Burman Coffee Answers Your Questions on Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee!
We partner with Flamstead Estate – 100% Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee – Exceptional Quality
Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is world-renowned for its quality and well-balanced taste. Our customers want the best of the best and want to know more about this popular coffee and the specific lots we carry, so we are highlighting some of our most asked questions:
Q.) What is Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee?
A.) Jamaican Blue Mountain is not just Jamaican coffee – there are many other Jamaican coffees that do not make the Blue Mountain certification or are grown outside the Blue Mountain region. Blue Mountain is a Jamaican government certification for only the best of the best from a producing region of the Blue Mountains. Consequently, strict certification standards mean that no cup should be sub-par with a JBM tag on it. But be warned, not every Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is the same. In fact, each year there are many different Jamaican coffee cup profiles.
The Blue Mountain area has at least four major mills (Mavis Banks being the largest) and a plethora of small farmers and micro-producers. There is a definite range in quality and taste profiles (don’t forget about crop year). JBM comes in four grades – number one being the top grade. Like most grading systems, the grades do not reflect taste, just bean size, and defect count. As a result, higher defect rates are prone to lower cup scores and muddier tones. JBM grades 1 and 2 have the same strict defect limit and strictly refer to bean size. JBM grades 3 and 4 are for Jamaican Blue Mountain Blends (usually by big chain coffees) and will have higher defect counts.
Q.) What kind of Jamaican Blue Mountain do you carry?
A.) Many years ago, we befriended Edgar Munn, who is a son of the family that runs the Mavis Banks Mill (government owned). Over the years, we have cycled through many Mavis Banks aggregates (an assortment of farmers milled by Mavis Banks Coffee Factory) – only the top grades of course! Though they cupped well, the tones tended to vary from batch to batch because they were aggregates from multiple farmers. Aggregates are what we offered in the past, but we recently were able to form a great working relationship with a single Jamaican Blue Mountain estate.
About two years ago we met Stephen Dunkley through Edgar, who operated Flamstead Estate, a highly acclaimed single estate located in the best growing area of the Blue Mountains. It is therefore 100% traceable and I’ll tell you – this brings the word “special” to JBM. Flamstead Estate is the prime model for quality Blue Mountain. Raised drying beds and meticulous processing of only ripe cherries create clean, sweet and smooth tones cup after cup. When you see the estate and taste the coffee, you can start to see why this coffee is in such high demand.
Q.) Is your Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee fresh?
A.) Yes! Our close ties with the estate allow us to order smaller quantities more often. We run out occasionally but can always assure perfect freshness.
The coffee is produced during Jamaica’s springtime around March. The batch we are on now is the 2016/2017 crop. We have the top grade Flamstead Estate Grade 1 flat bean and Peaberry: wonderful batches with caramel sweet tones, soft fruit and floral, and a hint of citrusy island acidity. Most noteworthy, it quickly became a house favorite.
Q.) Why is the Jamaican Blue Mountain on sale when it’s fresh?
A.) We just got a call from Edgar and Stephen and they have an awesome second pull from his fields. He has a stellar lot of Grade 2 flat bean. Cupping just as high as the Grade 1 and a couple bucks cheaper per pound. Per our policy of not overbuying to ensure it doesn’t get old, as a result, we need to sell the Grade 1 before we can grab this next lot.
Q.) Is Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee worth the money?
A.) Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is a rare gem. It is expensive because demand overwhelms production. The U.S. battles other premium coffee drinking countries to get the best lots. Therefore, the highest bidder gets the best coffee. Over the years, the price of JBM has spiked. Japan is one of the largest buyers in the world, hence the price toppling after the 2011 tsunami. But within the last 2-3 years, the price has gone back up.