Jamiacan Blue Mountain Coffee

Many connoisseurs agree that Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee is one of the worlds best. An exquisite balance of aroma, body and acidity is the medley which makes Blue Mountain Coffee very special. However, it is the mellow sweet aftertaste that separates this unique brand from all others.

In 1953, the Jamaican Government created the Coffee Industry Board (CIB) of Jamaica, a regulatory body established to protect the quality of Jamaican coffee. Jamaica was the first country in the world to establish a defined geographical location designated to a specific coffe e brand, similar to that constructed by the French wine industry with the creation of the AOC (Appellation d Origine Controlle.

All coffee exported from Jamaica is shipped by the CIB. Rigorous testing by highly trained quality control experts guarantees that all coffee exported is 100% Jamaica Blue Mountain.

Clifton Mount Estate
Clifton Mount is the oldest functioning coffee estate in Jamaica and is recognized as producing the finest quality world renowned Blue Mountain Coffee.  The farm with its elegant Great House is located in the Newcastle region of the island and is situated on the Eastern slope of Catherines Peak at 1300 metres above sea level.
View of Clifton Mount Estate

Coffee started to be produced at Clifton Mount Estate in the middle of the 18th century (sometime after the year 1750).  According to the Institute of Jamaica, a land survey done in 1810 shows that Robert Hamilton was the owner of the farm. This map shows Clifton Mount Plantation as being divided into two parts, Top Mountain with 80 acres of coffee and 427 acres in pastures and Bottom Mountain with 111 acres of coffee and 264 acres in pastures.

Clifton Mount Estate by Marianne North, 1872
Mrs. Marianne North, the famous English painter and author, visited Jamaica in 1872 for 5 months and spent sometime at Clifton Mount. In her autobiography, The Recollections of a happy Lifes, she mentioned her visit to Clifton Lodge. Clifton Lodge belonged to a gentleman who had lost his wife there and never wanted to see it again.  He did not let it but rented it for a week at a time to different people who wanted a dose of cool air 1500 metres above the sea, beyond the lovely fern walk and in the midst of the finest and oldest coffee plantation in Jamaica


The Sharp family, Jason, Lawrence (father), and Richard





The house at Clifton Mount Estate is now one of the few surviving examples of the coffee houses, which during the 19th century, were numerous in the Port Royal Mountains and in the foothills of the Blue Mountains

Gazebo at the yard of Clifton Mount Estate
This gazebo forms part of an old tradition where people joined in the afternoons to converse and enjoy a cup of Clifton Mount Estate coffee.

Here are some of the characteristics of Clifton Mount Estate:

Single Estate Name:
Use of Shade Trees:
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Other interesting information: Clifton Mount Estate
The Sharp family
Jamaica Blue Mountains
1300 metres above sea level
Inga shade trees
1800 mm
Fully Washed

Oldest functioning coffee estate in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, founded circa 1750

Largest Blue Mountain coffee estate

One of the highest altitude estates in the Blue Mountains at 1300 metres above sea level
History of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee

Blue Mountain coffee can claim its origins from a decision taken by a French King in the 18th Century. In 1723, King Louis XV sent three coffee plants to the French colony of Martinique - another lush, fertile island 1,900 kilometres south-west of Jamaica. Five years later in 1728, Sir Nicholas Lawes, Governor of Jamaica, received a gift of one coffee plant from the Governor of Martinique. The rest is history.

From that one Arabica coffee plant, an exquisite coffee was introduced to the world. This one plant was nurtured and a plantation grown. Within nine years, the first coffee was exported and the Jamaican coffee industry was born.

Arabica coffee loves the nitrogen and phosphorus-rich soil of Jamaica and nowhere else better than the steep elevations of the Blue Mountains. Located north of Kingston on the eastern side of the island, the Blue Mountains rise to elevations of 2,350 metres. The bean cultivated is mostly Arabica Typica.

The coffee thrives in the fertile, volcanic soil, regular rainfall and, most importantly, under the islands misty cloud cover, to shade it from the burning sun. All these factors combine to develop coffee with exceptional sweetness and aroma, rich flavour, and full body with mild acidity.

To be called Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee, it must be grown at altitudes of up to 1,800 metres in the Parishes of Portland, St Andrew, St. Mary and St Thomas; comprising an area of some 6,000 hectares the size of a large estate in one of the high volume coffee-growing countries. Coffee farming in the Blue Mountains is characterised by mostly small holdings of up to 4 hectares but there are larger estates of up to 70 hectares in size. There are around 25,000 small holders and estates in total.

The result is what many regard as the best coffee in the world and the Champagne of Coffees. Like France Appellation D Origine Contr Champagne, which strictly controls where authentic Champagne grapes may be grown, the area where Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee plants are cultivated, is also strictly controlled. Indeed, the area is relatively small and exportable annual production of between 1,000 metric tons & 1,350 metric tonnes is tiny by world standards, equivalent to 0.1 % of Colombian production or, put another way, equivalent to 3 hours of Colombian production!

Highlighting its scarcity and exclusivity is the fact that Jamaica Blue Mountain is virtually the only coffee in the world to be packed in iconic wooden barrels, instead of bags.

Returning to the coffees history, Jamaica became a leader in coffee and the largest producer in the world between 1800 and 1840, with production reaching 70,000 tons per year. In 1838, slavery was abolished and many coffee plantations were closed down to make room for newly freed slaves who began planting food crops for themselves. By the 1890s, the Jamaican coffee industry was in chaos and the government passed legislation to provide instruction in the art of cultivation and curing by sending certain districts, competent instructors.

Quality control was a challenge for the next fifty years, with some improvements in the early forties, and then two events occurred. The first, in 1944, was the decision by the Jamaican government to establish a Central Clearing Coffee operation where all coffee for export had to be processed. The second was the creation of the Jamaican Coffee Industry Board (or the JCIB) in 1950 empowered to improve, control and maintain the quality and reputation of Jamaican coffee.

The Jamaica Blue Mountain bean is mostly Arabica Typica. The cherries are mainly delivered to the various producer-processor buying stations scattered around the Blue Mountains where they are subjected to float testing in specially built tanks. The larger farms & estates deliver the cherries directly to the processors' pulperies. Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee is wet processed - normally by employing aqua pulpers (mucilage removal), although in a few limited cases, the operation is undertaken by the traditional fermentation method.

As influential as ever, every barrel of coffee must go through the Coffee Industry Board (formally under the invigilation of The Regulatory Division) for quality control where the green coffee is rigorously inspected before it is exported. This can take time and cause delays, but quality is paramount and strictly controlled, ensuring that all Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee leavingJamaica is of the highest quality. Furthermore, the JCIB sets strict standards for the growing, harvesting, processing and marketing of the coffee, making sure that the end result is always an excellent cup of coffee.

Today, with annual production of Jamaica Blue Mountain green coffee remaining extremely low and with 85% to 90% of it exported to Japan, Jamaica Blue Mountain remains as ever elusive, luxurious, treasured and delicious.

Location of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee

Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee is a globally protected certification mark meaning that only coffee certified by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica can be labelled as such. It comes from a recognized growing region in the Blue Mountain area of Jamaica and its cultivation is monitored by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica.

The Blue Mountains are located between Kingston to the south and Port Maria and Port Antonio to the north. The coffee is grown in the Blue Mountain region in the eastern part of the Island. It consists of 6,000 hectares of coffee planted by 25,000 farmers. More than 90% are small farmers with an average size farm of less than half a hectare. Rising to 2,350 metres, the Blue Mountains are some of the highest mountains in the Caribbean. The climate of the region is cool and misty with high rainfall. The soil is rich with excellent drainage. This combination of climate and soil is considered ideal for coffee.

The Coffee Industry Regulation Act in Jamaica specifies what coffee-growing areas may use the label Blue Mountain . Additionally, it restricts the use of the Blue Mountain trademark to those authorized by the Coffee Industry Board. Coffee harvested from the parishes of Saint Andrew, Saint Thomas, Portlandand Saint Mary may be considered Blue Mountain coffee. Additionally, only coffee grown up to 1,800 metres may be called Jamaica Blue Mountain.

Most land in Jamaica above 1,800 metres is a forest preserve, so no coffee is grown there. Jamaica High Mountain Supreme and Prime Washed are grown in different areas to the Jamaica Blue Mountains towards the centre-west of the island.

Translations of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee in different languages:

Jamaikas Blue Mountain Coffee, Jamaikos Blue Mountain kavos, Cafea Jamaican Blue Mountain, Jamajke Blue Mountain Kava, Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee, Jamaica Blue Mountain kaffe, Cafe Jamaican Blue Mountain, Blue Mountain Coffee, , Jamajská káva Blue Mountain, Jamaican Blue Mountain Kape, , El cafè jamaicà Blue Mountain, JamajÅ¡ki Blue Mountain Coffee, Jamajská káva Blue Mountain, Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee, El cafe jamaiquino Blue Mountain¸ Blue , Jamaikan Blue Mountain Kahvi¸ Blue

The main Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee processor producers are Clydesdale, Mavis Bank and Wallenford Coffee Company, as well as the two principal estates with export licenses, Clifton Mount Estate (with Rainforest Alliance Certification) and RSW Estates.

RSW Estates actually comprise three estates:

Resource Estate is located at an altitude of 1,200 metres above the Yallahs River and comprises 12 hectares. It is owned by the Langford family, another revered name, and one of the oldest, in the world of Jamaican coffee. With an area of over 400 hectares, ranging from a height of 760 to 1,700 metres, the Sherwood Forest Estate is one of the largest intact original Blue Mountain coffee plantations and coffee has been grown there almost continuously since the late 1700' s. Most of Sherwood's plantings are scattered in the tree shaded valleys through which run seasonal springs. The early 19th century house, pulpery and dry mill, including the original 19th century drying barbecues, almost rival Clifton Mount for their spectacular location. The RSW coffees are processed at Sherwood Forest.

Whitfield Hall Estate stands at 1,300 metres in the heart of the Blue Mountains just below the Blue Mountain Peak, the highest mountain in the Blue Mountains. Many hikers stay at the hostel within the 18th century great house and join the nearby main hiking trail to the spectacular Peak and to Portland Gap. Whitfield Hall's coffee is produced on 20 hectares surrounding the great house with its vaulted ceilings, cheery fireplace (the area is characterised by cool evenings), time darkened hand hewn beams and gently hissing "Tilley" kerosene lamps (there is no electricity). It is now owned by the Allgrove family, whose history and roots in the immediate district go back generations.

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