Since it all began in 1994, Reggie Chung Loy had his eye on the prize- to work on a long term goal of freshly roasting and selling his own coffee from his two Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Farms. Being a native Jamaican who had a thirst for the delicacy he grew up with, this was an inevitable goal. Sounds simple? Not in as much as you would think. Since the plants began bearing fruit, when Reggie’s Roast Coffee was established in 1999, the coffee grown on our farms was sold to processors, processed, certified and bought back through Co-Ops. This provided the farmers with a means to educate and support themselves and keep a steady supply. As times pass, the processing facility at Moy Hall was devastated by a hurricane in 2007, and another processor needed to be found, however the end game still remained.
Working with the team at Mavis Bank, one of Jamaica’s oldest and most reputable processors, we sold our coffee cherries to them, and they processed and exported what we were growing on our farms. However, the original concept Reggie Chung Loy envisioned was still on the horizon and the wheels were set in motion. As we have been able to share our coffee grown on our farms with consumers in the US from coast to coast, demands grew higher as popularity began to spread and a need to diversify was growing.
In 2012-2013 the writing on the wall jumped off and shouted in a sense, as the Green Coffee Climate in Jamaica changed nearly overnight. We have always had a high demand/small supply crop, and Japan consumes 80-85% of what is grown, so things were tight to begin with. However, their economic situation had changed and they were not purchasing as much which you would think is good for supply. The lack of demand from Japan caused problems with the Farmers not being paid from the processors on time, and that led to Farmers abandoning their fields since they had no money to maintain them after harvesting.
That is where the Berry Borer infestation began to set in. After the 2011 harvest fields were left empty and the over ripened coffee cherries that were normally cleaned up were left unattended and are the perfect breeding grounds for Hypothenemus hampei. The Borer burrows into cherries left on the ground, lay their eggs and spread to healthy cherries as well causing crop damage and loss. The treatment is pesticide, time, and proper maintenance.
September 2012: enter Hurricane Sandy causing more crop loss and leaving behind moisture which created a coffee leaf rust problem. Hemileia vastatrix is a fungus which causes the plants to produce less cherries from not enough photosynthesis due to the damaged leaves on the coffee trees. As the already lessened 2013 crop was ready for harvest, Japan got back into the game and had an enormous demand for the 2013-2014 crop. They set a higher price and pre pay for their share, so regardless of any prior commitments, farmers are going sell cherries to the highest bidder given the business opportunity.
Supplies that were once there now were exhausted, and processors, roasters and the like are looking to diversify their sources. That is where this story begins. Reggie Chung Loy has 25 acres on two farms in Jamaica’s Blue Mountains, and it was time to see what we could do. Working with Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Venture, the coffee grown on our farms was processed and imported directly to our roasting facility in Linden New Jersey.
A first in the history of Reggie’s Roast Coffee.
MIRE Enterprises – Reggie’s Roast Coffees First Certificate of origin for the Coffee Grown on our Farms
This is a small amount we have to share but a huge first step for the Future of Reggie’s Roast Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee. We will continue to source and work with our fellow Jamaican Coffee Farmers and Co-Ops to bring you “Absolutely the Best Coffee in the World”.