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Blue Mountain Jamaica, exclusive, Kenya Blue Mountain - | Written by Janice Spencer

From Jamaica to Kenya, the Wonderful Blue Mountain Bean

Jamaican mountainsBlue Mountain Jamaica Coffee is regarded as one of the most exclusive and sought-after coffees in the world. Grown high in the majestic Blue Mountains of Jamaica, the climate and growing conditions here produce beans that develop and mature slowly, giving them their rich, full-bodied taste and unique character. They are renowned for their delicate mild and mellow flavours and lack of bitterness. They carry a subtle sweetness that make Blue Mountain Jamaica Coffee perfect to use as a luxury ingredient in desserts. It is also used in cocktails and is the flavour base of the liqueur, Tia Maria.

Coffee is believed to have first been introduced to Jamaica in 1728, when a gift of Arabica coffee seedlings was given to Sir Nicholas Lawes, the Governor of the island at the time, from the Governor of Martinique. Lawes had already tried his hand at cultivating various crops on the island, and he planted the first coffee plants in St Andrew, a parish that extends into The Blue Mountains, the longest mountain range in Jamaica. With some of the highest peaks in the Caribbean, the climate of The Blue Mountains provides the perfect environment for coffee cultivation; the volcanic soil is nutrient rich with good drainage, and rainfall is high. Temperatures are cooler than the rest of the island, lush forests provide shade, and there are almost constant mists that make the higher peaks appear greenish-blue in colour. This microclimate has resulted in the mountains being home to a myriad of beautiful and exotic flora and fauna.

From small beginnings coffee cultivation grew; by the early 1800s, over 500 coffee plantations existed and, for a time, Jamaica dominated the market in coffee production. Over the years, however, there was a gradual decline in production, and by the mid 1800s the number of plantations had been drastically reduced. In 1950, the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica was formed, introducing regulations and quality control procedures in coffee production. Since then, Blue Mountain coffees have become respected and revered, and earned their reputation as being some of the world's finest.

Only coffee beans grown within the parishes of St Andrew, St Mary, St Thomas and Portland, and at altitudes between 3,000 to 5,500 feet can be classed as genuine Blue Mountain Coffee. There are imitation blended products on the market that are inferior in quality, so care should be taken when buying to ensure its authenticity. Genuine 100% Blue Mountain Jamaica Coffee will carry a globally protected certification mark from the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica.

Being one of the rarest coffees produced in the world, Blue Mountain Jamaica Coffee commands a high price. Reasons for its limited supply include the fact it thrives in an environment with climatic conditions not found in many areas of the world. Also, the amount of space for its cultivation is restricted, bearing in mind the criteria for its authenticity. Another reason is that demand is high because it tastes so good! It is exported to many countries across the world, a high percentage being shipped to Japan.

Kenya Blue Mountain Coffee has been around for more than 100 years, and is believed to have been introduced to Kenya by British settlers, with seeds that came originally from Jamaican Blue Mountain estates. It is cultivated at high altitudes in the Kenyan mountains, where cooler temperatures, acidic soil and good rainfall make favourable conditions for its production. Kenyan coffees are typically rich and aromatic, and an intensity of flavour is evident in Kenya Blue Mountain Coffee. It's a full-bodied cup with medium acidity, citrusy notes, and a sweet chocolatey aftertaste. Its aroma is rich and fruity.

Both Kenya Blue Mountain Coffee and Blue Mountain Jamaica Coffee are a real treat for coffee lovers, and are suitable for bean-to-cup, cafetière and filter machines. At we roast over 100 wonderful coffees from around the world, including rare and exclusive varieties such as Kopi Luwak and Blue Mountain Jamaica, and deliver them directly to your door. We roast to order, so your coffee will always arrive in the freshest condition possible, and offer a range of grind options as well as whole beans. We also offer a sumptuous range of teas, as well as our ever-popular coffee gift hampers.