Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee was first introduced to Jamaica in 1728. The cool, misty environment behind Kingston, the Blue Mountains, proved beneficial to the new coffee plant, as it was exceptionally flourishing. The coffee trees came from the French at Martinique, and all the trees in that island, and eventually the rest of the Caribbean, came from a single sapling brought over from France.
The coffee industry board of Jamaica ensures that the coffee comes from the legally designated growing region, and the board’s professionals scrutinize each barrel for quality, inspecting the bean size and color. Experienced tasters taste small samples of the coffee, ensuring that it is adequately processed and possesses the right flavors and aromas that define jamaica blue mountain coffee.
Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is well worth tasting, but you must ensure that it is 100% authentic. We will investigate how to determine the original Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee to avoid getting fakes. It also helps to understand how much this coffee is worth and how it should taste.
What Type Of Coffee Is Jamaica Blue Mountain?
All Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee comes from the Arabica coffee species. Virtually all are from the subspecies of Arabica Typica. Most of the coffee in the Caribbean, including Jamaica, comes from the original trees that Governor Nicholas Lawes imported from Martinique in 1728.
The first coffee beans were introduced to France in Marseille via French traders returning from the Levant in 1660. Eventually, the caffeinated beverage made its way to Paris in 1669 by the Ottoman ambassador, who threw extravagant parties featuring the coffee.
Later, an Armenian, Paschal, successfully marketed the coffee at a fair in St. Germain, then in a boutique cafe. By the late 17th century, coffee was already popular in London and Amsterdam, but it gained ground in Paris in oriental cafes.
Arab traders controlled the coffee trade and made high margins supplying coffee to Europe. The Dutch, wanting to do the same, were the first to fortuitously import and propagate a live plant in Europe, even though there was nowhere in Europe where the coffee plant could thrive apart from greenhouses.
It took King Louis XIV several tries to procure a plant that would survive. Eventually, one plant from Amsterdam survived, and he planted it at the Jardin des Plantes.
About five years later, Mathieu de Clieu, a captain of the infantry on Martinique, returned to France on personal business and decided to bring the coffee back on his return to Martinique.
In 1723, De Clieu embarked at Nantes with three plants, although only one survived. The hope was that this plant would spread through the French colonies, further profiting France.
Ensuring the tropical plant would survive the journey from France to the Caribbean was not easy, and De Clieu had to improvise small greenhouses where he could put the plant in to take full advantage of the sun, and he took great pains in caring for the plant.
Aside from caring for a high-maintenance tropical plant, De Clieu and his crewmen faced many dangers. Aboard the ship was a sworn enemy of De Clieu, who tried to steal the plant. Apart from the jealous countryman, they also had to battle Tunisian pirates and face a raging storm.
When De Clieu finally made it to Martinique, he planted the coffee plant on his estate, and it became the progenitor of coffee throughout all of the Caribbean.
By 1730, Jamaica’s governor, Nicholas Lawes, purchased some plants from Martinique and popularized them on his own island, about a thousand miles to the northwest. Cultivation eventually extended into the Blue Mountains.
What Does Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Taste Like?
Regardless of how mild and smooth it is, a decent Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee has a vibrant and bright slight acidity. It should have a clean taste with little to no bitterness and a sparkling aroma with floral notes and sweet, nutty, herbal overtones.
Jamaica Blue Coffee has a refined, mild flavor with a delightful sweetness. It’s creamy with chocolate tones to give the coffee complexity, and it exhibits a smooth yet light acidity with a lack of any bitterness. The aroma is bold with floral tones and nutty, herbal notes.
At its finest, Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee produces the ultimate cup of coffee, making it one of the world’s premium gourmet coffees.
Is Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Organic?
Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee isn’t certified as organic. Nevertheless, the company uses pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers in a cautious and discretionary manner.
Due to the crop’s high contingent value, JACRA (formerly the Coffee Industry Board) and the individual farmers cannot grow the plants organically.
Currently, the coffee does not have the Fair Trade label; however, two estates, including the Clifton mount Estate the only certifiable coffee transported to Europe, have a Rainforest Alliance Certification.
The licensed estates and processors conduct a pricing regime with a pre-funding and balancing payment that benefits and favors the smallholder farmer – this is good news as the workforce is virtually family and community-based.
In addition, the workers are treated well and have accommodation, educational, sanitary, and medical facilities close to hand.
The workers also have the accessible infrastructure, and workers at the processing, warehousing, and sorting facilities have good provisions of well-adjusted wages, training, and conditions.
The coffee grows under shaded and fauna-favoring conditions on mountain slopes. When the coffee undergoes wet processing, the wastewater is treated and purified before being released into the environment. As a result, Composting and waste recycling are becoming standard practices.
Is Jamaica Blue Coffee Rare?
Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is indeed one of the world’s rarest and most expensive coffees. To understand why it’s so rare, it helps to understand the growing region’s climate.
You will find the Blue Mountains of Jamaica located between Kingston (the south) and Port Antonio (the north). The Blue Mountains are the highest mountain range in the Caribbean, rising as high as 7,500 ft.
All of the coffee harvested from the three farms currently operating (Sherwood Forest, Resource Coffee Works, and Whitfield Hall) is processes at Sherwood Coffee Works.
This factory is 200 years old. In addition, the coffee grows on the hillside of the mountain, making cultivation extremely challenging. As a result, JBM beans are hand-picked, making the process very labor-intensive.
A group of local women inspects every green bean in 10 lb bags. These ladies detect insect damage, chips, and other minor damages that go undetected by a color sorter.
Finally, with a bean as rare as JBM, it is essential to take your time to roast them correctly. The roast profile of JBM is on the light side, and it draws out the creamy feel with a hint of sweetness. This coffee doesn’t require the addition of milk or sugar; it’s delicious as it is.
Some simple economics explain why JBM coffee is so pricey – JBM takes twice as long as other coffees to mature. Jamaica produces just 14 million lbs of coffee per year; Ethiopia, in comparison, produces 800 million lbs.
The Resource Coffee Works farm produces just 60,000 lbs per year; 80% of the coffee is shipped to Japan, and the rest of the world gets 20%.
How Can You Tell If Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Is Real?
JACRA has conducted a global campaign to ensure that the name Jamaica Blue Mountain isn’t misrepresented or abused in any way.
It has registered the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee name and other variations of the name in most countries. JACRA has also issued instructions on packaging labeling regarding the use of JBM names, addresses, coffee preparation directions, description, batch number, and expiry date. This is standard practice with the processors and estates to protect their names.
Despite the work of JACRA to protect the name of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee, there are always dishonest sellers out there trying to make fast money.
Even in Jamaica, unsuspecting tourists might bring home bags of beans that are not the real deal. In addition, fake JBM often comes as a blend, whereas the real Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is never blended.
JBM coffee is cultivated, roasted, and packaged on the island. So if a prepacked bag of Blue Mountain says it was packed in Europe or the United States, then it is not the real JBM.
The coffee industry board seal of certification stamp is clearly shown on all authentic bags of JBM beans. In addition, there should be an image of a blue ring with a mountain in the background, an island map, red coffee beans, and a barrel.
Where To Buy Jamaican Blue Coffee
There are many great retailers you can buy this amazing coffee, I prefer Amazon as I get my coffee delivered free with Amazon prime.
Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee has so much to offer in taste and aroma; it truly is a delicious beverage. However, it is an expensive coffee and worth every penny. Just ensure that you are purchasing the real Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee and not a fake. When you buy real coffee, you are supporting local farmers and their communities.
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