The Blue Mountains are the longest mountain range in Jamaica, running to the northeast of its capital, Kingston. They include Blue Mountain Peak, one of the highest points in the Caribbean, measuring 7,402 feet. It is in the rich, volcanic soil at elevations between 3,000 and 5,500 feet where Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee grows, enveloped by the mist of the verdant peaks and valleys.
Certified Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee requires many conditions to be met before the exclusive title is bestowed upon Jamaican-grown coffee beans. Location, elevation, and soil are factors in all coffee producing regions, but when applied to Jamaican Blue Mountain specialty coffee, its certification can only be earned by meeting the strict standards set forth by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica.
A cool climate, shady canopy, and heavy rainfall all contribute to the exceptionally slow maturity of the coffee beans, taking nearly twice as long to mature as other coffee varietals. However, it is the long, slow development of these Arabica Typica beans and this particular microclimate that is responsible for the silky, sweet, balanced flavor profile that makes Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee coveted around the globe.
These mountains are where the fearless Victorian-era explorer and painter, Marianne North, depicted the flora and fauna of the area through her paintings. Marianne was not the typical Victorian woman, as she spent her life traveling the world painting botanical images after a visit to London’s Kew Gardens inspired her to use her paintbrush to document as many plants from exotic locations as she could. Arriving in Jamaica on Christmas Eve, 1871 and awestruck by the island’s natural beauty, she stayed at Clifton Lodge– now known as Clifton Mount Estate– for five months painting the coffee plants, lilies, and ferns. She painted “Coffee Plantation at Clifton Mount, and the Blue Mountains Beyond” in 1872, preserving a window into the history of the estate in perpetuity. Marianne’s travels took her to fifteen countries in fourteen years, and she produced more than 800 botanical paintings that are presently on display at the Marianne North Gallery in Kew Gardens. Today, Clifton Mount Estate is one of the oldest coffee estates in the world.
The Sharp family has been stewarding the land at Clifton Mount Estate since 1977, earning the recognition of producing the region’s finest Blue Mountain coffee. All aspects of production are managed on the farm where the coffee is grown; processing and drying, grading and sorting, roasting and grinding, quality testing and exporting. Clifton Mount also has the distinction of being certified by Rainforest Alliance, a third party that ensures its applicants uphold the highest standards of environmental, economic, and social practices in operations. The Sharps pride themselves on implementing sustainability initiatives at the farm and enhancing biodiversity through mindful agricultural practices. Vermiculture, or worm composting, transforms coffee pulp waste into fertilizer for the coffee plants. A water recycling system, in addition to an on-site, state-of-the-art coffee pulper, minimizes water consumption, while 70% of the farm is operated by solar power. Taking care of the land and people who are instrumental to the process of producing superior Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee positions Clifton Mount Estate as a leader in world-class coffee farming for generations to come.
To commemorate 10 years of friendship with Roasting Plant Coffee, the Sharp family has honored us with the gift of an exclusive lot of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee from Clifton Mount. In tribute to Marianne North and the time she spent at the estate, we are naming it “Marianne’s Parcel.” This parcel is the absolute last to mature on the farm, grown in the shade of juniper trees at an elevation of 4,757 feet atop Catherine’s Peak in the Blue Mountains; the highest point of the estate. Balanced and bright, Marianne’s Parcel contains notes of lemon, starfruit, honey, dark chocolate, and toasted almond, embodied with the silkiness that distinguishes Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee from any other coffee you’ve tasted. Roasting Plant’s signature, just-roasted method of bringing this coffee to you– whether you are enjoying a cup in one of our roastery cafés or at home– promises the pinnacle experience of Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee.