Jamaican Coffee15 March 2009 in General
In 1728, the Governor of Jamaica, Sir Nicholas Lawes imported coffee to the island of Jamaica from the nearby Caribbean island of Martinique. Jamaica was ideal for the development of coffee, and nine years after it was introduced, eighty three thousand pounds of coffee was exported. Between the years1728 and 1768, the coffee industry expanded greatly in the hills of St. Andrew, and steadily coffee farming broadened into the Blue Mountains.
Several ups and downs have however occurred in the coffee industry since the 1700’s. Farmers deserted cultivating coffee for livestock and other crops. To keep the industry going, attempts were made to amplify the manufacture of coffee by improving quality, unfortunately, this was not achieved. This caused problems with the Canadian market, the biggest buyer of Jamaican coffee so a Central Coffee Clearing House was put in place in 1944. All the coffee for export was transported to this Clearing House for cleaning and grading. The quality of Jamaica’s coffee export was definitely showing some progress. Sometime afterwards, The Coffee Industry Board started to formally improve and preserve the degree of excellence of coffee that is exported.
Jamaica Blue Mountain and Jamaica Prime are the two major coffees in Jamaica. Coffee is cultivated in the Blue Mountains within set regions of St. Andrew, St. Thomas, and Portland. The labels on the coffee packages displays if it is in fact 100% Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee. Jamaica Prime coffee is cultivated in St. Elizabeth, Manchester, Clarendon, St. Catherine and St. Ann. Jamaica Prime is cultivated at somewhat low altitudes while Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee is grown between two thousand to five thousand feet elevated above sea level. The Coffee Industry Board labels Jamaica Prime, Jamaica Mountain Choice Coffee and it is known as a first class gourmet bean.
The first process the coffee beans go through is reaping, after which coffee is pulped and washed which results in what is known as “wet parchment”. It is then dried, cured and assorted. Jamaica is one of few places in the world that permits the “wet parchment” to mature for about six weeks to guarantee stability. Before exporting, the coffee goes through quality assessment procedures that entail cup testing, which guarantees the cup quality of the coffee beans, and also making sure that appearance is up to standard.
Even the best grown Jamaican coffees lack extremely high altitudes which lead to the beans’ cell structure being lower in density. So once the roaster heat can be adjusted, a low temperature is recommended. A temperature of under three hundred and fifty degrees Fahrenheit is initially recommended for the roasting of the coffee beans, until coffee is of a light brown or yellow colour. You should slowly increase the temperature after about four minutes, summing up the roast time to approximately eleven minutes.
Even though, Jamaican coffee retains its status as one of the best gourmet coffees worldwide, coffee beverages are consumed by approximately twenty nine million Americans daily in the United States. On the other hand, presently in Jamaica, coffee shops are just starting to become well-known. There is “Susie’s Bakery and Cafe” at Southdale Plaza and “The Coffee Mill” which is in the New Kingston area. Coffee shops are also at the Norman Manley International Airport as well as the famous Devon House.
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