Jamaica Blue Mountain® coffee is considered by many connoisseurs to be the world’s finest. It is admired for its delicate balance of floral aroma, acidity and full body. However, it is the sweet, mellow, lingering finish that elevates this coffee above all others.
In past years when Jamaica’s economy was dominated by plantation slavery, some enslaved people known as Maroons escaped to the Blue Mountains and live independently.
This rare bean is grown in the majestic hills of the Jamaican Blue Mountains that rise from elevations of 3,000 to 7,500 feet. In this hilly, rugged terrain, the climate is cool with lots of rain and the soil is rich— considered the perfect condition for farming coffee. The beans are shade-grown under a canopy of rainforest-preserving trees, without the use of chemical pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers or other additives. Biodiversity and organic farming methods make for healthier soil, prevent water contamination, provide habitat for dozens of species of migratory birds, and form a vital component of their exceptional flavor.
The Blue Mountains are the longest mountain range in Jamaica. They include the island’s highest point, Blue Mountain Peak, at 2256 m (7402 ft). From the summit, accessible via a walking track, both the north and south coasts of the island can be seen. On a clear day, the outline of the island Cuba, 210 km (130 mi) away, can also be seen.It spreads in 4 parishes: Portland, St.Thomas, St Mary, St.Andrew.
As one of the longest continuous valley ranges in the Caribbean, the Blue Mountains dominate the eastern third of Jamaica, while bordering the eastern parishes of Portland, St. Thomas, St. Mary and St. Andrew to the south. Part of the Blue Mountains is contained in the Blue Mountain John Crow Mountain National Park established in 1992, which is maintained by the Jamaican government.
The Blue Mountains rise to its elevations from the coastal plain in the space of about 16 kilometres (9.9 mi), thus producing one of the steepest general gradients in the world. This forms cooling relief from the sweltering heat of Kingston below. Their summits rise and fall for 24 miles and are 14 miles at their widest point. The temperature decreases from around 27°C (80°F) at sea level to 5°C (40°F) at the Blue Mountain Peak, just 16 km (9.9 mi) inland.
Because of the unique climatic conditions of the Jamaican Blue Mountains, the coffee produced there is a unique specialty product that Jamaican’s can take pride in and call their own. It offers both the promise of economic growth and self-reliance. Rural poverty accounts for a staggering 82% of total poverty in developing countries. In Jamaica, the rural poor outnumber the urban poor two to one. Coffee is the highest value export crop in Jamaica. In particular, Blue Mountain coffee generates the highest prices in the world. One acre of Blue Mountain coffee yields an income roughly three times greater than the income of an average rural Jamaican. For these reasons, growing and harvesting this particular coffee offers many local farmers an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty.
Classifications of Blue Mountain Coffee
As with most other varieties of coffee, there are several grades assigned to different lots, based on factors such as size, appearance, and defects allowed.
The Coffee Industry Regulations Act allows for five classifications :
- Blue Mountain No. 1 – 96% of beans must have a screen size of 17/20. No more than 2% of the beans may have significant defects.
- Blue Mountain No. 2 – 96% of beans must have a screen size of 16/17. No more than 2% of the beans may have significant defects.
- Blue Mountain No. 3 – 96% of beans must have a screen size of 15/16. No more than 2% of the beans may have significant defects.
- Blue Mountain Peaberry – 96% of beans must be peaberry. No more than 2% of the beans may have significant defects.
- Blue Mountain Triage – Contains bean sizes from all previous classifications. No more than 4% of the beans may have significant defects.
World’s Best Coffee Beans
You can import the beans yourself. Blue Mountain’s Peaberry, a “fetish coffee,” is as rare as it is expensive. For an everyday blend, Intelligentsia’s Geoff Watts recommends Ethiopia’s Yirgacheffe from the birthplace of coffee, or Nicaragua’s Flor Azul, which has hints of cane sugar .
While you experience your cup of Blue Mountain Coffee, imagine the pleasures of the vibrant Caribbean culture. So, sit back and enjoy the rich yet smooth and well-bodied taste of Jamaica. Ya Mon!
This type of coffee you can buy on this place: