FIVE representatives from the coffee industry in PNG were privileged to attend a weeklong master roaster’s training in Brisbane, Australia from August 12th to 16th, 2016.

The participants included officers from Banz Kofi Fektori, Duffys café, Sirigine Coffee Producers, Colbran coffeelands and the Coffee Industry Corporation. An invitation was sent early in May to the current 11 licensed coffee manufacturers in the country, from which selections were made for participants to undergo the training.

The training was conducted by a coffee training company in Brisbane. Founder and owner of Wolff Coffee Roasters, Peter Wolff, took the participants through the weeklong training at the Wolff College of coffee.

Wolff has been in the coffee industry for more than 30 years and with the recent training, the PNG coffee industry hopes it can better the understanding of our local quality officers in the aspects of roasting and cupping.

The training aims at teaching selected coffee roasters and potentially exporters, particularly local Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs), to improve their roasting skills in order to enter the competitive roasted coffee market abroad.

Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) General Manager for Industry Operations Mr Steven Tumae said the training was important for the local roasters to be competitive to meet the demands in the ever increasing interest in specialty coffees, and roast segment of the diverse coffee market.

“Roasting is a very delicate process and therefore, we anticipate that the training will equip our roasters to fully bring out PNG’s unique and intrinsic cup qualities, and are further exposed for both the domestic and international consumers to enjoy."

Mr Tumae added that the challenge for new and existing roasters interested in entering this specialty market is to understand the point of difference displayed by their coffee, such as the specific characteristics and flavours, and how to develop and maintain these through correct roasting methods.

He acknowledged the partnership between CIC and PHAMA (Pacific Horticultural & Agricultural Market Access program) for making the training possible in sponsoring the participant’s round- trip to Australia.

Travers Chue, owner of Duffy café in Port Moresby, was part of this recent training and spoke of his appreciation for the course- “Australia is the forefront for specialty coffee and are always pushing the boundary in finding new ways in research and development in the coffee industry. The recent training has been an eye opener for most roasters in seeing and learning what the market is after in Australia, and especially in the specialty arena. It was very beneficial for all of us to go down there and see what people are doing in the industry in Australia.”

Samuel Rafanna who works for Sirigine coffee, a local coffee company in Goroka, said the training has been a great opportunity for him to grasp new ideas to apply to what he is currently doing. “I have been roasting coffee from experience only but the training has opened new doors for me to explore and take in as a way forward to enhance the way I do roasting for our company.”

The training was delivered in two components over the five days course. The first three days looked at mastering the craft of roasting and cupping. This included introduction to the drum roaster, its operations, safety and maintenance procedures, basic concepts of heat application and airflow.

The other two days focused on advanced roasting and cupping. The participants were introduced to the concept of blending for end use as well as single origin roasting.

In addressing some of the industry challenges to market access and development, a Q-graders training is scheduled for November 14th -19th, 2016 in Aiyura, Eastern Highlands Province. Further notice on application and other course outlines will be announced once all is confirmed in the coming weeks.

PHAMA is an Australian government funded initiative aimed at establishing sustainable agriculture networks and facilitating market access programs throughout the South Pacific. PHAMA will be working closely with CIC to host the next training in November.

Photo 1-Samuel Rafanna at the Wolff coffee college in Australia during the 5 days master roaster’s course and Photo 2- Participants from PNG coffee industry with counterparts from Australia during the training in August, 2016 in Brisbane, Australia.