We don’t like to play favorites when it comes to coffee, but many of you know that ever since our friend and long-time PNG consultant, Steve Teisl, first established trade with Papua New Guinea nearly 17 years ago we have enjoyed a strong rapport with this island province of the Indonesian Republic. Flash forward to 2017 – Vournas Coffee Trading is North America’s #1 green coffee importer of Fair Trade Organic PNG’s, our stock of FTO PNG is a Vournas exclusive, and it consistently sets a high bar as an anchor at our cupping table.
Of course we’re proud to tout the distinction and, truth be told our Papua New Guinea pride runs deep, but we didn’t get here overnight. For a (very) long time we’ve been travelling the world, hunting down the best origins and every time we come back in awe to Papua New Guinea. I remember during one of our first trips in 2006 when Steve and I arrived in Goroka—we took a helicopter up into the Eastern Highland mountains, roughly 5,000+ feet up into a land of never-ending rainforests, waterfalls and shade trees. In a clearing bordered by thatched huts and brightly colored gardens we were immediately greeted by scores of farmers, families and their children, fervently waving with big smiles—truly some of the most amazing and friendly people I’ve ever encountered! We met with the heads of the villages and the leaders of Highland Organic Agricultural Cooperative who live throughout Purosa, Ivingoi, and Okapa and manage this incredible operation all the way from the farms to the freighters in the Port of Lae.
Over the years we have continually expressed our interest in QUALITY above all else and the growers and co-ops have responded in a big way—our 2016 FTO crop was one of the best yet. We picked up a sister lot of our Bourbon/Typica Kamarl from the Koban region, which has a nice, orange-citrus note and a great contrast to the FTO. Likewise we also have our lots of FTO Swiss Water Decaf PNG, our Organic, (non fair-trade) PNG and our conventional PNG Purosa.
In Papua New Guinea the coffee tree is referred to as the money tree, and thanks to a great relationship with the co-ops and the farmers, Vournas Coffee Trading has played a central role in supporting the Eastern Highlands communities from the very beginning. Looking ahead to 2017, we’re anticipating another great year. On another note, we’re already preparing for our next round-the-horn, sleepless origin trip to PNG to reconnect with our people. One can only wonder how much mud we will encounter this time…
Don’t forget dear readers, there’s always an open invitation waiting for you to join us at our cupping table in Westlake Village for a sampling of that famed Vournas quality. And you can bet our PNG exclusives will be at the ready to win you over!
Yours in coffee,