Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee
STONELEIGH ESTATE –
Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is a classification of coffee grown in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. The best lots of Blue Mountain coffee are noted for their mild flavour and lack of bitterness. Over the past few decades, this coffee has developed a reputation that has made it one of the most expensive and sought-after coffees in the world. Over 80% of all Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is exported to Japan. In addition to its use for brewed coffee, the beans are the flavour base of Tia Maria coffee liqueur.
Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is a globally protected certification mark, meaning only coffee certified by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica can be labeled as such. It comes from a recognised growing region in the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica, and its cultivation is monitored by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica.
The Blue Mountains are generally located between Kingston to the south and Port Antonio to the north. Rising to 2,300 metres (7,500 ft), they 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
Stoneleigh Estate is in the eastern Blue Mountains which are blessed with high-altitude, rich-soil, plentiful rainfall, warm temperatures and regular mists, which give these beans their delightful, unique character. The varietals of coffee grown on the estate is mainly typica with some geisha and covers approximately 35 acres including the factory. They produce an average of 100 tonnes per year.
Deciding how we roast our coffee is more art than science, however a little science does help. Environmental conditions will impact on the degree of roast, so one of the first checks we carry out is a moisture analysis of the coffee. Anything below 10% and the roast will tend towards a light medium style. Over 12% and a full medium to dark roast may well be more appropriate.
This year’s Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee sits at 11.9% moisture giving us a good exploratory window in which to develop those more subtle notes. We also need to watch the coffee as it slowly moves from green, to hay, to light brown and finally the colour we are looking for.
The timing of the removal of the coffee from the roasting drum is where a bit of the art comes in. The first cracking phase started at around 183 degrees centigrade. This phase can be a bit intimidating and you need to hold your nerve as the coffee beans continue to develop. We dropped the coffee at 198 degrees centigrade just prior to the second crack phase.
What a fabulous looking coffee it is. Although you should wait to taste we couldn't resist and the result is truly exceptional. We used 16g of espresso ground coffee and pulled a 2oz shot to which we added 2 ozs of hot water.
And.........fantastic! Creamy, smooth, light acidity, clean with the gentlest bitter chocolate finish. I truly think this years harvest is one of the best we've tasted for many years
Is it worth the money, maybe I’m not the best person to ask! Jamaican Blue Mountain like Champagne or Belgian Chocolates are products that are life enhancing and as the old adage goes “a little of what you fancy does you good!”