Country: Papua New Guinea
Region: Wahgi Valley, Western Highlands
Altitude: 1600 MASL
Farmer: Sigri Estate
Varietal: Typica Peaberry
Process: Washed Kula
Tasting Notes: Dark Chocolate, Tangerine, Molasses
If there is one word that perfectly wraps up what we’ve been through in the last thirteen months, it’s “unprecedented”. Therefore we thought it only fitting to feature this coffee for our April spotlight; something truly unique for our unprecedented times. From the atypically-shaped burlap in which it made its journey state-side to the distinct cocoa butter aroma coming from the unusually-shaped green coffee beans, on simple first impressions this coffee is different from anything we currently have in the warehouse. Papua New Guinea is already a very underrepresented coffee in the American market, and the fact that it’s a peaberry coffee only adds to the enigma.
For those who are unfamiliar, peaberry coffee is a genetic anomaly that happens only in about 5% of all coffee crops. Normally the ripe coffee cherries that are harvested from the plant contain two coffee beans per cherry, but sometimes one of the seeds will fail to develop; leaving only a denser, rounder, petite coffee bean. Most hand sorters will set these aside and process them separately, as the differing density, morphology, and size will cause batches to roast unevenly if left in with the regular crop.
Because these beans are both small and dense, the roasting process needs to be done carefully and deliberately. Smaller beans are typically roasted with slightly less heat energy, but denser beans usually require more heat energy; creating a bit of a conundrum that can present a stimulating challenge for an overenthusiastic roasting nerd such as yours truly.
Much like the Ethiopian coffee market exchanges, coffee in Papua New Guinea is almost 90% smallholder or co-op coffees that are often homogenized into single origin estate blends before exporting. The Sigri Estate, however, is one of very few single estates in the region; allowing maximum traceability and transparency.
The Sigri Estate manages the entire production process of their coffee; from plant nursery to harvest to post-harvest processing and even in-house exporting. All estate pickers benefit from year-round free housing, free basic healthcare, and free education for their children.
Best Brewed As… Chemex or V60 Pourover
Try It With… Caramel and Coconut Milk
Pairs Nicely With… Brioche, Orange Marmalade, Gruyere Cheese