Papua’s “Blue Mountain Coffee”

Like many an Englishman, I’m rather partial to a cup of tea but if I’m honest, coffee beats it in the battle for my favourite hot beverage. So, when I heard that they grow coffee up in the mountains near the village of Moanamani here in Papua (at 5000ft), and that this particular coffee crop was established by the Dutch during the colonial era using beans from Jamaica’s Blue Mountain region, I just had to get hold of some to try!

Green coffee beans from Monamani, Papua

It was surprisingly easy to get hold of it, all I had to do was ask! As Moanamani is one of the larger villages we actually have a guy there, Dessi, to help organise passengers wanting to fly to and from the airport. A quick call to him and I had a bag of coffee, direct from the hills ready and waiting for me when I’d parked the aircraft up on the apron.

Typical shop bought coffee in Indonesia

However, all was not so good with the coffee I’d managed to get my hands on. Sadly this stuff (pictured above), is prepared in the traditional Indonesian way which I’m really not a fan of. For those who don’t know, the method involves taking the freshly picked and dried coffee beans and roasting them until they’re black as coal. Then the beans are ground up into a powder similar in consistency to flour.

To drink this coffee you put a teaspoon of the powder into a cup and add boiling water. Then stir, add sugar if required, and wait for it to settle before drinking. It tastes like dirt in my opinion. I still find it incredible that such a huge coffee producing nation, on the whole, still haven’t learnt the methods employed by the nations that enjoy the coffee they produce. Anyway, attempt two resulted in me getting hold of some freshly dried beans, ready for me to roast and grind for myself.

The beginning of the roasting process

Now, as much as I enjoy coffee, I actually had no idea how to roast the beans. Thankfully the internet knows all and after a bit of reading, as well as asking some friends, I set to roasting a small sample of the beans in a saucepan, on a gas hob.

About mid-way through the roasting process

It took about 30 mins of roasting, popping and stirring to get to the colour I was looking for. I think that might have been a little too long, judging by what I’ve read online so next time I’ll try a hotter flame for less time to get the same colour.

The finished roasted beans

Anyway, once ground up and prepared in a cafeti√®re (or coffee press or plunger – depending where you come from) it tasted great! Nothing like the dirt I’d tried previously thankfully. The beans have a lovely smooth taste and are not bitter at all, requiring no sugar and just a splash of milk. Can’t wait to experiment further with the roasting and try making some espresso when I get back to Timika. Living in the jungle does have it advantages!

Time to enjoy some coffee!
Matt Dearden

Matt Dearden

English born professional pilot, writer, blogger and columnist. Currently flying the Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter in Papua, Indonesia.

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5 Responses

  1. Finn Felton says:

    How good is that you want to have a cup of coffee you can roast according to your taste and prepare a great cup of coffee at home.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Finn Felton

    Kopi Luwak

  2. Finn Felton says:

    Hi Matt,
    That’s what i was trying to say. You can roast to get the best taste. Thanks for replying.

    Finn Felton

    Kopi Luwak

  3. Daniel Pasaribu says:

    Hi Matt,
    My name is Daniel Pasaribu, I’m Indonesian, now living in Bintaro South Tangerang. I like drinking coffee.
    I was searching about Blue Mountain Coffee, the story about where it planted (i find it out that this varietal of coffee is originated from the peak of Blue Mountain Jamaica), but never taste this coffee before. This keyword Blue Mountain bring me to your blog. I read that you had taste this Blue Mountain beans and you roasted them all by yourself, that’s pretty cool. I never know before that in Indonesia, there is Blue Mountain variety that planted in Moanemani and i’m keen to get this greenbean. If you please, can i get those too? Or who is Dessi? Can you get her/his contact (email or phone number) so i can get these Blue Mountain Coffee greenbeans too.
    Thanks Matt for sharing.

  4. Hi Mate, how are you, we meet before in Nabire and we flying to Degewo, to test the new air strip in degewo, i’m agree with you about monamani cofee it taste beautiful, i bring 15 Kg direct from monamani and i roasted in Jakarta, when we taste the expresso it sweet coffee and bit bitter. see you

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