Jamaican Blue Mountain – Coffee Jewel from the Heart of the Caribbean
If you truly love coffee, you have surely heard about the famous Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee. Grown on the Caribbean islands of Jamaica, this delicacy has become the 7th Most Expensive Coffee Worldwide. What is the reason behind it? Read to find out!
From France to the Caribbean
The history of Jamaican coffee takes us back to the early 18th century when French King Ludwig XV sent three coffee seedlings to the Caribbean. And he was in luck; there is hardly a better area for growing coffee than Jamaica. Five years later, in 1728 Sir Nicolas Lawes received a gift of just one coffee plant from the Governor of Martinique. He planted seven Arabica seedlings on his estate, and nine years later, the first coffee was exported back to Europe.
By 1814, there were over 600 coffee plantations on the island and Jamaica was on the fast track to become one of the most popular coffee growers in the world.
The Misty Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains of Jamaica are located in the eastern part of the island between Kingston and Port Antonio, reaching the staggering height of almost 2300 meters (7500 ft), making it one of the highest mountains in all of the Caribbean.
The true Blue Mountain Jamaican coffee must be grown at the altitude between 500 meters and 1600 meters (1600 – 5250 ft).
The fauna and flora of this place are so unique, it was designated as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2015. The numerous volcanic eruption enriched the local soil with minerals making it extremely fertile and a perfect place to grow coffee beans.
The island has its own micro-climate, filled with regular afternoon rains that leave the area covered in mist and protect the crops from the unforgiving sun. The cooler temperature and regular rainfall create the perfect condition for growing Arabica Typica, whose beans are larger than elsewhere in the world tinted with blue-green tinge.
The Taste of Caribbean Heaven
Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is famed for its unique taste; strong aroma, rich taste, and full body with medium acidity. The smell may remind some of the fresh beans, flowers, and the taste of cocoa beans.
How good is the coffee? Sir Ian Flemming, the creator of James Bond, liked it so much, he described it in his book Live and Let live as “the most delicious coffee in the world”.
Only One Original
Just like with Civet Coffee, the Jamaican Blue Mountain label is the only one if the world. Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is an Internationally Protected Trademark, labeled and approved only by the Coffee Industry Board.
In order for coffee to pass approval, it must be grown at an altitude of over 1,800 meters (6000 ft) in the parishes of Portland, St. Andrew, St. Mary and St. Thomas, in an area of roughly 6,000 hectares, where coffee is harvested by over 25,000 small growers.
Each barrel intended for export must pass through exhaustive control to ensure that all coffee that leaves the island is of the highest quality.
Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is 100% wet-processed and sun-dried. All beans rest for 8 weeks in controlled storage before they are packed and shipped to the customers.
Why is the Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee so expensive? Even though it is definitely delicious, it comes down to pure economics. Almost the entirety of the production is directed to Japan, so getting your hands on this treat might be a little tricky.
Annual export production is relatively low – less than 1350 tons, compared to Columbia, which exports the same amount in just 3 hours. Due to the limited amount (and high quality of coffee, of course), there is a high demand, which is projected through its high price. The exclusivity of the coffee is further emphasized by the fact they are the only ones in the world to pack their coffee into wooden barrels instead of jute bags.
If you have managed to get your hands on some Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, all that is left is to make yourself the perfect cup, sit back and relax. There are a million ways of how one can prepare the perfect cup, but here’s a little inspiration from Jason Sharp, the managing director of Clifton mount Estate, one of the producers of the Blue Mountain Coffee.
- Use purified or spring water
- The water should be approximately 90 ° Celsius hot, any hotter will result in burn beans and taste unpleasant
- Carefully grind the beans right before the brewing
- Use the pour-over method
If you need some hints on how to store coffee without losing the taste or the smell, check out our 6 tips on How to Store Coffee to Keep it Fresh.