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Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee – Is It Worth The Price?

The island nation of Jamaica is known for its soulful, festive music, its hot vacation spots and its coffee. The reputation of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffees among connoisseurs has pushed it to the top of the price list, ranging on average from $26 to $40 a pound. To know the price, one must shed some light on the process resulting in this uncommon grind.

Right to its name, Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is grown in the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica, generally located between Kingston to the south and Port Maria to the north. Rising to 7,500 feet, the Blue Mountains are the highest point in the Caribbean. The area is characterized by cool, wet weather and dark, rich soil with excellent drainage, ideal conditions for cultivating coffee. Though coffee is not native to Jamaica, it is the chief export of the island.

The quality of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is so fiercely regulated that the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica even restricts the geographic area that can produce it to the parishes of St. Andrew, St. Thomas, Portland and St. Mary. The Board has also trademarked the distinguished name all over the world so that not just any grind can try to pass as Jamaican Blue Mountain.

Screens of various dimensions are used to sort beans by size. The theory behind the screening process is that beans from higher altitudes are larger and produce better-tasting coffee than the smaller beans from lower altitudes. The Coffee Industry Regulation Act has instated three calibers of Jamaican Blue Mountain, based on the screen, or size, of the bean.

The strict regulations of the board prohibit some beans that might be acceptable in other brews. The screening process also helps to eliminate maragogipe (elephant beans). The green, oversized beans are a mutant strain thought to have originated in Brazil, are porous and absorb the characteristics of the soil in which they grow. Opinions about their worth vary widely among experts, but they are considered unfit for Jamaican Blue Mountain.

At least 96 percent of the beans used must be of the same size and bluish-green tint. No more than two percent can stray from that standard in any way. Sour or black beans, or foreign matter of any kind, are considered unforgivable defects and do not fall under the two-percent rule. The most unbending benchmark is needed to maintain the traits that coffee drinkers have come to expect.

The body, flavor and aroma of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee have made it one of the most sought-after coffees on the market. The supply is limited due to the relatively small geographic location where appropriate beans are developed. Restricted quantity, along with the brilliant quality resulting from meticulous cultivation standards, and the celebrated name that demands the attention of hard-core coffee addicts everywhere inspires the demand for this brew, and it is the demand itself that will undoubtedly continue to sustain the high price.

Corinne has written many coffee related articles. Find more articles and information at The Coffee Site along with information on coffee-site.com gourmet types of coffee, coffee-site.com/coffee-makers.htm one cup coffee makers and more.

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