World’s Finest - Blue Mountain Coffee
Newly Imported from 4500 ft. Above the Jamaican Coastline
The dirt bikes rev and spit out rocks from the back tires as we try to keep control in the slimy red mud, while climbing through 3,000 feet and rounding corners that would make one have plenty of talks with the almighty Jah. It feels like only moments ago I was perspiring in the Kingston heat with mango juice running down my face, and now I find myself needing a fleece jacket. I stop to gaze down over Kingston Harbor looming in the distance, and I can’t get over the geographical diversity of this incredible nation. In order for you to qualify into the prestigious club of Blue Mountain Coffee, a coveted trademark belonging only to Jamaica just like Champagne belongs to France, your plantation has to be situated above 4,000 feet in the mountains.
I am quite the coffee snob, I can’t tell a lie, and I have heard so much about unblended Blue Mountain Coffee and how it is practically like drinking gold. We are so high up in these mountains that we are literally in the clouds, and I cannot see the next guy up ahead of me riding his bike. We slow our roll and finally arrive to Mr. David Twyman’s fine establishment, the notorious Old Tavern Coffee Estate. This quaint and rustic estate could have been pulled out of a story book. In the front, an old John Deere tractor lies permanently out of operation with its bucket converted into a huge flower bed. There are winding stairs cut into the side of the mountain that lead you down to the little cafe where coffee and homemade pastries are served. A tall, dark and handsome Jamaican fella, standing proud in head to toe Camo with a ball cap that reads “Entrepreneur at Work”, leads me to the back of a nearby parked pickup truck. The bed of the pick-up truck is chock a block full of bags wreaking of vinegar. I say with a sour face: “What is that smell?” He replies with a sarcastic grin: “Dat’s coffee!” He opens up one of the bags for me and it is bursting with electric colored red berries that are leaching out an aroma which is far different from the “Elegant and Balanced Dark Roast” I am used to. I run my hand through the berries that were just hand picked moments ago. “We are in the very beginning stages here, follow us,” says the chief-entrepreneur.
We hop back onto the bikes and follow the truck down another bumpy road that is extremely enchanting. We arrive to yet another incredibly rustic and quaint cottage, this one looking more like a plantation home that you would see in the movies. The Twymans' take a natural approach on the farm: limiting the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides while employing traditional fermentation and sun drying processes. The guys put us to work so we gain a full fledged understanding and respect for the business; this is quite the hand over hand and almost primitive process! We lug the bags off of the pick up truck and drop them next to the peeling machine, which looks like a giant cheese grater standing under a small shed with a corrugated steel roof. On one side of the wall lies the cheese crater, or “Pulper,” while on the other side lies a trough that catches the bean once it has been pulped. They use an apple crate to measure the beans so they can keep tabs on how much they’re pulping. We start by emptying the berries into the apple crates and then, once full, we empty that batch into 5 gallon buckets to make pouring into the top of the machine easier. After pouring the berries into the machine, the cheese grater starts spinning at a rapid rate, chewing up the berries and spitting the pulp out everywhere. The smell of vinegar is even stronger now as the machine spins a million miles a minute, simultaneously spitting out pulp and sending beautiful little virgin green beans into the trough in the back. Once the de-pulping process is completed, the raw baby beans are taken to ferment and dry in the sun for weeks before finally going to roast.
Once our lesson is completed, we head over to the other side of the property to witness the amazing clouds dancing in and out of the valleys of the Blue Mountains. David Twyman brings over a large thermos of freshly brewed coffee and a couple of locally made clay coffee cups, which he sets on top of the Defender’s hood. The whole set up is once again such a contrast: so rugged, yet so classy. After everything we have gone through today to reach this small and very exclusive plantation, taking a sip of the golden blend tastes smoother than butter. It is excellent and it doesn’t need a drop of cream nor a grain of sugar. I savor the silkiness of the ethereal pedigree Blue Mountain Coffee, while gazing upon the natural mystic clouds.
The rain starts to fall with the heavy beat of the goat-skinned drum and the sun gleams through the tiny holes in the corrugated steel roof. The children gather around, small and beautiful with big innocent brown eyes; all of them with their locks wrapped up in different colored turbans. Once the musical performance is over, the kids lead us to the trails that connect the whole camp together. They eagerly start to climb the trees and toss down beautiful little sweet plums. These children with beaming smiles couldn’t have been more hospitable and welcoming. We end at a long shed, where Priest Radcliffe shows us how they are able to sustain their lifestyle in this humble fortress. “We make deez broom and den we gwan down da streets and sell dem in Kingston town.” A very crude and rustic broom, similar to a witches broom with what appears to be an actual tree branch for the stick. We walk out with our own Boboshanti Broom, a prized possession, and a very special souvenir.
Our trip into the Blue Mountains led us to some of the most amazing coffee in the world. The flavor is balanced, silky, and almost creamy. We have limited our effort to 50 hand numbered 16 oz. bags and produced a limited run of t-shirts that come with the purchase of a bag. Enjoy.
BLUE MOUNTAIN PREMIUM TEE INCLUDED
With purchase of a bag of coffee, while supplies last.