Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee
or Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee
is a classification of coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...
grown in the Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains form the longest mountain range in Jamaica. They include the island's highest point, Blue Mountain Peak, at 2256 m . From the summit, accessible via a walking track, both the North and South coasts of the island can be seen...
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...
. The best lots of Blue Mountain coffee are noted for their mild flavour and lack of bitterness. Over the last several decades, this coffee has developed a reputation that has made it one of the most expensive and sought-after coffees in the world; over 80% of all Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is exported to Japan. In addition to its use for brewed coffee, the beans are the flavor base of Tia Maria
Tia Maria is a coffee liqueur made originally in Jamaica using Jamaican coffee beans. The main flavor ingredients are coffee beans, cane spirit, vanilla, and sugar, blended to an alcoholic content of 31.5% ....
A liqueur is an alcoholic beverage that has been flavored with fruit, herbs, nuts, spices, flowers, or cream and bottled with added sugar. Liqueurs are typically quite sweet; they are usually not aged for long but may have resting periods during their production to allow flavors to marry.The...
Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is a globally protected certification mark, meaning only coffee certified by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica can be labeled as such. It comes from a recognised growing region in the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica, and its cultivation is monitored by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica.
The Blue Mountains are generally located between Kingston
Kingston is the capital and largest city of Jamaica, located on the southeastern coast of the island. It faces a natural harbour protected by the Palisadoes, a long sand spit which connects the town of Port Royal and the Norman Manley International Airport to the rest of the island...
to the south and Port Antonio to the north. Rising to 2300 metres (7,545.9 ft), they are some of the highest mountains in the Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...
. The climate of the region is cool and misty with high rainfall. The soil is rich, with excellent drainage. This combination of climate and soil is considered ideal for coffee.
The Coffee Industry Regulation Act
The Coffee Industry Regulation Act specifies what coffee may use the Blue Mountain label. Additionally, it restricts the use of the Blue Mountain trademark to those authorized by the Coffee Industry Board. Broadly speaking, coffee harvested from the parishes of Saint Andrew
Saint Andrew is a parish, situated in the southeast of Jamaica in the county of Surrey. It lies north, west and east of Kingston, and stretches into the Blue Mountains and at the 2001 census had the highest population of all the parishes in Jamaica. The Right Excellent George William Gordon Saint...
, Saint Thomas
Saint Thomas is a suburban parish that is situated at the south eastern end of Jamaica, in the county of Surrey. It is the birth place of The right Honorable Paul Bogle, one of Jamaica's seven National Heroes...
Portland, with its capital town Port Antonio, is a parish located on Jamaica's northeast coast. It is situated to the north of St Thomas, and the east of St Mary in Surrey county. It is one of the rural areas of Jamaica and is known for its great beaches....
and Saint Mary
Saint Mary is a parish located in the northeast section of Jamaica. With a population of 115,000 it is one of Jamaica's smallest parishes, located in the county of Middlesex. Its chief town and capital is Port Maria, located on the coast. It is also the birthplace of established dancehall reggae...
may be considered Blue Mountain coffee. The specific boundaries are defined as follows:
- Starting at Skibo and proceeding in an east-south-easterly direction to Swift River;
- thence east-south-easterly to Chelsea;
- thence east-south-easterly to Durham (Samba Hill);
- thence south-easterly to Belleview;
- thence south-easterly along the western slope of the John Crow Mountain to Cedar Grove;
- thence westerly to Font Hill;
- thence north-westerly to Ramble;
- thence westerly to Good Hope;
- thence north-westerly to Dallas;
- thence north-westerly to Industry Village;
- thence north-westerly to Maryland;
- thence north-westerly to Golden Spring;
- thence northerly to Brandon Hill;
- thence north-easterly to Tranquility;
- thence east-north-easterly to Skibo.
Traditionally, only coffee grown at elevations between 3,000 and 5500 feet (1,676.4 m) could be called Jamaica Blue Mountain. Coffee grown at elevations between 1,500 and 3000 feet (914.4 m) is called Jamaica High Mountain, and coffee grown below 1500 feet (457.2 m) elevation is called Jamaica Supreme or Jamaica Low Mountain. (All land in Jamaica above 5500 feet (1,676.4 m) is a forest preserve, so no coffee is grown there.)
Classifications of Blue Mountain Coffee
As with most other varieties of coffee, there are several grades assigned to different lots, based on factors such as size, appearance, and defects allowed.
The Coffee Industry Regulations Act allows for five classifications http://web.archive.org/web/20011029114626/www.jamaicancoffee.gov.jm/quality.html
- Blue Mountain No. 1 - 96% of beans must have a screen size of 17/20. No more than 2% of the beans may have significant defects.
- Blue Mountain No. 2 - 96% of beans must have a screen size of 16/17. No more than 2% of the beans may have significant defects.
- Blue Mountain No. 3 - 96% of beans must have a screen size of 15/16. No more than 2% of the beans may have significant defects.
- Blue Mountain Peaberry - 96% of beans must be peaberry
Peaberry, also known as caracoli, is a type of coffee bean. Normally the fruit of the coffee plant develops as two halves of a bean within a single cherry, but sometimes only one of the two seeds gets fertilized, so there is nothing to flatten it. This oval bean is known as peaberry...
. No more than 2% of the beans may have significant defects.
- Blue Mountain Triage - Contains bean sizes from all previous classifications. No more than 4% of the beans may have significant defects.