Introduction by Chris Kornman
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, despite lower than normal yields, is no exception. This season’s peaberry selection caught our attention on the cupping table, offering delicate floral and herbal notes, layered with kiwi and sweet lemon and lime.
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, fresh water, 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 Analysis by Chris Kornman
Small but relatively uniform in size and shape, this peaberry lot is also slightly denser than average. Moisture figures appear a little high, particularly the water activity at 0.65 even at relatively cool conditions might indicate some potential trickiness in the roaster. Compounded by the peaberry shape of the beans, it’ll be worth your time to check in on Jen & Evan’s roast notes for this lot.
The peaberry is generally recognized to be a developmental anomaly that results in the presence of a single seed inside the cherry, rather than two. Our affection for the funny round little seeds might simply be visual appeal – they’re adorable and often pleasantly uniform both before and after roasting. It’s possible, but generally disputed, that peaberries may have more concentrated flavor. They most definitely present challenges in drying and roasting, as their shape, size, and density don’t absorb heat in the same manner as a flat bean.
This particular peaberry from Kimel includes a mishmash of cultivars. While some tasters like to be able to isolate particular flavors from a specific variety, the ability to diversify the genetics of a crop provides security and protection against adverse circumstances like disease or drought. Kimel is growing disease-resistant 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.
Roast Analysis by Jen Apodaca
We haven’t seen too many offerings from Kimel Estate this year so I am really excited to see their peaberry come across my desk. I first profiled this coffee on the Ikawa to get a preview and noticed two things. One, that first crack happened at a lower than average temperature. Two, that although I roasted to a standard end temperature for many washed coffees, this coffee tasted underdeveloped and needed more time for sugar browning. All of this was quite unusual because of the high water activity reading, I had expected to have a late first crack time and to potentially race through the Maillard stage. Perhaps the combination of high moisture and high density in a peaberry makes it more difficult for moisture to escape.
I knew that this coffee would do well on the Probatino which has more conductive heat compared to the 100% convection roast on the Ikawa. The first choice was to extend the drying time and the second choice I made was to lengthen the post crack development time. Although there was no “dip” in the curve after first crack, I believe that turning up the heat by a ¼ tick half way through Maillard and then flipping back down to 3 gas just before first crack helped keep my momentum up so I would not stall. While I normally pair a long Maillard with a shorter post crack development time, here I decided to do the opposite. I carefully watched the rate of change reduce and turned down the heat as it started to creep back up as the coffee exothermed. I knew that increasing time more than temperature was the way that I wanted to roast this peaberry. On the cupping table this coffee was sweet and juicy with a heavy undercurrent of caramel and molasses.
Behmor Analysis by Evan Gilman
Unless otherwise noted, I follow a set standard of operations for all my Behmor roasts. Generally, I’ll use the 1lb setting, manual mode (P5), full power, and high drum speed until crack. Read my original post and stats here.
This coffee been a consistent favorite of mine on the cupping table, and its fleeting presence usually leaves me feeling that I would have liked to taste it for longer. This time, some has been sequestered away for Crown Jewel analysis!
I could have taken this coffee a little further, as I think the caramelized sugar notes in this coffee are truly what make it delicious (in my humble opinion). Looking at my stats, I only took this coffee 1 minute past first crack, so going for a more standard 1:30 would have served me well. The crack was consistent and strong in this coffee, so you’ll have no trouble finding that first crack. Above, you can see that Jen also experienced an early crack and found that this coffee needed a little extra development.
Try taking this coffee a little further into development territory, and I think you’ll find some sweet citrus and very unique herbal notes still making themselves known through the caramelized sugars. This is a rare coffee, but after tasting my roast on the cupping table I found that it tasted better when well done.
Brew Analysis by Sandra Elisa Loofbourow
I really wasn’t sure how to brew this week’s Crown Jewel. Should I use a thick paper filter to get it crystal clean? Should I use a full immersion brew to extract as much as possible? What about extraction ratios– would it be best to do a long extraction or a heavier one?
Rather than speculate, I chose to do all of the above. This Kimel Estate got the full workup: Chemex, Kalita, and Aeropress at three different brew ratios. Getting to see how it performed in such drastically different conditions was a lot of fun, and showed that this coffee from Wahgi Valley has much more versatility than it might let on at the cupping table.
As a Chemex brewed to 1:16, we found some green apple and orange acidity, some baking spices, and heavy cocoa with fresh leather. On a Kalita, it offered some lemon and grape, balanced by black tea, pine, and vanilla. And as an Aeropress at a 1:13 ratio, we found thyme, peach, dark cherry, and poached pear along with a pleasant herbaceousness.
One thing this Papuea New Guinea preserved throughout was a baked apple sweetness that contributed to a soft, but thick, mouthfeel. I was surprised and pleased at how many different notes I was able to pull out of this coffee with different techniques, and enjoyed sipping on every one.
This coffee may be available in full size bags as well. Contact Us to find out more.