About Papua New Guinea Sigri Estate AA
New shipment arrived February, 2013. Papua New Guinea Sigri AA is back by popular request. We offered this coffee two years because we were very impressed by its quality. This year too the quality is high and we are glad to have it back for the fan base that it built. It really has that distinct family connection to Blue Mountain coffee from Jamaica, except today this origin is probably superior, and a whole lot less costly. AA is the top grade produced.
Sigri plantation, situated in the Wahgi Valley, in the Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea, was established in the 1950s and rapidly gained a reputation that has continued to grow with Sigri being internationally recognized as producing a gourmet coffee equal to the world's best for more than 20 years.
All plantings are exclusively Arabica, concentrating on the Typica varieties which originate from seed introduced to Papua New Guinea from Jamaica Blue Mountain Typica rootstock. Coffee is grown at 5000 feet in elevation. This year's coffee seems particularly striking with its ethereal hickory notes, a unique but not over-the-top flavor profile.
Main crop is harvested from May to July. All growing and processing practices follow a system which has been throughly proven over many years, and insists on the highest standards and quality at every stage.
Sigri coffee undergoes a rigorous wet factory process. Quality control begins in the field; coffee cherry is hand-picked and carefully checked for uniformity; it must be red and fully ripe which allows for the correct balance of sugar and acid within the cherry. This selected cherry is then pulped on the day of picking.
A fermentation process follows, which entails a period of three days broken every 24 hours by washing - but unlike other washed processed coffees, Sigri's process follows this by total immersion in water for a further day, which creates a unique flavor profile.
All Sigri coffee is sun dried to further enhance flavor. Careful conditioning, hulling, grading and hand sorting follows. Sigri considers soil and water conservation as a priority, and, the plantation is bird and eco friendly. The plantation employs a medium density shade strategy, using two types of shade trees. This promotes even ripening of coffee cherries and provides habitat for at least 90 species of birds.
Cup Characteristics: Unique flavor profile has smoky, hickory background note reminiscent of better Jamaica coffees. Layered, refined sweetness. This is an example of PNG coffee at its best.
Roasting Notes: We've been stopping this roast just before the start of second crack. We find this roast level has significant body but the notable hickory notes are present as is the acidity. The coffee is capable of being roasted slightly darker as well, into second crack. On a Behmor try P2 or P3.
Papua New Guinea coffee facts:
Population (2007): 5.8 million people
Coffee Production: 1 million bags Arabica (60 kg)
Country bag capacity: 132 pounds - 60 kg
Domestic Consumption: 300,000 bags
Coffee Export: 700,000 thousand bags
Cultivated Area: About 120,000 hectares (nearly 297,000 acres)
Harvests: April - September
Arabica Introduced: Arabica from Jamaica Blue Mountain seed was introduced to PNG Highlands in the late 1930s.
Specialty Coffee Regions: Highlands near Kainantu, Goroka, Mount Hagen and in the Wahgi Valley.
Grades: AA, A, PB. Grades AA and A combined make up only 13% of the crop.
Farms: Family-owned coffee gardens produce over 70% of the countrie' annual exportable coffee crop.
Botanical Varietals: Typica (from Jamaica Blue Mountain origin), Bourbon
Comments - The vast majority of PNG coffee is produced by small, village coffee gardens rather than large organized companies; there are tens of thousands of such village gardens typically ranging in size from 20 trees to 500 or 600. The typical village-based grower in PNG uses no artificial fertilizer, no chemical sprays, and owns his own farm. Pest and disease control is done by hand without a chemical regime. Prunings from coffee and leaf-fall from the trees which shade it, together with the skin and pulp of his freshly-processed crop provide a natural, nutrient-rich mulch. There is a family resemblance in the cup between PNG coffee and the Jamaican Blue Mountain from which seed it originated.