7 reasons why Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is expensive

Jamaican Blue Mountain is one of the most rare, scarce and expensive coffees in the world. Our longstanding relationship with our supplier allows us to import these beans. Let’s find out what makes JBM so unique.

The Blue Mountains of Jamaica are generally located between Kingston to the South and Port Antonio to the North. Rising as high as 7,500 ft, they are the highest mountains in the Caribbean.

Our current crop comes from RSW Estates, a company that gets its coffee from three different farms: Sherwood Forest, Whitfield Hall, and Resource Coffee Farm. All of the coffee is processed at Sherwood Coffee Works, a 200 year old coffee factory.

JBM is produced on the hillsides of the mountain, making it extremely difficult to cultivate. As a result the beans are hand-picked making it a very labor intensive process.

JBM is pricey. Simple economics helps us understand why.

  • Every single bean is hand-inspected.
  • Takes twice as long as other coffees to mature.
  • Jamaica produces 14 million lbs of coffee a year. In comparison Ethiopia produces 800 million lbs!
  • RSW Estates only produces 60,000 lbs a year.
  • 80% of JBM is shipped to Japan. The rest of the WORLD gets 20%!

The keys to great Jamaican Blue Mountain

  • Pulping the coffee the same day it is reaped
  • 100% wet processing
  • 100% sun drying so there is 11.5% moisture content in the bean
  • Resting the beans for 8 weeks in controlled storage
  • Hulling and finishing the beans to order
  • Hand-sorting the beans
  • Speed is NOT of the essence. Great coffee production takes time

A crew of local women hand-sort each green bean in 10lb bags. A color sorter does not adequately detect minor insect damage or chips, so these ladies are the final arbiters of quality. Each batch is first passed by the senior sorter and then by the plant manager.

The final piece of the puzzle is the roast. With a bean as rare and unique as JBM  it is imperative to take your time and roast it correctly. Our roast profile is on the lighter side and brings out the creamy-smooth mouth feel with a hint of sweetness. You definitely don’t need to mix any milk or sugar with this coffee. It’s delicious by itself.

Why Jamaican Blue Mountain is expensive

Photo credit: Bigstock

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