What Is Blue Mountain Coffee and Where Does It Come From?
All you coffee lovers out there have heard of Blue Mountain Coffee. This prized java is world-renowned for its unique flavour profile. However, you may want to know a little more about it before spending your hard-earned cash on these coffee beans with a steep price tag.
Keep reading to learn more about this mysterious bean.
What Is Blue Mountain Coffee?
As its name suggests, Blue Mountain coffee is a variety of Arabica Typica from Jamaica’s Blue Mountain areas. Only the coffee grown in this small mountain range can be classified as Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. It is a particular coffee variety known for its drinkability, rarity, and high-quality you can taste.
Not all Jamaican coffee is Blue Mountain coffee.
It is known for its unbelievably smooth mouthfeel and lack of bitterness. The bright acidity is not overpowering. Creamy chocolate and herbal notes shine through to create a mellow, easy-to-drink cup of coffee. If you’re curious about reaching the best flavour out of this coffee, check out our how to brew Jamaican coffee guide.
To bear the certification label for authentic Blue Mountain coffee, these prized beans must meet the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica’s standards. This standardization board is vital to the production and exportation of authentic Blue Mountain coffee.
The board is responsible for (1):
- Registering coffee farmers in the Blue Mountains
- Licensing the coffee processors
- Approving dealers/purchasers
- Testing all JBM coffee crops before export
- Preparing exportation documents
Another unique aspect of JBM coffee is how it is stored and shipped. Unlike most coffee from around the world, this kind is transported in hand-crafted wooden barrels instead of woven fibre bags. (To give you some additional perspective, we made a comparison of Blue Mountain coffee and Kona coffee.)
Where Does Blue Mountain Coffee Come From?
This coffee comes from the Blue Mountains of Jamaica on the eastern side of the island. It encompasses three parishes-St. Andrew, Portland, and St. Thomas (2). Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee must come from one of these three Jamaican parishes, which are pretty cool places to visit.
The beans are grown at an elevation between 3,000 and 5,500 feet. A microclimate is created on the mountainside at this height, making the conditions ideal for coffee growth. The cooler temperatures and increased humidity levels from frequent cloud cover cause the sugar qualities to become more complex. The soil is volcanic, which also contributes to the sought after flavours of JBM coffee.
The beans are usually ready for harvest after ten months in this unique environment. The next step is processing. It is a very detailed process.
The Blue Mountain process is focused on quality. There are a couple of stages in the process where low-quality cherries and beans are discarded.
Once all quality standards are met, and the beans are fully processed, they are packaged and exported for brewing.
Blue Mountain coffee is a unique coffee bean that comes from a specific geographic mountain range in Jamaica.
Have you tried it? Is it worth the hype? Let us know!
You’ll know that your Blue Mountain Coffee is authentic if it’s stamped with a certification seal approved by the Jamaica Coffee Industry Board. If your bag doesn’t have this seal, it is not real Blue Mountain coffee. Many companies try to trick buyers with their labels, so be careful when shopping.
Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is so expensive because there is much more demand than supply due to the unique mouthfeel and taste. This coffee is not mass-produced, and there are many quality standards every bean has to pass, so the annual production is much lower than other kinds of coffee.
The variety of coffee beans used in the Blue Mountain area can be grown in other regions. Blue Mountain beans are planted in similar climates in Hawaii, Papua New Guinea, and other parts of the world. However, this coffee cannot be labelled and sold as authentic Blue Mountain coffee.
- (n.d.) The Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority. Retrieved from www.ciboj.org
- (n.d.) Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee. Jamaica Coffee Industry Board. Retrieved from www.ciboj.org/sites/default/resources/pdf/coffeeindustry_brochure_1.pdf