In an earlier post, I had written about trying to brew the best cup of coffee I could, using my French press, grinder, and Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee beans. But it dawned on me over the weekend that I had never directly compared this coffee to other varieties grown on the island to determine if it was truly the best. So, on Sunday, I put the assumption of Blue Mountain superiority to the test.
I bought three types of coffee: Blue Mountain beans, High Mountain beans, and Mountain Choice grounds (these are listed in order of price, from highest to lowest). Since I only have one press, I brewed the coffee in mugs, using one scoop of ground coffee for each mug and filling them up with boiling water to the same level. The grounds were stirred and steeped for about 5 minutes, then filtered with the press. I cleaned the press out between each filtration. Then all of the cups were sampled with no additives (i.e. milk or sugar). I also varied the order of the sips to compare the different varieties against each other.
The results (ranked in order of taste preference):
- Blue Mountain
- High Mountain
- Mountain Choice
This is what you would expect based on their respective prices, but comparing the coffees against each other revealed that the Blue Mountain is far superior to the other two. What distinguished the winner was that it had an earthy, rich taste that was pleasing to the palate. So pleasing that it could be enjoyed with nothing added to it. The other important factor was that there was no bitter or acidic aftertaste. The finish was clean.
The High Mountain had some problems, including a woody smell and acidic taste, but seemed to get better after sitting for a while. The Mountain Choice was worse than Folgers, with a bad aftertaste and a flavor that evoked the mildew smell arising from a tent that has been left in a damp basement for many months. Both of them would need reinforcements of milk and sugar to be drunk on a regular basis.
The final verdict: the Blue Mountain is definitely worth the price of admission if you can afford it.