I’ve tried Indonesia’s civet cat coffee and Vietnam’s weasel coffee and almost tried Thailand’s elephant dung coffee but come on, forget all that shit (pun intended) because on every coffee lover’s bucket list, is Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.
I buy the cheapest coffee I can find. But these days, I find myself on the receiving end of the kindness of friends. I have been sent books, protein bars, steaks, boxes of masks, meals, bottles of balsamic vinegar, and even Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.
Genuine Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee has a mild polished flavor and an aroma that evokes memories of sweet herbs and florals, with overtones of nuts. (Some connoisseurs even claim that they can detect orange, honey, even chocolate as well as “pungently buttery” notes.) It has a smooth, clean taste with vibrant acidity but little bitterness and as the cup cools, some people claim that an attractive mint-like note emerges. (My personal tip to you: forget the marketing hyperbole, do not be obsessed with the opinions of others and do not look hard for flavors and aromas talked about by many of these self-styled “aficionados” some of whom have probably never actually tasted Blue Mountain coffee themselves! Once you drink a cup of Blue Mountain coffee, you’ll agree that this is the meaning of real coffee. Nuff said. No need for a superfluity of words.)
Demand, small growing areas, slow growth (Blue Mountain coffee requires twice the amount of time to grow before harvesting is possible), difficulty in harvesting (think steep mountain slopes in some of the highest mountains in the Caribbean) and stringent quality control (every single bean is inspected) have driven prices up.
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 coffee liqueur.
If you think you’re getting a good deal buying from jokers selling cheap Blue Mountain Coffee online, then you’re setting yourself up to be ripped off. Even visitors to Jamaica get conned. I trust the Japanese, so I buy my Blue Mountain coffee from UCC (Usehima Coffee Company). It owns the Craighton Estate in Jamaica, the only Japanese-directly operated Blue Mountain estate in Jamaica.
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.
Also, avoid most blends. If you buy a blend be aware that there’s no minimum amount of Blue Mountain that has to be included; it could be as low as 10%. Only buy a blend if you’re aware of how much Blue Mountain is within. Theoretically, a dishonest merchant could throw 10 Blue Mountain beans into a bag of random coffee beans and claim that his coffee is a Blue Mountain blend.
If you really like coffee, do check out these as well: Kona from Hawaii (UCC has its own coffee plantation in Hawaii as well), Kenyan AA, peaberry from Tanzania, Sumatra Mandheling and Sulawesi Toraja from Indonesia, Central American Geisha, Monsooned Malabar from India and Yirgacheffe from Ethiopia.