Journey to the Blue Mountains of Jamaica
Updated: Jul 10, 2019
Sip on some rich and fragrant cups of the flavorful Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee and know more about this coffee!
Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee or Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is a classification of coffee grown in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. Blue Mountain coffee is noted for its mild flavour and lack of bitterness. This coffee has developed a reputation that has made it one of the most expensive and sought-after coffees in the world over the past few decades.
To call itself Blue Mountain or simply the finest, coffee beans must be grown in the regions of the St. Mary, Portland, St. Andrew and St. Thomas within the altitudes of 3000-5000 ft. above sea level. The cultivation condition of soil is good, altitude are superb, striking an excellent balance of sunlight and shades.
In the Jamaica Blue Mountains is cooler than the rest of Jamaica. The Jamaica Blue Mountains are located on the Eastern end of Jamaica, exposing them to the moisture laden North East Trade Winds. These hit the coast and rise up into the mountains, generating significant cloud cover and mist as they hit the cooler air of the higher elevations. The reduced sunlight due to the cloud cover slows down the development of the coffee cherry. The long maturation has a very positive effect on the aroma and taste of the coffee produced from these trees.
A brief History
King Louis of France sent three coffee plants to the French colony of Martinique and five years later in 1728 Sir Nicholas Lawes, Governor of Jamaica, received a gift of one coffee plant from Martinique. And from that one plant the Jamaican coffee industry had its start.
The Haitian Revolution brought coffee growing Haitians to Jamaica but once emancipation took place many slaves left the coffee plantation to grow food and coffee production became a much smaller peasant crop. The industry decline came to a head when Canada, in 1943 refused to buy Jamaican coffee due to its poor quality. Government then stepped in to rehabilitate the coffee industry and the Coffee Industry Board was born.
Thanks to this highly regulated board, the Jamaican coffee industry has flourished and Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is treasured around the world.
Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee plants require a lot of care due to cool mountain conditions. Starting off as seedlings, it takes about nine to eleven months in nursery beds for a coffee plant to be ready to be re-planted on the ground. And wait for about three to five years to produce beans.
Coffee trees are planted in small groups as the terrain can be as steep as 70 degrees making planting and cultivation a challenge. Trees grow up to 10 metres high, though they are kept at 3 meters to ease picking. Additionally, due to this geography the farms are small.
Coffee plants need to be well watered, well drained and experience periodic coolness during some stages of development. The periodic coolness of the mists of the Blue Mountains and unusual volcanic soil give the coffee its unique taste. Blue Mountain Coffee is sweet, aromatic, rich in flavour and full bodied with mild acidity
Blue Mountain Jamaican coffee is cultivated, picked and the beans are sorted by hand making it extremely labour intensive. The beans go through a wet processing method of being washed and pulped, and then are sun-dried — the traditional way of removing moisture. Harvesting season runs from September through the end of January.
What makes Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee so great?
There are many factors, but it is important to be sure you are getting an authentic, unblended, Blue Mountain coffee. 100% Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is exported by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica. They ensure that Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee actually comes from the legally designated growing area. The Board's professionals also inspect each barrel for quality, checking the bean size and color. Experienced professional tasters roast small samples and “cup” the coffee to ensure it was properly processed and has the aroma and taste that define Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee.