What is blue mountain coffee?
Blue Mountain coffee is grown in Jamaica’s Blue Mountain Range. Nevertheless, not all Blue Mountain coffee grown in and around this area is considered to be “authentic”. Such coffee trees must be planted in the parish of Saint Andrew, Saint Martha, Saint Thomas, or Portland at 3,000 to 5,500 feet above sea level.
The extra-high altitude makes the beans harder and denser than the average bean, making them similar to Pea berries in texture. The result is a coffee that is admired because of its smooth, clean profile, complimented by a mild flavor, vibrant acidity, and almost no bitterness. Blue mountain coffee’s aroma appears to have sweet herbal and floral flavor, with nuts overtones.
Explaining the point of demand.
Low supply, Large Demand.
Every year, although top coffee producers generate several billion pounds of coffee, Jamaica produces only about 4-5 million lbs per year. Which means Jamaica produces around 1.1% of the world’s coffee. As a result, the starting point for production and supply here is already pretty low, even though it was all open to the global market. It’s not, unfortunately.
After production, about 80 percent of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is exported directly to Japan. This leaves just about 0.8-1 million pounds to be sold to the rest of the world. The natural result is some premium mark ups and a price tag that is seriously high. Some coffee from the Blue Mountain coffee is about $58/lb!
Intensive harvesting from labour.
First, Blue Mountain coffee means that it takes twice as long to mature as other coffees. And, of course, the cherries don’t mature at the same rate on each individual tree. This means that harvesters have to make repeated passes at different times over the same section of coffee trees to ensure that they can get as many coffee beans as possible from their already limited supply.
Besides that tediousness, the Blue Mountains landscape presents a unique challenge of its own. The staff often have to deal with incredibly steep and sometimes unstable terrain thousands of feet above sea level instead of the comfort of plateaus, rolling hills, or wide, often green, growing areas. While rain is vital to growing quality coffee, for those who harvest it, it makes things much more challenging.
A bag branded as a Blue Mountain Blend may has as little as 10 percent genuine Blue Mountain Beans of the highest quality. So you should definitely avoid it if the blend comes at a premium price. There are a couple of ways to spot fakes among the Blue Mountain coffee apart from the “blend” trick.
The certification seal is one of the easier things to check on the package by the stamp of the blue coffee board. It has a mountain picture with an island map, tank, and coffee beans.