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Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee

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  • DavidH Apr 18, 2002 03:23 PM
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I bought some of this about ten years ago and thought it was terrific. Is anybody trying this nowdays and what do you think. Is the price too much for you to purchase it. Thanks.

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  1. I tried this and didn't care for it for the price. I think there are much better coffees out there for the money.

    Kona coffee at Trader Joe's is good. Another one I just found that I like is La Minita Tarrazu. I got some from Coffee Bean and Tea leaf, but I also ordered some from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (gmcr.com) Their price was much more reasonable even with shipping.

    Another coffee I like is the coffee served at Emerils restaurants and on his website. I know its Standard Brand coffee, but haven't found anywhere else to buy it except his website. Buying it off his website is expensive. If anyone knows where else I can order it from, let me know.

    Link: http://www.gmcr.com

    1 Reply
    1. re: LisaN

      Kona has a really different flavor, no matter what the brand. I recently purchased a package of both Kona and Jamaican Blue Mountain at Costco, and paid something like $20 for two pounds of Kona and the same for a much smaller package of JBM. Results? I still like Kona better because it is a lighter roast.

    2. I've had it at expensive restuarants, but wasn't all that impressed. My undivided loyalty goes to Peets, which has retail stores mainly in northern California but some in So Cal, and a website for mail order (think it's www.peets.com). Great stuff.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Tom M.

        Amen to Peet's (Sumatra is my mother's milk) and by the way, they're in Portland now (2 stores).

        1. re: Hunter

          Agreed on Peets!

          I've had people bring me back Blue Mountain from trips to Jamaica, but I think it's the stuff you see at the airport gift shops: roasted months ago and sitting on the store shelves for months. Terrible sour stuff. Came in a burlap sack though, which I guess didn't hurt.

          Given how expensive blue mountain is and the fact that a large number of coffee purveyors aren't as concerned as they should be about freshness, I think the money would be better spent elsewhere.

          1. re: N8 E

            Peets indeed. For those who live in London there are several excellent alternatives, including Monmouth and Union. As for Blue Mountain, its high price comes from a combination of difficult growing conditions and superhype in its promotion. A great name, and easy to remember -- rolls melifluously off the tongue.

            1. re: John Whiting

              We get two pounds of Peet's Italian roast sent to us every six weeks. We signed up for automatic shipments which are billed to a credit card. It's very reilable service. There's nothing we've found in the DC area that compares in quality to Peet's beans.

              1. re: zora

                Sumatra and gold coast that I buy at Starbucks beats Jamaica by a mile.

                1. re: Ron

                  Yes, two of my favorite regulars, along with Verona.

                2. re: zora

                  Yes! Italian Roast is my regular choice at home as well. I get it ground for espresso at the shop down the street and use it in my espresso machine. And, lucky guy that I am, my office actually uses Peets' French Roast in the coffee maker. No downstairs Starbucks for me!

                  1. re: zora

                    Peet's Major Dickason's Blend is the closest that coffee comes to sex. :-)

          2. Tried some when I was in Jamaica last year. I wasn't terribly impressed by it so I didn't buy it. When I saw that a lot of coffee places sell it here I was floored by how much the price was inflated (I know shipping and other taxes/fees were factored into the cost, but still ridiculous).

            When I tried it in Jamaica, they just pour the coffee out and mix it with condensed milk (since it's hard to find fresh milk out there). It just tasted like strong coffee with condensed milk. I don't know if that's how you like to have the coffee, but I honestly didn't think the taste was worth its price (even if I bought it from Jamaica).

            1. Diedrich Coffee sometimes has Blue Mountain beans for about $35 for 10 oz. I bought some as a gift for my brother, he loves Jamaica, and strong coffee. As for the flavor it was pretty similar to other Central/south American coffees...I could not tell any difference. Its caffeine content seems higher than average.... still my brother would prefer 3 bags of Dietrich Guatemalan for the price...

              1 Reply
              1. re: ciaolette

                About a dozen years ago when I was living in SoCal, I bought a pound of Blue Mountain at Diedrich for about $20. It was absolutely the best coffee I've ever had to date. The flavor is indescribable, and comparable to what a really good red wine tastes like compared to the ordinary stuff. The depth and flavor was intense, but not bitter in the slightest. I would love to get some more, but my wife isn't so fond of coffee these days and I mostly drink the Maxwell House swill in the office pot or grind my Trader Joe beans at home on weekends.

              2. I like it as a special treat. I usually only buy the beans from CoffeeAM.com, where it's currently discounted (it's still a steep price). I like the smoothness of the coffee and almost chocolatey taste.

                I usually get Sumatra or Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans, but I also buy their organic French Roast for the espresso drinkers at work.

                Link: http://www.coffeeam.com

                1. My understanding is that Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee's quality has declined because, realizing the potential for huge profits, Jamaica has loosened its rules and broadened the geographic area for Jamiacan Blue Mountain. Thus, almost any coffee from Jamiaca can now be marketed as Jamaican Blue Mountain. Even despite that, I've heard several people who had it in its heyday say that it never lived up to the hype.

                  1. I had some Blue Mountain in Puerto Rico about 35 years ago, and it was superb. Hear from knowledgable friends that it has gone downhill, and often is padded with other types. There is a Cuban coffee that is almost as good, and very reasonable. Can't remember the name, but it comes in a 10 oz yellow can, already ground. There are plenty of vendors on the internet, but how can you be sure what you are getting for $35 per pound?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Jim H.

                      Turquino is the most popular Cuban bean but it's not legal in the US.

                      Blue moutain is expensive due to small yields, labor and hype. It's not a bad coffee at all and is quite mild but is often mixed with other beans. Same with Kona. When in Hawaii it was hard to find 100% Kona beans. Usually it was like 10% Kona.

                      1. re: Jim H.

                        Could that be Bustelo?

                        1. re: RGC1982

                          Bustelo is a brand of Cuban styled coffee like Pilon. They are sold to make Cuban coffee. And I mean that as a method of preparation not a bean. Two common beans in Cuba are Turquino and Serrano.

                      2. k
                        King's Element

                        Just like the man says in the movie Black Hawk Down, "it's all in the grind."

                        I've enjoyed JBM for several years now and there are good places to get it just like there are not so good places. Regardless, I have come to learn that there is such thing as either grinding it too fine and too coarse and then just right. I use a hand grinder I got from a kitchen supply store and I count out the same number of turns of the handle each time now. Since doing that the brews turn out the same every time.

                        Another note, I found a small bit of taste difference when using non-bleached filters as well as high quality spring water.

                        I like my coffee to be strong with very little aftertaste and no bitterness. Difficult to do with JBM but can be done. The chocolate hint is impeccable quality with this flavor.

                        even still, if I'm lazy and want coffee without as much aggravation and tedium, I won't bother with a fine brew like this. I like kenyan varieties and guatemalan coffee very well. I've found them to be difficult to brew poorly except with carelessness.

                        1. A lot of what's sold as Blue Mountain is either highly-blended with other beans, or is simply "counterfeit". It takes something away from the experience.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Veggo

                            That's what I've read as well. There's far more coffee on the market that's being labeled as Blue Mountain than could possibly be produced from the region. Er go...there's a lot of stuff being sold as JBM that is not actually JBM and so it's difficult to know what you're really getting.

                            1. re: rweater

                              A magazine article from a few years back opined that if all the coffee sold as Blue Mountain truly was, then Jamaica would have to be the size of Texas. I have gotten true BM from Sweet Marias and roasted it myself. A good coffee, but not worth the price.

                          2. Don't get taken in by the hype
                            See this:

                            http://www.lucidcafe.com/coffee/bycou...

                            As for Kona, a Bay Area importer
                            was convicted of fraud for selling
                            Latin American beans as Kona.
                            Roasters such as Starbucks,
                            where coffee is tasted for
                            quality, couldn't tell the
                            difference.

                            I won't buy from a place that sells
                            either "Jamaica Blue Mountain"
                            or "Kona." Odds are they're
                            shady enterpises.

                            1. Saw on I think a Bourdain Jamaica episode that the vast majority of real Blue Mountain coffee is exported to Japan. We have a house in Jamaica and never ever buy the coffee at the airport, its just nasty. Most Jamaicans don't drink real Blue Mountain because even in country its too expensive.

                              1. Real JBM can be good coffee, but it's never a good value. Whether it's worth it is an individual call, but IMHO if you buy it dark-roasted, or if you buy it in a bag from a store shelf, or if you brew it in your heavily-calcified 5-year-old Mr. Coffee, you're wasting your money.

                                The first thing with all top-quality coffees - especially when you're paying a premium for location - is to buy beans from an individual estate rather than from a region. Although it's not a hard and fast rule, the lowest quality beans will be wholesaled in bulk and labeled with nothing more than the area of origin; the best will identify the grower. So if you're paying the big bucks, avoid "Jamaica Blue Mountain" and "Kona"; go for things like "Wallenford Estate" and "Moki's Farm."

                                Even getting good beans is no guarantee of getting a good cup of coffee, though. First, the roast has to be right. Dark roasts destroy varietal character. I like a robust dark roast as much as the next guy, but the right coffee for that application is something like a relatively inexpensive Sumatra Mandheling. The subtleties and balance of a true premium coffee - whether it's a Panama Geisha, a Kona small estate, or a JBM - will only come through with a lighter roast. Next, the beans have to be fresh - roasted no longer than a week ago. And you have to grind and brew them properly. But that's getting beyond the scope of this thread.

                                If you're willing to invest the time and effort to maximize the cup qualities, a good JBM estate coffee can be a revelatory experience at a price that, while steep, won't break the bank. But if you're just buying the stuff in a can and sticking it into an automatic drip machine, there are probably better ways to spend your money.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                  AB, I appreciate your knowledgeable response and would add that a friend would only buy green beans so he could roast them just prior to making coffee. He pontificated that green beans lasted/kept much longer...
                                  I/we just returned from Jamaica and the coffee at the resort was terrific! It was dark, with a chocolaty finish and very smooth. This was their basic coffee. This was a great treat in relation to their Red Stripe only (beer), and cheap hard liquor.