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.
Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee supplier Amber Estate will resume selling roasted beans in April. Until then it supplies green beans to Starbucks.
In its place, the makers of Amber, Gold Cup Coffee will supply Gold Cup Supreme peaberries. It’s a lovely chocolate with lemon delight. Pure beauty for the lips enjoyed best as a pour over or French press.
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.
Starbucks plans to consider opening a coffee store in Jamaica.
When Jamaicamocha spoke to Jamaica Blue Mountain farmers on the implications most had a mixed bag of views.
Some say it will benefit the local industry provided the local authorities force Starbucks to follow the lead of Colombia.
Others say it will hurt the local cafe sector, still burgeoning and still educating the public on how to drink brewed coffee. Remember that this luxury coffee producing nation generally drinks tea and imported instant coffees.
Those who want Starbucks to buy local also acknowledge another problem: How can Starbucks sell coffee at a similar price-point as in major markets while using expensive Jamaican coffee?
A solution involves using cheaper Jamaica low mountain beans but also allowing the giant to import commodity beans for blending as Jamaica Blue Mountian blends.
Even this solution would likely result in farmer protests and calls by other cafe players of favoritism.
Let’s see what brews.
Starbucks opened its first store in Colombia in 2014 and now has 11 stores. Medellin its latest, opened last September. But the chain wants to open 50 in that coffee producing country.
Starbucks now has over 1,000 stores in Latin America since entering Mexico in 2002. The new store, located in Medellín’s Milla de Oro on Poblado Avenue, is designed to honor Colombia’s rich coffee heritage while celebrating the city’s eclectic vibe.
“Since opening its first store in Colombia, Starbucks stores in the country have served 100 percent locally sourced and roasted coffee for in-store beverages to honor the country’s coffee heritage and the company’s 45-year history of sourcing premium arabica coffee from the region,” confirmed Starbucks on its press pages. “Customers can explore different varieties of Colombian coffees including Starbucks single-origin Colombia Nariño, Colombia Espresso, Colombia Espresso Decaf and the medium-roast Colombia coffee.”
I’ve oft heard that Antigua Guatemala best compares to beans from Jamaica. So I bought a bag at Starbucks and compared.
Bean inspection: Mid-sized and fairly consistent. Not surprisingly, Starbucks over-roasted the beans. Its more medium-dark than medium as described. This meant that the lemons and fruitiness would likely have given way to a stronger chocolate taste profile.
Method: Coffee press
Taste profile: Spicy on top, deep spike of chocolate in middle, and smooth on back end.
Tips: Lovely and chocolately with heavier body brewing methods such as coffee press over paper filters.
Comparison to JBM: More spicy but less balance. JBM chocolate tends to emerge more gradually and often times balanced with vanilla tones.
JBM costs four times as much per pound compared to Antiguan. So it is a great coffee for the price. Of course JBM remains quality that’s rarely matched.
Personally I would mix JBM and Antiguan together to get a quality affordable cup.
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.
Starbucks started selling Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee this month at select stores in the United States.
Starbucks will buy beans originating from Amber Estate and St Cloud Estate in the Jamaica Blue Mountains. It will then ship, roast and bag the beans to Starbucks specifications.
The beans from Amber Estate are without doubt a superior bean. Its brews a coffee that’s heavy cacoa, gushing with lemony citrus.
Starbucks, which had stopped offering the beans for about a year in the US, sells an 8.8 oz bag for just under US$30. It describes the coffee as perfectly complex.
“This is a complex coffee with layers of citrus flavor and a hint of chocolate,” states the tweet.
On Starbucks’ official page, it indicates that its the 6th year featuring the coffee described as a “customer and partner favorite”.
“This world class coffee is always limited and we are delighted that we can enjoy it again this year,” stated
Jamaican coffee remains in short supply due to a series of natural – such as the recent drought – and man-made events.
“This coffee was grown beneath the peak of the 7,400-foot Blue Ridge. The dew, along with plentiful rainfall and fertile soil, helps create ideal growing conditions. After the harvest, each bean is scrutinized and certified to ensure nothing short of the highest quality. The result: a complex cup with layers of citrus flavor and a hint of cocoa,” Starbucks added.