Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee – Reviews and Buying Guides

If you’re going to splurge on coffee, it’s best to enjoy a brew nurtured and processed in the best conditions. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is a premium brew from the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, heralded for its sweet and creamy taste. 

JBM coffee beans thrive in the tropical slopes of mountain ranges that rise to 7,500 ft. above sea level. These Arabica coffee beans are later ground to produce sweet, creamy, and richly flavorful drinks with barely any bitterness. 

While the bags come at a hefty price tag, coffee aficionados across the globe pay the price to enjoy the bursting flavors and inviting aromas. 

Unfortunately, since Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is rare and pricey, many unsuspecting coffee lovers fall for blue mountain scams. This guide will help you understand and identify authentic Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. It’s one of the best coffee in the world that you should try.

What Is Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee?

The Coffee Industry Board (CIB) of Jamaica controls and oversees Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee. This is because many cheap and knock-off brands try to pass off other coffees as JBM coffee. 

The board has since created the Coffee Industry Regulation Act, which preserves the name “Jamaican Blue Mountain.” And it’s also a globally protected certification mark. Only authentic beans are certified and carry the seal, which distinguishes them from other coffees. 

Genuine JBM coffee beans only come from the parishes of St. Andrew, St. Thomas, St. Mary, and Portland and grow at an elevation of at least 3000 feet. 

blue-mountain-in-jamaica

However, the CIB does not regulate the use, marketing, and sale of the “Blue Mountain blend.” A blend could have any amount of Blue Mountain coffee, so you can never truly enjoy a pure experience. As such, always check the label for the contents. 

It’s important to remember that genuine Blue Mountain beans are expensive. Coffee farmers can only produce a limited amount of beans, hence the huge demand and hefty price tag. What’s more, 80% of the produce goes to Japan, leaving only 20% for the rest of the consumers. 

What Is So Special About Jamaica’s Blue Mountain Coffee?

Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee grows in the Blue Mountain Ranges of Jamaica that rise to 7,500 ft. The beans grow between 3000 feet and 5500 feet. The tropical climate at this elevation provides the best conditions for Arabica coffee plants. 

Other coffee beans can grow below the stipulated elevation but are called Jamaica High Mountain, Jamaican Supreme, or Jamaica Low Mountain. Above 5,500 ft. is forest territory, and it’s illegal to grow coffee there. 

Since the mountains are located on the eastern end of the island, the coffee trees are exposed to the North East Trade Winds, which cool the mountains and provide a misty cover for the coffee trees. 

The winds also form a continuous cloud cover, which slows the development of the beans. As such, the berries have ample time to develop their aroma and sweet-savory taste. 

The slow development is further enabled by the soils, which are products of igneous and metamorphic rocks in the ranges. These soils are deficient in nutrients, highly porous, and susceptible to leaching. 

Yet, these tough conditions yield some of the best coffee berries in the world. 

Why Is Coffee From Jamaica’s Blue Mountain So Expensive?

  • Only a small part of the island is approved as the Blue Mountain region. As such, farmers can only produce a limited batch. 
  • While the long maturation period of ten months (twice as long as typical coffee beans) allows for the growth of a sweet bean, it also means that farmers cannot produce on a large scale.  
  • The farmers and the board are strict with the picking and processing of the coffee beans. All the produce is handpicked, and quality control also uses hand selection. These labor-intensive practices further increase the cost of production but ensure only the best coffee goes into the bags.
  • The farmers and workers farm on mountainous terrain. The cost of labor is high since the workers need protection and fair compensation for the manually intensive labor.
  • The demand for Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is high, yet there’s little supply. What’s more, Japan consumes approximately 80% of the produce, which leaves only 20 % for other consumers worldwide. [1]

How Does Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee Taste?

Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee has a clean, mildly spicy, and creamy taste, which stands out from the typically bitter coffees. 

Each sip carries a warm, nutty, and chocolaty flavor balanced out by medium acidity. To wrap it all up are the rich herbal and floral aromas, with nutty overtones. Overall, we can say that Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is mouthwatering. 

With each coffee brand, you’ll notice a transition between three distinct taste layers- chocolate, spice, and fruit. 

Best Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee Brands

To enjoy Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee, you need to purchase approved brands that deliver authentic roasted coffee beans to you. Here are some of the top Blue Mountain coffees.

1.Volcanica Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee- Wallenford

wallenford-Volcanica

Volcanica Coffee is a reputable coffee roaster based in Atlanta. This family-owned business roasts exotic coffee beans, including the famed Jamaican Blue Mountain. 

Volcanica operates on the strictest rules to ensure your gourmet coffee arrives at your table in its freshest form, usually 24 to 36 hours after your order.

The Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee from Wallenford Estate delivers a smooth chocolaty flavor profile and fruity orange peels notes that linger long after the first sip. With a pH of 5.1, the Wallenford Blue Mountain coffee comes off as sweet-toned and buttery, with a sprinkle of pungency.  

After harvesting, the workers handpick the berries and take them through wash processing. Afterward, the product is dried in the sun on concrete slabs to bring forth the coffee’s vibrant flavors. Wallenford whole roasted beans are available in medium roast for your consumption. 

Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee- Wallenford is certified by the Jamaican Department of Agriculture. It is also Kosher Certified.

While the price tag on this coffee is high, it’s worth every penny. The silky texture and sweet aromas present in each coffee cup are guaranteed to elevate your coffee consumption experience.

2.Volcanica Jamaica Blue Mountain Peaberry Coffee – Wallenford

JBMPB-Volcanica

Yet another outstanding product of the Wallenford Estate is Peaberry Coffee by Volcanica. The coffee is available as whole beans, drip grind, espresso grind, and French press use. 

This is one of the rarest coffees because it comes from Peaberry beans. The beans only come from 5% of the crop and produce more nuanced flavors than the rest of the coffee beans. 

The floral notes and creamy textures make each sip of Peaberry coffee worthwhile. The beans have a 5.0 pH, which produces a well-balanced beverage. 

Each of the berries is handpicked before going through wash processing. The beans are later sun-dried and ground on demand to preserve the tastes. You can purchase a bag of Peaberry coffee in a medium roast. 

As with other Blue Mountain coffees, Peaberry coffee beans go through heavy regulation. Peaberry Coffee by Volcanica is certified by the Jamaican Department of Agriculture, Kosher Certified, Direct Trade certified, and Rainforest Alliance certified. 

3.Volcanica Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee – Clydesdale

jbmclydesdaleicon-Volcanica

Volcanica delivers yet another delight from Clydesdale, a renowned coffee region in St. Andrew. This coffee delivers a smooth, balanced taste like other Volcanica coffees. However, it stands out for its distinctive honey, milky chocolate, and creamy taste. The coffee also has a pH of 5.2.

Each sip has underlying maple syrup and red grape notes, which linger with the aroma after consumption.

Like other coffee beans under Volcanica, these blue mountain beans undergo wash processing before being sun-dried. You can purchase the beans in medium roast or pre-ground coffee in various grinds to suit your preparation process. 

The Jamaican Department of Agriculture approves of this product. Other certifications include Kosher and Direct Trade. 

4.Green Coffee Traders 100% Jamaica Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee

amaica Jamaican Blue Mountain Roasted Coffee

Green Coffee Traders a respectable provider of fresh roasted Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee beans. The company handles organic and Fair Trade organic coffees and provides one of the best offerings. 

The coffee brew has a balanced flavor, with fruity and nutty tones complementing each other. You can purchase the blue mountain beans in the city roast. The coffee also has no bitterness, which makes it pleasant for every morning or a special occasion. 

5.Plantation Blue 100% Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee Beans

Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee Beans

Plantation Blue delivers the finest Grade 1 Coffee beans sourced from small farms on the Blue Mountains. The beans are certified by the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA). 

You can purchase a bag of beans in a medium roast. The product comes in a tightly sealed bag to preserve the freshness of your beans. As soon as you open the bag, you’re invited in by the warm, chocolaty, and nutty aromas from the beans. 

With this coffee, you can say goodbye to bitterness and high acidity. The French press grind also brings the toasted-almond taste to life. 

6.Island Blue 100% Jamaica Blue Mountain Whole Beans Coffee

Island Blue 100% Jamaica Blue Mountain Whole Beans Coffee

You can also get your authentic Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee from Island Blue. The coffee beans are sourced, prepared, and packaged by the Jamaica Standard Products Company, Limited, one of the oldest in the area. 

Island Blue takes pride in being certified by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica. The company handpicks the beans, hand sorts, air dries and roasts the beans to a fine medium roast. 

The beans produce a solid caffeinated drink but with a smooth taste and little to no bitterness. Even before you sip, you’ll enjoy the embrace of the strong nutty and fruity aromas. 

Other Things to Consider When Buying JBM Coffee

Getting your JBM coffee from a reputable coffee roaster or company is only one part of the puzzle. Here are other tips to keep in mind when buying JBM coffee. 

Be Aware Of Fake Blue Mountain Coffee And Blends

Not all Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee beans are authentic. Many unscrupulous dealers pass off other coffees as JBM coffee to make profits. Of course, as soon as you brew the coffee, you notice the error. 

Authentic JBM coffee has a strong aroma, flowery and fruity notes, and a smooth, balanced taste. If you notice a striking tinge of bitterness typical of other coffees, you most likely have a blend. Most people blend with different coffees to lower the price or change the taste profile. 

No regulations limit the sale of Blue Mountain blends. These products may have 5%-10% of original JBM beans, which means you may barely notice their superior taste. 

Watch out for misleading labels as you make your purchases. 100% Jamaican coffee is not 100% Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. Always check the packaging to confirm the Blue Mountain label. 

What’s more, authentic JBM coffee is expensive. If the price is pocket-friendly, reconsider your purchase. 

100% JBM Coffee Buying Tips

How can you ensure that you purchase authentic JBM coffee beans? Use the following JBM coffee buying tips. 

Look for the Seal from the Jamaica Coffee Industry Board (CIB)

Fortunately, the coffee regulatory bodies in Jamaica appreciate a quality product. Only reputable companies that use real blue mountain beans are certified and allowed to use the Blue Mountain seal, as shown below.

JBM-certificate-seal-from-CIB

It’s best to compare the seal on the packaging with the original one to avoid any confusion. As you shop, you’ll also notice that few brands have reviews to back up their authenticity. 

Look At The Price

Also, expect high prices. JBM coffee beans go for $60-$70 a pound! Peaberry is the most expensive brand. Do not expect prices below $15 per pound. 

Look For Paperwork

Certified roasters and sellers will proudly display their certificates on their websites and list them on the product pages. Review each company to see their certifications before purchasing. Look for mentions of: 

  • The Jamaica Coffee Industry Board 
  • Jamaican Department of Agriculture

Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Grading

Coffee is typically available in different grades, and Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is no exception. The Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica inspects all the berries and oversees their grading. 

The beans are available in Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, and Peaberry. These are the finest qualities available and are sold in distinctive barrels. In addition, there are other lesser grades labeled Triage A, Special Triage, and Fines. 

Barrels-of-jbm-coffee

When you purchase a premium grade, you enjoy the best coffee with little to no blemishes. The board also uses a color scheme to inspect the beans. Grade 1-3 and peaberry beans are blue to green, while the other grades are pale green to pale. 

Grade 1 beans are the largest, and the size decreases as you move along the grades. Peaberry beans are different- they are small, rugby-ball shaped, and produce excellent coffee. 

Where to Buy Authentic Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee?

Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is expensive. As such, you should purchase authentic beans to get your money’s worth.

Buy From Local Roasters 

Some coffee roasters in your area can ship in Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee and roast it for purchase. However, it’s essential to check all details to ensure that you’re buying a genuine product. 

Visit the company website and investigate them online for any reviews about their coffee. Ask for the paperwork to verify if the bags have the CIB seal. Check if the beans are freshly harvested and ground for the freshest tastes. 

If possible, do a taste test to check for the warm, smooth texture, chocolate taste, and fruity notes. A real JBM coffee brew should also be slightly acidic, sweet, and have little to no bitterness.  

Buy From a Reputable Company

Purchasing Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee from a verified and reviewed company is the best way to ensure quality. Most companies sell their products on Amazon for fast delivery to your doorstep. However, remember that products on Amazon may not be freshly roasted, which affects the quality of the coffee. 

Volcanica stands out as a quality seller, with the best batches, including the prestigious Peaberry grade. In addition, the company strives to roast and deliver the berries to you within the shortest period to preserve the quality of the beans. 

The Verdict

Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee from Volcanica is the best in the market. With Volcanica, you are assured of variety and quality. 

The Peaberry coffee beans are the most expensive and the most exquisite to enjoy on those special days or gift a special person. The coffee from Peaberry beans is full of rich nutty and chocolate flavors and leaves behind floral notes. 

The coffee beans from Wallenford are rich in flavor and taste like crisp chocolate mixed with orange peels. The beverage is well-balanced and well-deserving of praise among coffee lovers. The Clydesdale Estate produces equally delicious coffee with an exceptionally smooth taste accompanying honey and chocolate milk notes. 

Each Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee product from Volcanica is certified by the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA) and Kosher Certified. The beans are wash-processed and sun-dried to bring out the full characteristics of the berries. 

Lastly, you can read hundreds of reviews from satisfied coffee aficionados that enjoy a JBM coffee from Volcanica. 

References:

[1] Industry Statistics from The Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority – http://www.ciboj.org/index/industry-statistics