As we have been sharing over the past year, our World Famous Jamaica Blue Mountain (J.B.M.) coffee is in very short supply and at it’s always very high demand. The short supply of JBM coffee began as far back as 2011-2012 when the Berry Borer beetle infested farms that were abandoned when the Farmers were not receiving funds in time to maintain and properly clean the fields. From there, the berry borer infests the over ripened cherries and begin to spread. The borer can be halted with use of chemicals and proper maintenance of the harms after the crops are harvested. While that was all the crop loss we had expected, Hurricane Sandy hit Jamaica taking about 7 lives and 15% more of our crops.
The Borer Beetle working its way into a Coffee Cherry
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, and the moisture left behind from Sandy left the crops ripe for the incarnation and spread of Coffee Leaf Rust or Hemileia vastatrix. The moisture left from the storm coupled with the already high shaded areas made an unfortunate breeding ground for the leaf rust mold. It has become a global epidemic in coffee growing regions all across the globe which does not affect the coffee’s flavor, but does hamper the plants ability to photosynthesize which results in a reduced amount of cherries per plant. This unexpected epidemic cause an estimated 30% crop loss for the 2012 – 2013 harvest.
This is the damage the Coffee Leaf Rust can do to a Plant
As if we weren’t seeing enough of a short supply of JBM in 2013 the Japanese who are known to consume 80-85% of the annual crop output, came back into the game with demanding supply requests and a lot of blank checks. The resurgence in the Japanese economy and our shortened supply in Jamaica have put a cinch in all of our belts, as farmers are seeing increased offering for their crops from what they were getting even as little as a year ago. I don’t need to point out what happens next – it becomes a seller’s market.
From an article in the Jamaica Gleaner published yesterday, the Japanese suppliers are also feeling the crunch. From The article ” New reports out of Japan say a significant shortfall in Jamaica Blue Mountain (JBM) coffee supplies are forcing distributors to either halt sales or raise prices. The business magazine Nikkei Asia Review reports on its website that a top trader, UCC Ueshima Coffee, had since September 1 seen an estimated 40 per cent increase in the price of seven of its products made with Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee”
This is a sign of things to come as distributors, retailers and roasters prepare for the future in 2015 facing a far lower than usual crop output, which is a result of several factors as stated by Gusland McCook, manager of the Advisory Services Unit at the Coffee Industry Board. Mr McCook further describes contributing factors; “Farm yields in Jamaica were low because of low plant density, arising from a number of factors, including disease, poorly utilized inputs, such as fertilizers. To meet market demand would require 872 plants per acre, but Jamaica is averaging about 600 plants per acre, McCook said. The coffee sector comprises some 7,500 farmers, many of whom, he said, are inattentive to the requirements for higher yield. “We are just not paying attention to some simple basics, which has been our setback.”
What does this mean for us here in the U.S.? Naturally there is going to be a short supply of JBM Coffee all across the board, and of course a higher demand. There are already retailers that have run short on supply, if they were lucky enough to be able to source green JBM coffee to begin with. This could go one of two ways in that we may see out of stock issues, or we may see more counterfeit JBM Coffee knockoffs. As we at Reggie’s Roast Coffee have always encouraged, look to see if the package has an authentic JBM Seal, and buy from a reputable roaster. If you are paying any less than 40/lb it is not 100% Certified JBM, or possibly a blend. If it is a blend, again be sure to authenticate the source.
Being JBM Coffee Farmers as well as Roasters, Reggie’s Roast Coffee will always source and Freshly Roast only 100% Certified Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee, marked as such under authority of The Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Industry Board.
Look for this seal used by permission of the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica to ensure you are getting authentic JBM Coffee