Blue Mountain coffee beans are among the most sought after coffee beans in the world. Derived from the Arabica Typica variety, the majority of the world’s blue mountain beans are grown in Jamaica. Blue Mountain is famous due to its distinctive aroma coupled with the cleanliness of the brew and natural sweetness. The coffee has a full body with medium-to-high acidity.
The Blue Mountains of Jamaica are among the highest mountains in the Caribbean. These mountains are located between Kingston and Port Antonio in Jamaica and rise to 7,500 feet high. The high altitudes produce a bean of distinctive flavor. Plants grown in the Blue Mountain region get plentiful rainfall, and the cloud cover and misty mountain air keep the plants damp and cool resulting in a slow growing plant. This slow growth of plant and beans allow for the development if a rich, full bodied flavor. In addition to ideal climate, the topology of the blue mountains include some of the richest coffee growing soil in the world where drainage is considered excellent. These ecological characteristics are hardly found any where else in the world and are the primary reason cited why Blue Mountain coffee is held in such high regard among coffee connoisseurs. While highly disease resistant, Blue Mountain coffee plants have not been able to survive or thrive in other geographic regions.
Blue Mountain Growers
Blue Mountain coffee is regulated by the government of Jamaica through the Coffee Industry Regulation Act. Due to their high demand and high prices, we have seen a lot of fake and counterfeit product in many specialty shops. Real Blue Mountain coffee is grown and harvested in the following Jamaican parishes (i.e. regions): Portland, Saint Andrew, Saint Mary, and Saint Thomas.
In addition, the coffee in those Jamaican parishes that can be called Blue Mountain must be grown at elevations between 3,000 and 5,500 feet. If you happen to purchase other Jamaican High Mountain coffee, that is grown between 1,500 and 3,000 feet. Lower grade Jamaican coffee is grown at lower elevations. These are typically called “Jamaica Supreme” or “Jamaica Low Mountain.”
Blue Mountain Grades
Blue Mountain is officially divided into 5 sub- classifications, or grades, based on various quality factors.
Blue Mountain 1 – 96% of beans must have a screen size of 17/20. No more than 2% of the beans may have significant defects.
Blue Mountain 2 – 96% of beans must have a screen size of 16/17. No more than 2% of the beans may have significant defects.
Blue Mountain 3 – 96% of beans must have a screen size of 15/16. No more than 2% of the beans may have significant defects.
Blue Mountain Peaberry – 96% of beans must be peaberry. No more than 2% of the beans may have significant defects.
Blue Mountain Triage – Contains bean sizes from all previous classifications. No more than 4% of the beans may have significant defects.