Jamaica

Jamaica, a great place to visit, but what about the coffee? The world's best or most over-rated? I can say for sure that it is not the world's best coffee, and no serious coffee taster would ever attempt that argument. It has potential to be a decent, mild coffee, if harvested and processed well, and if promptly and carefully transported. We found that the post-harvest processing is rarely done well, that the humidity of the climate challenges the stability of the green bean, and it rarely realizes its potential in the cup. On top of that, a lot of coffee sold as Jamaican is not true Jamacia Blue Mountain, or is blended. If you pay $15 per Lb. for Jamaica coffee, it cannot be true Blue Mountain. It is either the lower-grown Jamaica High Mountain, or most likely a blend that contains a small percentage of JBM.

No coffees are currently available from this origin. The review is our most recent offering, provided for reference.
Jamaica Blue Mountain-Mavis Bank
Appearance0 d/300gr, 18 Screen
GradeCertified Blue Mountain
Processing
RegionBlue Mountain
Varietal(s)
Roast I usually recommend staying out of 2nd crack with the Jamaican coffees, and indeed I like this one when roasted to the light City stage and rested 2 days. But we had great cups from this particular lot when roasted to Full City with a just a hint of 2nd crack.
Something good is going on at the Mavis Bank Mill. They invested in all new equipment, and the coffee samples are showing up looking good. The problem is, some lots are better than others, and the Jamaican crop is really not a year-round offering (although someone will happily sell you Jamaican at any time of the year). Coffee cannot be stored in Jamaica for a very long time without being damaged by the heat and humidity. So it is important to buy from a carefully cupped lot (the first arrivals are not always the better ones) and then get it shipped promptly out of Jamaica to a milder climate. Beware of imposters; Jamaica High Mountain is not Jamaica Blue Mountain, and many coffees are actually blends that contain little Jamaican. It's fun to roast Blue Mountain and find out what this highly touted coffee is all about when it is fresh ... and why it ranks among the better Mexican coffees in terms of cup quality. True Blue Mountain is an unusual coffee; it has good body, and some very interesting mild nutty flavors with herbal notes that remind me sometimes of chamomile, sometimes of spice. There are only 4 trade names that can legally call their product Blue Mountain coffee: Wallenford, Mavis Bank, Old Tavern and one other I can never remember. True Blue Mountain is actually grown at higher altitudes than most other island coffees, and much of Mavis Bank's farms are at 5000 feet. Nonetheless, it has the soft cup profile. But remember, this is an "island profile" coffee; smooth, mild, balanced ...and oh so so so expensive. Don't expect huge fireworks in the cup - the character of Jamaican coffee is about it's mild balance and subtlety in flavor. I think this lot of Jamaican is the best I have ever had in terms of up quality and preparation of the green coffee. Personally, I will not consider offering any other Jamaican coffee, like Wallenford. I have seen too many insect-damaged coffees from that source, and cabbage-like flavors in the cupping samples. Anyway, there was a lot of damage to the trees, dirt farm roads and mills in the last hurricane season (not Katrina though.) This has affected the volume of the output, and price, but not the quality from Mavis Bank. When this lot arrived, I was happily surprised with the cup. I had some floral aromatics, sweetness in the wet aroma. Roasted to a lighter City stage it has more top end in the cup but the Full City (a few snaps of 2nd crack in the air roaster) had a nice aftertaste, sweet, a little rootbeer, aromatic wood, and that floral sweet hint longered. Now it is mild, because it is an island coffee. Still the subtle positive qualities in this lot made it heads and tails above any other true JBM samples I have looked at! Over-roasted Jamaican ends up like all other coffees; carbony, but Full City + can actually be quite nice!