Jamaica, one of the ornaments of the Caribbean, is not only known as Bob Marley's homeland, but also as theregion where some of the world's finest coffee varieties are produced!
The history of coffee in Jamaica has its roots back in 1728, when the Caribbean island was part of British colonial empire. In 1728, Sir Nicholas Lawes, governor of Jamaica and owner of the Hall Estate, brought the first coffee plants to Jamaica. Originally, the cultivation of coffee began at the foothills of St. Andrew, but soon expanded to plantations deeper in the fertile Blue Mountains. The coffee industry has experienced many difficulties from these early days until nowadays.
During the years 1800-1840,70,000 tons of coffee were produced per year in Jamaica, a fact that rendered it the largest coffee producer in the world. In 1838 slavery was abolished, which marked the end for many coffee plantations, as liberated farmers started clearing all the available mountains and planting, in order to gain land to live on. In 1891, the coffee industry was in a state of disarray, therefore a legislation was voted, for "teaching the art of cultivating and drying coffee by sending competent trainers".
In 1944, the government established the Jamaican Coffee Purity Center, where all varieties of coffee for export had to be examined. This purification and sorting process was a huge step towards improving the quality of exported Jamaican coffee. After the devastating hurricane in 1951, only three coffee processing plants (called "pulperies") remained in operation in the Blue Mountains.
In an effort to control the ensuing development, the Coffee Industry Council was founded to set guidelines on product quality, cultivation and processing. This council is still active today and it examines the new crops in order to revitalize Jamaican coffee. In 1973, the three coffee processing plants at Mavis bank, Silver Hill and Clydesdale along with a newcomer, Wallenford, patented the name "Blue Mountain Coffee".
Jamaica is known for producing the nicest and most expensive coffee in the world, and the reason is its location: the Blue Mountains. The Blue Mountains region is located north of Kingston, the capital of Jamaica, and south of Port Maria, while the farms of the famous Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee are located at an altitude between 3,000 and 5,500 feet. Only the coffee cultivated by the parishes of Portland, St Andrews and St. Thomas, in the estates of Mavis bank, Silver Hill, Clydesdale or Wallenford may be called 'JAMAICA BLUE MOUNTAIN COFFEE'. The coffee variety growing at an altitude of 1,500 to 3,000 feet is called 'HIGH JAMAICA', and the coffee variety growing below the 1,500 foot elevation is called 'JAMAICA JAMAICA', (All Jamaica land over 5,500 feet is an endless forest area , so no coffee is grown there.) Classifications of coffee categories are based on factors such as size, appearance, and allowed imperfections.
JAMAICA BLUE MOUNTAIN COFFEE is a fully certified label. It comes from a recognized Jamaican Blue Mountain area and its cultivation is being controlled by the Jamaican coffee industry. It is probably cultivated at the highest point of the mountainsin the Caribbean Sea. The climate in this region is cool and foggy with high rainfall. The ground is rich in minerals due to the volcanic soil. This combination of climate and soil is considered ideal for coffee.
Concentration of beans is only the first stage of the process. Afterconcentration, thecoffeeispurifiedandrefined.
Jamaica is one of the few countries worldwide, where the coffee matures for a minimum of six weeks under the sun in order for the required quality to be ensured. After the drying procedure is completed, coffee is packed only in wooden barrels.
The Blue Mountains, is where the priceless Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is being cultivated. Its flavor profile is extremely balanced and mild, with a light sweetness that conceals intense chocolate notes, a rich body and texture that can sometimes even be described as creamy!
Despite its mild taste, Blue Mountain Coffee is distinguished by its acidity, without being bitter, while its aroma is intense and can be described as a combination of floral notes and a hint of nuts and herbs. So, it is no wonder that it is one of the most gourmet, but also one of the most expensive coffees worldwide!
These beans are not solely used for the production of coffee, but also constitute the flavor base of the liqueur Tia Maria.
The fact that it is produced in small volumes and that 60% of the production is exported to Japan every year, make it rare and desirable for all true coffee lovers.