This season we went with what they call Kula processing. Kula processing means only washed processed beans, dried on raised drying beds and double screened via color sorter and double hand picked. We team up with our buddy Vikram to ensure the highest top lot beans – always the best of the best from Carpenter Estates.
These Carpenter Estate coffees are gems – nothing like your traditional PNG coffees. Almost a 0 defect screen with immaculate processing. You can just look at the beans and see the care and time that went into them.
All coffee bearing the Carpenter Estate name is grown at over 5000 feet elevation. All of their estates consider soil and water conservation a top priority, and the plantation is bird and eco-friendly. The plantation employs a medium density shade strategy, using two types of shade trees. This promotes even ripening of coffee cherries and provides habitat for at least 90 species of birds.
These are washed processed Arabica coffee. Quality control begins in the field; coffee cherries are hand-picked and carefully checked for uniformity; it must be red and fully ripe which allows for the correct balance of sugar and acid within the cherry. This selected cherry is then pulped on the day of picking.
A fermentation process follows, for a period of three days broken every 24 hours by washing – but unlike most other brands, the Carpenter process follows this by total immersion in water for a further day, which creates a superior coffee. Careful conditioning of 21 days is followed by hulling, grading, color sorting and finally hand sorting. This combined with rigorous quality control before packing produces the finest green bean for which Carpenter is renowned.
All grades are then continuously sample-roasted and liquored by experts. This provides a final check on the quality of the green bean product, and is a practice unique in Papua New Guinea.
Similar to the Sigri coffee these beans are pretty low acidity in the cup, very clean in its profile. Smooth, rich and chocolaty with some spice note accents. Most would call it a pretty sweet chocolaty cup with a bit of spice. Very smooth cupping this year with no herbal tones or earthiness. Medium bodied with a sweeter edge, a cup almost anyone would enjoy. Kind of like a Sumatra coffee without all the earthy funk.
Very easy to roast – large screen peaberry beans that roast very even. Being fresh as can be they can take a little longer to get to 1st crack. Although some will like it, I would avoid the light roast points, one can get some underdeveloped chocolaty notes.
The quick story of Papua New Guinea Sigri (one can clear up a lot of information when you get on the ground somewhere):
What I and many others thought was Sigri Estate is actually Carpenter Estates – Sigri being only one of the areas of the estate (easily the most famous). The other two are Bunum Wo and Kindeng. Each of the three produces a different cup quality; PNG being full of microclimates really puts a different spin on each section. Each one is like its own village situated right next to each other, with separate wet mills, drying fields, nurseries, living quarters, and schools for each of the three sections. They do share a couple facilities (dry mill, bagging, trucking to port) and many staff.
Each of the three sections of Carpenter Estates has separate fields for different strains and top-notch agronomists to grow the best beans. Most of these folks have coffee in their blood. Being a part of the coffee here is a birthright for them (seen as a cradle to the grave philosophy). Great pride all around.