Widely considered to be one of the worlds best, if not the best, coffees, Jamaican Blue Mountain is a rich, smooth roast. This aromatic and flavorful coffee has to be experienced to be believed.
The Beginning of Jamaica’s Coffee Trade
The history of Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is just as rich and interesting as the coffee itself. According to one legend, King Louis XV of France sent three coffee plants to French colony Martinique around 1723. Just one of the three plants survived, and this particular coffee plant was given to Sir Nicholas Lawes, a former Jamaican Governor, approximately five years later. Once this coffee plant arrived on Jamaican soil, a coffee crop was quickly established thanks to soil rich in nitrogen, potash, and phosphorous. Less than ten years later, coffee exportation had already begun. More than 600 coffee plantations had been established by the early nineteenth century.
It is believed that all of the coffee plants grown in Jamaica today are descendents of that single plant, of the Arabica typica variety, that arrived in Jamaica from France, via the island of Martinique.
The Blue Mountains Factor-why does that Coffee Taste so Good?
The fantastic Blue Mountain taste is achieved by a combination of three different factors: altitude, a special kind of rich, nutrient-laden soil called volcanic soil, and the treatment processes undergone by the beans once they are harvested.
The hub of Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee production is, of course, Jamaica’s Blue Mountains, a magnificent mountain range that rises more than seven thousand feet above sea level. The high altitude, dense cloud cover, and low annual rainfall of the region all serve to slow down the maturation rate of the coffee crop. In this region, crops take up to ten months to mature, whereas in most other parts of the world, the average time taken is five to six months. The longer maturation time produces beans that are larger and have a more concentrated and complex flavor.
Like every other mountain in the islands of the Caribbean, Jamaica’s Blue Mountains are the peaks of extinct volcanoes. Throughout centuries of eruptions, the soil created on the peaks of the Blue Mountains has become extremely nutrient-rich due to the decomposition of plant life, and the deposition of accumulated biomass. This extraordinarily rich soil is an important ingredient in producing the exceptional quality coffee beans that go into every cup of Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee.
This is not the entire story, however. There is one more important factor, without which Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee would not be as highly-regarded as it is today. The production and distribution of Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is rigorously regulated and protected by the Jamaican government to ensure that every bean roasted and every cup brewed is of the highest quality.
For example, only coffee grown at an altitude of between 3,000 and 5,500 feet is allowed to bear the name Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee. If the coffee plants are grown between 1,500 and 3,000 feet, the coffee is known as Jamaica High Mountain Coffee, and plants grown below 1,500 feet are Jamaica Low Mountain or Jamaica Supreme Coffee. These regulations ensure that all Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is grown at the special altitude that delays maturation of the coffee plants and produces that complex and rich flavored coffee. In addition, there are geographical requirements as well as elevation requirements, in that to bear the Jamaican Blue Mountain, the coffee plants must be grown in one of only four parishes in the region.
Another unique aspect of Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is that pulped and washed coffee beans are allowed to age for a full six weeks, which is a particularly unusual part of the preparation process. Finally, before export of Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is allowed, it is checked for appearance and taste, to ensure that every single batch of coffee is of the highest quality.
How to Best Enjoy Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee
Once you have made the effort to purchase one of the very best coffees in the world, it would be almost criminal if you did not ensure that your coffee is properly stored and brewed!
Storing your coffee properly requires that it be sealed in an airtight container, away from any foods with strong odors or flavors, such as curry powder and other spices. Refrigeration in an airtight container is the ideal way to store ground beans.
You can keep your coffee tasting great by cleaning your coffee pot immediately following each use. Never use detergent or other cleaners in your coffee pot, this can affect the taste. Simply empty the pot, brush and rinse thoroughly with hot water. Additionally, give the pot a rinse with hot water before making a fresh batch of Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee, and enjoy.