Deaf Can! the not for profit coffee enterprise that trains deaf students in the art of coffee got the most exposure at the Jamaica Coffee Festival even above global brands Starbucks.
Why– for a few reasons.
First, patrons were not seeking out Seattle roasted coffee (or re-imported Jamaica coffee). So Starbucks prominent stall was largely empty. Largely ignored.
Second, Deaf Can! assisted three companies which led the company to have three cobranded booths at a coffee festival. That resulted in them having arguably the largest floor space. Third , they offered a zany cold brew coffee made from peaberries. It represented one of the most innovative core coffee drinks on display.
DeafCan is currently seeking to raise about $7.5 million from the Jamaica Social Stock Exchange to properly finance their coffee farm in Mandeville. Why not check out their business model here .
Over 15 Jamaica coffee brands are represnted at the festival. Notable absent brands are Jablum and Wallenford. There was a cobranded Cannonball and Jablum stall but no marketing beyond a small Jablum banner.
Love Jamaica Coffee but can’t be at the festival consider these coffees .
The Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee festival 2019 takes place in the hills of the world renowned Blue Mountain this weekend. Everyone will congregate on historic grounds in Newcastle but what brands will come out in full force.
Expect all the large ones including Jablum, Wallenford, Coffee Traders, Country Traders, Jamaica Standard Products, and so on.
In terms of cafe popups expect Cannonball, Cafe Blue, Jablum & Wallenford, Coffee Roasters, Island Blue and of course Starbucks and more.
People should be most excited about the surprises: The smaller brands coming out in force to increase marketability and exposure such as Plantation Blue and Bawk coffee. But we shall see this weekend at the coffee festival.
The festival under the patronage of the Ministry of Tourism aims to get locals and foreigners to experience three days of Jamaican food, coffee and culture along the Blue Mountain Culinary Trail. There will also be indigenous arts and crafts showcases, live Reggae music performances and tours to some of Jamaica’s best kept secrets.
Can’t be there but want to experience quality coffee. There’s always next year.
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People are drawn to the balanced cup that real Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee (JBM) offers. It’s chocolatey brewing with natural spice and fruit tones without bitterness.
Jamaica coffee can be divided into two categories Blue and High Mountain. Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee comes only from the East of the island and usually costs US$50 per pound (450g) for roasted beans. High Mountain mostly from the west of the island usually sells for ÙS$25 per pound for roasted beans.
Blue Mountain is luxury beans the equivalent of a Louis Vuitton bag for coffee. The classic profile is layered moving from chocolate to spice to fruit tones without bitterness. High Mountain is functional and would represent a beauiful leather backpack without a brand name. The profile moves from deep chocolate to lighter chocolate and spice with slight bitterness.
Some critics say that over the last 20 years with the rise of Starbucks and specialty coffee, other regions have improved quality and now offer cups with similar quality to Jamaica Blue Mountain. Jamaica finds its natural competitors that speciality coffee in Latin America and the Pacific. So is Kona coffee better than Jamaica coffee. Or is Guatemalan coffee better than Jamaica coffee. What about Colombian coffee. These beans usually cost half that of Jamaica Blue Mountain quality beans. That said, the profile tends to be a cross between Jamaica Blue and Jamaica High Mountain beans. Two handbags of the same size says nothing about the quality and style. A Louis Vuitton handbag will always maintain its value due to its quality and taste, so too with Jamaica Blue Mountain.
So is Jamaica coffee worth the money? Well it depends. Yes if you can guarantee that the beans are 100% from Jamaica rather than blends. Blended coffee is basically 10 to 30 per cent Jamaica Blue Mountain with 70 to 90 per cent beans from other origins usually Colombia. Blends costs half the cost of JBM or about US$25 per pound but really drinkers are getting foreign coffee.
Buying 100% JBM from reputable brands is essential. The best brands of Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee include:
3. Coffee Roasters Jamaica
4. Marley Coffee
5. Coffee Traders
7. Jablum Gold
8. Island Blue
10. Plantation Blue
There are others and the list can adjust based on crop and batch quality. Here’s a list of the taste profiles of most of these brands along with fulfilment.
Coffee lovers might wonder why Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee is twice as expensive as High Mountain coffee.
Well Blue Mountain is in heavy demand in places like Japan where roughly 75 per cent of the total crop gets exported annually. Additionally, the Blue Mountain growing region is entirely on steep slopes. That limits cultivation in an is already limited zone. Its 8 hours of daily mist and fog creates a natural green-house effect which slow ripens the beans. Comparatively High Mountain is grown on flat lands or lowlands which enables better economies of scale. But also the coffee isn’t in heavy demand in Japan like the JBM.
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Sister companies Wallenford Coffee and Mavis Bank Coffee Factory want to be in every luxury store in the world. But quality takes time to find new markets.
Green beans are best handled by these companies directly but for roasted beans there are options. Each company ships roasted beans globally but they do so at prices which can at times be prohibitive. That’s where brokers enter the picture. Will a 8oz bag of coffee might sell for US$35 directly from these companies, resellers sometimes offer for US$25. Of course buy from sellers on platforms or websites with feedback and knowledge about coffee. Because most Jamaicans don’t drink coffee and think all coffee tastes great.
Jablum and Wallenford were distinct companies until recently acquired by a millionaire, whose officers restructured both companies under a new entity called Specialty Coffee Holdings. The strategy of the Specialty aims to increase green and roasted bean sales to new geographies with special care for China. They want China but they fear bean duplication and thus are searching for a large distributor and roaster.
Five years ago, Russia was a fastest emerging market but the sanctions and the drop in oil prices killed that market almost overnight. The strength of the Russian economy will one day rebound and we await its recovery.
Contextually Japan buys about 75 per cent of total output of coffee from Jamaica. But whats more the remaining 25 per cent sent to other regions actually fights with the some of the 85 per cent repackaged from Japan back to the world.
The Chinese are culturally tea drinkers, but coffee remains popular among youngsters and entrepreneurs which creates a market, particularly for the growing middle class.
Following the Western Financial Crisis in 2008, the Japanese market retracted from buying large supplies of Jamaica coffee. The efforts to market Jamaica coffee in USA and Europe proved difficult with limited budgets. While offloading excess goods in Jamaica would prove futile as the island drinks instant coffee and teas. Additionally, hotels are not required to buy Jamaica coffee.
The price of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee remains at around US$27 per kilogramme in Japan for green beans,and US50 per kilogramme for roasted beans.
A nice read about flashbacks chilling in a magical London cafe.
Generally, I am unimpressed by Jablum. It sometimes tastes like hot water but costs three times that of Dunkin Donuts. Truth, the hot water tends to occur in Jablum ground coffees. So my advise to persons wondering about quality. Just avoid the ground coffess. But what about Jablum Gold whole beans. Is it worth the cash?
Cupping coffee is what we do. We do these reviews to keep the companies honest and to let caffeineocrats know what to avoid and when to avoid it. We don’t need sterile labs. We prefer cupping where it counts, at home in the hills of the Jamaica Blue Mountains.
Follow the process of popping open a box of Jablum Gold and cupping via a chemex pour-over.
History: Jablum Gold entered the market about 8 years ago as the curated version of its Jablum classic beans. In other words Jablum Gold sought to address concerns that Jablum was inconsistent with its taste. That the beans tasted like hot water. Like hot almonds. Anything but luxury coffee. So Jablum Gold entered the market with fatter better beans with more flavour. It always amazes me that the company maintained this elaborate packaging to this day.
Packaging: The steps to unbox the coffee is reminiscent of the theatre involved in unboxing a watch. Pop the top apart and it reveals two sleeves: One arms to the left and the other to the right. It reveals a blue burlap bag which further reveals a shiny blue sealed bag.
Aroma: Open with a pair of scissors shows fat swollen beans which smell of brown sugar. There are other spices but brown sugar dominates in a good way.
Preparation: Grind in between fine and medium.
Brewing method: Chemex, in an attempt to enhance crispiness and fruit essences. It’s based on previous knowledge that Jablum coffees generally enhances light chocolate tones and almond tones without much or any fruit. Comparatively utilising a french press would enhance the chocolate tones and mute any hints of fruit.
Taste: Black currant which quickly transitions to deep chocolate and transitions to cream soda with low to medium acidity, and then leaves the palette with a smooth finish.
Conclusion: 8.5/10 with Starbucks daily blend 6/10. So consider Jablum Gold for that affordable luxury.
Can instant coffee makes an instant comback
An accident in the boiler room at instant coffee processor Salada Foods Limited led to a $23 million net loss for the December quarter 2018 and the halt of production.
The good thing is that enough branded Mountain Peak instant coffee was in the trade and still available for purchase.
The decline arose last October from an accident in the broiler room wherein both boilers were damaged and had to be taken offline. The main boiler only came back online at the end of November arising from repair delays, said Salada which manufactures instant coffee and ground coffee beans at its registered office on 20 Bell Road in Kingston.
“While it was down there was no production of coffee however there was sufficient finished goods inventory at Lasco and Salada’s overseas distributors to satisfy market needs,”said Salada in its interim report. Since February 2017, the company outsourced its distribution to Lasco Distributors.
Full production resumed last December, and it is now normalizing inventory levels with its distribution partners and expects by the end of the second quarter to get back on track with its financial results. Revenues amounted to $172 million for three months to December 2018 from $228 million in the corresponding period in 2017.
For the year ended September 30, 2018, the company led by General Manager Dianna Blake-Bennett grew its annual sales to $1 billion an increase of 19 per cent, up from $872,000 in the comparative year.
Improved exports and domestic sales were the keys to unlock much of the sales gains. Profits were buoyed by a strong sales performance, with Salada growing its domestic sales by 16.7 per cent, and improving its export sales in Canada and Barbados by 440 per cent and 220 per cent respectively.
Coffee lovers in the Liguanea coffee zone of Kingston need to know the best time to get a cup of coffee.
The three most popular cafes in Liguanea actually have different high and low periods and its not necessarily what you think.
The high periods are 11am at Cafe Blue, 11 at Cannonball and noon at Starbucks, that’s according to Google spy information.
It means that if you like people watching go to Cafe Blue at 11 and make your rounds to other cafes by noon.
Conversely, the best time to run in for a coffee without long lines would be 6am Starbucks, 8 am at Cannonball and 7pm at Cafe Blue.
So for all those Airbnb visitors with nothing to do mid day or players with the perfect pick-up lines avoid the mornings.