Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Roger Clarke, got a first hand view of Jamaica Blue Mountain beans being roasted, grounded and brewed in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 11, when he toured Blue Mountain Inc.
The Minister, along with Senator Norman Grant and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Donovan Stanberry, also tasted the brew, with Mr. Grant, one of the country’s internationally certified coffee tasters, giving his approval.
The Minister described the company as a “fantastic operation,” adding that “this shows that when it comes to value added, if we apply innovations, and if we are determined to move up the value chain, we can maximise our profits as far as our coffee is concerned."
“Over time, the country’s farmers, and Jamaicans as a whole, have been concentrating their efforts on being just primary producers. What this is saying is that the value added aspect of agriculture is extremely important. And, we have to move along the value chain, so that we can get the maximum out of what we produce,” Mr. Clarke emphasised.
Jamaican born proprietor of Blue Mountain Inc., Mr. Edgar Munn, said that recently the company did a special brew using non- Blue Mountain beans, which are grown at approximately 1,500 feet altitude in Jamaica, and it has “caught on tremendously."
“I think the potential for that is huge, because it puts the other coffee that is not being classified as Blue Mountain, but still one hundred per cent Jamaican, at a price point where the average person can buy it. That price point we put on the Internet is US$24.99 for a pound and one half delivered,” he noted.
Mr. Munn said that this product and price signal greater financial benefit to the Jamaican coffee farmer.
One of the strategies of the Georgia company is to deliver Jamaican coffee as freshly roasted as possible. ”We roast and ship the coffee within 24 hours of being roasted. So, persons in California will get their coffee four days later. If you are on the East coast, you are going to get your coffee within 72 to 84 hours of roasting,” Mr. Munn said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Clarke said the Ministry will play a critical role between the farmers and the international markets, and that he is taking steps to address issues and specifically identify and pursue people who are pirating the Jamaican coffee brand, to the detriment of the product and the Jamaican farmers.