The Jamaica Blue Mountain bean is mostly Arabica Typica. The cherries are mainly delivered to the various producer-processor buying stations scattered around the Blue Mountains where they are subjected to float testing in specially built tanks. The larger farms & estates deliver the cherries directly to the processors' pulperies. The licensed estates have their own pulperies & finishing works.
Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee is wet processed - normally by employing aqua pulpers (mucilage removal), although in a few limited cases, the operation is undertaken by the traditional fermentation method.
The green coffee, exportable in barrels, comes in three screen size classifications covering the classic Blue Mountain flatberry coffee. Additionally, small quantities of peaberry are available in barrels. The green beans from the strict Blue Mountain area are inspected by the statutorily based Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA, formerly the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica (CIB)), which handles, tests and arranges all the logistical side of exports. If the beans have too high a defect count or do not qualify in terms of size, shape, moisture content (max.12.5%), colour or cup any such non qualifying beans are categorised as Select.
Jamaica has (early 2008) signed a multilateral agreement sponsored by the Japanese concerning testing for pesticide and chemical agent residues to a standard significantly beyond the international phytosanitary levels requested by either the European Union or other European countries. All green coffees exported from Jamaica, including those to Europe, are now being tested to this higher standard.
Certain qualities of Select are allowed to be exported in bags as Jamaica Blue Mountain to such markets as Japan. The other rejected coffees enter the domestic roaster market for local consumption, including the tourist sector, as well as for export as roast Jamaica Blue Mountain. Coffee grown in other areas, mainly outside the Blue Mountains, may also be exported, albeit in limited quantities, and fall into two main classifications: High Mountain Supreme and Prime Washed Jamaican. These may not be called or employed as Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee.
The approved Jamaica Blue Mountain green coffee for export is packed into three sizes of barrels; containing net weight green beans, respectively:
- 69.85kg (154lbs)
- 30kg (66lbs)
- 15kg (33lbs)
The barrels are sealed, ICO-marked with a unique number shown on the documents including the all-important Certificate of Origin. Additionally, the shipping marks of the registered exporter and official importer are stencilled on to the barrels of each shipping lot.
There are three sizes of Jamaica Blue Mountain flatberry:
- Grade or Size 1 (screen 17+)
- Grade or Size 2 (screen 16)
- Grade or Size 3 (screen 15/16)
The tare weights and dimensions of the empty barrels are:
Small-size Barrel (15kg net weight green bean):
Tare = 3.20kg
Circumference at Head = 93.50cm
Diameter at Head = 30.00cm
Circumference at Middle = 105.50cm
Height = 37.00cm.
Medium-size Barrel (30kg net weight green bean):
Tare = 4.50kg
Circumference at Head = 114.50cm
Diameter at Head = 36.00cm,
Circumference at Middle = 128.50cm
Height = 45.50cm
Large-size Barrel (69.85 kg net weight green bean):
Tare = 7.30kg
Circumference at Head = 143.00cm
Diameter at Head = 45.80cm
Circumference at Middle = 164.00cm
Height = 61.00cm
Pallet Configuration & Select
Standard Pallet Configuration (Non-Euro Pallet) by Barrel Size:
- 40 x 15kg barrels per pallet
- 21 x 30kg barrels per pallet
- 8 x 70kg barrels per pallet
1. The Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee is stored in parchment, sometimes in bags & sometimes in wooden silos, before processing.
2.The coffee is dried by a combination of sun drying and mechanical drying. The parchment coffee is then stored in bags for at least 8 weeks and, after this resting period, the parchment is hulled. The resulting green coffee is graded by size and density, and the defects are hand-sorted. The coffee is finally packed in wooden barrels (70kg, 30kg, 15kg as described above).
3. The screen size grading equipment and the gravity table (classification by density) also clean the coffee. Later on, to repeat, the defects are picked out by hand.
4. The Grade 1 coffee is sieved to a screen 17+ (17/64 inches or 6.75mm) size with size grading equipment.
5. The bean humidity is 10.5-11.5%
6. Maximum defects allowed is 2%.
Description of Select
JBM Select Coffee is produced in the Jamaican government-designated area known as the Blue Mountain region. The Jamaica Blue Mountain Select grade is a combination of No. 1, No. 2 & No. 3 beans. As its provenance states, this is a coffee that has all the Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee cup quality characteristics and is packed green in 60kg net weight hessian/jute bags.
Maximum of 4% minor defects. Screen size from 15-18.
The normal location-sourcing split for JBM Select is:
Saint Andrew: 40%
Saint Thomas: 30%
Jamaica Blue Mountain Cupping Review
From the respected Coffee Review by Kenneth Davids:
Blind Assessment: Sweet-toned, soft, very delicate aroma with orange, floral and pungently buttery (butterscotch?) notes. In the cup light to medium bodied but silky in mouthfeel, with a gently bittersweet character and crisp chocolate and orange peel notes. As the cup cools an attractive mint-like note also emerges. The chocolate and orange notes linger impressively in the long, clean finish.