Jah B · Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee

Jah B

The Jah B Coffee Story

This amazing double rainbow greeted us just as we arrived in the Blue Mountains from Kingston in November 2011.

After having spent a few days in Jah B's guesthouse some months before to climb the Blue Mountain Peak (2256 m), this time we were here for a different reason: coffee

Already back in 2009 on our very first visit to Jah B's guesthouse, as passionate coffee-lovers we were wowed by the delectable Blue Mountain Coffee served to us there. On our next visit to Jamaica in April 2011, we spent a longer while with Jah B and found out more about his aim to acquire his own licence for growing, marketing and exporting Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee as the first independent smallholder.

In Jamaica there are essentially 2 types of coffee farm: on the one hand, relatively large, usually centrally administered farms which are typically under the ownership of a few very rich families or foreign investors - often from Japan or China.

Most of the coffee, however, is grown by smallholders who often cultivate only very small plots. As they are not allowed to process the coffee themselves, these smallholders have to sell the raw coffee cherries to the large coffee processors at relatively low prices who then in turn blend the coffee they have received and sell it under their own brand. The largest and most well-known of this kind of company include, for example, the „Mavis Bank Coffee Factory“ with their „Jablum“ brand or the „Wallenford Coffee Company“ which has its roots in the colonial system.

Jah B did not want to resign himself to simply being a coffee cherry supplier to these conglomerates. When he was given the opportunity in 2009 to cultivate the „Radnor Estate“ coffee farm which had been lying fallow for 20 years, little by little he began to cultivate the farm again despite the most humble means.

When we saw Radnor Estate for the first time in November 2011, we were immediately wowed by this special place. Historical wall remains, an ancient water wheel, coffee and banana plants in the midst of an unspoilt landscape characterised by steep hillsides.

Over the following days we worked together with Jah B on a concept to make the farm more productive and for it to be in line with the necessary demands for licensing. To the extent of our means, we were also able to make a financing commitment to support this development and to secure fair wages for the employees on the farm.

This enabled the farm to develop magnificently in 2012 until finally in October hurricane „Sandy“ raged across the East of Jamaica. This damaged many plants and, worse still, a new disease known as „Coffee Leaf Rust“ spread through the coffee plants after the hurricane.

This disease, brought in by the hurricane and benefiting from the very damp climate in the Blue Mountains, affected the bulk of the coffee plants in a short space of time.

It was only after several months that the attack could be repelled with the use of plant-strengthening agents. As coffee is a very slow-growing plant - it takes years until a newly cultivated plant produces coffee cherries - everything was undertaken to help the remaining stock of plants recover.

At the same time hundreds of seedlings were lifted and after a few months of pre-growth they were planted out on the farm.

After 4 years of hard work, an important milestone was reached in November 2013: the farm finally met the demands of the licensing authorities, the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica, and Jah B received approval to market and export his coffee himself.

This also provided the pre-conditions to request an import licence for our company Grow City. After overcoming a number of bureaucratic hurdles, in November 2014 we were the first Austrian company to hold the coveted licence in our hands.

As Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee can only be exported freshly harvested, it still took until March 2015 before the first wooden barrels of raw coffee arrived in Vienna.

We are therefore very excited to be able to exclusively offer this extraordinary coffee in Europe.

Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee

Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee

Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee belongs in the top drawer of coffee specialities. The coffee trees are grown between 910 and 1700 metres in altitude.

The growing area is just about 6,000 hectares. The mist, cool temperatures and strong rainfall are the main factors for a special climate in the Blue Mountains.

The coffee cherries therefore ripen very slowly and develop a wonderfully balanced and full-bodied aroma.

Jah B Coffee is lovingly cultivated by hand and carefully processed in the best growing area in the Blue Mountains. Our farm - Radnor Estate - lies at 1000 m above sea level near the Blue Mountain Peak.

Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is generally suitable for any method of coffee preparation. To experience the full spectrum of aromas, we recommend preparing it with an AeroPress, a French Press or a Chemex Coffeemaker.

Coffee Circle offers an overview of various preparation methods.