You know a product is good when tons of companies are trying to sell cheap imitations with subtly misleading packaging. This is what has been happening with one of the world's finest coffees, Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee. Though it is fairly simple to package convincing imitations, the taste-smooth, complex, and without a trace of bitterness-is not something that can be replicated. Here are all the basics that you should know about Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee.
Where It Grows
The Blue Mountains of Jamaica run in a range from north to south, with the southernmost parts in Kingston, stretching up towards Port Antonio. At the highest points of these majestic mountains, at elevations of over 5,500, no coffee is cultivated. This is because the land there is strictly preserved forestland where farming is prohibited in order to protect the natural beauty of the landscape. Just below these precious reserves, between elevations of 3,000 and 5,500 feet, on small, sloping fields, coffee trees dot the landscape. Here lies the region where true Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee is grown.
What It's Like
The most notable characteristic of this delicacy is its absence of bitterness. It is mild and smooth, yet incredibly complex in flavor. Even without milk or sugar, seasoned coffee drinkers and rookies alike find it particularly easy to drink.
How It Gets Here
Traveling to you is the most complicated part of this coffee's life cycle. Because it is such a high-demand item, all Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee must be inspected and certified by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica prior to exportation. The inspection process is surprisingly rigorous; though grades of the beans can vary, each grade selected as good enough to wear the label must have beans with any noticeable defects numbering less than 2 percent. In addition, anyone who would like to import the stuff needs to be an approved importer; these importers, like the coffee itself, also need the approval of the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica. You can be sure you are getting the real thing by checking to make sure the importer of your beans has their approval.
How to Take Care of It
Once you have gotten your hands on this special treat, be sure to care for it well so you can taste it as it was meant to be tasted. This means you should buy whole beans, if you can, and only grind them just as you are about to brew. Before you brew, keep them stored in a cool, dry, and dark location in a container that is air tight. Another tip to prolong freshness is to purchase from a source that holds off from roasting them until just before they are shipped.