Saturday, December 11, 2010

100 Things you should eat before you die #2: Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee

2. Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee
I’ve never had it. And at over $100 a pound, I probably never will.

Anyone who knows me knows I am a coffee purist. I used to say snob, but that wasn't accurate. A snob would insist on a specific variety of coffee bean, from a specific roaster, that had been brewed exactly at a specific temperature, and only brewed with imported bottled water that was from a specific French spring. REALLY? That's nuts! That's putting more importance in prestige than a fine cup'a'joe.

I'm a simple man with simple tastes (stop laughing!). My routine in the morning involves making a fresh pot from whole beans. I use Eight O'Clock roast beans, kept in an air tight container, in the freezer. I grind right before I brew and I get a superior cup of coffee. I don't use anything fancy, just a Mister Coffee and a coffee grinder.

Where I'm simple, conesiuers of Blue Mountain are not. According to Wikipedia, "Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is a globally protected certification mark, meaning only coffee certified by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica can be labeled as such. It comes from a recognized growing region in the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica, and its cultivation is monitored by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica."

France uses the same type of system. The Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC), grants certification to certain French geographical areas for cheese, butter, wine, mustard, and other agricultural products. The certification tells the consumer where the product was produced and may be extremely specific, sometimes down to an area of less than 10 acres.

You may notice that I have not listed Kopi Luwak coffee on this list. Kopi Luwak, also known as civet coffee, because the beans are eaten and then digested and, ahem, excreted by the Asian Palm Civet. The digestive process of this strange little Asian critter seeps enzymes into the coffee berries. Even though they beans are thoroughly cleaned and dried, I don't think I could drink it. Supposedly the whole process produced a much less bitter coffee and it is the most expensive coffee in the world.

Coming back down to Earth, and wandering the aisles of the supermarket for good coffee can be confusing. From Moscow on the Hudson 1984:

Vladimir: Coffee?

Supermarket manager: Aisle 2.

Vladimir: Coffee line, please?

Supermarket manager: Aisle 2. No line, though.

Vladimir: Taster's Choice... decaffeinated... Maxwell House... El Pico... Chock Full of Nuts.. espresso, cappucino... Café Français... Sanka... Folgers... Cafe Caribe... coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee! Coffee!! COFFEE!!!

While Robin Williams's character has a nervous breakdown, let me simplify it for you. Consumer Reports confirmed in March 2009 what I had long known, Eight O'Clock Roast is the best buy for your money. Almost all stores carry it, it roasted almost perfectly and makes a superior cup of coffee. Therefore, don't waste your money on Starbucks or anybody else. Go to the store and buy a bag of Colombian roast. I also recommend that you get a good coffee grinder. (In fact get two, that way you have an excellent spice grinder and your coffee would taste like cumin and mustard seeds - yuck!)

Grind your coffee FRESH when you are ready to brew and NO SOONER. Use a reliable coffee maker and be prepared to brew a few test pots to determine how much coffee and how much water you need to meet your tastes. Once you know, you'll be set. Don't trust my opinion? Here's what Consumer Reports said:

Consider how you take it

Coffees judged very good taste fine black. Milk and sugar can improve a mediocre coffee, but not even cream is likely to help the lowest-scoring decafs.

Choose a good coffeemaker

The best from our January report reached the 195º to 205º F required to get the best from the beans and avoid a weak or bitter brew. A top Michael Graves model costs just $40.

Consider grinding for fresher flavor

Even the best pre-ground coffee can't beat the best fresh-ground when it comes to taste. One top grinder from our January report, the Mr. Coffee IDS77, costs only $20.

Caribbean Coffee

  • 1/4 cup of Jamaican Blue Mountain® Coffee
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup of ice cream
  • 1/4 cup of whipped cream
  • 2 tbsp of dark rum
  • Chocolate sprinkles
  • Brew the 2 cups of water with the 1/4-cup of Jamaican Blue Mountain® Coffee
  • Add sugar
  • Chill in the refrigerator
  • Put the chilled coffee, ice cream, whipped cream and dark rum into a blender and blend
  • Pour into a glass
  • Sprinkle the top with chocolate sprinkles and serve


iowac said...

Eight Oclock coffee??? You kidding right? heheh.. Man Costco has 3 lbs of really good stuff for like 12 bucks, no bitterness... I wont pay the price for starbucks beans, and think Dunken Doughnuts cofee is not all that great. :)

DL said...

I agree that the Kirkland brand coffee beans sold at Costco are very good... but trust me on the eight o'clock roast. Buy a bag Iowa, grind it fresh. If you disagree after that, I'll buy the bag off of you. It's consistently that good in my opinion.