Blue Mountain Jamaican Coffee
A gourmet coffee and a Jamaican island speciality...
Blue Mountain Jamaican coffee is one of the best known, and one of the most expensive, Jamaican exports...and you will want to take some home with you!
Grown on the slopes of the island’s towering Blue Mountains, the highest part of the island, Jamaica’s unique and flavorful style of coffee is famous the world over.
Blue Mountain coffee is not a brand; it’s a regional designation, much like Champagne in France or feta cheese in Greece, and a special government board regulates production, pricing, and quality. Blue Mountain coffee is a uniquely Jamaican product, with a strong, clean, and sweet flavor all its own.
What are Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Beans?
Blue Mountain Jamaican coffee is distinguished by its clean taste with just a touch of sweetness. It is bold, smooth, and strong.
Blue Mountain coffee is grown on the mid-level slopes of the Blue Mountains, which occupy most of the inland region of eastern Jamaica. Blue Mountain coffee is made exclusively of Arabica beans and they flourish in the lush, misty slopes in elevations between 2000 and 5000 feet.
The beans come in three grades, one, two, and three, with number one grade beans being the largest and the best for roasting. Jamaica reserves all of the number one grade beans for export.
Also available online is Peaberry Blue Mountain coffee. The Peaberry is a slightly smaller, seeded bean and yields a smooth and robust flavor.
Blue Mountain Coffee "Jamaica" style: the beginnings
Coffee seedlings were first brought to Jamaica in 1728 by the British colonial governor of the day, Sir Nicholas Lawes. The seedlings thrived in the lush, tropical Jamaican interior, and in the first part of the 19th century, Jamaica was the leading coffee producer in the world.
Coffee also became a major crop of the Maroons, the refugee slaves that hid out in the mountains. When slavery was abolished in Jamaica in 1838, many coffee plantations went out of business and coffee became the crop of the small farmer.
Even today, most Blue Mountain coffee is produced by small growers, as opposed to the large coffee plantations found in other coffee-growing regions of the world.
Blue Mountain Jamaican Coffee: Inside The Blue Mountains
Jamaica’s Blue Mountains include the 194,000-acre Blue Mountain and John Crow Mountain National Park, mostly located in the higher elevations above the coffee farms.
The park encompasses the Jamaican national rain forest and is home to over 800 species of plants and 200 species of birds, many of which are not found elsewhere on earth. This park is one of the largest migratory bird sanctuaries in the Caribbean.
Jamaica’s Blue Mountains are a favorite of adventure travelers. Hiking is rugged on the mountains, but rewarding. In addition to the scenic rain forests, visitors can visit the original Maroon hideout, Nannytown, and the Bath Fountain in St. Thomas, the site of a natural hot spring.
The Blue Mountains are easily reached via bus or private tour from Kingston. Those wishing to spend more time in the mountains can reserve accommodations at one of the three lodges in the Blue Mountain National Park. Rooms are scenic, yet basic with only one of the lodges featuring en-suite baths and hot water.
Where to Buy Blue Mountain Jamaican Coffee
Although most of the Blue Mountain coffee crop is exported to Japan (up to 90 percent), Blue Mountain coffee is still widely available. If a trip to Jamaica isn’t in your plans – or your budget – this year, buy a pound of Blue Mountain coffee at specialty groceries or via online ethnic grocers, such as igourmet.com. Expect to pay between $30 and $40 per pound.
Take a trip to the islands without ever leaving your home. Treat yourself to a pound of rich and bold Blue Mountain Jamaican coffee.
You’ll be glad be rewarded with its clean, robust flavor.
University of the West Indies Department of Chemistry (Jamaica Coffee Analysis)
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