ABV has temporarily branched out from our usual business focus helping a Canberra barista to participate in the third edition of the PNG National Coffee Cupping Competition.

ABV has recently established a partnership with the PNG Coffee Industry Corporation with plans for several assignments focused on building the capacities of core elements of the business and the broader coffee industry. However, one of CIC’s first requests under the new partnership was for an expert barista to help with the Coffee Cupping Competition. Being business-focused ABV had no barista registered among our volunteers. We did however know that A. Baker does awesome coffee so we asked their head barista Samantha Belt if she’d be interested in hopping over to PNG!

Over several days Samantha operated the coffee machine showing local growers and distributors how Australians make and drink their coffees, and finding it a novel experience to be enthusiastically watched doing what is a fairly unremarkable activity back home.

A team of international judges presided over the competition including Sam Say of Bolaven Hong Kong, Gabriel Tan of Blacklist coffee in Perth, Australia, Harry Ko of Dukes Coffee in Melbourne, Australia, Chris Jackson of Five Senses Perth, Australia, Adi Taroepratjeka of 5758 coffee lab, Indonesia, Jose Pablo Juarez Solis from Costa Rica and Fraser Lovell of Coffee Supreme in New Zealand.

A total of 128 coffees entered the national event which were assessed and screened down to ten which received awards.

According to Samantha, “The coffees I have tasted in the last two days are on par with some of the best quality coffees that we have sourced from other leading coffee countries.” She added that the specialty coffee is definitely a growing market and there is potential for PNG to fully participate in this high niche market.

The Coffee Cupping Competition aims at showcasing the PNG coffee industry and players along the value chain and most importantly, connecting farmers to buyers. Since the inception of the competition in 2014, more than 150 coffee cooperatives have participated and benefited with more than K450,000 as direct sales from their coffee.