Papua New Guinea Coffee: All You Need to Know

crazy by Editorial Staff | Updated on March 10th, 2023

Papua New Guinea is well known for its exotic and vibrant wildlife, but did you know it is also home to some of the world’s best coffee beans?

Papua New Guinea coffee has a unique taste profile that differentiates it from other beans. If you’re a coffee lover, you owe it to yourself to try some of the top-notch coffee produced in this island nation.

Papua New Guinea Coffee

In this blog, we’ll explore all there is to know about Papua New Guinea coffee. From the country’s history with coffee farming to the distinctive flavors that can be found in every cup, get ready to discover why Papua New Guinea coffee should be on every avid coffee drinker’s radar.

Papua New Guinea Coffee

Papua New Guinea Coffee abbreviated “PNG,” is untamed and unpredictable. PNG is grown in the eastern half of New Guinea. The western half roughly is simply Papua, part of Indonesia. West Guinea or West Papua, the western part of the island, also produces coffee beans. Vanuatu, a nearby island to the East, also produces coffee.

Papua New Guinea is a small island in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country is known for its diverse landscapes and unique cultural traditions, but it also has a significant role in the global coffee industry.

Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea produces some of the finest coffee in the world, with an excellent reputation for quality and flavor. The country’s coffee industry employs approximately 2.5 million people, with thousands of small-scale farmers working to cultivate high-quality coffee beans.

The coffee grown in Papua New Guinea is known for its rich, full-bodied flavor, with notes of chocolate and fruit. This unique flavor profile is partly due to the country’s volcanic soil, which is rich in nutrients and minerals that nourish coffee plants. Additionally, the high-altitude growing regions in Papua New Guinea help to create a slow-growing process, which produces a more complex flavor profile.

Despite its small size, Papua New Guinea is one of the top 20 coffee-producing nations in the world, exporting over 1 million bags of coffee beans each year. The country’s coffee industry is a vital source of income for thousands of small-scale farmers, providing economic opportunities and supporting rural development.

History of Papua New Guinea

Papua Island region, presently known as Papua New Guinea, wasn’t colonized until 1885, nearly two centuries after islands not far west. Then, the Germans settled in the North and the British in the South.

The history of Papua New Guinea coffee is rooted in British colonialism and the introduction of coffee seeds from Jamaica’s Blue Mountain region. It is believed that coffee was first grown in PNG by Emma Coe Forsayth, a businesswoman known as ‘Queen Emma’ by the German colonists.


These two introduced Jamaica’s Blue Mountain Arabica plants rather than the robusta plants found in Asia and the Pacific. They started their commercial exports in the 1920s.

When PNG became an Australian protectorate in 1906, the colonial government recognized the potential of coffee as a cash crop and encouraged its cultivation. The government provided extension services, research facilities, and access to credit, which helped to expand the coffee industry. In the 1950s and 1960s, coffee became the country’s most valuable export and brought significant revenue to PNG.

An Australian explorer discovered that the island was fertile and settled (they previously believed it was too rough for farming and uninhabited), and coffee production grew rapidly. By the 1950s, the Papua government formed ties with previously unknown inland tribes and encouraged them to create “gardens” family coffee.

In the 1980s, the economy of PNG suffered due to a drop in coffee prices and production. The government, with the help of international aid, introduced reforms to the coffee industry to boost production and improve the quality of coffee. These reforms included improvements to processing, marketing, and technical support for coffee growers.

Recently, there has been renewed interest in PNG coffee, especially for specialty coffee. PNG has a unique coffee flavor profile, as its coffee is grown under shade trees and processed using traditional techniques. Smallholder farmers, who make up the majority of coffee growers in PNG, are also gaining recognition for their important role in producing high-quality coffee.

In conclusion, the history of coffee production in PNG is closely linked to its colonial past and the efforts of missionaries and the government to develop the industry. Though there have been challenges, the industry has shown resilience and adaptability, and recent developments suggest that PNG coffee is poised for growth in the global market.

Heritage and coffee plant varietals of Papua New Guinea

Coffee cultivation in Papua Guinea dates back to 1937, when seeds from the Blue Mountains region in Jamaica were imported, as mentioned earlier. Industrial production followed despite a series of ups and downs.

Thankfully, Papua New Guinea has continued to produce some of the wildest, most exciting coffee the world has ever had. Today, the same heritage lives, and Papua New Guinea coffee still retains the flavor profile of Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee.

Currently, coffee grown in New Guinea include Catimor (Coffea arabica var. catimor), Mundo Novo (Coffea arabica hybrid Mundo Novo), and Blue Mountain (Coffea Arabica var. blue mountain) and Catimor (Coffea arabica var. catimor). In addition, Arusha, a French Mission or Typica variety, is also grown in Papua New Guinea.

Characteristics of Papua New Guinea Coffee

Papua New Guinea coffee is renowned for its distinctive flavor profile, which is attributed to the confluence of various factors. For instance, most of the country’s coffee is grown under shade and at altitudes of 1,200 to 2,000 meters above sea level.

The cool temperatures, fertile volcanic soil, and ample rainfall in these regions conspire to produce coffee beans with an exciting balance of acidity, body, and flavor notes. Some of the prevalent flavor notes in Papua New Guinea coffee include citrus, caramel, chocolate, and savory spices.

PNG has a subtle, low-toned richness, sometimes earthy, and low to moderate acidity. Although PNG is still not as fine as Sulawesi Toraja or full-bodied as most Indonesian coffee, Papua New Guinea still stands out from the competition.

The nutrient-dense soil of the Papua island produces beans that have a crisp citrus acidity and a rich flavor of chocolate. It is a smooth, sweet, and medium-bodied coffee with a bright aroma of mango and papaya fruitiness.

The initial taste reflects dark berry notes, while a full city roast profile brings out a delicate yet robust body with rich raisin accents. The coffee has a complex, balanced flavor of sweetness mixed with pungent spice. This flavor profile is what makes Papua New Guinea coffee stand out among other gourmet coffees worldwide.

PNG coffee is:

  • Wet processed
  • Deeply dimensioned yet balanced with mild, mellow, broad flavors that provide a bright and clean taste. 
  • A classic, delicate sweetness complemented by an exotic, complex, and fruity aroma.
  • It has more oils, comes out to almost medium roast, and offers a full-body consistent with many Indonesian coffees. For that reason, PNG is ideal in a French press or steel-filter drip coffee maker as they allow oil and soluble solids to your cup of coffee.

Coffee growing regions

Coffee is grown in regions with a suitable climate and soil conditions. The ideal temperature required for coffee cultivation is between 22 to 28°C. The soil should be well-drained and moist but not waterlogged.

The best altitude for coffee cultivation is between 600 to 1200 meters above sea level. A higher altitude produces a better quality coffee but, it requires more care and attention in terms of cultivation.

In Papua New Guinea, coffee is commonly grown in the highlands where the climate is cool and moist. The soils are fertile and acidic which is ideal for coffee production. The climate in Papua New Guinea is perfect for the production of arabica coffee which represents over 95% of the country’s coffee production.

The country’s coffee industry is diverse, with beans being grown across several different regions, including the Eastern Highlands, Western Highlands, Simbu, and Morobe provinces.

Eastern Highlands

The Eastern Highlands region of Papua New Guinea is known for producing some of the country’s finest coffee beans. The region is home to several different coffee-growing districts, including Goroka, Okapa, and Kainantu. Coffee from this region is known for its bright acidity, floral and fruity notes, and full body.

Western Highlands

The Western Highlands region is located in the western part of the country and is home to several different coffee-growing areas, including Mt. Hagen, Tambul, and Banz. Coffee from this region is typically full-bodied and has a rich flavor with notes of chocolate and caramel.


Simbu is a mountainous region of Papua New Guinea that is known for producing coffee with a unique flavor profile. Coffee from this region is often described as having a “wild” and “earthy” taste with a medium body and a smooth finish.


Morobe is a coastal region of Papua New Guinea that is home to several different coffee-growing districts, including Wau, Bulolo, and Menyamya. Coffee from this region is known for its medium body, bright acidity, and fruity flavor notes.

In conclusion, Papua New Guinea produces excellent coffee beans that are grown in various distinct regions. The Eastern Highlands, Western Highlands, Simbu, and Morobe provinces all offer unique flavor profiles, giving coffee lovers a range of options to choose from.


Papua New Guinea

Coffee cherry harvested from small patches is always inconsistent, and there is a risk of off-tastes such as beef-broth taste—the inconsistent results from the various homegrown methods used by farmers. But a good batch can provide a delightfully complex coffee.

The best New Guinea coffees are grown on large estates that use advanced equipment to process better quality coffees with moderate acidity. The variation in small-to large-scale growing quality results in an inconsistency in the quality of beans from PNG. Do you remember we said PNG coffee is unpredictable? Inconsistency is one reason behind Papua New Guinea being unpredictable.

Traditional and modern methods of coffee harvesting

In Papua New Guinea, coffee harvesting is mostly done manually, where the ripe cherries are picked by hand one by one. It is a labor-intensive process that involves selecting only the cherries that have reached full maturity. The traditional method of coffee processing involves a long and meticulous process of washing, pulping, fermenting, washing, and drying.

In recent years, the modern method of coffee harvesting and processing has been adopted. The use of mechanical harvesters has increased significantly, making it easier and faster to harvest coffee cherries. The modern method involves a wet processing method which involves de-pulping, fermenting, washing, and drying. This method is faster and yields a better quality coffee than the traditional method.

Role of smallholder farmers in the industry

Smallholder farmers play a significant role in the coffee industry in Papua New Guinea. Around 85% of the coffee produced in Papua New Guinea is from smallholder farmers who use traditional methods of cultivation. These farmers are crucial in the production of high-quality coffee. They work hard to ensure that the coffee trees are well maintained and provide a stable income for their families.

In recent years, these smallholder farmers have been organized into cooperatives, which have helped them to improve their livelihoods by providing them with access to finance, technologies, and markets. Cooperatives have also helped to increase the quality and quantity of coffee produced in the country, making Papua New Guinea a known producer of specialty coffee.

The Current State of the Papua New Guinea Coffee Industry

Papua New Guinea

Like most coffee producers across the globe, Papua New Guinea has, over the years, continued to benefit and suffer. Lack of proper infrastructure and threats from thieves hauling away beans before they hit the market are some challenges Papua New Guinea faces.

Efforts to fund and educate farmers on the nitty-gritty details of the business have continued to boost the growth of coffee in the country.

Farming practices in PNG coffee production

Farming practices in PNG coffee production are unique and steeped in tradition. Most coffee farmers live in isolated highland regions, where they rely largely on family labour for harvesting and farming. Despite the challenging terrain and lack of infrastructure, coffee production has been a vital source of income for many rural communities.

The focus on processing methods has enabled PNG to export 99.9% of their coffee in green beans alone, establishing a niche in the specialty coffee market. The sustainable and responsible methods used by farmers in PNG have resulted in unique flavor profiles and tropical notes in their coffee, making it a popular choice for coffee lovers worldwide.

Furthermore, there have been efforts to promote sustainability in the coffee industry in PNG through the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) and other organizations, creating opportunities for farmers and communities to grow and prosper.

Sustainability efforts in PNG coffee industry

The sustainability efforts in the Papua New Guinea (PNG) coffee industry are a crucial aspect of the country’s coffee production. The Coffee Industry Corporation Limited (CIC), PNG’s coffee board, has worked to regulate the industry, ensure sustainability and quality measures, and support the farmers and communities involved in the production.

This emphasis on sustainability includes promoting environmentally-friendly farming practices and providing training for farmers on good agricultural practices. The CIC also supports initiatives to improve the livelihoods of farmers and their families, such as healthcare and education programs.

These efforts towards sustainability play an important role in maintaining the quality of PNG coffee and ensuring the industry is economically and environmentally viable for years to come.

Where to Buy Papua New Guinea Beans

There are various places you can always get original Papua New Guinea coffee. Most of these places we have listed below source their beans from Blue Mountains coffee plants. Here is the list.

Have you tried the Papua New Guinea coffee? It is one of the excellent coffees that will always leave your taste buds happier. If you have not tried it, it is your turn to experience and remember to share your thoughts.


In conclusion, Papua New Guinea coffee is a unique Arabica coffee that is renowned for its distinctive flavor, exceptional quality, and sustainable farming practices. The country’s coffee industry has a rich history dating back to the early 1900s and has been a key contributor to the country’s economy for decades. The industry provides employment opportunities for over two million people, and the volume of coffee production is steadily increasing every year. 


Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.