Atlas Coffee Papua New Guinea Blend

By

Bryan Huynh

on February 26, 2024

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Coffee is as intriguing as any food or beverage consumed in the world because of its history, popularity, and variety. Coffee houses have been around for hundreds of years, online purchasing options have been around for a few decades, but coffee subscription services have only become a thing since Covid disrupted everyone's lives. Check out our Coffee Club page to compare and read reviews of our favorite coffee clubs!

Coffee Background 

Papua New Guinea is located between Indonesia and Australia. Details of who brought arabica seeds from Jamaica's Blue Mountain region are in dispute, but it likely occurred in the 1890s. Commercial production emerged during the 1920s. Decades later, functional connecting roads finally enabled the plantations to easily move their crop to the mills and then on for exportation. The industry experienced many highs and lows over the years that followed due to weather, disease, and economic challenges. In addition, over 700 languages are spoken in PNG! 

Although lack of infrastructure continues to be an issue as well as uncontrolled bandit hijacking, current trends supporting education and improved soil management are bringing Papua New Guinea's coffee back into vogue. As artisan coffees increase in popularity, you'll be hearing more about it!

Coffee plants are like every critter on earth: they need the right balance of water, nutrients, and environmental conditions to be healthy. The pH -- acidity or alkalinity -- affects the availability of needed nutrients, so application of any kind of fertilizing supplements has to be tailored to the specific location. Factors such as altitude, wind, drainage, humidity, and temperature all affect the flavor and aroma of the coffee. In the case of Papua New Guinea, its geography has everything needed to grow healthy coffee plants. The soil is incredibly rich, in part due to the volcanic nature of the island and in part due to the use of natural instead of commercial fertilizers. Most exported coffee comes from the Eastern and Western Highlands.

The coffee from Papua New Guinea is smooth and sweet, with a medium body and acidity level. The first taste is reminiscent of dark berry tastes, and the aftertaste is dark chocolate yet clean.

Despite being an Indo-Pacific coffee, Papua New Guinea coffee stands out in practically every way. The most noticeable distinction is that Papua New Guinea coffee is wet processed rather than wet hulled, as is the case with other coffees from comparable geographical variations. The processing variation results in a cup with a completely distinct flavor and body; a developed sweetness is dominant and earthy; vegetable notes from these beans are uncommon and are typically attributable to inadequate processing or drying.

About Papua New Guinea Blend

Cupping Profile

  • Roast: Medium/Full City Roast
  • Body: Medium/Full
  • Brightness: Balanced
  • Flavor Notes: Well-balanced complex cup, milk chocolate, pungent mango/papaya/orange, delicate floral

Origin Information

Altitude: 1,580 masl

Soil: Volcanic soil

Region: Asia, Papua New Guinea

Process: Fully Washed

Harvest: April to September

Varietals: Mundo, Arusha, Typica

Certification: Fair Trade, USDA Organic

Cupping Scores

Published by the Specialty Coffee Association of America, the average cupping score was 84/100 for this blend.

The Cupping Form allows you to note the following coffee flavor qualities: Fragrance/Aroma, Flavor, Aftertaste, Acidity, Body, Balance, Uniformity, Clean Cup, Sweetness, Defects, and Overall. These are evaluated on a 16-point scale indicating quality levels in quarter-point increments ranging from 6 to 9. To score your coffee, go through each specific flavor attribute and mark the points based on your own personal appraisal. 

Quality Scale

  • Good: 6-6:75
  • Very good: 7 - 7.75
  • Excellent: 8 - 8.75
  • Outstanding: 9 - 9.75

The Final Score is calculated by adding the individual scores for each of the key criteria in the "Total Score" box. Defects are then subtracted from the “Total Score” to arrive at a “Final Score.” The Scoring Key below has shown to be an effective technique to represent the range of coffee quality for the Final Score.

Total Score Quality Classification

  • Outstanding: 90-100
  • Excellent: 85-89.99
  • Very Good: 80-84.99
  • Good: <80

(Outstanding, excellent, and very good are considered Specialty coffee, while anything below that is not.)

Description

Even though it is comparable to other coffees cultivated in the region in many aspects, the flavor profile of Papua New Guinea coffee is distinct. It's frequently described as being less earthy and more bright and acidic. Papua New Guinea coffee is mellow and aromatically rich, with a winey apple flavor that distinguishes it from its competitors.

Tasting Notes: Because of the nutrient-dense soil, Papua New Guinea coffee has a special flavor profile. The flavor is fresh and citrusy, with flowery and chocolate undertones to balance it out. Coffee from neighboring places has a deeper, more earthy flavor, thus Papua New Guinea coffee is a welcome contrast. Farmers extract the beans from the coffee cherries using the washing technique, which determines the outcome.

Roasting Notes: When roasted to a medium roast, Papua New Guinea beans produce a strong and sweet body. The acidity levels are low to moderate in this range, and the finished cup has a clean and delightful aftertaste. Medium roasting brings caramelized and deep flavors to the cup, including spice, caramel, and toasted nuts. Medium roasts could have some oil on the beans. Bold-bodied coffees have a fuller, heavier texture and are frequently complemented with stone fruit and chocolate aromas.

Processing

Once collected, the raw coffee cherries are sent to the mill for quick processing before they can start to ferment. With the wet process, also referred to as washing, the cherries are immersed in water and kept wet through the next steps. After the overripe fruits rise to the surface and are removed, the remaining fruits are skinned and sieved to separate them by size. Next, the cherries ferment for several hours before being washed again, sorted again, and dried on raised beds. Although there are other ways of processing coffee cherries, the washing process is the most common because it yields the purest, most consistent taste without extra flavor notes.

What Are The Pros of This Coffee?

Surrounded by mountains, coffee grows up to 2,400 meters above sea level in Papua New Guinea. Coffee cherries mature more slowly at this elevation, developing brighter, more acidic cup attributes. Because the natural sugars in coffee do not break down as rapidly in colder temperatures, they become more noticeable and provide a more distinct cup with medium acidity and body, light fruit notes, and a chocolate-covered nut finish.

What Makes the Papua New Guinea Blend Special

PNG coffee is generally wet-processed, certified organic, and most flavorful at a light or medium roast. Browse this sampling of coffee aficionados' descriptions:

  • Light- to medium body with moderate acidity 
  • Less earthy than other Indonesian beans 
  • Mellow and aromatically complex
  • Subtle hints of fruit
  • Bright and sweet
  • A syrupy mouthfeel
  • Pleasant hints of floral
  • Like black tea 
  • Warm flavors of nougat
  • Refreshing bites of green apple sweetness
  • Apple wineyness 
  • Low-key luxuriousness
  • Nutty, cocoa, citrus 
  • Chocolate
  • A cup of funky wildness, like the island itself
  • Truly transformational

Ways to Enjoy PNG Coffee

Because the beans have more oils, they blossom when brewed with a French press or steel-filter drip coffee maker that permits oil and soluble solids to pass through. Pour-over is also good because it supports the bright, citrusy, floral notes. Cold brew decreases acidity but enhances the chocolate flavor.

Conclusion

Try it! Learn a little history and geography of Papua New Guinea while you learn to savor notes of sweet green apple wineyness with hints of floral in your cup of funky wildness. PNG coffee is both bold and polished, bringing a surprising element to the table that most other coffees do not. It's no surprise that a bean from this region frequently appears on top of finest coffee bean rankings. If you enjoy being adventurous, Papua New Guinea coffee is well worth the journey.

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About the Author

Product Tester & Writer

Bryan Huynh

Product Tester & Writer

Bryan Huynh is a determined Product Tester & Writer. Being a coffee addict, it is only right that he mainly tests and reviews different coffee from around the world and coffee subscription services.

Bryan Huynh is a determined Product Tester & Writer. Being a coffee addict, it is only right that he mainly tests and reviews different coffee from around the world and coffee subscription services.