Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand hosted a cupping event to promote Papua New Guinean coffee and assist the growth of the nation’s coffee scene in Auckland, New Zealand, on 10 October.
Stuart Hargie, a certified Q grader from the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI), recently travelled to PNG with Fairtrade to run a coffee grading with farmers in September. He has been supporting Fairtrade ANZ’s coffee quality program for more than 18 months.
He shared his experience at the cupping event and gained feedback from the NZ roasting community on new processing methods that have been recently trialled by the CQI and Fairtrade ANZ in PNG.
“Part of my role has been to provide objective feedback on coffee quality, cupping samples to Special Coffee Association standards,” Stuart says.
“To see how the coffee has developed over that time has been amazing, it has really opened my eyes to the diversity of potential flavours possible from PNG. The coffee has gone from scoring 79 to 81 to more recently some lots scoring 85 to 86 — a massive jump in quality.”
Fairtrade’s PNG program is focused on improving coffee quality and recognising quality at origin. Fairtrade will constructively use the feedback to help improve the coffee of the farmers they are working with.
According to Stuart, with the right support and investment, the PNG coffee scene can thrive and find its place within the world of specialty coffee.
“PNG has everything we need in terms of its natural climate and geography. However, as an origin it has had its challenges in terms of logistics, storage, and so on. With more investments in the regeneration of farms, technology and practices, PNG absolutely has a place within the specialty coffee industry moving forward,” Stuart says.
The cupping is part of Fairtrade’s strategy to engage roasters in the ANZ region about the potential of PNG coffee. Fairtrade hopes to find roasters in the region that are willing to invest and connect with farmers.
“There will be more focus on training and empowering producers to continue to improve quality and from there I believe there will be a large focus on connecting roasters with producers that have the specific lots and profiles that suit their business,” Stuart says.
Fairtrade plans to continue to invest in PNG and Stuart is optimistic about the future of PNG coffee.
“The next generation farmers that were being trained have a thirst for knowledge and passion that is going to take PNG coffee to the next level. They are treating coffee as a business, they are motivated and engaged which is going to take them a long way,” Stuart says.
“They say that great coffee takes altitude, latitude, and attitude, and they have it all in abundance in PNG.”
The cupping took place at John Burton Coffee, which has been importing Fairtrade PNG coffee since 2005.
For more information, visit fairtrade.com.au/Media-Centre/Blog/2019/July/Fairtrade-Fortnight-2019.