This special coffee must be grown between 3000 and 5000 feet in the Blue Mountain Ridge
We thank our dear friend Dave Daniels who sent us this interesting text about the Jamaica Blue Mountain, which his cooperative produces.
Coffee was introduced to the island of Jamaica in 1728; the tiny island only ranks #43 on the list of top coffee-producing countries. Their crops supply only a meagre .01% of the world’s total coffee beans, pretty astounding when you consider just how sought after the Jamaican Blue Mountain product is. It is worth noting, however, that not all Jamaican coffee is considered to be of the Blue Mountain variety, and there are extensive guidelines put in place to differentiate it from other coffee crops grown around the island.
The Blue Mountains are the longest mountain range in Jamaica, north of Kingston. They include the island’s highest point, Blue Mountain Peak, at 2256 meters. They are called “Blue” because of the distinctive blue haze surrounding the area.
Three things make Blue Mountain coffee different from any other coffee grown on the island…
- Jamaican Blue Mountain beans have to be grown along the beautiful Blue Mountain ridge. Located on the east side of the country, it’s the longest mountain range on the island, and it runs through several different parishes.
- All Jamaican Blue Mountain must be grown within the parishes of St. Andrew, St. Mary, St. Thomas, or Portland parishes. Coffee beans harvested elsewhere are excluded from the esteemed classification.
- JBM beans must be grown between altitudes of 3000-5000 feet above sea level. Anything grown at a different elevation doesn’t make the grade.
Most coffee grown around the world is on flat land, but Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is grown high up in the Blue Mountain Ridge. This means tending to the crops and harvesting is very difficult and can even be dangerous.
Because of the challenges for farmers the coffee isn’t grown in high numbers, Jamaica only produces about 4-5 million pounds a year, which isn’t a lot when you consider that other countries can easily cultivate ten times that much in a typical growing season. Of what is grown, 80% is exported to Japan. The remaining 20% is what’s left for the rest of the world.
In 1728 The Governor of Jamaica received a coffee plant from the Governor of Martinique. 9 years later, the first coffee was exported, and Blue Mountain coffee was born. Still today, it is one of the only coffees worldwide to be packed in the iconic wooden barrels. Blue Mountain coffee is renowned worldwide for its scarcity and exclusivity, as well as unique taste. Demand is high as coffee connoisseurs marvel at its distinct flavour.
The location of Blue Mountain, north of Kingston, has rich soil and perfect conditions for the Arabica coffee to thrive in. The misty cloud protects the mountainside from the scorching midday sun, with daily temperatures hitting 36 degrees. The cooperative Small Farmer Coffee Limited is inspired by Dave Daniel’s grandmother Ms. Tita, with the purpose of reducing the supply chain to as few people as possible, meaning the farmers are the ones who benefit from the sale of their coffee. So, every bean you buy from them improves the lives of their cooperative.
The Ms Tita family is made up of 27 coffee farmers from the blue mountain region in Jamaica. We work as a cooperative making sure that our beans go direct from the fields to the roastery and then to the customers.
Small Farmers Coffee Limited only works with smallholder farmers with the promise to get them the best price for their incredible product. We establish long term relationships with buyers and customers and give a level of transparency that is unique in our industry.
To ensure their farmers are supported, they partner with various organisations to educate our farmers on environmental issues, wildlife preservation, growing techniques and even financial advice with access to funding. They aim to reduce all our farmers’ use of chemicals and move towards more organic cultivation.
Ultimately this all to ensure our cooperative has sustainable businesses and reaps the benefits of this rare and exclusive product. They also arrange to provide the farmers’ guided tour of our farms to anyone visiting Jamaica. Collectively they can all make a difference by spreading the stories of Blue Mountain coffee and Ms Tita’s and their promise to you is to give complete transparency as to how they grow and support our farmers.
Change a farmer’s life and buy some coffee with a purpose!
Please contact us to learn more about this coffee and Dave Daniels’ coffee farmers cooperative.
22th Nov 2020 – Breaking News
It has been a very challenging year for the farming community in Jamaica, all mainly due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, as well as severe and constant rainfall for the past four weeks, with access to some farms impossible and cherry coffee falling off the tree before it can be harvested.