A Roaster's Guide to Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee Beans
The world’s finest and rarest coffee beans, also known as Jamaican coffee beans are grown along the hills of the blue mountains in Jamaica, due to their rare qualities, these beans are tremendously priced.
The premium lots of Blue mountain coffee are noteworthy for their mild flavour and lack of bitterness. In recent years, this coffee has progressed the characteristics that have made it one of the most expensive and coveted coffees in the world. Higher than 80% of the produced coffee is exported to Japan. Additionally, the beans are the flavour base of Tia Maria Coffee Liqueur.
The Blue Mountains are generally located between Kingston to the south and Port Antonio to the north. Rising to 2,256 metres (7,402 ft), they are some of the highest mountains in the Caribbean. 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.
Location, Cultivation, and Density:
Location: Coffee is best cultivated at high altitudes. Coffee beans cultivated at or above 3,000 feet usually have the world’s most distinguished and utterly celebrated coffee beans. There’s no doubt that the green beans from Jamaica’s blue mountains are transcendent.
Despite the fact that the Blue Mountains rise to 7,500 ft. the coffee plantation has to be done at approximately 5,900 ft. to be contemplated a coffee of the origin. The altitude prerequisite also confines the land available for planting. In present times, this coffee is exclusively grown only in St. Andrew, St. Mary, St. Thomas, and the Parishes of Portland.
Collaborative in these four areas, the total area is less than 1,500 acres. In other words, the quantities of coffee produced are equivalent to about 0.1% of what Columbia cultivates.
Redundantly to say, the space is limited. The elevation combined with volcanic soil, regular rainfall, and shading cloud cover, makes coffee in these regions some of the rarest.
Difficult to Grow and Produce: It's not only the soil constitution and rare environmental circumstances of the higher altitudes that cause it to be expensive. Nevertheless, growing and harvesting on the steep slopes of the mountain make it extremely difficult for the workers and that leads to slow production due to its requirements of specific care.
Moreover, each coffee bean is hand-picked as the use of machines at such high altitudes creates a lot of logistical problems, but that's not all, each coffee bean is picked by hand to ensure quality of the beans. Each of them is inspected to meet the standards of the origin.
Bean Density: Characteristics of good coffee beans comprise the toughness of beans. They are usually denser than the average ones making them difficult to grind and often mistaken for staleness, but it's not the case. Apart from being a bit rougher on your coffee grinder, hard, dense beans are considered some of the best.
Sturdy coffee beans have more natural sugar making them sweeter and creamier. The reason is because of being cultivated at higher altitudes where the temperatures are cooler. The deficiency of warmth permits coffee plants to grow slower than usual. For this reason, the bean is allowed some extra time to absorb the sweetness of the fruit. However, density should not be confused with brittleness as it occurs during the roasting process. It makes the coffee more acidic, bitter, and off-tasting.
Jamaican Blue Mountain Flavor and Aroma:
The robust taste of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is peculiar. Though in comparison to any coffee from the drinker’s point of view, some beans have staple characteristics that make them unique to the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. Coffee from this particular region is known to reach all senses.
These rare coffee beans have a subtle mouthfeel that is also rich and bold. Most drinkers report a sweet and smooth taste with herbal hints and floral afternotes. There is little acidity or bitter aftertaste, as well. Most of them find it to have a tinge of chocolate taste with a strong nutty flavour. It differs from person to person as to how it tastes to some it may taste mild, whereas others may find it stronger. It all depends on the brewing process and the taste differs from cup to cup and gives a new experience every time.
How is Blue Mountain Coffee Cultivated
Between Kingston and Port Antonio in Jamaica's Blue Mountains, coffee is grown. The peaks rise to a height of 7,500 feet, making them the highest in the Caribbean. On the mountain's rocky hillsides and steep slopes, local farmers cultivate their crops.
As previously indicated, cultivating coffee at such a high altitude results in hard beans, and the steep terrain makes cultivation labour-intensive and slow. The nitrogen-rich volcanic earth has the advantage of providing ideal growing conditions.
However, the topography is not the only factor contributing to the lengthy process of planting and harvesting coffee. Simply put, farmers don't rush.
Quality and care do not compete with haste. As noted earlier, every coffee bean is selected by hand. Additionally, they are progressively processed by hand to ensure that any abnormal seeds are removed.
The same steps are followed for the production and harvesting of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee as with other types. The fruit's pulp is removed before the beans are collected, dried, and packaged. After roasting, the beans are released into the world.
The Procedure: Jamaican farmers in the Blue Mountains practice a slow and methodical procedure for producing coffee that differs from how your typical beans are produced. One such step we already mentioned is; They pick and sort their beans completely by hand.
De-pulping: Coffee beans are initially produced as seeds in the Coffea plant's fruit. The "pulp" is removed from the fruit after it has been collected, leaving only the seed or bean. The pulp is often removed by coffee producers the day after the harvest. The de-pulping procedure is carried out by Jamaican Blue Mountain farmers the same day the seeds are harvested.
This region's coffee is wet-washed. The fruit flesh is mechanically separated from the beans, a process also referred to as wet processing. To make sure no pulp is left behind, the remaining "green" beans are next rinsed with water (or washed).
Drying: For green coffee beans, between 10% and 12% percent moisture is ideal. The possibility for bacteria to thrive and potentially ruin the coffee increases with the amount of moisture the beans contain. This is why it's crucial to dry the beans after removing the fruit.
Green beans can be dried in a variety of methods. However, Jamaican Blue Mountain beans are dried entirely by the sun. They now have an average of 11.5% moisture remaining. After drying, the beans are given an additional
Hulling: Additionally, Blue Mountain beans are hulled before being dispatched to be roasted. By doing this, the bean's thin, paper-like skin may be removed. The taste may change if the pergamino, or hull, is removed. To ensure that the beans reach their destination as fresh as possible, this is done as ordered. The only coffee in the world that is shipped in wooden barrels rather than bags is Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.
Jamaican Coffee beans are one of the rarest and finest coffees in the world, but worth a try for all the javaphiles. The extremely difficult cultivation conditions, along with specific care taken to ensure each batch lives up to its reputation, have given its price a boost, but for a good reason. The growing conditions plus the scarcity of the beans make it harder to come by, so a higher price is expected.
However, Chariot Coffee's Jamaican Coffee Beans are a great alternative if you want to test these exotic coffee beans. Not only will it state fully that it’s Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee blend but also its unique characteristics.