How to Brew Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee
Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is famous for its smooth acidity and complex flavours, but you won’t experience that if you brew it incorrectly. Instead, you’ll have bought expensive coffee that tastes like any other.
Don’t let that happen to you. Follow these tips to ensure you spend your money well.
Buying the beans
Before you start brewing, the first thing you need to do is buy the best Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee beans. Look for 100% Blue Mountain coffee beans. Though it’s tempting to buy a blend to save money, don’t bother. Blends can have as little as 10% true Blue Mountain coffee beans, at which point you might be drinking anything. If you plan to visit Jamaica some time in the future, you might as well visit some coffee plantations on the island and get your bag of JBM beans from there.
There is no mandatory roast level for Blue Mountain coffee, so you can choose light, medium, or dark to suit your taste and brewing method. Our advice is to opt for a medium or light roast to best experience the nutty and floral flavours that make this coffee famous.
For espresso lovers, consider opting for the more expensive peaberry beans. These have a sweeter and more intense flavour profile coupled with a lighter body for a particularly compelling espresso.
No matter which coffee you buy, it’s worth purchasing whole beans and grinding them yourself to ensure the freshest flavour.
This is our advice for every bag of coffee beans, but it’s particularly crucial for specialty coffees like JBM.
Once you’ve bought the beans, store them in an airtight container in a cool, dark place, and try to use them within a few weeks. It would be tragic to spend all that money only to let the beans go stale.
Choosing the brewing method: What’s the Best Way?
For brewing Blue Mountain coffee, the best way to do it is with either a pour-over or immersion brewing technique. Which you choose will depend on how you like your coffee.
A pour-over brewer, like the Hario V60 or Chemex, is ideal for accentuating the subtle complexities of a coffee’s flavour, making it an excellent choice for specialty beans. You’ll enjoy a clean cup with brighter acidity, qualities particularly suited to a light roast (1).
Because the pour over method works well to highlight subtle flavour notes and aromas, you may want to choose a light roast.
If you prefer a more luxurious coffee experience, with a heavier mouthfeel and more intense flavours, try an immersion brewing method. The French press will yield a bold and full-bodied coffee or a cleaner cup, consider the Aeropress or Clever Dripper.
If you’re an espresso lover, a quality espresso machine can yield a delicious shot of Blue Mountain coffee. Try it with the peaberry grade in a darker roast.
General brewing tips
Regardless of the brewing method, there are a few constants to keep in mind.
The first is the grind. Grind your beans immediately before brewing using a burr grinder to ensure even grounds and best extraction. Each brewing method has an optimal grind size, so you might want to experiment with some less expensive beans to dial it in.
The second is water. Though often overlooked, water quality and temperature play a huge role in brewing coffee. After all, coffee is 98% water. Use filtered water to avoid adding any unwanted flavours to your brew, and ensure it’s at a temperature between 90 and 96 °C.
Though brewing specialty coffee is a bit more finicky than dumping pre-ground beans into your drip machine, the results are well worth the extra effort. If you’ve spent extra cash for high-end Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee, follow this guide to ensure you get the exceptional experience you deserve.
Blue Mountain coffee is expensive because it is in high demand, but the small growing region of Jamaica limits supply (2).
Some coffee beans from Papua New Guinea, like the organic Marawaka bean, are genetically related to Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee and yield similar brews. Although not quite similar, JBM beans are also often compared with Kona beans.
You can tell if Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee is real by looking for the Seal of Certification, a stamp present on all genuine beans.
- Soque, N. (2019, January 25). Everything You Need to Know to Brew Great Pour Over Coffee. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2019/01/everything-you-need-to-know-to-brew-great-filter-pour-over-drip-coffee/
- Why Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is Typically More Expensive. (2019, September 9). Retrieved from https://www.spillerandtait.co.uk/blogs/news/why-jamaican-blue-mountain-coffee-is-typically-more-expensive