I’ve had limited experience with Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee. The first time I tried it was at a DFW-area coffee shop called Buon Giorno Coffee, and I believe I paid $8 for a single french press of the Jamaica Blue Mountain beans they had available that day. I remember feeling like it was a LOT of money for a coffee that, in my opinion, wasn’t super flavorful, but I did appreciate how smooth and nutty the brew was. Later, I received a bag of JBM roasted by Peet’s Coffee as a gift from a friend (this was pre-blog, so I didn’t write a review). I felt much the same about this bag – it was all right, it was a smooth and rich cup of coffee with nuts and some chocolate flavor, but it didn’t stand out as much as I thought a coffee of this price range should. It was a very lovely gift to receive, though! But I figured that Jamaica Blue Mountain wasn’t really to my personal taste, so I’ve not had any since that day (which was probably around 4-5 years ago).
When the folks at Plantation Blue contacted me about possibly reviewing their beans, I was a little hesitant since I’ve never really been wild about JBM, but as it’s also been years since I’ve tried it, I figured it would be good to give it another shot to see what I think of it now. The beans came to me quite freshly roasted – the outer label stated “best by 7.12.19,” but be aware that they follow the format of day/month/year, rather than the American convention of month/day/year. Since this roaster marks their bags as best by one year after the roast date, these beans were roasted on December 7, 2018.
Here are the beans from Plantation Blue, which you’ll note are pretty unevenly roasted. As you can see from the picture, the color range is quite wide, and some of the beans have a bit of oil coming to the surface while others do not.
The beans below are from another bag I had at the time of this tasting, Klatch Coffee Roasters’ 25th Anniversary Blend. Lighting is the same, phone camera settings are the same, but you can see how much more uniform in color the Klatch beans are.
But, though looks are important, I was more interested in how the Plantation Blue beans would taste!
Whole bean: The beans themselves smell like a Full City+ roast – something I’d expect from a second-wave sort of cafe like Peet’s Coffee.
French press: Zero fruit or floral notes in this, but then I didn’t expect anything like that from this coffee. It tasted rich and flavorful like toasted almonds, without any bitterness. It did have a nutty edge to them that tasted good. I rather liked this!
Chemex: This was drinkable, but I don’t think this is the ideal brewing method for these beans. Chemex brewing brings out a lot of the “high” notes of a coffee which works great for coffee with a lot of berry/floral/citrus notes, but this coffee has none of that inherent in the beans so it just tasted like a thinner, less sweet version of the French press cup, with a bit of a papery taste and an aroma like cooked white rice.
V60: This was slightly better than the Chemex version. There was a nice nuttiness to the flavor with some dark chocolate notes. I still think the paper filter removed too much of the sweetness for my liking but this was a more balanced and tastier cup than the coffee that came out of the thicker-filtered Chemex brewing method.
AeroPress: Straight up fudgy texture with the flavor of chocolate-covered almonds. Enjoyable simply as a concentrate! I also tried brewing this with my Prismo and the results indicated that this could make a pretty tasty espresso, full of deep, rich nutty and bold flavors. I was too afraid to “waste” this coffee though with the dialing-in process so I didn’t try pulling shots on my machine at home.
Summary: This coffee is suited for those who like notes of nuts and chocolate in their coffee, and it’s best brewed in immersion methods like the French press and AeroPress. It IS expensive like any 100% authentic JBM coffee is, but this supplier takes a lot of care to deliver only freshly roasted coffee to their customers, so if you like Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee and you care about freshness, check out coffee from Plantation Blue!
From the roaster: No tasting notes provided
Review conducted 5-6 days post-roast.
Disclaimer: I received this product gratis in exchange for a fair and honest review. Even though I received this for free, I treat and test it the same way as if I had paid for it out of my own pocket.