I've been asked about access to Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. I'm sure it's because of the availability and price. A general consumer friend, who says she's purchased it over the years, wants to know if I have some info on getting it for her. I don't drink it, haven't tried it, and don't see many threads here on it. Although I did read a thread on various holiday coffees you guys enjoy.

Really, and for me, this is all about a blend or SO, for drip brewing, that yields a rich, smooth, cup of coffee. One of my wholesale suppliers has his own espresso blend, which when drip brewed is a great coffee. I buy it green and do my small test roasts here. While I understand and have enjoyed great single origin coffees, I have to believe that there are other great alternatives, more accessible, than Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. Maybe I'm wrong, but in the interum, does anyone have a suggestion for my friend. She is a general consumer, and only knows that coffee comes "roasted." But roasted or available green...... any suggestions? BTW, she lives in the Pasadena area, and I'm tempted to suggest she go to Klatch Coffee in San Dimas to try their offerings.

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from my experience, anyone that asks me for "jamaica blue mountain" or "kona blend" usually is just aware that those are the two most expensive varietals of coffee (not necessarily true) and thus must be the best. they usually haven't tried the coffees and don't have the necessary palate to describe them if they did.

if this lady is in pasadena, tell her to head to intellgentsia and get something from them. i had a friend who went to the new store in venice and gave it rave reviews. they could probably help her with some info about SO/blends and what is actually good.

for my money, i'll take a nice ethiopian harar SO for 10 bucks a pound roasted anyday.
Jared........ by the way..... your avatar-photo reminds me of the Mae West line; "Is that a gun in your pocket, or are ya' just happy to see me?" (smile) Great photo!

As for the coffee..... exactly what you said. Intelligensia in the Silverlake district is just North of downtown, and just West by about 30 minutes from here. Good idea. I'm sure most of my non-coffee friends, which is everyone, generally defines all "good coffee" as "not being bitter......." Personally, we drink darker, more flavorful coffees. We don't like weak brews. In fact, in Brasil, if a cup of coffee is served weak, it's call "Cha-fe", not "Ca-fe." Cha, in Portugese, is tea. So basically, my common language with non coffee types would be......"Bold, smooth, rich flavorful." I'm sure that's what she's looking for. And I'm hopeing others will have suggestions too.
i saw a really good malcolm gladwell talk on spaghetti sauce and the taste of americans, and at one point he goes "if we asked you what kind of coffee you like, all of you would say 'dark, rich, flavorful roast.' but that's not true. 75% of you like milky weak coffee." i try to keep that in mind concerning the general public and coffee.

of course, "darker = more flavorful" is really a false paradigm, as most people on this board would attest. dark roasting coffee eliminates flavor. if you mean brewed stronger than 60g per 1l, then i suppose that depends. if you just mean taste-wise i guess that's subjective. but in general something like a sumatra mandheling is gonna be "stronger" than a CR tres rios.

regardless, intelligentsia should be able to hopefully give her a new experience concerning coffee. and thanks for liking the pic, i went to a party dressed as a 70's PE teacher and those were the glasses and the stache.
Off point for a moment, but talking about dark and rich vs lighter and subjectively maybe more flavorful......... I was watching an episode of Diners DriveIns and Dives, where they featured a segment on Guiseppi's Italian Rest. in Phoenix. They prepared, on camera, their popular Bolognese sauce with fresh pasta. I've always gravitated toward the dark, thick red sauces. I've done my own dark, meaty and wine flavored sauces for years. But after seeing their bolognese, I'm waiting for the first opportunity to try it in our kitchen! You can see how using food analogies can easily take me off point! (smile) I've made a note on Gladwell....... got to check him out.

About what Jamaican or Kona means to the general public..... I've found the negative adjective phrase, "not b itter" seems to be the most recurring thing I hear when discussing what the general public considers a good cup of coffee.



Jared Rutledge said:
i saw a really good malcolm gladwell talk on spaghetti sauce and the taste of americans, and at one point he goes "if we asked you what kind of coffee you like, all of you would say 'dark, rich, flavorful roast.' but that's not true. 75% of you like milky weak coffee." i try to keep that in mind concerning the general public and coffee.

of course, "darker = more flavorful" is really a false paradigm, as most people on this board would attest. dark roasting coffee eliminates flavor. if you mean brewed stronger than 60g per 1l, then i suppose that depends. if you just mean taste-wise i guess that's subjective. but in general something like a sumatra mandheling is gonna be "stronger" than a CR tres rios.

regardless, intelligentsia should be able to hopefully give her a new experience concerning coffee. and thanks for liking the pic, i went to a party dressed as a 70's PE teacher and those were the glasses and the stache.
well it's not really subjective, the darker you roast a coffee the more the flavor oils are burnt off, resulting in a more smoky (and kind of bitter) cup. there are so many flavor notes in coffee that become indistinguishable as you move into starbucks roast territory.


lhere's that gladwell talk:
I was refering to subjective in the context of our personal taste preferences in coffee. The young lady that was inquiring about the Jamaican beans, and I can't speak for her, may in fact be keying into one specific value that she doesn't find in any other coffee. I've never tasted Blue Mountain coffees, so I certainly don't have a clue, other than the notes I've read from others.

As for darker roasts, there's no question. You'd have known my roasting preferences if you'd seen me yesterday, as I threw away a test batch of some very good beans that went way too far into second crack. I set up the roast, walked away to take an emergency call, forgot..... and when I came back, the damage had been done! For my own blends, I usually stopping just after first crack begins. I get my Brasilian beans direct from our family friends in the South of the state of Minas. These are excellent coffees, and work well as SO's, but certainly as a great base for blending. I just hate it when I waste "precious cargo", so to speak. For those beans that I do run longer, I've found they flavor-peak sooner, and have shorter after-roast life. My lighter roasts are just the opposite. I've enjoyed three different noticable flavors from the same roast, brewing 1, 2 and even 3 weeks from the roast date.

So.... outside of that, here's hopeing there'll be some other suggestions for that "Jamaican" experience?
Hey Al,

When someone asks about JBM or Kona; To me that means they want coffee. No fruit bomb, no sparkling acidity, not a lot going on. Simple, approachable - nothing that blows them away. It means (to me) they haven't experienced the differences between coffees of other origins and/or processing. I would gravitate toward a central for them, but depends on the processing, and the cofee itself.

I would just stay outta Africa and Sumatra (processing for that one), and a bordering on 'dull' acidity from a Central or South American. Maybe one of your Brazilians? If she is available for a cupping, or some other method of tasting, then you could run through a bunch of great coffees with her and help her figure out what she likes.

Hope that helps!

Al Sterling said:
I was refering to subjective in the context of our personal taste preferences in coffee. The young lady that was inquiring about the Jamaican beans, and I can't speak for her, may in fact be keying into one specific value that she doesn't find in any other coffee. I've never tasted Blue Mountain coffees, so I certainly don't have a clue, other than the notes I've read from others.
As for darker roasts, there's no question. You'd have known my roasting preferences if you'd seen me yesterday, as I threw away a test batch of some very good beans that went way too far into second crack. I set up the roast, walked away to take an emergency call, forgot..... and when I came back, the damage had been done! For my own blends, I usually stopping just after first crack begins. I get my Brasilian beans direct from our family friends in the South of the state of Minas. These are excellent coffees, and work well as SO's, but certainly as a great base for blending. I just hate it when I waste "precious cargo", so to speak. For those beans that I do run longer, I've found they flavor-peak sooner, and have shorter after-roast life. My lighter roasts are just the opposite. I've enjoyed three different noticable flavors from the same roast, brewing 1, 2 and even 3 weeks from the roast date.
So.... outside of that, here's hopeing there'll be some other suggestions for that "Jamaican" experience?

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