If you appreciate smooth coffee with big flavors, I think you might enjoy Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.
This premium coffee is one of the most sought after worldwide, with almost all of the bulk shipments of this grade-A coffee bean being sent directly to Japan. For the likes of you and me, getting your hands on the good stuff will cost you; if you can find it.
Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is big business and is grown under strict conditions in the eastern region of Jamaica. And only the finest beans pass the quality test and are awarded a seal of certification.
Many coffee brands claim their coffee to be the real deal, but in reality, they are often a blend of other coffees and contain only a tiny percent of actual Jamaican coffee.
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If you’ve landed on this page looking to know more about this premium Jamaican coffee, stick around. Because in this article, I have answered most of the common questions surrounding this elusive bean.
Plus, I’ve handpicked four of the best Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee brands that are 100% authentic if you want to brew some up at home!
What Is Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee? (aka JBM)
The name is kind of a clue, and yes, real Jamaican coffee is grown on a range of mountains called the “blue mountains.”
Are they actually blue? Well, not really, I guess they have a bluish hue from a distance, but they look just like any other tropical mountain range in any part of the world.
From a marketing standpoint, blue mountains sound far more exciting than boring old green mountains.
Jamaica’s blue mountain is located in the eastern region of Jamaica and is about 2000 feet above sea level.
This region experiences almost continuous rain, it’s cooler than the rest of Jamaica, and due to the tropical climate the mountains are shrouded in a mist which gives a blue-like tint to the vegetation when seen from a distance.
While Jamaica does produce different types of coffee, Blue Mountain coffee is preferred by locals and tourists, and it’s the exported coffee on the Island.
Due to the limited space, only a small amount of coffee can grow in the “blue region,” and with high demand comes a high price.
It’s the classic tale of supply and demand, and with an average price of about 27 USD per pound, Blue Mountain Coffee is most definitely one of the pricier gourmet coffees available.
But does this coffee warrant such a price? Well, that’s debatable.
Where To Buy Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee?
So how do you know if you’re buying the real deal? With JBM coffee demanding such a high price, plenty of companies are trying to cash in on the Jamaican Blue Coffee cash cow, but in reality, they aren’t selling “real” Jamaican coffee.
Unfortunately, it’s getting harder and harder to find the “good stuff,” and with Japan getting first dibs and contracted to get about 80% of the Blue Mountain harvest each year, you’ve got yourself a challenge trying to get your hands on some.
So you have a few options.
You can buy green beans directly from a Japanese website, which could be costly once you factor in the shipping costs.
You could try and get hold of a grower directly, or you can take your chances buying Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee locally online that comes with a certificate of authenticity; this is the best way to get something truly genuine.
Personally, I’ve had great dealings with Volcanica coffee, and I’ve purchased a couple of bags of their premium Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee at a reasonable cost.
They also have a good selection of other coffees, and each batch is freshly roasted when you order, so you’re guaranteed the best quality coffee possible.
Best Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee Brands
If you want to try this exclusive coffee below, I have picked out four of my recommended best coffee suppliers that sell only 100% authentic blue mountain coffee beans – this is the “good stuff!”
Volcanica Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee (Wallenford Estate)
Volcanica Coffee has an extensive selection of premium coffee beans and is known for sourcing premium single-origin coffees.
Their Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee has been sourced from the large Wallenford Estate, which spans 5,000 acres of the Blue Mountain and High Mountain regions.
Coffee grown here is known for being brighter and more fruity than other Blue Mountain coffee beans.
These beans have undergone a wet process and then sundried. This natural washing and drying process produces coffee with a crisp, clean taste with notes of orange combined with some chocolatey sweetness.
Volcanica Coffee has an excellent reputation for procuring some of the world’s best and most exclusive beans, and they are my preferred online seller when I’m on the hunt for good quality coffee.
Coffee Traders 100% Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Beans
If you prefer to buy your coffee from Amazon, not a problem, I hear you; probably not the best place to buy fresh coffee but definitely convenient.
A company called Coffee Traders sells a bag of original Blue Mountain coffee that is the real deal. Each pack contains only Jamaica blue mountain coffee beans; no other beans are added.
This particular bag has been roasted to a medium roast which is a great level to bring out and highlight the coffee’s delicious, delicate taste.
If you prefer to roast your own coffee, Green Coffee Traders sell green Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee beans (find those here), which are guaranteed to be fresher than the roasted variety.
This product is 100% Blue Mountain. But be warned It isn’t cheap.
JA Coffee – 100% Genuine Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee
Sticking with Amazon, another reputable brand that sells Blue Mountain is JA Coffee. Sourced from the renowned Clydesdale estate at an elevation of up to 5000 feet in the finest region in Jamaica, you know you’re getting some of the best Jamaican coffee beans possible.
These grade 1 whole beans have been carefully handpicked and then hand processed by local farmers, and then they have been roasted in small batches to ensure that the coffee is as fresh as it can be by the time it reaches your cup.
With this medium roast, you can look forward to flavors of honey, hazelnuts, and creamy honey sweetness that is like nothing else.
Volcanica Jamaica Blue Mountain Blend (Various Estates)
Ok, this last recommendation is a bit of a wild card. I know I said to stay clear of coffee blends but hear me out.
Volcanica Coffee only sells premium coffees, which isn’t any ordinary blend from a reseller; in fairness, this bag is clearly labeled as such.
Plus, this bag has been approved by the Jamaican Coffee Board.
So what’s so special about this blend? Each bag contains 30% real Jamaican Blue Mountains beans, with the other 70% made up of supporting coffees from some of the most elite mountain-grown coffees in the surrounding region.
This product is perfect for anyone on a smaller budget who wants to try Jamaica blue mountain coffee but doesn’t want to hand over a small fortune.
Remember, you are still buying a bag of real Jamaican coffee at nearly half the price, but only 30% of the mix comes from the actual exclusive Blue Mountain region.
What Does Blue Mountain Coffee Taste Like?
With all the unique growing conditions of the Blue Mountains, which aren’t found in many places in the world, you can expect a cup of coffee that is exceptionally well-balanced and is generally low in acidity with very little bitterness.
Depending on the growing plantation (Clifton Mount, Wallenford, Clydesdale, Craighton, Flamstead, or Greenwich) and how the coffee has been processed and then roasted, you will enjoy rich flavors that include sweet herbs and florals with overtones of nuts.
100% original freshly roasted Jamaica Blue Mountain tastes great!
How To Tell If the Coffee Beans Are Authentic?
Because Blue Mountain coffee demands such a high price, dishonest sellers are always lurking in the shadows. And many use the “name” to sell other low-quality Jamaican beans or coffee blends that more often than not contain very little if any authentic Blue Mountain coffee.
If the price is too good to be true, then it usually isn’t the real deal. For example, If you’re paying $12 per pound for coffee from Jamaica, the chances of it being real Blue Mountain are slim.
When you’re forking out a small fortune for a bag of Blue Mountain coffee, you’ll want to ensure you’re getting what you’re paying for.
Always read the packaging. More often than not, there will be tell-tale signs that the coffee beans inside aren’t what they claim to be.
Jamaican Blue Mountain is grown, typically roasted (although green export beans are available), and packed on the island.
So if you find a bag that states it was packaged in the USA or somewhere in Europe there’s a good possibility that it’s not the real deal. Sure, you can buy green coffee beans, but extra caution is needed to attain the origin and authenticity.
Finally, look for the stamp of certification from the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica.
This seal is clearly marked on all authentic Blue Mountain coffee beans. It’s a unique symbol that includes an image of an island, a mountain, a wooden barrel, and red coffee berries.
Over the years, Blue Mountain coffee has gained popularity, and with increased demand, more farms have started appearing in and around Jamaica’s prime growing areas.
However, with limited space in the high-altitude growing regions, many of the new farms are located in lower areas, and to be honest, the coffee tastes just like any regular coffee.
Yet, it can still carry the Jamaican Blue Mountain name and hence sell at a premium price.
So make sure you read the packing to determine precisely which area the coffee was grown.
Why Is Blue Mountain Coffee Exported To Japan?
So why are the Japanese crazy about Blue Mountain coffee? As I mentioned earlier, a significant amount of Jamaican blue mountain is shipped straight to Japan.
On average, about 65%-85% of Jamaica’s total production each year ends up in Japanese hands, and the rest of the world is left fighting over what remains, which also elevates the price.
Most people don’t know that Jamaica and Japan have had long-standing diplomatic relations since the 1960s.
This partnership has allowed both countries to form solid economic alliances that benefited each country. And Blue Mountain Coffee was first imported into Japan shortly after World War II.
During that time, coffee roasters in Japan touted Blue Mountain as the coffee the British royalty drank, which helped to boost its popularity with the locals.
Over the years, Blue Mountain has become a sign of quality in Japan, very much like their prized Wagyu Beef, with many Japanese referring to it as the “king of coffee.
And Blue Mountain Coffee’s Imports have grown yearly, reaching up to 90% in the late 1980s.
This coffee has become so popular that in 2018 Japan designated January 9th as its Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee Day.
It’s big business in Japan!
Hopefully, if you’ve stuck around to the end, you have learned something new about the Jamaican coffee industry and more specifically Blue Mountain Coffee, plus the best places to buy this specialty coffee, how it tastes, and why the Japanese can’t get enough of it.
Even though it costs a small fortune, I suggest treating yourself just once so you can see what all of the hype is about. If anything, it’s something you can tick off your bucket list!
Remember, there are a lot of coffee beans being marketed as coming from the Blue Mountains in Jamaica when in reality, they are blended or grown in different parts of the country.
All the brands I have listed are the real deal, so if you want to treat yourself, you know you’re getting your money’s worth.