Delicious Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Returns to Starbucks. ($34.50 for 8 ounces)

Jamaica Blue Mountain is launching in Starbucks Reserve stores everywhere in February 2017. It appeared on the scoop bar at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in Seattle on Monday, December 26, 2016.

There is a lot to know about this coffee. Did you know that once upon a time the coffee farmers would ship this coffee to Starbucks in big wooden barrells? It now comes in burlap sacks, like other green coffee.

2 - 1 - 20170105_175416 Jamaica Blue Mountain burlap sacks

This is a fully-washed coffee. And it truly is very washed and clean. Sometimes when coffees arrive at the Roastery, there is still some coffee chaff (the dried skin, or husk) which comes off during the roasting process. I talked to one of the roasters at the Roastery about and he says it’s one the cleanest coffees he’s encountered. It’s not just “wash processed”. It’s “very washed processed!”

2 - 1 - 20170112_193129 unroasted jmb

The roaster roasts this coffee at about 11 and a half to 12 and a half minutes, roughly. Here’s the freshly roasted coffee and a side by side comparison:

2 - 1 - 20170112_193635 roasted and unroasted jmb

2 - 1 - 20170112_192330 roasted jmb

Also notice how much larger the roasted coffee beans are to the unroasted Jamaica Blue Mountain. It’s normal that coffee beans get a larger during roasting. The changes in the coffee, including the expansion causing the beans to give off a “pop” or “crack” sound, makes the final bean a little larger than the unroasted green bean. With this coffee, the difference is pronounced.

This coffee is a medium roast. In fact, it’s almost right in the middle of the medium roast spectrum. In the word of Starbucks coffees, Willow Blend is the lightest roast profile, and French Roast is the darkest. All the other core coffees fall between this spectrum. Near the absolute center of the Starbucks roast spectrum is House Blend, and then perhaps Yukon Blend as just a touch darker than House.

When this year’s Jamaica Blue Mountain is ground for brewing, it will appear to be very close in color to House Blend, putting it near the center of the Starbucks roast spectrum. The beans themselves might look a little deceptively darker than House. But if you take a Jamaica Blue Mountain bean, break it open and take a very close look, you’ll notice that the center often looks slightly lighter than the outside. The coffee, likely due to its high moisture content, roasts a little unevenly.

The flavor descriptors for this coffee are citrus and cocoa, and complementary flavors are chocolate and oranges. In my opinion, this year’s Jamaica Blue Mountain is a little more chocolate-y than last year’s.

The story of the coffee is that it is named after the mist that casts a blue-tinged glow over the Jamaican mountainside, and this coffee is grown beneath the peak of the 7,400-foot Blue Ridge. The dew, along with plentiful rainfall and fertile soil, helps create ideal growing conditions. After the harvest, the beans are scrutinized and certified to ensure their high quality. The result: a complex cup with layers of citrus flavor and a hint of cocoa.

The beautiful Reserve tasting card for this coffee is designed to represents the receding blue mountains and to celebrates the landscape and blue mist where this coffee is grown. It’s a literal interpretation of the amazing geography of the Jamaican mountainside.

2 - 1 - New Doc 185_1-1 Jamaica Blue Mountain front Dec 2016

2 - 1 - New Doc 185_2 Jamaica Blue Mountain back of card Dec 2016

This coffee retails for $34.50 for an 8 ounce bag at the Roastery. It will launch in February 2017 in Reserve stores in North America, and will also at some point have a China-Asia-Pacific market launch too. This coffee is not coming the Starbucks Europe market.

Hope you enjoyed your Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee education segment!

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6 Comments

  • Patrick

    I went to check out the DiscoverStarbucksReserve site just now, but it shows that I need a password? I didn’t need one last week when I looked. Has something changed?

  • Melody

    @Patrick – Yes. You’re right. It’s now password locked. I haven’t really paid too much attention to the analytics of my sites. I mean, I don’t pore into it. This site is, by far, the largest. DiscoverStarbucksReserve.com is the 2nd most popular of my sites, by far.
    What I discovered is that people ARE using it to keep track of the Reserve tasting card collection. That’s great! I love the cards too.
    The other thing is though, I found multiple incidents across multiple facebook groups of people lifting the images off the site and saying “I need this card” with no credit linking back to discoverStarbucksReserve.com.

    Frankly, that is rude to just lift other people’s photos. I locked the site as I decide what to do about this. One thing I’m thinking of doing is going back and watermarking the vast majority of images. That would be a lot of work. Or I could just keep it password protected.
    In fact, I didn’t really recognize how popular DiscoverStarbucksReserve.com had become. I’ve had multiple emails, Facebook messages, and the like.
    I’ve been ignoring the FB messages. I prefer email. I have been giving out the password to those who email me and say something like, “I love your site! I collect those cards and I won’t just share the images!” or you know, anything remotely like that.
    That’s the story.
    Definitely seen an uptick on people using this form – http://www.starbucksmelody.com/contact/ to reach me

  • Tex

    Melody,
    Count me as well as one of my friends out in Vancouver, BC as frequent visitors to DiscoverStarbucksReserve.com
    Since I’m nowhere near the Roastery I use your site to see what we *might* get over here in Toronto in 2 months time.
    I agree, definitely watermark the card images with “StarbucksMelody.com DiscoverStarbucksReserve.com (C)2017 Melody Overton”, or just put that text across the bottom of the image, less work for you. The people lifting the images to use on Facebook or blogs are not going to bother cropping that out of the image. So this way when they lift the image they’re advertising for you at the same time.

  • Tex

    Oh, I see you already did that (put your credits on the image)! And you put it where it can’t be cropped out without wrecking the card. I think if you do that from now on you can safely reopen DSR :-)

  • Melody

    @Tex – I am trying to go through all of my old images on DiscoverStarbucksReserve.com and add the watermark. It’s time consuming. Even if I get 80% watermarked, that’s good enough. I do think the images are more unsightly but if people lift them, you are right, it’s free advertising.
    Since all of these websites I produce are a hobby, I never get obsessive about how many people are visiting. DiscoverStarbucksReserve.com has a much larger following than what I was thinking it did. I almost never look at the Google Analytics for it. I rec’d 2 more emails via http://www.starbucksmelody.com/contact/ – And replied to 2 more people this morning with the password. I’m not posting the password here because that would defeat the purpose. Those who try to contact me via any other means get ignored. I don’t have time to dig through what might get sorted into my junk mail, and Facebook messages is annoying because it hides those where you’re not already friends with him or her.

  • Patrick

    ahhh. Never mind. I see you’ve unlocked it now, after placing watermarks on the pictures. Cool.

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