Last Updated on June 13, 2022 by John Moretti
Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is often termed the “King of Coffee” and is one of the best coffees globally and one of the most expensive. What makes this coffee so special, and is it worth it?
Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is unique because of its slow growth process, allowing the coffee cherry more time to produce its unique taste. Stringent sorting and grading methods ensure that only the highest quality beans are exported. An authenticity seal guarantees a product of excellence.
Why is this coffee held in such high regard, and what is special about it? Take a journey with me to find out more about Blue Mountain Coffee.
Why Is Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee So Special
Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is made from the highest quality coffee beans and is coffee perfection. Many factors contribute to it becoming one of the world’s best coffees! These are the facts that make this coffee stand out above the rest:
All Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is grown from the Arabica species and almost all from the sub-species of Arabica Typica coffee. Many trees are descendants of the original trees imported from Martinique, where coffee was first introduced into the Caribbean in 1738.
The coffee beans are planted in pots to germinate under a semi-transparent covering that offers shade to protect the young plants from direct sunlight. After ten months, the plants are ready to be transplanted into the coffee plantations. It will take three years to produce coffee cherries and five years for total production.
Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is grown high up in some of the highest mountains in the Caribbean (7,402 ft) between Kingston to the south and Port Antonio to the north.
To be certified authentic Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee, the coffee trees must grow at an altitude of 1800 to 5500 feet. Higher altitudes produce harder coffee beans of higher quality, resulting in a richer cup of coffee!
The soil on this mountain is a mainly metamorphic and igneous rock, is porous, and lacks good nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen. The lack of nutritious soil causes the coffee trees to grow slower, taking more time to mature, so coffee production is much lower than other coffee-producing countries.
Most of the area where this coffee is grown is 85% forest, creating a natural canopy and shade for the coffee trees. The climate is cool with much cloud cover and mist, brought on by the northeast trade winds blowing over the Blue Mountains.
This cloud cover causes less direct sunlight to shine on the coffee trees resulting in a slowing down of the development of the coffee cherries. However, this long maturation has a positive effect as the cherries have more time to develop their unique taste.
Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee trees are planted in small groups wherever the mountain terrain will allow. Sometimes, the area can be as steep as 70 degrees. Picking the cherries is not an easy task and is much more labor-intensive compared to other world coffee growers.
The cherry pickers have to move up and down the wet and muddy slope, often going back a few times to the same tree as the cherries do not all ripen at once.
Ensuring Excellent Quality
Quality control begins when the beans are graded by size and scanned for defects. If the bean is too large or too small, it is rejected and is not considered for export. Usually, only 85% of the yield is deemed suitable for exporting.
The sorting is done by hand, which is very time- consuming but at the same time, it is done with care and passion, and any imperfect bean will not escape the keen eye and elegant hand of the grader.
The beans are lightly roasted in a fundamental and straightforward roasting machine. With decades of experience, the roaster will know so much about the green beans, where they were grown, the weather during the growing season, making the roasting process more personal and allowing the roaster to excel in this task.
The Seal Of Authenticity
The Jamaican Coffee Industry Board issues the seal of authenticity to all Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee. If the coffee package does not display this seal, it is not 100% Blue Mountain Coffee. The coffee is put through a rigorous cupping session before the Board approves it, and if the coffee is not deemed good enough, it is rejected.
The Coffee Board educates growers and processors on the explicit rules for growing, harvesting, processing, and roasting Jamaican coffee. Should any farmer or processor wish to export coffee beans, the Board must taste and evaluate the beans first.
Why Is Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee So Expensive
Authentic Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is scarce, and American coffee roasteries pay a lot of money to purchase this prized coffee. The reason for this scarcity and high price is:
- The region where the coffee grows makes this coffee difficult and expensive to harvest
- Very little use of technology, almost all the processes are executed by hand, which makes production slower
- The stringent quality controls used to grade the coffee beans result in a small number of beans deemed good enough to export
- 80% of this small crop is exported to Japan every year, leaving very little product for distribution to the rest of the world
The Taste Of Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee
At first sip, Blue Mountain Coffee is difficult to compare as the taste is so individual. But there is no denying how special it tastes and that it is highly recommended and greatly praised by many coffee connoisseurs.
Blue Mountain coffee is:
- Mild tasting
- A natural acidity
- Rich, creamy, and sweet
- Having a Spicy and Earthy Aroma with hints of floral
Best Method Of Grounding And Brewing
Ground the excellent coffee beans in a Burr grinder just before brewing for a fresh boost of the deliciously spicy and earthy aroma.
Like the many coffee experts, I recommend using the pour-over method to brew this coffee. Use spring water between 196-198° F for an exceptional cup of coffee. Measure the temperature of the water with a thermometer or let the water sit a few minutes after boiling.
Most fans of this coffee and I agree that sugar, syrup, or cream is not required and that the taste is best appreciated when served without any enhancement.
Is It Worth It?
Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is expensive, but it is not just any regular coffee! Instead, it should be saved, savored, and spectacularly brought out on special occasions for a sublime coffee taste.
Is it worth it? Yes, for sure! I second the raving reviews from coffee experts, connoisseurs, and coffee lovers that Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is simply one of the best coffees on the market! Taste a cup of this outstanding brew, and then decide if it’s worth it!
Many factors make authentic Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee so unique. The originality of the seedlings, the unusual location and climate during the coffee trees’ growth period, the picking and sorting processes lovingly produced by hand, and the rigorous grading methods
It is definitely worth paying a high price to enjoy a cup of this superb coffee rated as one of the best coffees in the world!