Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is one of the most recognizable and luxurious coffees in the world due to its unique depths of flavour combined with an utter lack of acidity. To guard its legacy, every aspect of Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is carefully cultivated and protected by the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA).
These carefully drawn boundaries influence every detail of any Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee bean.
Our spiritual and physical home is in Jamaica’s Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park, which is one of the most important areas in the history of the island of Jamaica. The area was formed 75 million years ago with the volcanic birth of our island and has been an important place of refuge for both our peoples and our incredible biodiversity over thousands of years. It should be of no surprise that the area also overlaps with one of the 78 more irreplaceable protected areas in the world.
The official Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee-growing region is nestled in just a small corner of the mountains, and all farmers steward it with care. To receive the protected trademark Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee, our coffee beans must be grown within a carefully defined 14,000 acres of the Blue Mountains across the parishes of Portland, St Andrew, St. Mary, and St Thomas.
In each of our own prized parcels of the land, our coffee farmers plant and cultivate Arabica coffee plants at a higher elevation than other Jamaican coffee. Grown at elevations up to 1,800 metres within this quiet area, the plants absorb an incredible amount of rain (over 300 inches every year) and only see the sun on occasion.
At such an elevation, plants take their time on their journey to maturity and Blue Mountain coffee berries take twice the time as others to become ready for harvest.
The same exclusive growing area and conditions are what make our coffee so special. Because Blue Mountain Coffee matures over time, the end results are rich, chocolate notes with plenty of depth and very little acidity.
It’s not just the growing region that makes Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee a rarity. Our mountain home only produces 400 metric tons of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee per year, and at full capacity, Rocksteady Coffee will contribute 40 metric tons to this amount.
To put our small batch coffee into perspective, Colombia produced 12.6 million 60-kg bags of green coffee in 2021. What’s more, the entire designated growing area for Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is the equivalent of a typical high-volume estate in another growing country like Colombia or Kenya.
With such limited production, the artisanal approach to coffee farming is not only available to us but essential to the health of plants. When it’s finally time for harvest, we use hand-reaping methods to ensure we’re only picking those beans ready to begin their journey to the roastery and we leave behind what’s not quite ready to reach perfection. Our farmers are experts in all things Blue Mountain coffee, from the weather patterns to plant health to harvesting, and they can spot a perfectly ripe bean from an incredible distance.
Not just any bean can be called Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee, even if it’s grown in the right conditions.
Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is a Geographic Indication (GI) and is certified by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica (CIB) within JACRA. Much like the French wine industry, these bodies also require a strict quality process that stretches from the farm to the roastery and beyond.
As a certified Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee farm, Rocksteady Coffee went through this process ourselves. Before we purchased the first parcel of land in 2013, we invited the CIB field agent for the Portland Parish to inspect the land and seek initial approval that it falls within the careful limits of the growing range. The agent also completed a full field analysis and recommended the rejuvenation exercises to not only bring the land back to life after years of neglect but to fortify it for the future.