Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee
Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee Guide will tell you all you need to know about this fabulous and why it is heralded as one of the finest coffees in the world. This is verified by the lucky few who’ve been fortunate enough to indulge in its delights as one of the finest coffees you’ll ever sip. But finding a 100% authentic bag of Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee can prove to be a challenge, and if you do happen upon a retailer that stocks it, be prepared to spend more than you probably ever have before on a bag of beans.
Just why is Jamaican Blue Mountain (JBM) so difficult to find, and why is it so expensive? To better understand the special circumstances surrounding this uncommonly wonderful brew, it helps to have a bit of a background on the bean.
Jamaican Blue Mountain History
Coffee was introduced to the island of Jamaica in 1728 when the first seeds were planted by then-governor Sir Nicholas Lawes. Since then, Jamaica has come to be appreciated for sharing many fantastic things with the rest of the world, but when it comes to coffee, the tiny island only ranks #43 on the list of top coffee-producing countries.
Their crops supply only a meager .01% of the world’s total coffee beans, pretty astounding when you consider just how sought after the Jamaican Blue Mountain product is.
The warm, humid environment makes for a great growing environment for the Arabica Typica bean, which is what is found in Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.
It is worth noting, however, that not all Jamaican coffee is considered to be of the Blue Mountain variety, and there are extensive guidelines put in place to differentiate it from other coffee crops grown around the island.
- The first such rule (and the most obvious), is that Jamaican Blue Mountain beans have to be grown along the beautiful Blue Mountain ridge. Located on the east side of the country, it’s the longest mountain range on the island, and it runs through a number of different parishes. That leads us to the second rule…
All Jamaican Blue Mountain must be grown within the parishes of St. Andrew, St. Mary, St. Thomas, or Portland parishes. Coffee beans harvested elsewhere are excluded from the esteemed classification.
JBM beans must be grown between altitudes of 3000-5000 feet above sea level. Anything grown at a different elevation doesn’t make the cut.
Blue Mountain Coffee Taste
The flavor of Jamaican Blue Mountain is why coffee lovers go to great lengths to score a bag and trying to explain it simply doesn’t do the brew justice. On the tongue, JBM is very smooth, with a barely-there degree of bitterness. It’s been described as being clean, mild, but also vibrant. There’s a very sweet, floral aroma, and the taste contains hints of nuts, cocoa, spices, and even a bit of creaminess.
The taste profile is actually somewhat of a phenomenon, as many of its inherent qualities aren’t commonly found working together in such perfect harmony. But not only do they work together in the case of JBM, but the myriad of flavors also complement each other in ways that have to be enjoyed first-hand to truly understand.
Price of Blue Mountain Coffee
Most coffee grown around the world is done so on flat land, but Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is grown on top of the Blue Mountain Ridge, which isn’t necessarily the easiest of places to work coffee crops. Thus, the process by which the coffee is harvested and the crops tended to is very laborious, and can even prove to be dangerous.
Also, JBM isn’t produced in high numbers, and in doing so, the country is only able to crank out about 4-5 million pounds a year, which really isn’t a lot when you consider that other countries can easily produce ten times that much in a typical growing season. Of what is grown, 80% of that is exported to Japan. The remaining 20% is what’s left for the rest of us to fill our cups with.
Since Economics 101 teaches us that with demand comes a need for supply, there are many retailers ready to sell you something that is close to JBM. These products are abundant, and some can even prove to be fairly convincing copycats.
So if you’re in the market for a bag of authentic Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, what steps can you take to make sure what you’re buying is genuine?
It’s The Mark That Matters
The coffee division of the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority doesn’t take kindly to others trying to imitate their cash crop with cheap imitations. Such deplorable practices only create confusion in the marketplace and tarnish the name of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, and that’s why the board requires all 100% authentic JBM to carry a mark of certification denoting that the product is real.
A situation that often arises when attempting to purchase JBM is when a company may offer a blend that includes the rare beans mixed in with others. These companies aren’t necessarily trying to pull a fast one; in fact, most times they’re very upfront about what’s actually in the blend. But oftentimes, these products contain only a very small percentage of Jamaican Blue Mountain, and shouldn’t be considered an accurate representation of genuine JBM.
Blue Mountain Coffee Beans
The Jamaica Blue Mountain bean is Arabica beans and it is grown on lands that sit above 7500 ft above sea level, This is the highest mountain range in the Caribbean and it’s warm and humid; perfect for cultivating coffee beans. The same Arabica bean planted in different regions of the World will produce distinctly different flavors, caffeine levels, aromas, and tastes.
Blue Mountain Coffee Certification
Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is certified by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica. The role of the CIB is to promote, regulate, monitor, and guide the development of the coffee industry of Jamaica and to assure the quality of Jamaican coffee.
ALWAYS Check The Packaging – Jamaican Blue Mountain is grown, roasted, and packaged on the island. If you’re holding a pre-packaged bag of Blue Mountain that says it was packed in Europe or the USA, the chances are it’s not what it says it is.
Avoid most blends – If you buy a blend be aware that there’s no minimum amount of Blue Mountain that has to be included; it could be as low as 10%. Only buy a blend if you’re aware of how much blue mountain is within.
Look For The Seal Of Certification – the coffee industry board stamp is shown on all genuine Blue Mountain beans. It’s a blue circle, inside is an image of a mountain, an island map, a barrel, and coffee beans. This is certified by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica (CIB) so you can trust this stamp.