Too often I come across posts, chats, & forums where people are looking for Authentic Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee but they are skeptical of the content and purity of some of the coffees on the market. It is an unfortunate part of the business. As with any top quality product, there will always be lesser grades and “knock offs” where certain manufacturerers are in it because they can produce a scenic package that says Blue Mountain. They are selling the sizzle but not the steak: or in our case selling the name without the content.
The name Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is a licensed name specifically intended for those of us who produce and/or sell coffee certified by the Jamaica Coffee Industry Board (The CIB) as being grown on one of the five estates between 3000-5500 feet above sea level that can legitimately produce JBM. Anyone who purchases green JBM will see the marks on the barrel and also has access to the lot number’s Certificate of Authenticity from the CIB. Following those specifications, anyone who purchases, roasts and sells this coffee can use the name Jamaica Blue Mountain on the package that contains said coffee.
That is of course if we all played by the rules…Note the elevation specifications required for certification. With that, there are also High Mountain Coffees and Triage (#3,#4, Beans) which are grown in Jamaica, but do not meet the CIB’s exportable specifications for JBM. They are good coffees with similar characteristics, but cannot earn the certification of JBM, so these coffees stay on the island and is what you will find when you visit Jamaica and purchase different types of coffee. Only the #1 & #2 beans are able to make the exportable grade from the Island and can be shared with the rest of the world.
Now that you know a bit more you will see coffees that will be tagged with such names such as ” Jamaican Coffee, Blue Mountain Blend, Jamaica Mountain” etc.. and be presented to consumers as “Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee”. Keep in mind that several other coffee producing regions of the world do in fact have mountains that could be considered “blue” from a certain perspective . With some smoke and mirrors attached by the folks who distribute various coffees to retailers here in the US, there are some very clever deviations from the truth as you will find. Read on and learn my friends.
Legitimate businesses like ours are now faced with a certain position regarding integrity and pride in what we do. I was approached by a large distributor who said he could gain us entry into a retailer selling thousands of cases a week. Smelling the foulness of the proposal, my curiosity got the better of me and I obliged his conversation and sought out the retailer to see what we were “up against”. The retailer was selling “Blue Mountain Coffee” which had a lovely picture of vegetation, flowers and even a big blue mountain in the background; a sheer sign of Paradise. Atop the mountain it read ” Blue Mountain Gold- Blue Mountain Coffee: Gourmet Blend” I had to laugh because imitation is the sincerest form of flattery-to a degree. Reggie’s Roast 100% Certified Jamaica Blue Mountain has used the name Gold for the past twelve years. I didn’t think we were big enough to get copy cats yet!
The package is also “embossed” with a simulated wax seal that says the coffee is “Blue Mountain Certified” (no such certification exists) and it has a map of the Caribbean and discusses some heritage of King Kamehameha who is a part of Hawaiian history if I’m correct. On the back you will find these words: sarcasm aside, I directly quote ” A blend of 100% high mountain estate grown arabica coffee” I does not say that the coffee is even grown in Jamaica, only that they are from high mountains somewhere that are allegedly blue to some degree. Now read back and you will not see the words Certified Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee used – so there is nothing technically wrong, but to the uneducated consumer, this is terribly misleading.
A dead giveaway is no valve on the bag (the coffee had to be stale and thoroughly de-gassed before packaging) & the retail price at $6.99/Lb. What a bargain!! Believe me folks this is no deal unless you want to pay $7.00 for a $3.00 bag of coffee. I was told by Mr. Distributor the retailer runs on a 50% margin, he(the distributor) takes 20% so I need to produce a pound of coffee for $2.75. Do you have any idea of what sort of coffee you would have to source to produce that sort of ‘quality’? We have a never-been-used (and we never want to) de-stoner on our roaster which is built for such coffees. It removes the in-consumable pieces such as rocks, nails, twigs, and other things you wouldn’t want to drink that get harvested with Robusta coffees. Need I say more? Sorry, keep shopping Mr. Distributor.
We will not forsake the quality that we work so hard to preserve for quantity NO MATTER WHAT!! We are honored to be a part of a farming community that has the privilege of being Certified Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee and a co-op that is processed at Mavis Bank, one of Jamaica’s oldest and well reputed JBM Coffee factories. We are always on the lookout for misleading packages and have reported several of them to Christopher Giles at the CIB who will then begin action against the misuse of the name Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee. If you come across any questionable packaging, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (908)862-3700 and I would be happy to talk to you and report any fraudulent packages and coffees. I hope this has given you enough insight to serve you in making educated decisions when it comes to finding a genuine product. As Farmers and Roasters, Reggie’s Roast promises to roast only 100% Certified Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee for all our JBM products.
Our Farms, Our Coffee – Our Word!!