Noted Caribbean economist Wilburn Persaud is urging Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee (JBMC) interests to ensure that methods are vigorously enforced to protect the integrity of the product against those who continue to trade in counterfeit versions of the bean widely regarded as the ‘world’s finest coffee’.
Addressing a forum marking the fourth anniversary of Blue Mountain Coffee Day on Sunday (January 9) and hosted on popular Florida radio show Bar Talk in Miami, Persaud said methods must be put in place and vigilance maintained to ensure that Blue Mountain Coffee was treated “just like how Cognac could only come from certain regions of France”.
His observations come in the face of extensive evidence showing that non-authentic Blue Mountain Coffee which was not even grown in Jamaica, was being sold to consumers as ‘Blue Mountain Coffee’ across the United States and other countries.
These offences continue in the wake of efforts by agencies such as the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) along with the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA) and the Jamaica Coffee Exporters’ Association (JCEA), which introduced a Geographical Indication (GI) to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) recently aimed at protecting Blue Mountain Coffee, which is only grown in defined geograhical elevations in the mountains extending across the parishes of St Andrew, St Thomas and Portland.
His comments drew support from forum moderator, Oliver Mair, Jamaica’s Consul General in Miami, who pointed to the hard toil of the estimated 5,000 farmers who grew Blue Mountain Coffee and who were being robbed of their efforts in producing the signature Jamaica product.
“It takes three years to grow a Blue Mountain Coffee plant, these farmers work hard to grow this excellent crop,” Mair observed as he called for consumers in Florida to “ask why you can’t get some” in response to suggestions from panellist Raquel Wilmot, a “coffee lover” that genuine Blue Mountain Coffee was often in short supply at outlets.
In his comments, JCEA president Norman Grant asserted the need for more Jamaican hoteliers, coffee shops, restaurants and processors to offer Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee and for locals to enjoy and indulge in their own ‘world renowned’ beverage, even as the export drive ramps up.
“We are privileged to not only nurture and grow, but to be able to enjoy our own golden-brown nugget of coffee – our premium Blue Mountain brew,” said Grant, noting that Blue Mountain Coffee Day is an excellent reflection point to focus Jamaicans to indulge more in their own home-grown “legendary luxury”.
Blue Mountain Coffee Day is being celebrated locally and in major world cities across three continents and continuing through January under the theme “Indulge in Legendary Luxury”.
The month is being utilised by JAMPRO in partnership with the JCEA and JACRA to introduce the iconic Blue Mountain brand to new generations of discerning coffee drinkers including millennials to appreciate the ‘world’s finest coffee’.
Café culture will resound to Jamaican culture and tastings of the brew in coffee shops in Europe prepared by renowned baristas (expert coffee servers), at select brunches with leading celebrities and VIPs, Jamaican embassies, international organisations and happening places in world capitals such as London, New York and Tokoyo during the month.
In his comments during the panel discussion, chef Mark Cameron, the owner of Dukunoo Restaurant, pointed to the excellent range of products such as cakes and ice cream which could be enhanced by utilising Blue Mountain Coffee while extolling the delights of “enjoying a cup of the brew especially after a meal”, as he appealed to his audience to buy more Jamaican products to support the development of the country.
Treasured by coffee connoisseurs as the most delectable coffee on the planet, Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is grown in the volcanic soils of the misty mountains which appear blue when viewed from a distance.
Early in the proceedings, those present, including a cross-section of Jamaicans residing in Florida and other US residents were treated to an excellent rendition of popular Jamaican folk songs including “Mi Coffee, Mi Coffee” by soloist Steve Higgins.