Papa New Guinea’s national coffee regulatory authority has implemented new and simplified coffee grading standards. With this new scheme, a key obstacle that was keeping smallholder farmers from achieving the highest grade has been removed. Recent workshops were conducted to inform stakeholders of the revised standards.

Published in late 2020 by Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) and approved by the National Institute of Standards and Industrial Technology (NISIT), the new grading standards aim to tackle the price discrimination against smallholders in the coffee industry. Prior to the current reforms, smallholders were restricted, as coffees not cultivated on large plantations could not be awarded the country’s top grade, regardless of their quality. 

In addition to removing this limitation, the revised green bean standards and new regulation policy guidelines simplify the number of Arabica grade categories to five: A, B, Y, Y2 and Y3. The three top grades can, however, be designated a numerical suffix to indicate screen size. Mick Wheeler, a long-time PNG coffee industry representative, stated: 

For Arabica, the new A grade effectively replaces AA, A, AB, C, PB, C, X, and E, all of which had similar cupping qualities. The new B grade replaces the existing PSC grade, with Y becoming Y1, Y2 remaining essentially the same, and Y3, less restrictive. In Robusta, R1 is a completely new superior grade, which will apply to any better-quality Robusta coffee produced in future that will be destined for the specialty market.

CIC and the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA Plus) conducted a four-day workshop with support from Australian and New Zealand Governments. This workshop, held in Port Moresby for coffee stakeholders in the Southern region, had the objective of sharing revised standards with all involved parties. The workshop also provided an opportunity for participants to discuss issues pertaining to documentation, industry gaps that require specific training, as well as the Online Export Manager System. Similar workshops were also held by CIC in coffee-producing areas of the Highlands, Momase and Island regions.

These new and improved standards should ensure that smallholder coffee farmers can receive the grade they deserve based on the coffee quality they produce.


  1. Mr. Wheeler
    Congrats for the good work on grading small scale farmers coffee. Is it possible to share this grading system. I will appreciate.
    Joseph Kimemia

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *