Coffee Profile – PNG Sigri AA

beans.homeboxBy Rob Stewart

By now I guess you have heard the term ‘third wave’ in coffee. It refers to a worldwide movement whereby specialty coffee roasters and boutique cafes are devoting their efforts to exploring the pure flavour of the single origin coffee and it’s something that the coffee industry and its consumers in Australia have embraced. The movement is also about innovation and patience which is seeing brewing systems like the Clover, Siphon and temperature controlled espresso machines such as the Synesso and Slayer becoming commonplace in our cafe strips. We are also seeing the green bean standard raised with access to Cup of Excellence, micro-lots, Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade and roasters creating direct routes to the farms. One such country I believe has always been able to deliver coffee to the standard we are demanding today is Papua New Guinea.

The coffee history in PNG is a rather typical colonial story as it is recorded that in the early 1800’s the Germans where the first to introduce coffee to PNG. Much of their plantations were experimental at best with bits and bobs trickling to Australia for consumption, but by the late 1930s their efforts to capitalize on PNG’s unique growing conditions took off and their reputation as a coffee growing country started to gain momentum.

Much of PNG’s coffee today is grown from large estate plantations or in what is called ‘coffee gardens’. This was an initiative that started in the 1950’s where tiny farms from 20 to 500 trees are run by indigenous families, village-based business groups or individuals that practice organic farming methods. This is all organised by the Coffee Industry Corporation for harvesting, processing and export; amazingly, this accounts for around 70% of the country’s coffee production.
I find for consistency and quality you cannot go past the Carpenters Estate’s Sigri AA (you might have seen the bag with the bright red bird of paradise on it) established in the 1950’s from the typica variety that originates from Jamacia Blue Mountain. It’s located in the Waghi Valley in the Western Highlands and grown at around 1550 meters above sea level and I believe this coffee represents modern Papua New Guinea. The Estate is all about the environment and community, advocating shade grown plantations, wildlife conservation and aiding in schooling and medical facilities. Something I have always loved about this coffee is that it is so consistent – something you should expect with an AA standard. It has a deep jade like appearance, is amazingly even and is practically free of defects. In the cup there is a little fermented fruit on the nose but it’s not a bad thing, the acidity is a little high – similar to a red wine – the body is quite thick, smooth and sweet. I find a little bit of smokey allspice notes along with a floral touch in the finish. Overall it’s a rather bright, sweet cup and I have had this in the Clover, plunger, stove top and as an espresso, and find the intensity in the flavour does not disappoint; as a milk base beverage it highlights the allspice notes making it very sweet and desert-like.

The Coffee
Origin: Papua New Guinea, Sigri AA
Location: Western Highlands
Estate: Carpenters
Plant type: Typica
Process: Washed

Cup Profile
Fragrance/Aroma: Fermented fruit, red wine
Flavour: Smokey allspice, floral
Aftertaste: Clean
Acidity: High
Body: Thick and smooth

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