Category Archives: papua new guinea

Yopno Coffee Training

| October 17, 2014

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The YUS Conservation Area includes three distinct regions, named for the main rivers and languages spoken – Yopno, Uruwa, and Som.  It was four years ago that we began to work with the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program (TKCP) in developing a sustainable coffee program as part of their mission to improve the livelihoods of those who have pledged their land for conservation.  The pilot project began in Uruwa, which had the most coffee and also were furthest along in terms of management and processing know how.  Having just completed our fourth harvest with the farmers of Uruwa, we have turned our focus to Yopno.

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After a delayed flight and a considerable amount of waiting, I arrived at the Teptep airstrip with Benjamin, Daniel, and six coffee pulpers.  After a brief snack we hiked to the village of Nian, where the workshops were to take place. More than 70 farmers had gathered from the surrounding villages to take part in the training.  As livelihoods coordinator for TKCP, Benjamin has a wealth of knowledge and experience teaching about quality coffee production.  Joining him was Daniel of the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC), and Namu, a Yopno community leader, one of the first to pledge land for conservation.

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Over the course of four days we covered the topics of garden management, pruning, harvesting, cherry selection, pulping, washing, fermentation, and drying.  On the final day we tasted YUS coffee (from Uruwa) together and spoke with anticipation of the day that the quality of Yopno coffee would be included.  We are setting a goal for the harvest of 2015 for the first export from Yopno to Caffe Vita.  First, the farmers must finish pruning and cleaning their gardens, organize into groups to set up their pulpers and construct solar driers, and construct a storage warehouse near the airstrip.

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We spent the following few days visiting villages throughout the region, meeting with farmers and checking out their coffee gardens.  As Caffe Vita’s buyer I am filled with anticipation and excitement for the people of Yopno and their coffee.  Having witnessed the positive impact in the Uruwa region, we are looking forward to replicating the same success in Yopno.  Additionally, from a quality standpoint, the farmers of Yopno have the potential to produce some truly exquisite coffee that will be among the highest grown in the world.  Our GPS read out elevations of 2000-2400 meters above sea level at all of the farms we visited.  With massive swings in temperature between day and night, ridiculously fertile black soils, and old growth heirloom varieties of coffee, the sky is the limit.

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Coffee and Conservation

| September 26, 2014

Earlier this week I had the privilege of attending the United Nations Equator Prize Award Ceremony at Lincoln Center in New York City. Every two years, this prestigious award is given to projects that have successfully protected biodiversity while reducing poverty within indigenous communities and as Caffe Vita’s Green Coffee Buyer, I felt honored to be among groundbreaking conservationists from around the world.

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Of the 1,234 nominations this year, Caffe Vita’s friends and partners at the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program (TKCP) in Papua New Guinea were one of the few that received this prestigious award.  A key reason that they were chosen was due to Caffe Vita’s involvement with the coffee program over the past 4 years.  Revenues generated by our purchases have supported community health, education, and conservation projects for the people living in this region.

 

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The awards ceremony featured celebrity guests and conservation leadership from around the globe.  Al Gore gave a riveting speech on climate change and how grass roots projects such as TKCP are at the forefront of the war against climate change.  Jane Goodall also spoke, saying that ‘a healthy well managed forest can lead to economic improvement.’ The ceremony also featured musical performances from Jackson Browne, Bon Iver, and Feist.

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By working with indigenous communities in Papua New Guinea, TKCP has established a conservation area of more than 180,000 acres, including the pristine cloud forests that are home to the endangered tree kangaroo.  With deforestation being one of the leading causes of global warming, this project received special recognition for sustainable forest management.

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Coffee is unique in that it is a cash crop that can and should be cultivated under native shade trees in diverse, living ecosystems.  Part of our mission here at Caffe Vita is to have direct involvement with the farmers that grow our coffee.  Next week I will be returning to Papua New Guinea to help conduct training workshops near the Yopno River, a new area for the coffee project.  I look forward to working hand in hand with the indigenous people and local agronomists to teach proper pruning, garden management and processing techniques.

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We are honored to be involved in a project that has had a positive and measurable impact on the environment while also improving the livelihoods of the communities vital to maintaining the health of the planet.

 

 

Yopno Uruwa Som coffee has arrived!

| December 8, 2011

We are happy to report that our first shipment of coffee from the Yopno Uruwa Som conservation area has arrived in Seattle. Knowing the journey that this coffee has made is truly inspiring — from the remote mountains of the Finisterre Range in the Huon peninsula to our warehouse on Pike St. in Seattle. This would not have been possibile without the dedication and work of so many people, including the farmers who have embraced the program and revitalized their trees, members of the Coffee Industry Corporation who provided training and guidance, and all of the amazing people involved with the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program. We are in the evaluation and development stages of preparing this coffee for release, and so far our cuppings have shown a sweet, delicate coffee with flavors of cocoa, tropical fruit, and citrus.  We hope to have this Farm Direct coffee ready to roast and serve in early 2012. 

Vita Featured in Fresh Cup Magazine

| November 30, 2011
Our green buyer Daniel Shewmaker visits Papua New Guinea.

Our collaboration with the Woodland Park Zoo was recently featured in Fresh Cup Magazine:

The story behind Caffe Vita’s…Papua New Guinea coffee starts with a marsupial.

The animal in question, an endangered species called the tree kangaroo, resembles a bear shrunk to the size of a squirrel. It’s not a creature most coffee drinkers have likely heard of, but its habitat in the high-elevation jungles of Papua New Guinea’s Huon Peninsula happens to also be an area where Arabica thrives.

A recent initiative from Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo and Vita’s buying and roasting team aims to stabilize—and increase—the tree-dweller’s numbers by helping indigenous villages in the area earn money through their distinct-tasting coffee rather than selling their land to timber and energy companies. “This gives us an opportunity,” says Danny Samandingke, a farmer and teacher from the area who was at last month’s Coffee Fest Seattle, standing beside Caffe Vita baristas as they brewed samples of the region’s product. “There are so many challenges in the country, but this gives us hope.”

Read the full article here

Zoo Special Reserve is now available at all of our cafes and in our online shop.