Choice coffee, spicy and complex in its flavors – its production alone is an art unto itself. Producing it in a way that benefits all participants, is another work of art altogether.
Yet this is precisely our claim. What good is an opulent espresso to anyone if forests are destroyed and the soil is contaminated with aggressive chemicals just to produce it? And does the finest single origin Arabica taste good to you if the coffee farmers can’t even send their children to school with the money they make from it?
Not to us. That’s why we work together with Fairtrade and pay the prices set by the organization. That’s why all of our coffees are organic, grown in small cultivations under shade trees. Which in turn is a reason why it tastes so outrageously delicious. And the others?
We would be happy to tell you about that as well – all you need to do is simply scroll down
Whoever believed back in 1986 that using biodynamic coffee farming in Papua New Guinea would be a great idea was, in fact, correct. Even if it was a pretty crazy, adventurous idea – above all, economically.
Back then organic coffee was virtually unheard of – to say nothing of Demeter Quality. So, in principle, a good starting point. And even Papua New Guinea was the ultimate insider’s tip for the best Arabicas back then. All that was missing was someone who believed in it as firmly as we did. Eventually we found him: Joachim Bauck, quite simply one of the most important pioneers in the organic movement. With Bauck as our buyer, Raimund Remer as a farming advisor and lots and lots of coffee plant care, things got going in 1986 with a mere ½ container of “bio-dyn” (biodynamic) coffee from the plantation near Mount Hagen. And that then became, to no one’s surprise, the namesake of our organic brand, together with the bird of paradise – the heraldic animal of Papua New Guinea. Got it?(read more – click the arrow on the right)
Well... Papua New Guinea was (and is) not only an exotic coffee country. It is a beautiful, untamed country in which extremely different and sometimes rival tribes live, along with lots of foreigners who are only interested in its natural resources. A potential for conflict that we got caught up in as well.
Some time after the first shipments of coffee, Raimund Remer and his wife had to leave the plantation because their lives were threatened. Hard to imagine but true – and a major setback for us. Later, the loss of the Demeter certification was an additional setback, since no cattle were able to be kept on the plantation – the hillsides were simply too steep. However, their manure and the preparations that are produced to improve both the soil as well as the plants are simply fundamental to the principle of a “closed loop” at Demeter.(read more – click the arrow on the right)
In all honesty, we left Papua New Guinea alone...
for a few years. We found our bearings again, looked for new plantations, for example in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Honduras, Peru and later in Africa as well. We convinced the farmers that organic coffee was more profitable than coca. Together with them and their cooperatives, we built up the infrastructure that made Mount Hagen what it is today. The epitome of choice coffee whose original flavors always give you a sense of the adventure behind their origin.
Incidentally, we did return to Mount Hagen of course. And we currently produce 50-60 containers per year of the most wonderful organic fair trade Arabica coffees in Papua New Guinea. Success.
Organic or Demeter coffee does not grow by itself. The owners of the plantations, which are usually very small – these are often only “coffee gardens” with 10-30 coffee trees – need support with a lot of aspects:
botanically, geologically, structurally, etc. Our development aid always incorporates the existing structures, such as universities, non-governmental organizations, etc. and is focused on long-term collaboration. This means guaranteed acceptance at the guaranteed, stipulated fair trade prices. Or acquiring the necessary machinery. Or spontaneous financial aid, for example, for building schools in Papua New Guinea. Or to promote the whole thing from the other side as well: We support “Guck ma”, a German photography project that promotes youth involvement with fair trade, fairness and respect. Ultimately we’re not alone in the world.
It’s what you get from organic farming, carefully selected beans and slow roasting.
To make it short: Choice, original coffees and espressos. A whole lot of people need to do a whole lot of work in order for these fresh and delicious coffees and espressos to make their way to your cup. Coffee is a luxury – in spite of current fashion. And that applies even more so to really good coffee like Mount Hagen’s. Do you know how many hours of effort, care and instinct can be found, for example, in a cup of Papua New Guinea single origin? No idea? Then let’s calculate it:(read more – click the arrow on the right)
One kilogram of green coffee needs 5-7 kg of coffee berries.
Harvest per tree: 1.2 kg per harvest
Time to collect the fruit per tree: 40 minutes per harvest
Coffee cultivation isn’t exactly easy. As with wine, the quality depends on the soil conditions, terroir, climate and precipitation. Not to mention the organic standards, no chemical fertilizers, no pesticides, sustainable water resource management, etc.
For example, our Papua New Guinea single origin comes from the volcanic highlands around Mount Hagen and Goroka. There, the climate is balanced – temperatures rarely exceed 85° or fall below 50°F, there is sufficient rain and no droughts, such as in Ethiopia. And the soil is very rich in minerals. On approximately 5000 square feet, our Arabicas are nurtured, cared for, picked by hand and carefully selected in almost 3000 small coffee gardens under shade trees such as the casuarina, eucalyptus, banana and papaya tree. It’s why we call it “Coffee for Connoisseurs”.(read more – click the arrow on the right)
The high altitude allows the coffee berries to grow quite slowly, which results in pronounced flavors and greater resilience of the plants. The plant sociology between trees and crops improves the soil quality, provides shade – so that less water evaporates – and also even provides food for the families of the farmers. In addition, birds, bees and other animals colonize in forest gardens like this, which results in fewer pests.
But harvesting is pure manual labor, particularly with the coffee gardens often lying on steep hillsides.But more about that on the next page.
Even harvesting the coffee has similarities with the grape harvest for wine-making:
Only really ripe (red) berries are picked by hand. Green berries would not be aromatic; black berries, i.e., overripe berries, would taste foul. A lot of experience is needed to recognize the optimum degree of ripeness because the time when the fruit is ready to harvest depends a lot on the respective climate and precipitation. However, this care is always worthwhile; it is the basis of the opulent flavors.
Shortly after the harvest, the coffee is prepared using the “wet method”. This means that the berries are placed in water tanks that allow the pulp of the fruit to swell, they are then pulped, fermented, washed multiple times and dried for 8-10 days. Such “washed” coffees are of particular high quality due to their nuanced, distinctive flavors. That’s the short version.(for the long version of our coffee preparation – click the arrow on the right)
Just about every step from the berry to green coffee is decisive to its taste. That’s why we allow our coffees to ferment in the water tanks after pulping, for instance. There, the fermenting process runs at a slower and more controlled pace – the aromas become more nuanced. Afterwards, the beans are washed multiple times, also in order to sort out “floaters,” beans without seeds or with underdeveloped seeds. In the next step, this so-called parchment coffee is dried naturally because this also then ensures better quality.
In contrast to quick, mechanical drying, we give our beans time to develop: they are placed in flat drying beds in the sun for up to ten days, where they are regularly turned and covered during the hot midday sun as well as at nights, until they achieve the optimal residual moisture of 11.5%. After peeling and polishing they are again carefully selected by hand in order to sort out broken beans or foreign bodies, for example.
Then they are shipped to to us in Hamburg for the roasting.But more about that on the next page.
At least when it comes to good coffee beans.
In contrast to “shock” industrial roasting, our beans are gently refined in drum roasters at just under 400°F for at least 11 minutes. Only through this process can they truly develop their complex flavors – incidentally, there are over 800 different flavors. By the same token, over the course of this time-intensive process, fruit acids (chlorogenic acids) that are hard on the stomach are broken down. Only finely nuanced acids remain and give our coffee its character. That’s why we roast our espressos even longer – for at least for 14 minutes: It’s what makes them so opulent, soft and spicy. (read more – click the arrow on the right)
The roast master always decides precisely how long the roasting lasts. He constantly takes samples, examines the color, appearance and scent and can precisely determine the ideal time thanks to his years of experience. Extending or shortening the roasting period by just a few seconds can give rise to completely different bouquets from the very same green coffee.