Friday, August 20, 2010

Not your average cuppa joe

As a child I remember being told by my grandfather that I’d get worms in my tummy if I drank coffee. It never dawned on me that this was actually a big fat fib since he drank 5 cups of the strong black stuff each day… And besides, I would deal with worms any day just to get my daily caffeine fix.

Any addict worth their coffee beans, should know what Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is only (arguably) the best coffee in the world! So when I received a last-minute invitation to a very special tasting of this extremely expensive coffee, to say that I jumped at the chance would be an understatement!

But who would be so generous to share their bean treasure? David Donde, coffee evangelist and owner of TRUTH. coffeecult, that’s who. TRUTH. specialises in brewing and roasting artisinal coffees – in their own words “We roast coffee. Properly.” At TRUTH. coffee is a religion. There could not be a better place to worship the awesomeness that is Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, than at TRUTH.

I was told that the only way to taste coffee is by sipping an espresso. So, with the buzz of excitement filling the TRUTH. roastery, I savoured the taste of this exorbitantly expensive brew... I, with my sweet tooth, didn’t even feel the need to reach for my usual 2 sachets thanks to it’s velvety smoothness. Only slightly acidic and with a chocolatey after-taste, it was pure perfection in a cup. But perfection has a price: R60 a shot.

So why is it so expensive? Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is classification grown in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. Over the last few decades, it has developed a reputation that has made it one of the most expensive and sought-after coffees in the world. In order to be labeled as such, Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee beans must comply with a number of criteria set by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica: it must be grown in the Blue Mountains between the elevations of 3000 and 5500 feet. No coffee can be grown above this, as the area is forest reserve, and any coffee grown below this altitude cannot be labeled Jamaican Blue Mountain. So there is a limited amount of JBM coffee and a very high demand for it, hence the exorbitant price.

I’m sure there are many people out there who would raise more than an eyebrow at paying R60 for a cup of coffee, but think of it this way, anybody who has ever spent more than R350 on a bottle of wine, has payed about R60 for each glass… You could argue that it’s an excellent vintage from a good estate, but the same can be said for a cup of coffee. Ever heard of the quote “Life’s too short to drink bad wine”? well after that rather indulgent cuppa… I say life’s too short to drink bad coffee!


Photography by Julia Housdon

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