JAMAICA, ORIGIN TRIP - OCTOBER 2016 – Sea Island Coffee

JAMAICA, ORIGIN TRIP - OCTOBER 2016

Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee is the main reason why we founded Sea Island Coffee. It is an origin that the founders of this company have worked with for almost 20 years.

In October 2016, we headed off on an origin trip to Jamaica to visit the Blue Mountains and our suppliers. On our first day in a hot and rainy Jamaica we drove far up the Blue Mountains and visited the beautiful and breath taking Clifton Mount Estate. Not only does Clifton Mount Estate grow some of the best Blue Mountain Coffee available but this is also where the coffee nursery is located to grow new coffees plants, which are then planted on the Clifton Mount and Clydesdale farms. The view from Clifton mount Estate is breath taking and at 1300 meters above sea level surrounded by coffee plants and mountain tops you feel like you’re on top of the world.

Day two we were off early in the morning up into the Blue Mountains, our first stop was at Mavis Bank Coffee factory to visit the wet and dry mill. Mavis Bank is both the name of the coffee processors but also of the area of where it is located, nestled in the mountains. Coffee from nearby farms is collected and brought to the coffee factory where the coffee goes through the different stages of processing, turning a coffee cherry into a green bean, once it leaves MBCF it’s ready to be inspected by the Coffee Industry Board, and when it receives the seal of approval it’s then shipped over to Europe to be roasted by ourselves and enjoyed as a cup of Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee.

After an interesting visit at Mavis Bank off we went even higher up in the Blue mountains on what one might call questionable roads. We arrived just about in one piece at Abby Green Estate. Abbey Green coffee estate is currently being replanted and in a couple of years will be producing beautifully high grown estate coffee. Again, we were surrounded by breath taking scenery and walking around the steep coffee plantation was a coffee lover’s dream. It’s amazing to see how much effort the Jamaican farmers put in to grow the coffee and the hard work that’s involved in collecting the beans from the mountains. The coffee grown in Jamaica is all handpicked and no machinery is involved in planting or picking the coffee.

Driving down the mountain with the sun coming down we could see Kingston spread out below us and it was the perfect way to end a magical coffee hunting day.

On the final day of our visit to Kingston we mixed business and pleasure, one cannot go to Jamaica and not visit the Bob Marley Museum. The museum brought the legend that is Bob Marley to life and gives you an idea of the history and turmoil of Jamaica.

In the afternoon, our friends at Coffee Traders Ltd. gave us the grand tour of their dry processing mill, this is where the coffee ends up after being brought down from the wet mill in the mountains, it’s then dried, processed and checked for size and quality before being sent to the CIB for final inspection and approval. We then headed off to their roasting facilities where Jamaica Blue Mountain is roasted and packaged for local distribution.

After 3 action packed days in Jamaica I was left mesmerized by the beauty of the Blue Mountains and the kind and loving spirit of the Jamaicans.

Jamaica, according to me, grows some of the best coffee in the world and I am not surprised why; the spectacular nature surrounding the coffee trees and the cool climate of the Blue Mountains with the nurture and hard work of the farmers creates an ideal synergy for coffee growing.

As they say in Jamaica “Di hotta di battle, di sweeta di victory.”