Grade indicators, which vary by country, are used to describe the largest beans: AA in India, Kenya, Tanzania, and Papua New Guinea or AAA in Peru. Beans with a screen size of 17 or 18 (17-18/64 of an inch) are assigned the “AA” which denotes the size, shape and density of the bean. It is a well-known fact that the largest bean is going to produce more of the treasured oils that give your coffee the fabulous aroma and intense flavor.
Coffee in Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea’s coffee industry is not based upon large, corporately-owned plantations, but on tens of thousands of small, village coffee gardens. Typically, they range in size from 20 to 500 trees. These family-owned coffee gardens produce over 70% of the countries’ annual exportable crop; a crop which has averaged one million bags, or 60,000 tons, per year in recent times. It is estimated that nearly 2,000,000 people, or almost half of the nation’s population, derive a benefit from the coffee industry. The coffee crop is ‘green gold’, PNG’s most valuable agricultural export.
Sigri plantation, located in the Wahgi Valley in the Western Highland Province of Papua New Guinea, was established in the 1950’s and rapidly gained the reputation for producing the finest Arabica coffee in the country. This reputation has continued to grow and Sigri has been internationally recognized as producing a gourmet coffee, equal to the world’s best, for more than 20 years. At almost 5,200 feet above sea level the plantation enjoys a cool climate and bountiful rainfall, the ideal environment for growing Arabica coffee. All plantings are exclusively Arabica, concentrating on the Arusha and Typica varieties, which produce a finer coffee than other Arabicas in Papua New Guinea.
All coffee bearing the Sigri name is a washed Arabica and undergoes a rigorous wet factory process. Quality control begins in the field with all cherries being hand-picked and carefully checked for uniformity. It must be red and fully ripe which allows the correct balance of sugar and acid within the cherry. This selected cherry is then pulped on the same day of picking and the fermentation process follows with a period of three days broken every 24 hours by a washing. However, unlike most other coffees, the Sigri process follows this by a total immersion in water for a further day to create a superior coffee. Sun drying out on cement patios further enhances the coffee. Careful conditioning, hulling, grading and hand sorting follows. This combined with rigorous quality control and a final hand sort before packing produces the finest green bean for which Sigri is renowned. All grades are continuously sample roasted and liquored on the estate by experts. This provides a final check on the quality of the green bean product and is a practice unique to booth Papua New Guinea and most other producing countries.
A cup of superbly flavored Sigri coffee is the culmination of years of experience, time proven methods of growing and processing, and the most stringent attention to maintaining standards and quality control.