Did you know that March is Caffeine Appreciation Month?
A delicious cup of coffee is always my go-to energy supply when I need a bit of morning motivation or a remedy for an afternoon slump. Not to mention the amount of times that catching-up for coffee has been the perfect excuse to stay in touch with busy friends.
Considering the important role that coffee plays in my life, I was delighted to be invited to on a media tour of Jamaica Blue’s Coffee Roastery to celebrate Worldwide Caffeine Appreciation Month.
The morning began with a beautiful breakfast in the Jamaica Blue training room and, of course, a great cup of coffee. While we enjoyed our meal, World Latte Expert and Jamaica Blue’s Head of Coffee Jeremy Regan told us about the Jamaica Blue story and the hard work that goes into the crop to cup process.
We were then divided into two groups. One group went on a tour of the roastery; while my group stayed in the training room to complete a short coffee training course with Simon, one of Jamaica Blue’s barista trainers.
Jamaica Blue Barista Trainer Simon explains how to make the perfect cup of coffee.
I worked in hospitality during my studies, so I know my way around a coffee machine, but it was so great to hear Simon’s perspective and he shared some really great analogies to help create the perfect cup. For example, he told us that when the ideal shot is being poured from the machine it should resemble “strings of spaghetti.”
We were then given the chance to have a go at making coffee ourselves and taste-test our creations. I was very happy with the short black coffee that I made and I’ll definitely be putting Simon’s instructions into practise on my little coffee machine at home.
Having a go at making coffee myself. (Thank you to @edwardjayhan for the photo).
Once we were all buzzing from tasting our caffeinated creations, it was time to put on lab coats and hats and begin the roastery tour with Jeremy Regan.
Upon entering the Jamaica Blue Roastery, I was instantly filled with wonder. There were industrial machines everywhere, a sense of bustle among the staff and, of course, a delicious scent of roasting coffee beans in the air.
Jamaica Blue’s Jeremy Regan shows us the barrels and their namesake coffee arrives in.
During the tour, Jeremy explained the detailed process that the beans go through before they are bagged and sent to stores. On the way he even showed us the wooden barrels that Jamaica Blue’s namesake beans are transported to the roastery in. Most other coffee beans are delivered in large, sealed bags.
If you haven’t heard of Blue Mountain Coffee, it is a high-end single origin coffee grown in the blue mountains of Jamaica. It is quite expensive to purchase by the kilogram, but Jamaica Blue Cafés make it more accessible to the general public by selling it by the cup to interested customers. In addition to Blue Mountain coffee, Jamaica Blue Cafés also offer their Signature Blend and another single origin coffee at all times.
Admiring the roasting coffee beans during the Jamaica Blue Roastery Tour. (Thank you to @elletayla for the photo.)
Following the tour, both groups of guests came together for a Q & A session with Jeremy, where we were given the chance to really pick his brains about everything we had seen and learned that day. It was a joy to ask Jeremy a few questions myself.
Claire for Ms This N That Blog: “Have you travelled to any of the origins of the coffee [beans]? What did you learn there and what surprised you?”
Jeremy Regan: “Yes, I have. Yeah, I’ve been to quite a few. What’s surprising is just the difference between the origins…a trip to Brazil, for example, a lot of the farms in Brazil do mechanical picking…a machine goes through and takes every single cherry, but then you go to somewhere like East Timor where the majority of the coffee is actually wild and the farmers are taking me down this little goat track and I’m wearing proper boots and nearly falling over! And they’re wearing thongs…they’re just used to doing it all! Yeah so the difference between that and a farm in Brazil where it’s all neat, little rows of coffee trees…it’s really, really interesting.
“Quite often at origin, they don’t know how we drink coffee. They don’t know that we drink coffee from an espresso machine. It’s interesting having coffee with some of [the farmers and staff]…in some of those origins, it’s basically like this big sock that they put the coffee in then they brew it is in this big pot that they take out and they pour it. Then chuck about five or six sugars into this little cup of coffee!…It’s a cultural experience.”
Q & A with World Latte Judge Jeremy Regan.
Claire for Ms This N That Blog: “What was your favourite place to visit?”
Jeremy Regan: “They’re all great and coffee [is] a really interesting industry…[a] real community…really welcoming…that’s what you find when you go to origin.”
Claire for Ms This N That Blog: “With the idea of a good coffee being such a subjective thing, and as you were saying, there’s cultural influences and maybe even sentimental [influences] with what you’ve grown-up with as being a good coffee, when you are judging professionally what is it that you’re looking for?”
Jeremy Regan: “There’s a couple of different kinds of judging. There’s a barista competition [and] what that’s about is a barista knowing their coffee. They should know exactly what it’s going to taste like and they tell me what it’s going to taste like. They tell me ‘I’m serving this Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and you’re going to taste blueberries, nougat and an aroma of Bergamot.’ Then I taste that.
Then there’s cupping judging, or blind judging, where you don’t know what coffee it is. There’s five bowls in front of you and you’re judging that and scoring it. There’s no personal preference about it. It’s scoring the coffee on the table.”
Jamaica Blue’s Golden Bean Award trophy.
At the end of the Q & A session, we were shown the prestigious Golden Bean award that Jamaica Blue won in 2017. Jamaica Blue is the large franchise/chain champion.
We were all given a bag of Jamaica Blue goodies to take home. I can’t wait to try out some Jamaica Blue Costa Rica Single Origin coffee beans on my machine at home – in celebration of Caffeine Appreciation Month, of course!
Thank you again to Jamaica Blue for inviting me to their fun and informative event.
What type of coffee will you be sipping during Caffeine Appreciation Month?
*I was invited to attend the Jamaica Blue Roastery Tour Media Event. This has not influenced my views in any way. Please read my PR & Disclosure Policy for more information.
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