.
  • Funding: $1,000

Electrifying Health Clinics (2015 - 2019)

  • Partnered with ATProjects to fund electrification for rural health clinics.
  • Funding: $3,200

De-pulping Machines (2009)

  • Contributed 14 hand de-pulping machines to prevent rot before exportation.
  • Helps farmers preserve coffee and cut overhead costs.
  • Funding: $3,000

Depulping Machines

Microloan Program (2009)

  • Funded a microloan program in a difficult region of a distant country.
  • Low interest micro-lending.

Fair Trade System (2006)

  • Established a fair trade system to help improve conditions.
  • Promoted sustainability and improved standard of living. 

Michael, dressed in ceremonial headdress. Photo used with permission.

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