Papua New Guinea’s climate is tropical. The coastal plains average a temperature of 28°C, the inland and mountain areas 26°C and the higher mountain regions 23°C. Papua New Guinea’s relative humidity ranges between 70 and 90 percent.
The country’s extreme variations in rainfall are linked with the monsoons. Typically, Papua New Guinea has a dry season (June to September) and a rainy season (December to March). Western and northern parts of Papua New Guinea experience the most precipitation.
Charley’s sources its cocoa from Karkar Island which is north of Port Moresby at a latitude of 4.6464° N and longitude 145.973° E. In comparison, Ghana has a latitude of 2° 00 W and Ivory Coast of 5° 32 W. So Karkar Island is favourably located for cocoa growing.
Annual rainfall in the Madang province, which includes Karkar Island, is typically between 3,000mm and 4,000mm. This is comparable to Mission beach rainfall which averages 3,410mm per annum.
Cocoa is Papua New Guinea’s third largest agricultural export. In global terms PNG produces just under 1% of the world’s cocoa crop which, in 2019/20, equates to 40,000 metric tonnes.
Charley’s has a very long history with Papua New Guinea. Our very first chocolate bar ever was made from Papua New Guinean cocoa beans which we imported from the Madang province. Soon chocolate using Papua New Guinea beans became a favourite of Charley’s customers for its rich bold flavours.
The cocoa seeds planted at Charley’s Mount Edna Mission Beach plantation back in 2012 were hybrid varieties of Trinitario and Forestero from the Cocoa Coconut Institute research station at Madang in Papua New Guinea.
We were later introduced by Hannah Wheaton, Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Plus Program Advisor to Papua New Guinean growers from Karkar, a volcanic island 30 kilometres off the north coast of mainland Papua New Guinea. Karkar Island’s a highly fertile place and home to some of the world’s best produced copra plantations. Given the fertile soil Charley’s 70% dark chocolate produced from Karkar Island cocoa is rich and full bodied. And our 52% Karkar Island milk chocolate is often described as ‘decadent’.
In 2017 Lynn was invited as a judge to Papua New Guinea’s inaugural Cocoa Show-Cocoa Warwagira held in Kokopo near Rabaul. The Cocoa Show focused on improving Papua New Guinea’s cocoa quality to better meet international market needs and thereby improve export potential. The team of judges, including Lynn, was headed by UK based global cocoa and chocolate expert, Martin Christy.
The judging process at global cocoa awards is very complex beginning with the beans and assessing product types from each stage including chocolate and cocoa liquor. The judges’ blind tasting (no plantation names were revealed) evaluated more than 80 cocoa samples and took three days to complete. When the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners were announced, Lynn was absolutely delighted that Charley’s Karkar Island chocolate was awarded the Silver Medal–an exciting moment!
Lynn was invited back to Papua New Guinea to judge the second Cocoa Show held in Late in July 2019. Lynn and Luke Spencer (from Spencer Cocoa New South Wales) were very impressed at the much improved flavour profiles achieved by local farmers in a little over two years.
We continue to support Papua New Guinea and the Pacific. In addition to our current Papua New Guinea bean imports, we’ve also imported beans from Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.
SourcesAustralian Government Bureau of MeteorologyWeather Online