Aparila, Papua New Guinea
Ginger, molasses, and juicy currant
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100% Whole Bean Coffee
Origin: AIura, Eastern Highlands, Papua New Guinea
Elevation: 1700 - 1850 MASL
We're so excited to introduce our first coffee from Papua New Guinea: Aparila. While PNG's sometimes have the reputation for being earthy and inconsistent, this coffee is bright, clean, caramelly, and complex—a true standout that has fast become one of our top picks of the Canyon lineup!
Aparila is actually the name of small village in the Aiyura Valley, located in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. The coffee is grown and harvested by around 200 farmers who live in and around the community. The farmers deliver their hand-picked cherries to the estate of Nichol Colbran, who processes and exports the coffee.
The story of Nichol and the Colbran family is an interesting tale. He and his work are largely responsible for putting coffees in this region "on the map" for their quality. Prior to the Colbran's setting up their own processing facility and sourcing from small producers around the Eastern Highlands, PNG coffees were often sold at lower rates to be incorporated into blends by large exporters. Read more of the Colbran's story further below...
After careful picking and extensive sorting, the coffee is de-pulped on disc pulpers and ferments for about 36 hours. After fermentation, the parchment is washed clean of mucilage, and then the coffee is dried on raised beds or tarps. In case of poor climate the estate does have a mechanical dryer that can be used when the climate is not good for drying coffee.
ABOUT THE FARM
From our export partner, Atlantic:
"In late 1950's early 1960's, Ben and Norma Colbran were living in Invercargill New Zealand, one of the southernmost cities in the world. Yearning to move to a tropical climate, Ben and Norma applied to live in Uganda and Papua New Guinea. The government of Papua New Guinea was the first to approve their application, and the family relocated to the area of Aiyura in the Eastern Highlands.
In Aiyura, Ben bought land from a Papua New Guinea native named Taro. On the land they purchased, the Colbrans originally planted traditional food crops that would often be sold in the port city of Lae. In 1965, the Papua New Guinea government was highly promoting the growing of coffee, and they decided to plant coffee. The Estate they established, named Baroida, was considered to be one of the first coffee farms in this area of the Eastern Highlands. Their estate is also how many small-holder farmers in the area originally were able to get seed for their own small coffee farms.
While growing coffee was successful for the Colbrans, in 1979 Ben and Norma decided to sell the estate. However, their son Nichol Colbran, was left in charge to manage the operation. Nichol Colbran managed the estate from 1979 to 1991, when he left to work in the Western Highlands. Only six years later, in 1997, Nichol bought back the estate after it had fallen into heavy disrepair. It took years to get the estate and infrastructure back to good running order, but getting it back to "normal" was not the only plan. Nichol, now with his son Chris Colbran, expanded the operation. In the early 2000's they worked closer with small-holder farmers around the estate and set up a highly organized and traceable purchasing system for coffee cherries and parchment coffee. At times Chris Colbran went as far as to fly into remote villages to buy coffee from growers that normally would not have access to a good market.
While doing these improvements the Colbran family also set out to market their coffee differently. The Colbrans historically had always sold their coffee to exporters, that would either blend it into other coffees or often brand it as something else. Wanting to showcase the quality of their coffee buy itself, the Colbrans built their own dry milled on the estate, and set up their own export operations. This gigantic step took years of work to set up, but gave them full control over their coffee and quality.
The work and expansion the last two decades didn't stop with the family being able to export themselves. After those varied and monumental accomplishments, they continued to distinguish themselves by building out a cupping lab to go through every small lot they processed, often keeping lots separated out by the individual farmer or small section of their farm. They continued to improve their quality by building raised beds to dry their coffee better, which is a rarity in Papua New Guinea. The family also built a school for the community on the estate, and every year puts in tons of labor and money to maintain roads that are vital to them and other communities around them.
In 2015, the Colbrans decide to do a repeat of 1997, and bought another large estate in the village of Kobuta that had also fallen into heavy disrepair. Within a short time though, the estate and the growers around Kobuta, were producing coffee on par with the rest of their operation. Since 2015, the Cobran family have not just been sitting on their hands. From the cupping lab to the farm, every year there is a focus on refining the systems and quality to continue outputting unmatched coffee from the country."