Eastern Highlands, Papua New Guinea
Beautiful, unique, and challenging hardly begin to tell the story of coffee in Papua New Guinea. Year after year, despite immense challenges, the Colbran family—owners of the Baroida farm—produce what we consider not just the best coffee out of Papua New Guinea, but possibly the best out of the whole Pacific. This impeccably curated lot, selected specifically for Counter Culture, features notes of candied walnut, molasses, and citrus.
The highlands of Papua New Guinea are so remote that outsiders did not venture there until the early 1900s, which meant that the country as a whole was a late-comer to the production of coffee. While the small country of Papua New Guinea is renowned for its remoteness and its rich cultural diversity—the country boasts more than 800 languages—it is also increasingly becoming recognized for its high quality coffee, some of which comes from the Baroida farm.
Baroida was founded by Ben Colbran and his wife Norma in the early 1960s, which up until 1965, with the help of the local Tairora tribe, mostly cultivated sweet potatoes and other subsistence crops. Located outside the town of Kainantu in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, this area is characterized by rolling grasslands, and is known for its remarkable climate and great conditions for growing coffee.
In 1965, Ben followed the government’s encouragement to plant coffee, making Baroida one of the first coffee farms in the area. The farm also served as a source from where many of the other growers in the area obtained their seeds to start their own farms.
Ben owned Baroida until 1979, when he sold the land to a trust, leaving his son Nichol, in charge. Nichol oversaw the operation until 1991, when he left to work on other projects. Six years later in 1997, Nichol bought the land back, but found that in the short time he had been gone, the farm had fallen into disrepair. Fortunately, the Colbran family immediately started to turn things around. In the last 10 years, the third generation of farmers including Nichol's son Chris, along with his wife Melody and his brother Rhett, have become integral to the operation. In addition to the Colbrans, there are more than two dozen key employees with years of experience who make this high quality coffee possible.
In 2009, the Colbran family fundamentally changed how they sell coffee by switching from larger commercial exporters—who would often just blend their amazing coffee into large undistinguished lots—to exporting the coffee themselves. This shift resulted in Baroida becoming one of the most recognized farms in the entire country for quality thanks to the family's focus on traceability, lot selection, and refinement of processing. For the last few years, the Colbrans have honed in on the way coffee is dried, milled, and exported. This lot represents our year of collaborating with this hardworking family, and we couldn't be more grateful for and impressed by their dedication to producing the best coffee possible.
(Bare oh EE dah)
The name Baroida comes from a traditional spirit that was believed to reside in a large rock that lies in the middle of the river that runs through the lands of the plantation. The reason it was believed to be a spirit is that even the largest river floods could not move this rock—even when all other stones and rocks were washed away.