A HISTORY OF JAMAICA BLUE MOUNTAIN COFFEE
Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is widely revered as the world’s best coffee. Any attempts at verifying this in empirical terms is impossible as coffee like any other luxury relies on subjective human tastes. What is empirically valid however is that through the very long history of exclusive Arabica Typica coffees,Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffees have always held the highest echelons of price and renown. English Author Ian Fleming blessed his hero James bond with impeccable tastes for all the finest things in life. Mr. Bond declared outright in the novel Live and Let Die, “Blue Mountain Coffee, the most delicious in the world” Mr. Bond’s sentiment is one shared world wide and for decades among the fortunate.
Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Arrives Courtesy of France The secret behind Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee’s exceptional qualities is a matter of breeding. More specifically it is matter of lineage and breeding. All Jamaican Coffees are descendants of a single fragile Arabica Typica plant brought to the island 1723 by order of King Louis XV of France. According to legend, the original plant (one of three) bound for Martinique or Hispaniola landed in Jamaica through a series of fateful events.
These events all point to Governor of Jamaica Sir Nicolas Lawes as the individual who delivered this first coffee plant to Jamaica. In his capacity as Governor he tried ’Calico’ Jack Rackham the pirate in 1720. The first cultivation began at the foothills of St. Andrew and quickly expanded deep into the fertile Blue Mountains. While most of the coffee produced in Jamaica through the 18th century was traded throughout the world, it wasn’t until coffee plantations were established in the Blue Mountain range that things take a turn for the extraordinary.
High Altitude Origins of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee The three great secrets to virtually all of the world’s great coffees are credited to a combination of altitude, volcanic soil and austere care for the beans. The Jamaican Blue Mountains are a majestic range of mountains forming the virtual backbone of Jamaica rising over 7,000 feet above sea level. The densely wooded north slopes are maintained largely as forest reserves. This region is the center ofJamaica Blue Mountain Coffee cultivation. Annual rainfall is a mere 200 inches and average temperature hovers near 5°C, due to a dense cloud cover. These environmental factors slow down the maturation rate of the of the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee fruit to about 10 months from bloom to harvest, as compared to five or six elsewhere. This produces a larger more complex bean, with a concentration of sublime flavor.
Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee’s Volcanic Roots The Jamaica Blue Mountains are like all mountains in the Caribbean the above ocean peaks of ancient extinct Volcanoes. Through centuries of soil production, the nutrients deposited on the surface of these volcanoes are essentially a botanical super food. Centuries of biomass accumulation formed through the decomposition of various plant species has produced a top soil of exceptional quality. This fact is true all across the near equatorial Arabica producing countries. In Jamaica, the heirloom quality of these 18th century Arabica plants, combine with the environment to produce the truly unusual Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee but that is no guarantee of a fine cup.
Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee’s Quality is No Accident The final portion of the equation is a combination of botanical husbandry and meticulous processing of the beans from pulping to roast to your cup of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee. In 1953 the Jamaica government passes the first of many laws establishing the boundaries of exceptional quality. It was first decreed that only coffees grown within a specific Blue Mountain region could be called Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee. The Jamaican Coffee Industry board also initiated strict regulation of all Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee. The regulations inform processors of acceptable levels of moisture content, bean size and other indicators of quality. Each and every shipment ofJamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is cupped and evaluated by the coffee industry board through rigorous cupping and only if the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee meets their rigid standards is the shipment allowed to depart from Jamaica.
Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is world renowned for delivering a very well balanced cup, with medium acidity, excellent body and a smooth chocolate finish. Well balanced, full-bodied with subtle acidity is the age old description that every coffee aspires to reach. So as you have read, though Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is Arabica Typica, it is anything but typical.