International Mountain Day: Jamaica’s Most Beloved Mountain Product

International Mountain Day

Today, December 11, is International Mountain Day. This year’s theme is “Promoting mountain products.” In honour of this theme, below diG takes a look at the most well-known Jamaican mountain product of all.

Blue Mountain Coffee is one of the most beloved products of Jamaica. The coffee is considered among the best in the world and is often imitated, with some brands of coffee fraudulently bearing the name. However, according to the Coffee Industry Regulation Act, only coffee authorized by the Coffee Industry Board should carry the prestigious Blue Mountain coffee label. The board also maintains strict regulation for the growing, harvesting and inspection of the Blue Mountain coffee product. Here are a list of certified coffee works, a list of certified coffee dealers, and a list of importers and trademark holders from the Coffee Board’s website.

coffee producing area
Blue Mountain Coffee Producing Area (in blue). Source: Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica

So, why is Blue Mountain coffee so special? First, due to the elevation. According to National Geographic, the elevation at which Blue Mountain coffee grows is much higher than that of most coffee farms in other locales. The climate of the mountainous terrain is another key factor in the coffee’s unique flavour, as cool temperatures cause Blue Mountain coffee to take about twice as long to come to harvest. Lastly, with a regimented harvesting and quality control procedure in place, the final coffee product is indeed world-leading.

Great quality does not come cheap, and as such Blue Mountain coffee is quite expensive. Nevertheless, the product is much loved internationally. Industry statistics show Japan as the leading consumer of Blue Mountain coffee, with that nation accounting for up to 80% of the export in previous years. In general, coffee has had a rough time in the past few years with prices plummeting, but 2015 may bring a change, as prices are on the increase.

Read more about the mystical mountains that are home to not only the world’s best coffee, but also Jamaica’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site here on the diGJamaica blog, and on the UNESCO official page.