You’ve heard that it’s some of the best coffee in the world.
Now, when we talk about the best of anything, there are a lot of opinions out there. And it’s hard to get experts to agree on what the best coffee is.
Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, though, is one of the rarest and most sought-after types of coffee in the world. Yet, there’s never a shortage of people willing to pay large sums of money to get a bag of this exquisite coffee with delicate flavors.
Why all the fuss?
I’ll tell you why in this article. But if you’ve already decided this is the coffee for you, here are my picks for the best Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee beans:
Alternative Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee At A Glance
What is Blue Mountain Coffee?
Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee (also called JBM) is considered one of the most popular and delicious coffees you can buy.
It’s grown in Jamaica, as you would imagine from the name. Even more specifically, it’s grown only in the Blue Mountains, in the parishes of Portland, St. Andrew, and St. Thomas.
At elevations of up to 7,500 feet above sea level, the Blue Mountains are some of the highest points in the Caribbean.
The perfect combination of high altitude, cool climate, rich soil, and adequate rainfall produce these mouthwatering Arabica beans.
Blue Mountain Jamaican coffee is naturally bright, sweet, and creamy. And that’s why every coffee aficionado treats these beans like royalty.
Regulated by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica
The best Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is so sought after that some companies try to pass inexpensive knock-off beans as Blue Mountain coffee.
Because of this, the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica developed a rigorous set of checks in their Coffee Industry Regulation Act.
In this act, the Jamaica Coffee Industry Board sets out the necessary qualifications to use the Blue Mountain label on coffee bags.
Only beans that are 100% Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee can use their certification seal on the label.
As I mentioned, only coffee grown in the parishes of Portland, St, Andrew, and St. Thomas is considered authentic Blue Mountain coffee.
And more specifically, the coffee must be grown at an elevation of at least 3,000 feet to earn recognition as certified Blue Mountain beans.
When you see this certification, you can be sure you’re buying only the best JBM coffee.
Blue Mountain Single Origin Over Blends
Only single-origin coffees are regulated by the Coffee Industry Board (CIB).
This means that the board does not restrict blends that claim to contain smaller percentages of Blue Mountain coffee.
If you decide to buy a blend, keep in mind that a blend could contain as little as 5 to 10% genuine beans from the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica. The rest of the beans in the bag may or may not even be high-quality beans.
Always check out the label before buying coffee labeled as Jamaican Blue Mountain.
If the roaster doesn’t indicate how much of the blend is authentic Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, it’s probably not much.
Also, see if the bag indicates what the other beans in the bag are. This is an important point since up to 95% of that bag could be beans from any other region.
Additionally, think about what a blend means. Blending a prized, high-quality coffee with an inferior bean means overshadowing the attributes of the higher quality coffee.
You could potentially lose all the positive characteristics of the better quality beans and only taste the negative ones of the rest of the beans.
What Do Blue Mountain Coffee Beans Taste Like?
Some people call Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee the Rolls Royce of coffee beans. You’re likely wondering what tastes are behind all the hype surrounding this legendary coffee.
One of the major factors affecting taste is the terroir. Terroir refers to the environment where the plants are grown, from the soil they are planted in all the way to the rainfall they receive.
The tropical climate in Jamaica is ideal for growing coffee and developing the flavors to the fullest. And the specific terroir of the Blue Mountains contributes to the superb quality of these beans.
Aside from the creamy mouthfeel and ideal body, you can expect these attributes in Blue Mountain coffees from Jamaica:
- Mild, well-balanced flavor
- Nutty, chocolatey tones
- Fruity notes
- Sweet, herbal aroma
- Medium acidity
- Absolutely no bitterness
- No defects
The 6 Best Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee Beans 2022
1. Jamaica Blue Mountain Peaberry Coffee Wallenford Estate
We’re starting off with a stellar choice, a Peaberry coffee from a single estate.
Peaberry beans are a mutation that naturally occurs in around 5% of coffee beans. Instead of a coffee cherry having two halves of a seed, it contains just one seed.
These single Peaberry beans are rather round (not flat on one side, as most coffee beans are), and they are denser. They are considered to be of better quality and have a unique taste.
This medium roast Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee from Volcanica Coffee gets it right. It’s incredibly sweet and bold. It’s intensely aromatic and always freshly roasted to order.
When you taste this rich brew with full flavor, it’s easy to see why it’s one of the most sought-after beans in the world.
2. Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee, Clifton Mount Estate
If you like chocolatey coffees, this might be the one for you. It’s also by Volcanica Coffee and is a single estate coffee.
That means that all the beans came from just one farm rather than a blend of several farms. In this case, they originate from the Clifton Mount Estate in the Blue Mountains.
The Clifton Mount Estate has been growing high-quality Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee on the slopes of Catherine’s Peak since the late 1700s.
Their expertise is reflected in the superb quality of these beans. This coffee has impressive balance and absolutely no bitterness.
Rich and flavorful, this coffee has the perfect balance of chocolate, floral, and even fruity notes.
3. Fresh Roasted: 100% Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee
I’m the type of person who enjoys trying the most exotic coffees I can find. And if you’re like me, you’ll enjoy this medium roast Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee from Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC.
Unlike the other options on this list, the flavors of this coffee from the Mavis Bank Estate are more mellow and a bit woody. It actually tastes quite similar to a refreshing glass of root beer.
It has floral hints to complement its light sweetness. But it still has that richness that’s characteristic of all Jamaican Blue Mountain coffees.
These beans are the perfect example of the excellent tastes you can achieve with the ideal growing conditions.
The flavors are so pronounced and developed that it’s unlike any other I’ve tasted before. And with Fresh Roasted Coffee, you know you’re getting the freshly roasted beans sent out to you shortly after roasting.
4. 100% Jamaica Blue Mountain – Clydesdale Estate
The Clydesdale Estate is located in the heart of the Blue Mountains.
This single estate coffee is a product of centuries of perfecting farming practices. Everything people know and love about Blue Mountain coffee is present in these beans.
If you’re a fan of fruity coffees, this medium roast Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is for you.
It has a terrific balance of bright, fruity flavors with a taste as sweet as its aroma. And this is one of the cleanest coffee tasting experiences you’ll ever have.
5. 100% Jamaica Blue Mountain, Wallenford Estate
I already mentioned the Wallenford Estate in our first choice. While this option is not as spectacular as the Peaberry coffee, the complexity of its flavor profile still makes it one not to miss.
It has strong notes of dark chocolate with a hint of orange peel to balance it out.
These flavors are underscored by a distinct buttery feel that matches the flavors very well. The finish is long and so clean it’s easy to forget that you’re even drinking coffee.
It’s sweet and doesn’t have any bitterness.
If you enjoy identifying complex flavor notes and getting the perfect balance in your brew, this could be the Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee you end up enjoying the most.
6. Unroasted 100% Jamaica Blue Mountain Green Coffee
For the home-roasters reading this review, don’t worry. I didn’t forget about you. You can buy unroasted Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee or green beans to roast your own beans at home.
Fresh Roasted Coffee provides the beans so you can experiment with roasting techniques and times.
While Fresh Roasted Coffee roasts their Jamaican Blue Mountain beans medium, you might prefer to try a lighter or ever-so-slightly darker roast for your brew. You may even want to go as far as a City Roast.
Regardless of how you decide to roast it, you can expect that bold body and unique flavor notes that you get from Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.
And if you roast your own beans, you can be sure that you’re getting the most freshly roasted beans possible!
The Blue Mountain Buyers Guide
How to Brew Jamaican Blue Mountain
While the price might seem high, think of these beans as an investment. You’re investing in your own coffee enjoyment.
And as with any investment, you want to get the best out of them. So you’ll want to maximize both the amount of grounds you use and the amount of flavor you can get out of every cup.
So how should you brew these delicate beans?
In my experience, the ideal way to get the most out of this type of bean is to brew it using manual pour-over coffee makers.
When you use a manual pour-over method you can control water temperature and pour technique.
You can create just the right amount of turbulence to extract the best aspects of the ground beans and achieve a balanced flavor.
These techniques allow you to savor the full spectrum of flavors that these beans have to offer.
If you don’t have a manual pour-over brewing method, you can also get good results using an immersion method such as the French Press.
As always, be sure you use water at the right temperature – never use boiling water to brew coffee!
The temperature should be between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit. If the water temperature is too high, you run the risk of over-extracting it and getting bitter notes in the cup.
And as with any other bean, avoid using pre-ground coffee. It’s always preferable to buy whole bean coffee and grind those whole beans as you’re about to use them.
Using fresh ground coffee will contribute to outstanding tastes, better than if you buy pre-ground coffee or use ground coffee that you processed days before.
This is a general rule for all coffees – not just beans from Jamaica.
Beware of Fake Blue Mountain Coffee
Due to its price tag, there’s a lot of money to be made from Blue Mountain coffee.
That’s why some companies try to turn a quick profit by selling blends, or worse, low-quality beans disguised as the real deal.
You can identify fake Blue Mountain coffee by what’s on the label. If a coffee company isn’t clear as to where the coffee was grown and it doesn’t have the seal of quality from the Jamaican Coffee Industry Board, it might be better to buy from a different company.
For coffee bags that are marketed as 100% Blue Mountain coffee, make sure the beans have the official CIB certification seal on the bag.
Without this seal, there’s a good possibility that the beans you’re considering buying are fake or haven’t passed official quality standards.
If you decide to buy a blend, keep in mind that the CIB doesn’t have regulatory standards for blends.
As I mentioned, you might get a blend that has very little JBM coffee in it. Or a poor quality Blue Mountain coffee may be used. Or it may contain mostly coffee that isn’t even from that region.
Of course, not all blends are a scam. But I really don’t recommend getting one if it’s your first time trying JBM beans.
As I said, it won’t provide you with an authentic experience, since the outstanding characteristics of this coffee may be covered over by the poorer quality coffees.
So if there’s a blend that catches your attention, make sure it indicates the percentage of Blue Mountain beans in the bag.
If it doesn’t say, there could be as little as 5 or 10% Blue Mountain beans in the bag and you can’t be sure you’re getting only the best coffee. And there’s no reason to pay a premium price for that type of blend.
The Final Verdict: Best JBM Coffee Beans
My favorite beans on this list are Volcanica’s JBM Peaberry coffee.
Nonetheless, you can rest assured knowing that all these options are certified 100% authentic Jamaican Blue Mountain and you’ll be getting nothing less than magnificent coffee from each company.
You might just find your all-time favorite beans in a JBM coffee!