Papua New Guinea: Part 1, Baroida
Last fall, I tasted the best coffee I have ever tasted from Papua New Guinea. It was crisp and clean. It had sweet tropical fruit tones and delicious savory notes, and, ultimately, is the coffee that changed my opinion on the state of coffees from Papua New Guinea. That coffee – many of you may remember it – was called Baroida (Bar-oh-EE-da). And, if a coffee is that good, a trip to the other side of the globe is in order.

I left from Raleigh, on a Friday morning at 10 a.m., and arrived in Kainantu, Eastern Highlands, Sunday at 10 p.m.

The sights I woke up to the next morning in the Eastern Highland were worth it, though. Baroida is situated in the Lamari River valley, which is full of gorgeous rolling mountains of grassland with a smattering of forest pockets as far as the eye can see. The terrain of the farm and the surrounding area was unlike anything I had seen where coffee is grown. I was told it is a lot like Uganda, but from my own experience, which does not include Uganda, it was a weird blend of California and Brazil grassland.

Regardless, when I met Chris Colbran with his fiancé Melody Chacon, and later his father Nickel, I was dying to know about the history of this place and their history as the producers of Baroida.

I spent the next three days driving around the farm and the surrounding villages, tasting coffee, and having good conversions with the Colbrans and pretty much everyone I met. I came out of the visit with a whole new appreciation for Papua New Guinea, and especially the work that goes into Baroida.

Nickel – the second-generation owner of the farm – is a smart, opinionated guy who impressed me on a daily basis with his driving nature for continual improvement to the systems that make the farm operate. It seemed like every few minutes Nickel was discussing some method that he had tried to implement for producing better coffee. Nickel's son and soon-to-be daughter-in-law, Chris and Melody, have a lot of that same spirit, and I can already see big changes happening in the future. The Colbran family has only been exporting their own coffee for a little more than a year now – the lot we bought last year was the first coffee they ever exported! – and I can only imagine the great things that this farm and family are capable of.

For the whole story and an in-depth look at Baroida and the other projects the Colbrans are working on, scroll through the Flickr set and check out the captions.

Cheers,
Tim
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