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Why Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is Typically More Expensive

September 09, 2019

Jamaican Blue Mountain is some of the world’s most highly regarded coffee. It’s grown in a micro-climate at a very high altitude (the Blue Mountain peak is nearly 7,500 feet!) and in a unique setting. As the name suggests, it’s from Jamaica, specifically in the Blue Mountains, between Kingston and Antonio Bay on the west side of the mountain range. 

The high altitudes makes the beans harder and more dense than most coffee. The result is a  mellow, full-bodied, flavour that has a fruity finish with faint hazelnut, herbs and spices notes, suited for many brewing methods. A unique property is it’s low (perceived) acidity, which is rare for coffee with a similar taste profile.

But why is coffee grown here so expensive? 

The simplest explanation of why the price is so high, is simple supply and demand, the Blue Mountains provides around 0.1% of the world’s coffee and the demand is relatively high. But in order to further understand why it's so expensive, we need to understand the differences between typical coffee and Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee.

The Blue Mountains are the longest mountain range in Jamaica and the highest in the Caribbean however coffee is only grown in a small area within these Mountains. Compared to the rest of the world, it’s very hard to cultivate due to the gradients and access ways to the crops. There are no flat, large areas which allow for quick harvesting, instead the coffee is grown is small groups, wherever the terrain allows. 

At such high of an altitude, the temperature is very cool compared to most coffee growing areas, this means the process is slower, in fact it's almost twice as long. Blue Mountain coffee can take up to 10 months from bloom to harvest, whereas some coffees only take 5 months.

Aside from the high altitude, there are other benefits of growing in the Blue Mountains, the temperate is very consistent, there is a good amount of rainfall and constant mist means humidity at all times and less direct heat from the sunlight. On top of all this, the soil is volcanic, which is extremely high in nutrients.

Another very good reason for the high price is the comprehensive quality control, with such a pristine reputation, you can imagine the farmers want to keep the quality at its very highest. Some countries sort coffee beans with a machine, but Jamaica still do it all by hand which adds more wages to be paid. It’s not just the farmers either, the CIB (Coffee Industry Board) are very protective over what gets called Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee, the board even do blind taste tests before allowing any to be named and exported.

As with most things of a premium grade in life, you get what you pay for, you may see cheaper coffee labelled as Blue Mountain Coffee but the likelihood is that it’s a blend with only a small amount of the real thing, or it’s unfortunately fake. Coffee can be grown near the Blue Mountains but it needs to be at a very high altitude to produce the unique taste.

And finally, if you are wondering how these mountains got their name, the reason is that from a distance, there appears to be a blue mist which shrouds the peaks.

We hope this write up has proven useful and you are interested in trying this unique coffee, we have gone through great lengths to ensure we supply the very best produce here.





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