Mike Collin's great Uncle, Jim Leahy was living in Goroka in the highlands of Papua New Guinea (PNG). During World War 2 he was approached by the General, Douglas MacArthur to grow Cinchona trees at Aiyura in the highlands of PNG. 100 acres of Cinchona trees were planted during the war. The bark of these trees was used to produce quinine, which was the main treatment for Malaria at the time.
Jim was supplied with a couple of Dutch farmers from Indonesia to assist in the growing of the Cinchona trees, these farmers recognised that the area would also be perfect for growing coffee. Jim obtained some coffee seeds and started to grow coffee, this is how and where the PNG coffee industry started.
Mike's great Uncle, Jim Leahy
Mike’s father got involved in the PNG coffee industry in the late 1950’s. He started buying coffee from the locals in the Highlands of PNG in the Goroka / Chimbu areas in business with Jim Leahy, they shipped off their first shipment of coffee beans. After a couple of months had passed, they still hadn’t received payment so Mike's father left PNG and started to grow bananas in North QLD, Australia. 7 months later he received a letter from Jim stating that he had just received payment, that the product and prices was very good he'd better come back - so he did.
Mike’s Father and Mother then established a coffee buying and processing business in the Chimbu valley living in a grass hut in 1960.
Mike's Parents' first home, a typical PNG grass hut
A short time later, a new house and coffee processing factory was built
Mike still has numerous family members involved in the coffee industry in PNG today.
You will find Chesterson Coffee growing on the Collins’ family property located on the outskirts of Tinaroo township in Far North Queensland. A true labour of love, Chesterson Coffee is grown and processed by Husband-and-Wife team, Mike and Caroline Collins, locally on the Atherton Tablelands.
Chesterson Coffee is a variety named Catuai Rojo of the Arabica family; this variety is the main type of coffee being cultivated on the Atherton Tablelands.
Each coffee bean requires a unique balance of temperature and time to reach its individual peak of aroma, acidity, body, and flavour. Chesterson Coffee is a beautiful, full bodied, smooth tasting espresso roast with multiple chocolate notes - it goes very well with milk, a smooth every day coffee.