PAPUA NEW GUINEA FTO OKAPA, ROOTS CO-OP
This Fair Trade Organic (FTO) Okapa offering is a coffee that stands up to all roast levels. It’s sweet and full-bodied. This green from Papua New Guinea comes to us through farmers associated with Roots #1 Co-op, a cooperative of about 1,590 smallholder producers. We enjoy carrying this green because it adds variety to our menu of single-origin offerings and highlights the quality of coffees found in the Southeast Asian coffee growing region.
Coffees from Papua New Guinea offer exceptional quality and flavors. The farms are often found in the highlands with growing plots tucked away in some of the most diverse tropical forests and steep valleys. Many small-holders farms are considered “coffee gardens” with only an average of 100 planted trees. These micro farms can yield annual harvests as low as 1 bag (60kg).
Production happens across the Western and Eastern highlands with farmers often traveling by foot carrying harvested ripe cherries. The Western Highlands region serves as the country’s highest-growing region with an altitude of up to 2,200, and the Eastern Highlands is considered the second largest coffee-producing province. Differences in climate give these coffees their unique flavors and aroma.
The Roots #1 Cooperative is a collective of smallholder producers from the Eastern Highlands organized to help community members. Resources are shared amongst farmers and through Roots, farmers can receive more money for their offerings at the mill. Farmers have the ability to achieve certification in order to leverage their position in the marketplace. By connecting farmers with their neighbors, Roots #1 co-op gives farmers the opportunity to receive higher paying amounts and allows them to connect with their neighbors to pool resources.
Almost all of the coffee from Papau New Guinea undergoes a standard washing process. The process for producers is streamlined – members pick their ripe cherries and depulp on the same day they harvest. Cherries are then fermented dry for 26-36 hours and washed in channels on the mill. Drying occurs shortly after on raised beds and can take anywhere from 3-5 days, depending on the weather.
How We’re Using This Coffee
As part of our Toll Roasting menu, we feature a range of coffees at different roast profiles. For darker roasts, it’s helpful to start with a coffee that has flavors that will shine at after second crack. We usually look for coffees from Indonesian or Southeast Asia, where notes of spice, molasses, and earthiness are more common. The FTO Okapa is a perfect fit for a dark roast single origin, since its mild savory profile supports the rich, smoky notes we associate with dark coffees. After second crack, this coffee brings dark caramel, port wine, and toasted walnuts to the cup. In a blend, it provides a heavy body, which can be hard to find in darker roasts.
Carrying a coffee like this on your menu is a great way to offer a taste of something different for your customers. In a world of offerings from Brazil, Colombia, and Ethiopia, coffees like the Roots Okapa is a welcome change of pace. We’re proud to share this coffee from a collective whose work is helping improve small farmers at origin.