If you know a thing or two about Jamaican coffee, you’ll know it’s a highly scarce and prestigious export. You may also know that Japan scoops up the largest proportion of all Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee beans produced each year.
With such limited quantities available, there is never enough Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee beans available to go around. Even so, Japan manages to get its hands on anything from 60% to 85% of all annual Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee exports.
Jamaican coffee is a national obsession in Japan, to such an extent that the country has celebrated ‘Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee Day’ every January 9 since 2018.
But what is it about this particular coffee that makes it such a hit with the Japanese? Why, given the availability of so many gourmet coffees, is Jamaican coffee the product of choice so many are willing to pay such a high price for?
There’s a hugely significant yet largely unknown diplomatic connection between Japan and Jamaica. Diplomatic relations were formed between the two countries all the way back in 1964, after which economic alliances were formed for mutual benefit.
One of which was extensive rights to Jamaica’s Blue Mountain coffee beans exports, which had already begun making their way to Japan about a decade earlier. At the time, Jamaican coffee was marketed as the choice of British royalty. Consequently, it became a hugely popular product among the country’s elite, enhancing its exclusivity and boosting its appeal.
The whole thing continued escalating and evolving over the years that followed, to such an extent that around 90% of all Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee was consumed by Japan at the end of the 1980s. Japan’s coffee culture became one of the most developed and lucrative in the world, with Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee beans sitting atop the table as the single finest import any coffee-lover could enjoy.
All of which has continued up until this today, though it’s at least good to know that Japan’s consumption of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee isn’t quite at its 90% peak anymore. The rest of the world is at least treated to a ‘generous’ 15% of all Jamaican coffee exports each year, which goes some way to explain its consistently high price - irrespective of where you enjoy it.
As for whether or not Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee beans justify the price and the positive press, the short answer is yes - very much so.
The simple fact of the matter is that if Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be, nobody would pay for it. You can rave about a certain type of coffee all you like, but you can’t realistically expect people to pay a fortune for it, if it’s not up to scratch.
Jamaican coffee is renowned for both its unique flavors and consistently impeccable quality. Tracking it down isn’t easy, but those who make the effort are guaranteed something seriously special in return.