Blue Mountain Coffee
Blue Mountain Coffee comes from the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. This coffee has a mild flavour and is not bitter. It is considered to be a specialty coffee and as such is very expensive. It is patented, which means that it must have the authentication mark from the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica. If it does not have this mark, it is not authentic Blue Mountain Coffee.
The secret behind the quality taste of this coffee is the method of breeding and harvesting. The coffee plants are all descended from a Coffea Arabica plant brought to the island in 1723. This tree was planted at the base of St. Andrew and the industry started from there as the trees spread and the coffee beans picked. After a while the trees spread unchecked into the fertile valleys of the Blue Mountains.
Jamaica has the three main ingredients needed for growing coffee –high altitudes, volcanic soil and the right temperature. The area receives less than 200 inches of annual rainfall and the temperature never drops below 5ºC. The combination of these factors mean that it takes about 10 months for the coffee bean to ripen and mature, compared to half that time in other coffee producing areas. The result of this longer time is that the bean is more complex and has a better flavour.
There are specific laws in Jamaica governing the harvesting of the coffee bean, especially Blue Mountain Coffee beans. All beans must meet the requirements of moisture content and size, along with other qualities. Every single shipment of coffee that leaves Jamaica is tested to make sure it meets the requirements of Blue Mountain Coffee.
There are five classifications of this coffee depending on the size of the bean, which ranges from a grade of 15 to 17. Smaller beans are called peaberries and the final classification is that of beans that do not fit in any of the other four categories. None of the categories are allowed to have more than 2% defective beans.