Intro

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.

Located not terribly far from the agricultural market hub of Kainantu in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, a coffee cooperative called Timuza is operating in a community called Namura. Boasting a little over 200 members, Timuza is brand new to the Royal Coffee family but has quickly earned a place among the top lots arriving from Papua New Guinea this season, one of which is this Crown Jewel selection.

Small one and two hectare farm plots are the norm for cooperative members here, who are often intercropping their coffee with shade trees and harvesting other food crops like yams and cassava. The cooperative provides training on an extensive variety of topics including coffee husbandry, gender equality, and personal financial management. Using certified organic products and traditional processing methods (including fermentation in hand-woven bilum bags), the cooperative aced its recent entry in a national cupping competition, placing first in August 2016 out of over 40 participating groups and over one hundred samples.

Green

This blend of Arabica varieties is comprised of heirloom Typica, the spontaneously occurring Bourbon-Typica hybrid Mundo Novo first identified in Brazil, and Arusha, a Bourbon descendant originating in Tanzania and seen exclusively there and in PNG.

The lot is graded A/X which, according to Papua New Guinea’s unique and slightly confusing system, means that it is a mixed size lot with a maximum allowable visual defect count of 10 per kilogram. It’s pretty large in size, about 85% size 16 and up with a long-seed appearance fairly common among Pacific island coffees. Moderate density numbers and a middle-of-the-road moisture content are paired with a slightly high water activity reading indicating the coffee could respond more quickly than normal to application of heat prior to first crack. Check Jen’s notes below on roasting for best results.

Taste

Roast

My first roast, PR-493, of this large screen sized coffee caught me off guard just before the start of the Maillard reaction. The momentum of the roast began to plummet before I made my second gas adjustment. This delayed response resulted in a longer total roast time and a darker colortrack reading than our second roast.

My second roast, PR-494, started with the same charge temperature, but this time I increased the gas well before the initiation of the Maillard reactions. This produced a curve with a better incline for roast development, but perhaps too short of an overall roast time.

On the cupping table, PR-493 displayed deeper condensed fruit flavors like blackberry compote and grilled pineapple with hints of tobacco and vanilla. The second roast, PR-494, had a more clean and vibrant acidity with pineapple, mango, lychee, and starfruit. If I was to roast this coffee again, I would walk a line between the two roasts by applying enough heat to get past the slump just before Maillard, but then back off the heat dramatically to increase the total overall time of the roast due to the size of the bean. This is a lovely and dynamic coffee to add to any menu.

Brew

This coffee was a perfect complement to a rainy day here at our Emeryville offices. As the wind whipped rain about and our view of San Francisco became obscured, we were thankful for this warming coffee clearing up the fog in our heads. Most of our crew preferred PR-493 for its bright and peachy countenance. Plenty of vanilla and gentle cherry in the finish made this a balanced and eminently quaffable roast.

PR-494 packed a bit more of an acidic punch, but today called for something a bit milder. Perhaps it was all the punch we had over the holidays? The lemon-lime tartness was not lost on us, however, and this later roast had a bit of a pleasant sugary chocolate finish.

Both roasts seemed similarly soluble, but PR-494 poured through significantly faster. No harm no foul; both brews turned out to be very easy drinking.

Origin Information

Grower
Namura/Timuza Coffee Cooperative
Variety
Arusha, Mundo Novo, Typica
Region
Eastern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea
Harvest
April - September
Altitude
1,420 – 1,600 meters
Soil
Volcanic loam
Process
Fully washed and dried in the sun
Certifications

Background Details

This coffee is sourced from family-owned farms organized around The Timuza Coffee Cooperative, which represents over 200 small-holder farmers of the Kamano tribal group, located southwest of Kainantu in the hamlets surrounding Namura town. The soils are are a mix of black & brownish red loam, with predominately traditional typica grown under casuarina and albizia shade trees. Average farm size is 1.4 hectares per family, with adjacent gardens for cultivation of food crops such as sweet potato, taro, and cassava. Farmers have received training and assistance in financial management, gender equality, coffee husbandry and standards for processing through local partners. The harvest takes place from April through September, with selective harvest of ripe cherry, manually pulping, fermentation in traditional bilum bags, washing, and full sun-drying. In 2016, Timuza placed 1st in the National Cupping Competition.