The Jamaica Blue Mountain bean is mostly Arabica Typica. The cherries are mainly delivered to the various producer-processor buying stations scattered around the Blue Mountains where they are subjected to float testing in specially built tanks. The larger farms & estates deliver the cherries directly to the processors’ pulperies.
Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee is wet processed – normally by employing aqua pulpers (mucilage removal), although in a few limited cases, the operation is undertaken by the traditional fermentation method.
The green coffee, exportable in barrels, comes in three screen size classifications covering the classic Blue Mountain flatberry coffee. Additionally, small quantities of peaberry are available in barrels. The green beans from the strict Blue Mountain area are inspected by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica (CIB), which handles tests and arranges all the logistical side of exports.If the beans have too high a defect count or do not qualify in terms of size, shape, moisture content (max.12.5%), colour or cup any such non qualifying beans are categorised as‘Fines’ and ‘Triage’ and, occasionally, ‘Stock Lot’.
Jamaica has (early 2008) signed a multilateral agreement sponsored by the Japanese concerning testing for pesticide and chemical agent residues to a standard significantly beyond the international phytosanitary levels requested by either the European Union or other European countries. All green coffees exported from Jamaica, including those to Europe, are now being tested to this higher standard.
Certain qualities of Triage and Stock Lot are allowed to be exported in bags as Jamaica Blue Mountain to such markets as Japan. The other rejected coffees enter the domestic roaster market for local consumption, including the tourist sector, as well as for export as roast Jamaica Blue Mountain. Coffee grown in other areas, mainly outside the Blue Mountains, may also be exported, albeit in limited quantities, and fall into two main classifications: High Mountain Supreme and Prime Washed Jamaican. These may not be called or employed as Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee.