Conservation Coffee

| August 17, 2011

photo courtesy of Ryan Hawk, Woodland Park Zoo



We have received an encouraging report from our partner in Morobe Province that the first load of YUS conservation coffee has been safely flown from the Sapmanga airstrip to Nadzab and is now being awaiting its sister shipment at a facility in Goroka. The remaining coffee is being stored at Yawan, but due to unfavorable weather it has yet to be picked up. Sapmanga and Yawan are the two villages in the Uruwa that posess airstrips – making them the vital hubs of transport for this coffee. As I witnessed first hand, the flights out of these grass, muddy airstrips can be highly irregular due to the weather and whims of the aviation company. Our hope is for the remaining coffee to be picked up from Yawan and delivered to Goroka, where it will be milled and bagged for a scheduled September shipment across the Pacific to Seattle.

For those of you not familiar with the project, Caffe Vita has joined the Woodland Park Zoo to work towards strengthening the longevity and success of the first ever conservation area to be established in Papua New Guinea, the YUS Conservation Area. Named after the three main rivers that flow through the area, the Yopno, Uruwa, and Som carve majestic valleys through this rugged terrain- one of the most biologically diverse in the world. The conservation area was only made possible by the cooperation of over 35 villages in the region and the landowners who have agreed to set aside their valuable resources for future generations. In addition, we are donating $1 to the Woodland Park Zoo for every bag of Zoo Special Reserve coffee beans we sell at our cafes or online.

The people of YUS are primarily subsistence farmers, cultivating an array of sweet potatoes, taro, cassava, greens, and fruits. In addition, a few cash crops such as tobacco, betel nut, and coffee are grown, but finding a potential buyer can be a challenge. YUS is remote, no roads lead to this region, so all goods heading towards the market must be flown (or walked). The cost and availability of airfrieght can make selling these crops close to impossible, yet currency is necessary for education and healthcare. For the improvement of these communities and the preservation of their land, we aim to provide a consistent market for their remarkable coffee.

Our goal is to establish the structure necessary for the transport of this coffee out of YUS and onwards to Seattle, where we hope the roasted coffee will find a following — the success of this project depends on it. For a sneak peak of the flavor profile you can expect when the coffee lands, we will be hosting a cupping of the coffees from each of the villages we visited. Details to be posted on this blog soon. In the meantime, you can enjoy this slideshow from our recent trip.

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