In the misty Blue Mountains on the island of Jamaica, there’s a legacy of coffee growing on hillsides and valleys that span over two centuries. To be called coffee of the Blue Mountains region, it must be grown in a designated region within the Blue Mountain range–which encompasses the highest regions of the parishes of Portland, St. Andrew, and St. Thomas.
The coffee Arabica plant represents 60% of global production
The coffee that grows on the sloping hillside, is the coffee Arabica plant, a species of Coffea. It is believed to be the first species of coffee to be cultivated, representing about 60% of global production and today is ranked forty-fifth top coffee producer in the world. (Source: World Atlas)
History of coffee in Jamaica
As the story has it, in 1723, King Louis XV sent three coffee plants to the French colony of Martinique – another lush, fertile island 1,900 kilometers south-west in the Lesser Antilles. Five years later in 1728, Sir Nicholas Lawes, Governor-General of Jamaica, received a gift of one of the coffee plants from the Governor of Martinique. The rest is history.
From that one Arabica coffee plant, one of the world’s most exquisite coffee was introduced to the world. It was planted in Castleton, a lush garden in the hills of St. Mary, nurtured and a plantation grew. Within nine years, the first Blue Mountain coffee was exported and the Jamaican coffee industry was born.
By 1800, cultivation had expanded with over 686 plantations were in operation in the Blue Mountain range. At their peak in 1814, exports totaled a mindblowing 15,199 tons.
With the abolition of the slave trade in 1807, followed by the emancipation of slavery in 1838, the coffee industry declined primarily due to the lack of labor. The slaves deserted their plantations, resulting in the large-scale abandonment of coffee farms. This resulted in coffee becoming a small-scale peasant crop as opposed to the plantation crop it had been known for.
By 1850, only 186 plantations were in operation and exports had fallen to 1,486 tons. During the last hundred years, the pattern of coffee has changed and the industry now is maintained mainly by smallholders.
Country Traders is a small family-run business that supports local coffee farmers
Country Traders Limited is a small family-run business formed by Mark Fletcher in 1991. In 2006, he was certified as a cupper by what was known then as The Coffee Industry Board. The regulatory agency of the coffee industry at the time. Today, he manages a team of twenty skilled workers. He is one of the original few coffee roasters on the island licensed by Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority—the government agency that meticulously maintains control over the quality of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.
Country Traders’ primary business over the last 27 years has been the roasting and distribution of Jamaica Blue Mountain and other Jamaican coffee in both the local and export markets under the ‘Coffee Roasters of Jamaica’ brand.
As principal, Mark Fletcher tells the story, “We traditionally bought green beans from other processors but decided to begin purchasing coffee directly from small and medium-size farmers in 2013. We made this move to improve the consistency of supply and quality of raw material for our roasting business and to become exporters of Jamaica Blue Mountain green beans.” he says.
Today, Country Traders is a well-established buyer in the Jamaica Blue Mountains and has acquired a farm in the Silver Hill area, which is in the heart of the Blue Mountain range. They continue to buy only the best quality gourmet coffee from small farmers throughout the Blue Mountains and export green beans to the international markets—such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and China.
Coffee Roasters of Jamaica coffee has a distinctive taste
This intense flavor is indicative of Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee and is so sought after by coffee aficionados because it isn’t like any other gourmet coffee in the world. It takes very specific, very precise growing conditions to produce Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee— which is unique to that part of the world.
Unusual volcanic soil, cool conditions, and the comparatively long ten-month period from bloom to harvest. It’s fundamentally impossible to replicate the kinds of growing conditions where the coffee thrives, meaning that while some may try to imitate its properties, there’s nothing quite like the real deal.
However, for Coffee Roasters of Jamaica, which buys only from select local small farmers, the coffee beans are handpicked and have a meticulous roasting process that transforms their green coffee beans and brings out that outstanding full body and very well-bodied taste.
Coffee Roasters of Jamaica brand from Country Traders, is known for its distinct flavor, one that is described as subtle and multi-layered with hints of honey, florals, and chocolate. Coffee Roasters of Jamaica— well known for their quality, rank high as one of the best Jamaican Blue Mountain coffees on the market.
Country Traders takes on the international market
In 2019,4.3 million visitors would frequent the two major airports in Jamaica, Sangster’s International Airport and Norman Manley Airport respectively, who would normally purchase Coffee Roasters of Jamaica coffee for their family have declined.
In the past year, since the pandemic, the number of travelers that usually pass through the departure lounges has declined, many of which were returning Jamaicans who would bring the taste of home to the Diaspora, Country Traders has had to find an alternative solution to getting this coveted Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee to its frequent coffee connoisseur in the United States and the rest of the world.
“With a 60 percent decline in our sales due to the pandemic, we’ve had to find ways to make it easier to bring Coffee Roasters of Jamaica to the coffee lovers all over the world, by expanding our reach with our Amazon store,” Fletcher said. “It is one of the steps we’re taking to expanding in the US market and want our coffee to become a household name.” he continues.
Although known as a luxury commodity, Coffee Roasters of Jamaica has a coffee that can replace your instant. At a reasonable price of $US28 for a 16 ounce, Coffee Roasters of Jamaica’s authentic blend is suitably priced and still has that robust taste we know and love of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.
To purchase Coffee Roasters of Jamaica on Amazon, search ‘Coffee Roasters of Jamaica 100% Jamaica Blue Mountain beans’ or visit www.coffeeroastersofjamaica.