This Willoughby's Serious Select coffee will be
roasted and shipped on Tuesday 12/17
Here's something you won't see everyday - a micro-lot from the Blue Mountain's Clifton Mount Estate called Juniper Peak. Thanks to our direct relationship with Jason and Richard Sharp of Clifton Mount they have sent us very special coffee that has not been available to the US market - until now. This is an extremely limited growth coffee which has mainly gone to buyers in Japan, one of the few "reserve" coffees this wonderful plantation produces.
Juniper Peak is a micro-lot from the highest areas of the Clifton Mount
Coffee estate in Jamaica Blue Mountain. At about 4300 feet above sea level, the
Juniper Peak area is made up of 15 acres of land which is surrounded by Juniper
Cedar trees that shade the coffee plants and give the plot of farm it's name.
Of the entire crop that is harvested at Clifton Mount
Estate, Juniper Peak comprises a mere 2% of the coffee. We were extremely
priveledged this year to obtain 2 barrels directly from the farm owners to whom we are most grateful; importing it was a real challenge.
The coffee cherries are picked at their maximum ripeness to ensure the best
flavor. The cherries are initially processed and sun-dried until they undergo
the final step of processing in rotary driers. Once dried the coffee is
separated into screen sizes 17, 18, and 19. The Juniper Peak lot that we have
this year is screen size 19, the largest. The owners of the farm then meticulously cup the
coffee to determine what represents the best grade for micro-lot classification.
The cup, as described by the farm owners, is wonderfully aromatic, superbly balanced,
with rich hints of chocolate and a sublime sweet lingering finish. The unroasted
beans are a vibrant blue color indicative of the high quality and extreme care
taken to harvest such a special coffee. We have a very limited quantity for sale.
Clifton Mount coffee plantation began production in the early to mid 18th century and land records suggest coffee growing there in 1810 making it the oldest functioning coffee estate in Jamaica. For the past 35 years it has been owned by the Sharp family who have modernized processing with an eye toward ecology and environment. Clifton Mount is the only coffee plantation in the Blue Mountains to be Rainforest Alliance certified, attesting to their land management practices.
Jamaica Blue Mountain is an appellation, much like the French have done with their prized wine regions. In order to be called Jamaica Blue Mountain the coffee must come from the parishes of Portland, St Andrew, St. Mary or St Thomas which are in eastern part of the island. This entire area is quite small as a growing region, only about 15,000 acres in its entirety. Roughly 85% of the tiny production is exported to Japan.
Jamaica's Blue Mountain coffee has long held a reputation as being one of the world's best coffees and certainly one of its most expensive; whether deserving or not is of much conjecture. Perhaps twenty five or more years ago this may have been true, but today, with artisanal crops being grown in several parts of the world, it is certainly not alone. In September 1988 Hurricane Gilbert wreaked havoc on Jamaica, its people and its coffee industry, destroying 70 percent of the trees there. The hurricane, one of the most intense ever recorded, became a category 5 storm as it passed over the island. Winds were in excess of 155 mph and the mountains had 27 inches of rainfall. That singular weather event essentially ended quality coffee production which took nearly two decades to fully recover.
Region: Newcastle, St. Andrew Parish
Grade: Microlot, screen 19
Processing: Fully washed, traditional fermentation
Drying: Patio, 100% sun dried
Altitude: 4300 average
All growing and processing is done on the plantation. The estate's wetmill was designed to minimize water usage.
Cup Characteristics: Rose petal scent. Classic Jamaica Blue cup. Smooth, sweet and very clean. Full body, very well balanced, delicate. Signature, naturally smoky note with flavors of chocolate and honey. Floral, mildly acidic. Long, dry white wine finish. This is a striking example of Jamaica Blue at its best.