We have two fresh crop coffees hitting shelves this week, neither of which need any introduction for long time Quills drinkers. This is the second straight year we've bought coffee from both Papua New Guinea, Kunjin and Congo, Sopacdi, and we're pleased to find they're tasting better than ever.
With over 800 languages spoken in this Island nation, Papua New Guinea remains one of the most remote and least explored countries on earth. Coffee production began in the 1920s. Today the large majority of coffee production comes from small "coffee gardens" tended by subsistence farmers. This coffee comes to us from the Kunjin Mill in the Waghi Valley of the Western Highlands. Farmers deliver their coffee cherries to this mill to be processed. Each lot is sampled and better lots, such as our selection, are separated according to quality. Thanks to new processing equipment, coffees from Kunjin are tasting cleaner than ever, with lots of cane sugar, caramel, and lemony flavors.
The political situation in the Republic of Congo, unfortunately, remains tense. In spite of political instability, the 5,600 farmers of the Sopacdi cooperative are improving their livelihood by growing high quality, organic coffee. The potential for specialty coffee in the Lake Kivu region has yet to be fully realized, but this wonderfully complex coffee offers us a glimpse of what the future might hold. We taste oranges, dates, and tropical fruits with rich, floral aromatics in this coffee.
We think this coffee is a wonderful example of how specialty coffee not only offers a better product for our customers, but has the potential to make a positive impact on every step of the supply chain. These words from the Sopacdi cooperative sum it up well:
We have lived through civil war and in great poverty for many years, but since forming our cooperative Sopacdi, despite our challenges, we also feel full of hope. For the first time we have good buyers for our coffee, who buy from us directly. Our homes are basic, without electricity, running water and other amenities. But our families are back together and we are re-building our communities.