OZPRESSO is an Australian coffee shop in Charlotte North Carolina in the United States. Its owner is Geoff Broomhead (pictured).
The shop specialises in distinctly Australian drinks and food and has a close link with Papua New Guinea.
Geoff’s grandfather, Jeff Broomhead, fell in love with Papua New Guinea while serving with the Royal Australian Air Force during World War II.
After the war was over, in 1956, he returned to PNG with his wife, Josie, and four sons (one of whom, Richard, was profiled in PNG Attitude earlier this week).
Jeff and his family began clearing virgin soil and planted 150 acres of Arabica coffee plants at an altitude of 5,500 feet in the Wahgi Valley of the Western Highlands.
It was here in a perfect climate that Baglaga plantation began to flourish. Jeff employed 150 local villagers, with that number swelling to 400 during the harvest.
The Broomhead plantation was about 16 km from Mount Hagen, which at the time had no school or hospital. So Jeff built both on the plantation to serve the local population.
He was elected a councillor for his area, spending many hours in low, smoke-filled huts solving village problems.
As the Broomhead sons went off to other things, Jeff’s grandson, Geoff, ran Baglaga, selling the plantation in the 1970s to the local people who still own and operate it.
When old Jeff and his wife died, their ashes were returned to the plantation and interred in a memorial built by the new owners. The inscription on the memorial reads: “Jeff and Josie Broomhead, of Baglaga plantation Mount Hagen, who loved this land and the people. They rest in peace in the soil of a friendly country. In God’s care.”
And so the Broomhead coffee legacy has now moved to the USA and is being lived out through Ozpresso’s owner Geoff.