PNG Trip Recap

PNG Trip Recap

Recently, Guy (Melbourne Office) and I (Henrik, New Zealand Office) visited Papua New Guinea, to see our long standing friend and partner Jerry Kapka, founder of Kongo Coffee. 

Having worked with Kongo Coffee for many years, we are huge fans of the coffee they produce, and the incredible work Jerry does with not only the farmers he buys from, but the community they reside in. With another successful trip complete, we wanted to share what Guy and I got up to during our 4, fun filled days in PNG.

Day 1 - The Mill
After a long day of travel, we arrived in Goroka. Bright and early the next morning Jerry Kapka picked us up at 8am and we started day one off with a tour of Jerry's original Kongo warehouse in Goroka, a building that he still operates to this day. 
From there it was off to the mill and the Kongo Coffee headquarters. located in the neighbouring Simbu province. The machinery and equipment at the mill was very new and well maintained; an impressive change in infrastructure from alternative operations often seen in PNG. The key excitement for our team was the passion of the Kongo team, exhibiting pride around their workspace and the role they play in creating some of PNG's most sought after coffee lots. 


After a quick lunch, we were taken 2,050 meters above sea level to Mount Elimbari, witnessing an even more magnificent view of the mountains and valleys that make up PNG's landscape. The day finished with an organised cupping demonstrating some of Kongo's recently harvested lots and a discussion behind maximizing our partnership's potential.

Day 2 - The Buying Station
Day two was a chance for us to experience first hand the buying process of Kongo. We headed to Kundiawa the main town of Simbu, in the trusty Toyota Landcruiser, to see one of Kongo Coffee's buying stations. Several growers arrived while we were there to sell their lots, with quantities presented ranging from tonnes, to as little as just 7 kilograms.


The fantastic thing was seeing Jerry offering growers more than market price for their coffee that met his quality demands and expectations. 

This reinforces Kongo's commitment to quality coffee and his expectations for Kongo's produce, incentivizing growers to work hard on their lots to create better quality. We then headed back to Kongo HQ for a special sight, with one of my (Henrik's) next Kongo container lots being picked.

I was even lucky enough to take a place at the final picking table and help the ladies of Kongo with the final quality sorting process. The giggles of the ladies surrounding me gave the impression that I was not helping very much, but it was a great experience nonetheless. After this, it was time to discuss the needs and qualities for the upcoming season.

Day 3 - The School
On day 3 Jerry took us to the growers' gardens around Mount Elimbari, and we had the opportunity to stop and talk to the growers and their families, including the curious and cheeky children of the elementary school that the Jerry Kapka foundation sponsors. 

A true credit to Jerry Kapka, who is well respected in his community, and locals have nothing but praise for him. The community work he does is truly exceptional, bettering lives for growers and the people of Simbu, and the same can be said of his staff at Kongo. It is a privilege to have such a strong partnership with Kongo and be involved in Jerry's mission to help the people of PNG.