jamaican blue mountain coffee

Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee (In Depth Guide)

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Why do so many coffee aficionados continue to be fascinated with Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee? Not only has it a reputation for being exclusive, but it’s also known for being misrepresented by scammers. If you’re not careful about where you get your favorite Blue Mountain coffee from you may be buying a fake.

Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee has earned its high reputation among coffee lovers for its delicious tasting brew. But you pay a hefty price for this coffee. A 16 oz bag can set you back by up to $120 while the cheapest comes in at around $40.

So, what makes Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee so exclusive and expensive? Let’s find it out


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Taste and Aroma

How a coffee tastes and smells depend a lot on where the coffee bean has been grown. With its volcanic soils, regular rainfall and misty conditions plus high altitudes, Blue Mountain coffee produces a uniquely tasting coffee which why it is well within the best coffee beans.

It has an exceptional aroma with a smooth, clean taste. It is all about its sweetness with hints of nuts, herbs and floral bouquet in the aroma.

The flavor is rich (and sometimes mild), refined and low in acidity. You’ll not experience any bitterness with this specialty coffee.

jamaican blue mountain coffee

Why is Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee So Expensive?

If you’re still balking at the price of this “champagne of coffee” once you know why it’s so expensive it’ll all make perfect sense.

  • Up to 80% of the coffee produced in the Blue Mountains is exported to Japan. With only 14 million pounds of this coffee being produced annually in the area, this leaves very little coffee available for the rest of the world.
  • The Blue Mountain makes up 6,000 hectares of coffee growing land. It’s grown in the Saint Andrew, Saint Mary, Saint Thomas or Portland parish. The exclusivity of this area means you’re paying for it too.
  • Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is handpicked AND checked by hand. This kind of coffee quality control increases labor costs and therefore the cost of the coffee overall goes up in price.
  • Blue Mountains coffee grows under challenging conditions. Steep hillsides make harvesting of the cherries tough. Harvesters don’t have the luxury of flatter landscapes common to many other coffee farms around the world.
  • It takes up to five years for the cherries to mature in this region. This is twice as long as most other coffee trees in other areas. Jamaican coffee growers will first grow coffee plants for up to ten or eleven months before planting them into the ground.
  • Low supply with a high demand rate equals a high price. With all of the reasons stated above, Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is not one you find in abundance.

Buying 100% genuine Blue Mountain coffee is going to cost you dearly. But it’s worth every cent spent once you sample it.

What You Need to Know When Buying Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee

Like anything in business, when something is in high demand, you’re going to find dubious salesmen selling fake products. This applies to Blue Mountain coffee too, unfortunately. To ensure you get the real deal when buying this treasured coffee, take into consideration some of the facts we’re about to mention here.

jamaican blue mountain coffee

Certification and Brand Protection

Blue Mountain coffee has to pass through some strict control methods before it’s stamped and approved by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica. This board was amalgamated in 2018 forming the Jamaica Agricultural Regulatory Authority (JACRA).

In order for Jamaican coffee to be exported it needs to be approved by JACRA. Each barrel of green beans is inspected against strict standards. These same standards apply to the growing, harvesting and processing of the coffee beans.

When buying Blue Mountain coffee ensure it has quality certification. The stringent certification requirements are intended to protect the brand and to ensure the coffee drinker gets the authentic coffee they’re paying for.

Label – Look Out for the Blue Seal

One of the ways to tell if the coffee you’re buying has been certified according to the JACRA standards is to look out for blue seal on the label. This circular logo shows a mountain with a barrel and the words Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee circling it.

Of course, this can be easily pirated by scammers so check it out closely to be sure it’s the genuine seal. The label should also state the coffee was grown, harvested and processed in Jamaica. If it says it’s been done elsewhere, we suggest you don’t touch this coffee.

If you notice any of the estates mentioned above on the packaging label, you can be sure you’re getting the genuine Blue Mountain coffee. Avoid blends as much as possible. Too often, blends contain only 1% of the real coffee with other blends added.

Where to Buy It – Our Recommendations

You have the option of taking a trip to Jamaica and staying at one of the coffee estates so you can buy authentic Blue Mountain coffee. But this will only add to the cost of an already expensive coffee. So, what are the other options available to you for buying this exclusive (and elusive) coffee?

Reputable coffee traders and suppliers around the world go out of their way to supply the 100% Blue Mountain coffee from Jamaica for their consumers. Online stores are also very convenient methods of buying Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. To make sure you’re getting the proper coffee, we’ve made some recommendations for you to source and enjoy.

Volcanica Coffee – Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee 100% Pure Whole Bean

Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee, 100% Pure, Whole Bean, Fresh Roasted, 16-ounce
This medium roast arabica coffee has been sourced in the Clydesdale region of Blue Mountain. It’s been certified by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica and has the seal to prove it. It’s 100% whole bean with no blends added to the packaging.

The beans have been washed processed and sun-dried. Once freshly roasted the beans are immediately packaged and sealed for freshness.

The Volcanica Coffee Company assures you’ll have a balanced tasting brew that carries a fruity flavor. The right amount of acidity adds to the distinct flavor of this unique coffee brew. With natural sweetness enhancing the flavors, you can expect a smooth and clean bodied cup of coffee.

It comes in 16-ounce size bags made of premium quality packaging materials. You can buy it on Amazon clicking this link.

Green Coffee Traders – 100% Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee

1LB. 100% Jamaica Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee

Green Coffee Traders source their coffee beans from the Jamaican Blue Mountain region. They bring them back to their warehouses in America and Canada. These beans are roasted in their factories or supplied to roasters throughout North America.

This 100% whole bean has been deep roasted and is not a blend despite its cheaper price. While the blue seal is not shown on the packaging, you can ask for their JACRA certification.

The outer packaging is a hessian material but don’t be fooled by this. Inside, the whole beans are stored in a high-quality package which includes a one-way degassing valve and vacuum seal.

The taste of this coffee is delicious being a combination of chocolatey sweetness, hints of nuts and a fruity aroma. A robust but clean and smooth-bodied coffee brew. Clicking this link you can buy it on Amazon.

Volcanica Coffee – Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Blend

Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Blend, Whole Bean, Fresh Roasted, 16-ounce

We’ve spoken about blends. But this is the only blend that has been approved by the Jamaican Coffee Board. This product has 30% pure Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee beans. The other 70% is made up of some of the finest selection of mountain-grown coffee. If you look at other Blue Mountain coffee blends, most of them only contain 1% to 5% pure Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee beans.

This medium roast whole bean coffee still has remarkable flavors and taste so you won’t be disappointed. The company describes the flavor to have hints of citrus fruit and chocolate. The beans have been washed processed and sun-dried.

As soon as the beans have been roasted it’s packed and sealed for freshness. You can buy it on Amazon clicking this link.

Sea Island Coffee – Clifton Mount Estate Jamaica Blue Mountain Cafetiere Grind Coffee

Clifton Mount Estate, Jamaica Blue Mountain - Cafetiere Grind Coffee (4.4 Oz Tin)

This coffee comes in a beautiful silver, resealable 4.4-ounce tin with a twist lid. It’s freshly roasted and ground to order.

The coffee is sourced from the Clifton Mount Estate which is one of the oldest plantations in Jamaica. The trees are grown at 1 300 meters above sea level on the slopes of the Catherine’s Peak.

You can expect mild acidity, hints of chocolate and overtones of fruit and florals when sipping on this coffee brew. There’s no bitter aftertaste with this coffee.

This company is passionate about only sourcing the rarest coffees around the world and making them accessible to coffee lovers. They roast in I kg batches to ensure maximum flavor and freshness. This is the Amazon link where you can buy it.

Tips for Brewing Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee

To ensure you get the most out your treasured and most expensive Blue Mountain coffee you want to carry out the best brewing processes.

The best way to get a fresh and flavorful coffee brew is to grind your own coffee beans. So, purchase whole bean whenever you can. Make sure you used a good quality burr grinder and pick the right grind depending on the coffee brewing process you choose.

jamaican blue mountain coffee

Going with immersion brewing is considered the best way to get the most out of your premium coffee. These include:

  • French press
  • Cold brew
  • Moka pots
  • AeroPress

You can also use a top of the range drip coffee maker or try out the pour-over method which we recommended. Use the following steps to give you an excellent cup of this exclusive coffee:

  1. Make sure you use filtered water or spring water. You don’t want to ruin your expensive coffee simply because you skimped on the water being used!
  2. The water must be no hotter than 198 degrees. With any coffee, if you use boiling water, you’ll end up with burnt tasting coffee. Go too cold and your beans will not be fully extracted. If you’re not able to measure the temperature of the water, simply wait a minute or two after boiling the water.
  3. Only grind the beans when you’re ready to brew. The longer ground coffee sits before brewing the more flavor and aroma you’ll lose. With the pour-over method, it’s recommended you use a coarser grind. Otherwise you run the risk of clogging the coffee when you add the water.
  4. Scoop the ground beans into the filter which has been placed in a funnel over the cup or carafe. Use about 2 level tablespoons of ground coffee to every 8 ounces of water. Using a pourer with a thin spout shaped like a goose’s neck, gently pour the hot water over the coffee grounds.
  5. We suggest pouring the water in a circular motion so you soak all the beans while dripping through. This will also prevent the water flowing straight through the center of the ground coffee beans.
  6. Once you’ve poured all the water, sit back and relax while you take in the remarkable, exotic taste of your Blue Mountain coffee.

Take a tour of a Blue Mountain coffee estate and discover how they make pour-over coffee (it will inspire you to visit the island too).


A quick tip: If you fancy making an espresso with Blue Mountain coffee, we recommend getting a peaberry grade. You can try this Jamaica Blue Mountain Peaberry Rare Hand Selected Whole Beans available on Amazon clicking this link.

Another quick tip: The French press makes a very good brew of Blue Mountain coffee. But the key here is to be very strict with the length of time you brew before plunging. Don’t let the grounds sit in hot water for longer than 4 minutes. So, if you have to set a timer to make sure you don’t go over the time then do it. This way you can be certain you’ll get the exquisite flavors of this specialty coffee without the bitterness.

Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee: A Brief History

It’s thanks to King Louis XV that coffee growing even began in Jamaica. In 1723 the king sent three coffee plants to Martinique, an island over 1,900 km away from Jamaica. Five years later, the Governor of Jamaica received a coffee plant as a gift from the Governor of Martinique. From that single coffee plant, a plantation was established in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica.

What makes the Blue Mountains so ideal for coffee growing is its steep elevations of 2,350 m. The volcanic soil is rich in nitrogen and phosphorus. The area has regular rainfall and the coffee plants are constantly covered by mist which they thrive under.

Over the years, over 15,000 estates and small coffee farms have developed in the Blue Mountains. One of the oldest coffee estates in the district is called Clifton Mountain Estate and has been producing coffee since the late 1790s. Other well-known estates include Clydesdale, Wallenford, Flamstead, Craighton and Greenwich.

To date, the annual production of these plantations and small farms ranges between 400 and 1000 metric tonnes. This is equivalent to about 0.1% of Colombia’s annual coffee production. Which is one of the reasons why this particular coffee is so scarce.

A Final Word

If you’re in the pursuit for a premium, exotic and elusive coffee then Blue Mountain coffee is a must-have. Yes, you’ll pay dearly for this expensive coffee but once you sip on it, you’ll know you’ve reached the top of the mountain (well, at least the top of the coffee mountain anyway).

It’s a coffee that’s steeped in deep history and years of coffee growing in one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Jamaica is home to a diverse range of beautiful fauna and flora while its coral reef ecosystem provides a livelihood for many of the island’s inhabitants.

Mountain ranges dominate the interior of this island of which one is the Blue Mountains in the east. With all this beauty and diversity, knowing your coffee comes from such a place can only enhance the experience of drinking such a unique and premium coffee.