intro

As we say adiós to Northern Hemisphere Central American and East African coffees, we begin to welcome a diverse set of incredible fresh coffees from the Southern Hemisphere. South American coffees, southern African coffees, and Pacific Island coffees all have a chance to shine as they land during our winter months here in the States.

Kimel, an estate located in the town of Banz near Mount Hagen in Papua New Guinea, has a long history of producing exceptional quality island coffee, and this year’s harvest is no exception. We’ve picked a batch of AA sized coffee for our Crown Jewel this year, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the new crop. It’s bright and citric like a Kenya, herbal like a washed Indonesia, and has that special something that only Kimel Estate Papua New Guinea coffees can bring to the cupping table.

The country of Papua New Guinea comprises the eastern half of the New Guinea island (the western half is part of the country of Indonesia) that rests like a disjoined puzzle piece off the northern coast of Australia. Commercial coffee production began in earnest in the region in the late 1920s, and is now the country’s second most important agricultural export after palm oil.

While the coffee growing landscape is predominantly smallholders, Kimel Estate was established by an Australian named Bobby Gibbs in 1974. However, in 1979 the farm was purchased by Kishan Pau and Pup Kaki, PNG natives representing a collaboration of local tribal groups. Kimel Estate is now 100% owned by the indigenous population. The estate boasts a permanent workforce of over 400 individuals, and housing, freshwater, schools and medical services are provided on the farm. Processing cherries onsite, the farm has employed recycling practices for the coffee pulp and water from the nearby Kimel river, and is growing its coffee under the shade of Grevalia and Albizia trees.

GREEN

This green coffee is a mishmash of varieties, and while some tasters like to be able to isolate particular flavors from a specific cultivar, the ability to diversify the genetics of a crop provides security and protection against adverse circumstances like disease or drought. Kimel is growing Catimor, heirloom Typica, and cultivars like Caturra and Mundo Novo more commonly seen in the Americas. Additionally, they have a few unique trees in the mix. Jamaica Blue Mountain was, purportedly, the first coffee introduced to Papua New Guinea in the 1920s, and is a Typica hybrid of indeterminate proportions. The other fun cultivar at Kimel is Arusha, a Bourbon descendant seen almost exclusively in PNG and Tanzania.

This Kimel AA is graded precisely according to the British system, and is 90% screen 18 and up. It’s of moderately high density, and has nice looking moisture and water activity numbers.

TASTE

ROAST

A large bean that is very clean and sweet with a large and dynamic acidity similar to a Kenyan coffee, it is difficult to roast this coffee wrong. The two roast curves follow very similar paths with our first roast, PR-427, was the lighter of the two with less time in the drum by 40 seconds and a lower end temperature by 2.2 °F. Both roasts displayed a juicy and sweet vibrant acidity with pink grapefruit, blackberry, and pineapple. PR-427 was decidedly more vibrant, while PR-428 had the same intense acid structure accompanied by vanilla and cola flavors.

BREW

Never satisfied with the status quo, I updosed and ground a little finer than normal for a Bonavita brew of this tasty, eccentric Papua New Guinea. The result was a fairly high extraction yield and a pretty tasty brew. Both roasts were solid, with PR-427 taking the trophy for its more nuanced kiwi and papaya notes as compared to PR-428’s grapefruit and herb.

Origin Information

Grower
Kimel Plantation
Variety
Mundo Novo, Blue Mountain, Typica, Arusha, Caturra, Catimor
Region
Town of Banz, Western Highlands, Waghi Valley (approx. 50km South of Mount Hagen), Papua New Guinea
Harvest
March - April
Altitude
1,580 meters
Soil
Sandy loam
Process
Fully washed after depulping and fermenting, then dried in the sun
Certifications

Background Details

This coffee is sourced from the Kimel plantation. The Kimel plantation was first established in 1974 by an Australian, Bobby Gibbs. It is now owned by traditional landowners, the Opais being the main tribe. Although locally owned, the plantation is managed by expatriate personnel, appointed by the local directors with extensive experience in plantation management. The plantation has a permanent workforce of 432 and they are housed on the estate in bush housing. The estate also provides schooling for the children and medical facilities for the workforce and their dependents. Clean running water has been made available to the estate workers by way of a community project financed by one of their overseas clients, and its implementation is overseen by the estate’s management. Since the estate is located along the Kimel River, from which it derived its name, it has access to good, clean water for the processing of its crop, which is a prerequisite along with sound husbandry and dedicated management to continually create quality coffees. The estate’s management also implements some ecology-friendly policies with regard to environmental issues, such as the recycling of pulp which is returned to the fields as organic fertilizer, and the recycling of water used during the wet processing. The cultivation is conducted under shade trees, like albizias and gravilleas.