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.
Click to buy
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.
Click pic below to buy!
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.
Jamaica Blue Mountain (JBM) coffee dealers are now in Japan (late September) seeking to secure new contracts. Japan is a mature market that buys 85 per cent of the total JBM crop. So any new contract secured would likely mean that another player lost marketshare.
Japan loves JBM but its not exactly selling like rice cakes. So reports are that the inventory of JBM is growing.
As a result Japan buyers wants a lower price for the JBM. And they are likely to get it, as supply now outpaces demand. In other words there’s a lot of beans going around.
Whatever happens in Japan affects the world. So that means that you–the reader on Jamaicamocha will reap cheaper prices on luxury roasted beans. Want even lower prices contact us and we will make it happen.
Coffee Etiquette Around the World – 1st in Coffee – http://wp.me/p4VWqA-2iT
Starbucks would drop two cafes in Jamaica which will target tourists primarily at least initially, according to Coffee dealers who spoke to Jamaicamocha .
The talk is that the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay
could see a location followed quickly by another, at a new business
hotel under construction in Kingston. (Let’s avoid names for the moment.)
Of course, last month the Gleaner reported that Starbucks is considering entering the island along with other Caribbean territories in the medium term.
It just so happens that the busy Montego Bay airport which currently
doesn’t have any store slots available will see 25 per cent of the
stores come up for contract renewal this year, according to media reports.
Sources say that’s where the Starbucks franchisee will snatch up a vacancy and outbid an
existing operator. But it might not even have to come to a bidding
war, as the franchisee already supplies the airport with food
and beverage. (I have already said too much.)
Who are the two private sector players seeking to acquire the
Starbucks franchise in Jamaica–They are both in hospitality sector, the
Will Starbucks increase the coffee culture? Will Starbucks improve a
cup of local coffee? Or would it simply increase the price? Let’s see. Not all cafe players are upbeat about the prospects especially those who earn from the tourist market.
Single Estste Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee in our Etsy shop. Directly from Whitfield Estate. It’s 1.5lbs for under $48 inclusive of shipping. Great chocolatey and nutty profile. Medium-dark roast. It’s a joy to drink.
Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee prices hit a high of roughly US$60 per pound this year for roasted beans amid increased demand and reduced supply.
Consumers however will find solace in knowing that producers are expecting prices to fall by as much as 25 per cent in the next two years. It will mean that the cheapest Jamaica Blue Mountain (JBM) in years whether from Jablum, Wallenford, Amber or any other brand.
The price fall is the result of an expected increased supply of beans on the market as farms return to full or near to full capacity. The increased supply will result in an overabundance on the market which will, at least in economic terms, reduce the price.
In anticipation of this price drop, brands including Jablum introduced a Premium Blend of coffee that incorporates 30 per cent JBM and 70 per cent regional balanced beans. Thus price conscious enthusiasts can buy a pound for as little as US$32 plus shipping.
Over the last few years, a confluence of factors affected the supply of the beans led by drought, fires, infertile farms and disease.
Over the last two years, roasters in Japan wanted the bulk of beans from Jamaica and were willing to pay anything for the luxury cup.
During that period, the price at the farm level jumped fivefold from US$20 to $100 per box of coffee as small farmers gained influence in price setting.
The price of Jamaica Blue Mountain (JBM) coffee jumped so much in 2015 that it now rivals the price of Kopi coffee and outpriced itself from Hawaiian Kona, but what goes up comes down.
Coffee bars around the world historically offer Kona and JBM at roughly the same prices . The 2015 local coffee shortage and rise in Japanese demand changed that with JBM retailing at about $60 per pound from about US$35 a pound a few years earlier for quality beans.
It resulted in the wealthy huffing and puffing but still buying the luxury super-uber-yummy coffee from Jamaica. The regular rich however choose to drink tea instead ( Starbucks buys Teavanna ).
Jamaicamocha spoke to key dealers who predict the fall in price of JBM by 2017 due to reduced demand in Japan and ramp up in supply. “A large Japanese dealer stopped carrying JBM and other roasters in Japan are bailing and crying about the price,” said dealer A.
With the rise in prices for JBM every farmer’s son and grandson returned to till the soil. The rise in farmers on resuscitated lands will result in a jump in production and the magic number is 350,000 boxes for the crop year.
Hitting that target would put supply at a decade year high.
Another dealer said that JBM’s market is like a pyramid the higher the price the smaller the market. Simple economics dictates that price remains when demand and supply are in equilibrium: Yet demand is falling and the supply is rising.
Jamaicamocha believes on advise of dealers that the prices will fall back to about $45 a pound by 2017. Until then small poor farmers benefit. Dealers benefit and the discerning consumer gets his uber fix without counterfeits.
Marley Coffee which sells commodity and luxury Jamaica blue mountain beans will partner with The Broncos NFL team to cobrand coffee.
“Marley Coffee is played to announce a limited edition Mile High Blend in partnership with the Denver Broncos,” Marley tweeted.
The company which is on track to break even this fiscal year based on sustained sales growth.