With the era of privately owned plantation estates in PNG coming to an end, we see new opportunities arising to deliver the same unique coffee and quality through a modernized and inclusive supply chain. Although a relatively new initiative, the buying and milling operation that create our Kenta Coffee is a prime example of how a well located (wet)mill sup-ports the local communities that now own, operate, and maintain the amazing quality of the plantation estates from PNG’s pre-independence era.
The Kenta mill and its coffee are suitably named after the Kenta community where it is located. You can find Kenta village at a convenient 15-minute drive north from the Kagamuga (Mt. Hagen) airport, in the Western Highlands. The mill is beautifully situ-ated at the foothills of Mt. Ambra and surrounded by stunning mountain ranges and an impressive acre-age of former plantation blocks.
The Kenta area is a part of the vast Waghi Valley; the heart of PNG’s plantation estate region spanning across the Western Highlands and Jiwaka Provinc-es. Even more so, the Waghi Valley area has the highest density of (former) plantation blocks in the country. During PNG’s colonial era this was ‘ground zero’ of many well managed and immaculately mani-cured plantation estates.
After independence, most estates were returned to the original landowner groups. This means that the estates had to be divided in smaller blocks that are now managed as smallholder or subsistence farmer blocks. Over time, the absence of commercial milling capacity led to this excellent coffee being blended into anonymous batches of parchment bought ‘roadside’, that feed the large quantities of Y grade that PNG has to offer.
With the development of Kenta wet-mill, local farmers regained convenient market access to sell their cherry at their doorstep. At the same time the clean and modern facility ensures a high quality milling and post-harvest processing environment to maintain the amazing qualities of the coffee from this area.
If your PNG trip started in Goroka, you can still visit Kenta. This would take a 4+ hour’s drive along the famous Highlands Highway. This journey is well worth it, to experience PNG’s challenging road conditions, and foremost to enjoy the stunning landscapes. The trip will show you an amazing countryside and give you an idea of the vastness of the coffee regions in PNG.
In the Kenta plantation blocks one finds multiple arabica varieties; Typica, Arusha and some Bourbon, planted on fertile red, loamy-clay soils. The mill is situated at 1660 meters above sea level. Coffee is grown at an altitude between ca. 1600 and 1850 me-ters.
The coffee undergoes a fully washed process and is sun-dried on site. After drying, the parchment is transported to a state-of-the-art dry mill, located clos-er to Mt Hagen town.
Dry milling takes place after a few weeks of additional conditioning in a facility leased and controlled by New Guinea Highlands Coffee that exclusively process the Kenta coffee, lot by lot.
Careful lot separation, quality control and traceability ensure that each produced batch of Kenta A grade gets the quality evaluation it deserves when dis-patched to Goroka where the New Guinea Highlands Coffee Exports’ quality lab and warehousing facilities are located. Here, it receives the final stages of prep-aration for its new owner.