March 16, 2016 by beanerbar
Beautiful, unique, and challenging don’t begin to tell the complex story of Papua New Guinea. For three generations in the country’s Eastern Highlands, the Colbran family has been producing what we consider to be the best coffee in the Pacific through impeccable management and attention to detail. Spicy and savory with notes of molasses.
The Colbran family has gone from selling their coffee to larger commercial exporters, who would often just blend their amazing coffee into large undistinguished lots, to having the one of the most recognized farms in the entire country for quality. Their recognition is for good reason. The family’s focus on traceability, lot selection, and refinement of processing can’t be understated. This year alone they changed the way the coffee is dried, milled, and exported during one of a challenging year for coffee production at Baroida that yielded a fraction of the coffee that was expected. This lot represents our fourth year of working with Colbran family, and we couldn’t be more grateful and impressed by their dedication to producing the best coffee possible.
Explanation of the Name
The name Baroida comes from an old traditional spirit that was believed to reside in a particular large rock that lies in the middle of the river that runs through the lands of the plantation. The reason it was believed to be a spirit is that even the largest river floods could not move this one rock—even when all other stones and rocks were washed away.
Aiyura, Eastern Highlands, Papua New Guinea
The highlands of Papua New Guinea are remote. So remote in fact that outsiders did not venture there until the early 1900’s, which meant the country was a late-comer to the production of coffee. Today, Papua New Guinea is renowned for how remote and culturally diverse it is, having something in excess of 800 languages.
Baroida sits outside the town of Kainantu in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. This part of the Eastern Highlands is mostly rolling grasslands, but has a remarkable climate and great conditions for growing coffee. Before coffee was planted in this area, the Tairora Tribe cultivated sweet potatoes and other subsistence crops until the 1950s and ’60s.
Baroida itself was one of the first coffee farms in the area, and much of the coffee planted by other smaller producers around the farm came from seeds obtained at the Baroida Estate.
Baroida was founded by Ben Colbran and wife Norma in the early 1960s. At the time, the surrounding land was mostly grassland and for the first two years Ben primarily cultivated vegetables that he sold in the coastal town of Lae.
In 1965, Ben followed the government’s encouragement to plant coffee, which thrived in this micro-climate. Ben owned Baroida until 1979, when he sold the land to a trust with Ben’s son Nichol remaining to manage. Nichol managed the operation until 1991, when he left to work on other projects. In 1997, Nichol bought the land back, but, in the six years he was gone, the farm had fallen into disrepair. Fortunately, the Colbran family immediately started to turn things around, all the while helping to create positive livelihoods for the local producers around the farm. In the last 10 years, Nichol’s son Chris, along with his wife Melody and his brother Rhett, have also become integral to the operation. In addition to the Colbrans, now in their third generation on the farm, there are more than two dozen key employees with years of experience who make the coffee possible.
Varieties: Typica, Bourbon, Arusha
Elevation: 1,600–1,865 meters
Post-Harvest Process: Washed
Harvest Time: July–August 2015