Coffee…How Did It Get Here?

Coffee is to Jamaica as Reggae is to the island. Do you doubt that? Utter the words “Blue Mountain Coffee” and a lover of the brew will immediately correct that with “Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee”. A brand that goes fast off the shelves across the globe commanding high prices wherever it’s sold.

What is true though is that coffee did not originate on the island. The soil has adopted the plant and produced quality beans that can be grounded, roasted or brewed into a rich dark unforgettable taste.

Coffee came to Jamaica by way of neighbouring country, Martinique. Interestingly, it was first planted at Temple Hall in St. Andrew, located within the Blue Mountain Range. It was in the 1700s Sir Nicholas Lawes, then Governor of Jamaica, imported seedlings from Martinique and planted them in upper St. Andrew. Arabica was the type of coffee planted by Sir Nicholas and is considered an exquisite coffee found only in some parts of the world. From there, the roots spread along the range of the Blue Mountains, which turned out to be the ideal environment for growing the best berries- thanks to its cool climate and high altitude.

Cultivated high in the misty blue hued mountains of the island. Maturing in rich volcanic-based soil which only the best, bright-red cherries are hand-picked, sun dried, stored, cured, hulled, polished, sized, meticulously hand-sorted and packaged to bring the highest quality coffee to the cups of drinkers globally.

The country’s coffee connoisseur, Norman Grant, totals that there are some 7,000 coffee farmers across the island nurturing the much-loved beans and plants in almost every parish of the country. There is Blue Mountain, High Mountain, Low Mountain defined as supreme, prime or select Jamaican grades of coffee.

“In terms of the acreage of coffee farms, that we are not sure of. The coffee board is doing a coffee registration to determine how many farms are across the country, both Blue and Non-Blue Mountain that is under cultivation,” informs Mr. Grant.

The trees too can be found in several backyards, beans being cherished for personal use beyond the usual Sunday morning breakfast time. Some people will even tell you that a strong cup of black coffee and rum chases away the flu.

Mango time or not, investors are welcomed to drink their fair share of the Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee all year round. But first, you’ll need to identify what aspect of coffee production you’re interested in which ranges from coffee farming, distributing, buying  or exporting. For more information click here. 

Certainly, Jamaica says thanks to Sir Nicholas for accepting those seedlings with open arms- a gift which has brought admirable recognition to the country and we’ll surely continue to transform those coffee beans into a superior cup of paradise!

 

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Shelly-Ann Thompson - Contributor
- Shelly-Ann Thompson has been employed in the media sector for more than 15 years; with experience in print, television and online. She's equally passionate about the visual and performing arts which she believes should be more engaged for positive social change.

The views expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of JAMPRO

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