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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Caribbean Islands / ZWT9 - Coffee Plantation Challenge
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    ZWT9 - Coffee Plantation Challenge

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    NorthwestGal
    Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:57 am
    Forum Host
    100+ players are traveling the world for seven weeks on a whirlwind Zaar World Tour 9.
    Come check out our recipes, see the places we've been and what we have learned. icon_biggrin.gif
    ZWT #9 Main Thread




    This Challenge showcases the Caribbean Islands Forum


    Start Date: July 30
    End Date: August 11 - deadline 11:59pm zaar time

    Challenge: Team Non-Cooking Challenge
    Points: up to 15 points per team


    A Brief History of Coffee

    Legend has it that coffee was first discovered in the Ethiopian highlands, when Kaldi the goat-herd noticed that when his goats feasted upon the berries on a certain tree, they became so spirited that they did not sleep at night. His findings were reported to the abbot of a local monastery who made a drink with those berries and discovered that the energizing effects of the berries kept them awake and alert for long hours of prayer each evening. Soon this news—and surging interest in this new crop with wonderful qualities--spread across the globe. And by the end of the 18th century, coffee had become one of the world’s most profitable export crops and is now grown on a variety of coffee plantations within a region known as the “coffee belt” which consists of regions with the perfect tropical conditions needed for successful coffee production….including the Caribbean.


    ~ the “coffee belt”, where the best arabica beans are grown, especially in higher elevations

    And in fact, the Caribbean Islands have a long history of coffee production, particularly on islands with high mountainous regions and cool climates. Though they are outpaced in modern times by vast coffee plantations in South American countries, Caribbean islands have unique soils and growing conditions that contribute to some of the most popular coffee varieties sold in worldwide markets. Visitors to these coffee-producing island nations can tour coffee plantations and haciendas, roasting plants and production facilities.


    Our ZWT #9 teams will have an exciting opportunity to virtually tour a Caribbean coffee plantation to learn about the steps involved in coffee production. And the coffee plantation tour will be so inspiring that the teams will then create a team recipe that includes coffee as a major ingredient (explained below in more detail).


    Suggested coffee haciendas and online resources:


    ~ the Lime Tree Farm website (in Jamaica's Blue Mountains)
    ~ National Coffee Association’s “10 Steps to Coffee” Tutorial
    ~ Smithsonian’s Coffee Slide Show (28 slides showing the steps involved in coffee production)
    ~ The First Coffee Plantations in SE Cuba YouTube video 2:39
    ~ Coffee 101 6:06 YouTube video
    ~ Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee documentary YouTube video 8:18
    ~ Puerto Rico Coffee Industry YouTube video 4:52
    ~ How Coffee is Made YouTube video 10:11





    For the Coffee Plantation Challenge, teams will ….

    1. Virtually tour a coffee plantation or coffee hacienda that includes the full spectrum of coffee production – from growing and harvesting to processing (drying, sorting, roasting, etc.) to the final step of preparing coffee for exportation and marketing to all regions of the world.

    2. Create a unique (not already posted to this site) team recipe and post that recipe to the site’s database. The recipe must include coffee as a major ingredient, and the coffee can be in any form (whole coffee beans, ground coffee, instant coffee crystals, or even fresh brewed coffee). The recipe can be any category such as a dessert, side dish, main dish, coffee marinade for meat or vegetables, or yes…it can even be a hot or cold beverage.

    3. Write a brief story about your team's exciting and educational visit to the Coffee Plantation.

    4. Return to this Challenge thread and post your completion, including an active link to your team’s posted coffee recipe.



    Please remember to:
    ~ Post your created team recipe
    ~ Post any photos (if any were taken) as usual to the recipe.
    ~ Post your completion in this thread including a link to your created team recipe (Include your team name and team banner).
    ~ Post your completion in your team thread.











    Scoreboard

    Mike and the Appliance Killers Status 15 points
    momaphet

    Hot Stuff Status 15 points
    Annacia

    Gourmet Goddesses Status 15 points
    evelyn/Athens

    Soup-A-Stars Status 15 points
    Celticevergreen

    The Apron String Travelers Status 15 points
    Mia in Germany

    Tasty Testers Status 15 points
    Dienia B.

    Panthers on the Prowl Status 15 points
    Chef Jean


    = Challenge completed


    Last edited by NorthwestGal on Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:47 am, edited 8 times in total
    Annacia
    Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:10 am
    Forum Host


    Me please, Annacia icon_biggrin.gif
    evelyn/athens
    Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:22 am
    Forum Host


    It doesn't seem necessary to claim a plantation but, just in case, the GOURMET GODDESSES, like James Bond, like their Jamaican Blue Mountain blend. icon_wink.gif
    NorthwestGal
    Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:27 am
    Forum Host
    No, it's not necessary to claim which coffee hacienda or roasting plant you'll be visiting. Teams that submitting reports for the same plantations will have virtually different experiences, and they will create completely unique team recipes.

    But it's good to know!
    Chef Jean
    Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:07 am
    Food.com Groupie


    I'm excited to be taking this tour for my team!
    Just_Ducky!!
    Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:09 pm
    Food.com Groupie


    I will be happy to take on this tour for my team icon_cool.gif
    evelyn/athens
    Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:09 pm
    Forum Host


    The Gourmet Goddesses had the pleasure of touring the Clifton Mount Estate, Jamaica, producers of one of the world's great coffees - Jamaican Blue Mountain.

    We were lucky enough to be offered accommodation at the Great House, which dates back to 1770, and were afforded 'old world' hospitality during our brief, but very educational, sojourn. We were given our own private tour of the estate over the course of two days to see where the coffee is grown, harvested and processed, before being prepared for marketing and exportation all over the world - but most specifically, Japan, which seems to be an almost exclusive consumer of this precious elixir.

    Blue Mountain coffee can claim its origins from a decision taken by a French King in the 18th Century. In 1723, King Louis XV sent three coffee plants to the French colony of Martinique - another lush, fertile island 1,900 kilometres south-west of Jamaica. Five years later in 1728, Sir Nicholas Lawes, Governor of Jamaica, received a gift of one coffee plant from the Governor of Martinique. The rest is history.

    From that one Arabica coffee plant, an exquisite coffee was introduced to the world. This one plant was nurtured and a plantation grown. Within nine years, the first coffee was exported and the Jamaican coffee industry was born.

    Arabica coffee loves the nitrogen and phosphorus-rich soil of Jamaica and nowhere else better than the steep elevations of the Blue Mountains. Located north of Kingston on the eastern side of the island, the Blue Mountains rise to elevations of 2,350 metres. The bean cultivated is mostly Arabica Typica.

    The coffee thrives in the fertile, volcanic soil, regular rainfall and, most importantly, under the island’s misty cloud cover, to shade it from the burning sun. All these factors combine to develop coffee with exceptional sweetness and aroma, rich flavour, and full body with mild acidity.

    To be called Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee, it must be grown at altitudes of up to 1,800 metres in the Parishes of Portland, St Andrew, St. Mary and St Thomas; comprising an area of some 6,000 hectares – the size of a large estate in one of the high volume coffee-growing countries. Coffee farming in the Blue Mountains is characterised by mostly small holdings of up to 4 hectares but there are larger estates of up to 70 hectares in size. There are around 25,000 small holders and estates in total.

    The result is what many regard as the best coffee in the world and the “Champagne of Coffees”. Like France’s ‘Appellation D’Origine Contrôlée Champagne’, which strictly controls where authentic Champagne grapes may be grown, the area where Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee plants are cultivated, is also strictly controlled. Indeed, the area is relatively small and exportable annual production of between 1,000 metric tons & 1,350 metric tonnes is tiny by world standards, equivalent to 0.1 % of Colombian production or, put another way, equivalent to 3 hours of Colombian production!

    Highlighting its scarcity and exclusivity is the fact that Jamaica Blue Mountain is virtually the only coffee in the world to be packed in iconic wooden barrels, instead of bags.

    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.

    Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee is a globally protected certification mark meaning that only coffee certified by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica can be labelled as such. It comes from a recognized growing region in the Blue Mountain area of Jamaica and its cultivation is monitored by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica.

    The coffee is grown under naturally shaded and fauna-friendly conditions on vertiginous slopes. As the coffee is wet-processed, all the waste water resulting from the coffee processing is fully treated and purified before being released into the environment. Composting and waste mucilage recycling, as in the case of Clifton Mount Estate, are becoming the norm.

    In the case of the independent farmers and smallholders, where the workforce is almost entirely family and neighbour based, the processors operate a pricing regime combined with a pre-funding and balancing payment mechanism which categorically favours the smallholder farmer. In the case of the larger farms which sell to the processors, the workers are paid and employed under conditions regulated by strict Jamaican labour legislation. In this regard, wage and benefit levels are significantly higher than the regional, more particularly Latin American, norm. The workers tend to come from neighbouring communities and, in most cases, accommodation, recreation, educational, shaded, sanitary & medical facilities are near to hand.

    On the last day of our stay, after being served a delicious meal of Jamaican specialties, we were served vanilla ice cream for dessert and instructed to pour our tiny cups of (very strong!) coffee on top of the cold ice cream. A drop of locally-produced Tia Maria enhanced the wickedly-delicious coffee concoction and a new classic dessert was born - A Jamaican Goddess. Take the opportunity and try one yourself. It's so easy to make and, even though Jamaican Blue Mountain is pricey and rather difficult to come by, you could make it with your favourite premium blend - just make it very strong!
    NorthwestGal
    Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:24 pm
    Forum Host
    evelyn/athens wrote:


    The Gourmet Goddesses had the pleasure of touring the Clifton Mount Estate, Jamaica, producers of one of the world's great coffees - Jamaican Blue Mountain.

    We were lucky enough to be offered accommodation at the Great House, which dates back to 1770, and were afforded 'old world' hospitality during our brief, but very educational, sojourn. We were given our own private tour of the estate over the course of two days to see where the coffee is grown, harvested and processed, before being prepared for marketing and exportation all over the world - but most specifically, Japan, which seems to be an almost exclusive consumer of this precious elixir.

    Blue Mountain coffee can claim its origins from a decision taken by a French King in the 18th Century. In 1723, King Louis XV sent three coffee plants to the French colony of Martinique - another lush, fertile island 1,900 kilometres south-west of Jamaica. Five years later in 1728, Sir Nicholas Lawes, Governor of Jamaica, received a gift of one coffee plant from the Governor of Martinique. The rest is history.

    From that one Arabica coffee plant, an exquisite coffee was introduced to the world. This one plant was nurtured and a plantation grown. Within nine years, the first coffee was exported and the Jamaican coffee industry was born.

    Arabica coffee loves the nitrogen and phosphorus-rich soil of Jamaica and nowhere else better than the steep elevations of the Blue Mountains. Located north of Kingston on the eastern side of the island, the Blue Mountains rise to elevations of 2,350 metres. The bean cultivated is mostly Arabica Typica.

    The coffee thrives in the fertile, volcanic soil, regular rainfall and, most importantly, under the island’s misty cloud cover, to shade it from the burning sun. All these factors combine to develop coffee with exceptional sweetness and aroma, rich flavour, and full body with mild acidity.

    To be called Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee, it must be grown at altitudes of up to 1,800 metres in the Parishes of Portland, St Andrew, St. Mary and St Thomas; comprising an area of some 6,000 hectares – the size of a large estate in one of the high volume coffee-growing countries. Coffee farming in the Blue Mountains is characterised by mostly small holdings of up to 4 hectares but there are larger estates of up to 70 hectares in size. There are around 25,000 small holders and estates in total.

    The result is what many regard as the best coffee in the world and the “Champagne of Coffees”. Like France’s ‘Appellation D’Origine Contrôlée Champagne’, which strictly controls where authentic Champagne grapes may be grown, the area where Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee plants are cultivated, is also strictly controlled. Indeed, the area is relatively small and exportable annual production of between 1,000 metric tons & 1,350 metric tonnes is tiny by world standards, equivalent to 0.1 % of Colombian production or, put another way, equivalent to 3 hours of Colombian production!

    Highlighting its scarcity and exclusivity is the fact that Jamaica Blue Mountain is virtually the only coffee in the world to be packed in iconic wooden barrels, instead of bags.

    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.

    Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee is a globally protected certification mark meaning that only coffee certified by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica can be labelled as such. It comes from a recognized growing region in the Blue Mountain area of Jamaica and its cultivation is monitored by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica.

    The coffee is grown under naturally shaded and fauna-friendly conditions on vertiginous slopes. As the coffee is wet-processed, all the waste water resulting from the coffee processing is fully treated and purified before being released into the environment. Composting and waste mucilage recycling, as in the case of Clifton Mount Estate, are becoming the norm.

    In the case of the independent farmers and smallholders, where the workforce is almost entirely family and neighbour based, the processors operate a pricing regime combined with a pre-funding and balancing payment mechanism which categorically favours the smallholder farmer. In the case of the larger farms which sell to the processors, the workers are paid and employed under conditions regulated by strict Jamaican labour legislation. In this regard, wage and benefit levels are significantly higher than the regional, more particularly Latin American, norm. The workers tend to come from neighbouring communities and, in most cases, accommodation, recreation, educational, shaded, sanitary & medical facilities are near to hand.

    On the last day of our stay, after being served a delicious meal of Jamaican specialties, we were served vanilla ice cream for dessert and instructed to pour our tiny cups of (very strong!) coffee on top of the cold ice cream. A drop of locally-produced Tia Maria enhanced the wickedly-delicious coffee concoction and a new classic dessert was born - A Jamaican Goddess. Take the opportunity and try one yourself. It's so easy to make and, even though Jamaican Blue Mountain is pricey and rather difficult to come by, you could make it with your favourite premium blend - just make it very strong!


    Thank you for such a wonderful and interesting story about your team's adventure in learning about coffee farming. It sounds like your accommodations were plush, and you all seemed to have learned something.

    Your team coffee recipe sounds so scrumptious. Thank you for creating it, and thank you for participating in this Challenge.

    I have your team marked as complete on Page 1. I hope you enjoyed this Challenge.

    NorthwestGal
    Member #610488
    Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:19 am
    Food.com Groupie


    Soup-A-Stars is making arrangements to help promote Haitian Bleu brew. Tickets have been purchased and we leave fairly quickly for the wonderful country of Haiti!

    Mia in Germany
    Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:46 am
    Forum Host


    I'll do this for The Apron String Travelers! icon_biggrin.gif
    Annacia
    Thu Aug 01, 2013 7:04 pm
    Forum Host



    Hot Stuff Visit's E.S.W. Estates in Jamaica




    The year was 1797. The Bank of England issued the first One Pound note, Old Ironsides was launched in Boston, Albany replaced New York City as the capi­tol of New York, and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was born in England. In Kingston, Jamaica, Crown “Patents” were reg­is­tered cre­at­ing “Sherwood Forest & Eccleston Plantations.” That was just the begin­ning, in a coun­try with few roads and only man­power and hand tools.

    Native for­est were cleared, cof­fee was planted, a stone build­ing with two foot thick walls was built with hand adzed 12” x 12” hard­wood beams car­ry­ing the upper floor. Inside the cen­tral por­tion of the 130’ long build­ing an 18-foot diam­e­ter under­shot iron water­wheel was installed as well as fer­ment­ing tanks.

    Power was car­ried via shafts, pul­leys, and leather belts to the pro­cess­ing equip­ment inside the lower level. Nearly an acre of con­crete patios remain on the hill­side along with arched stone alcoves for parch­ment stor­age dur­ing drying.



    After reading about fine Caribbeam coffee and it's beginnings I had to tell Team Hot Stuff all about what I had learned. It didn't take long for us to plan a trip to Jamaica and a visit to E.S.W. Estates. They are growers of Jamacian Blue Mountain coffee.





    It is lovely at the RSW estates, with the high­est peaks of the Blue Mountains behind the farm and mist and rain­bows drift­ing through the gaps in the hills. The tem­per­a­ture is mod­er­ate and the trees are shaded. All you can hear is the rustling of the breeze and the occa­sional bark­ing of neigh­bor­hood dogs or early morn­ing roosters.

    We learned that in 1961 a group of 5 peo­ple bought the then neglected farm as a part­ner­ship and started ren­o­va­tions. It had been aban­doned prior to WWII and the cof­fee plant­i­ngs had dis­ap­peared as for­est reclaimed the old fields.

    New areas were iden­ti­fied and planted with a mix­ture of Geisha and Typica vari­eites. Native trees were retained. It was a hard slog. All but one of the orig­i­nal part­ners soon dropped out, leav­ing Sherwood as a single-family owned and oper­ated entity. It is now their only job and they are metic­u­lous about the care of the small amount of cof­fee they pro­duce and process, as well as the cof­fee that comes from a small hand­ful of other nearby owners.

    Their ded­i­ca­tion and hard work has brought up to date equip­ment and meth­ods but not to the detri­ment of qual­ity. The coffer cherries, which are picked by hand, are processed the day they are picked, or, if deliv­ered in the mid­dle of the night, the morn­ing of the next day. After the skins are removed the parch­ment is fer­mented for approx­i­mately 24 hours before being washed and rinsed. Due to the cool tanks and cover, 24 hours is the opti­mum time at this plantation's location.







    The wet parch­ment is then spread on a stain­less steel mesh above a squir­rel cage fan where ambi­ent tem­per­a­ture air at 3500 cubic feet per minute removes the sur­face mois­ture in about 24 hours. Only then is it spread on patios—locally called “barbecues”—for sun dry­ing which takes from 5–10 addi­tional days. The parch­ment is raked every half hour dur­ing the day. In the event of rain the parch­ment is cov­ered with tarps. All dry­ing parch­ment is bagged and cov­ered nightly to avoid dew. It is then spread again in the morn­ing, after the sun has warmed the barbecues.





    Research has sug­gested that three fac­tors con­tribute to the gor­geous deep blue-green color of the beans. First, the ultra-violet radi­a­tion of sun dry­ing is thought to enhance the color as the parch­ment drops from 30–20% mois­ture. Second the period of rest at 11.5% mois­ture allows the cof­fee to sta­bi­lize and main­tain the per­fect color. Third, it is impor­tant to stop dry­ing and rest the cof­fee at 11.5% rather than over-drying which can bleach the beans. And of course no mechan­i­cal or heated dry­ing is ever employed. Most mechan­i­cal dry­ing takes 14 hours and bypasses the UV enhance­ment, as well as the ben­e­fits of slow drying.

    The dry parch­ment cof­fee is “rested” for 8 weeks and reg­u­larly rotated in its cli­mate con­trolled stor­age at its ini­tial 11.5% mois­ture con­tent before being hulled in 1000 kilo batches which are processed sep­a­rately through the whole fin­ish­ing process. Each batch takes about five days to com­plete the fin­ish­ing. Meticulous turnout dates and data are kept for each lot at E.S.W. Estates.


    The Smout Peeler and Polisher

    Parchment is milled when ordered by the importer in a low tem­per­a­ture McKinnon “Smout” brand peeler-polisher. The advan­tage of this machine is that it peels and pol­ishes the beans in two passes so the tem­per­a­ture never goes over 89–90 degrees (F). It is then graded for size on an actual screen grader (a rar­ity these days) before being sorted for den­sity on a grav­ity table and run through an elec­tronic color sorter to eject off color and dam­aged beans.

    After all of this a crew of local women fur­ther hand sorts each green bean into 5-kilo batches. Since the color sorter does not ade­quately detect minor insect dam­age or chipped or mot­tled beans, these ladies are the final arbiters of qual­ity in pro­cess­ing. Each batch is passed first by the senior sorter and then by the plant man­ager before it is ready for the bar­rels.

    Finished cof­fee remains in the con­trolled store­room until ship­ment to The Coffee Industry Board for their metic­u­lous Quality Control inspection.

    [img]

    From there it is shipped to byers.

    This “ultra-niche” cof­fee has less than 1% under­size beans and prac­ti­cally zero defects. A pre­vi­ous Director General of the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica has stated that RSW Estates Jamaica Blue Mountain cof­fee is, “…a spe­cial niche cof­fee within an already rec­og­nized niche.”
    RSW have no plans to expand their pro­duc­tion. They said their pri­mary aims are turn­ing out the best prod­uct they can, sup­port the dis­trict, and make a lit­tle money in the process. “As soon as you exceed your abil­i­ties to con­trol what you’re doing, your stress level goes up, you take short­cuts, your stress level goes up again, and things start to fall apart. Then that’s the end.”This is all very labor inten­sive and makes Sherwood Works the largest local employer. The total pro­duc­tion of the 55-acre farm and asso­ci­ated local input is only about 60,000 pounds per year, and each batch of cherry is processed indi­vid­u­ally and seg­re­gated through the dry­ing process before being stored or shipped.

    All of the above is pred­i­cated on a more basic foun­da­tion. RSW empha­sized that if you want great cof­fee you need “happy” cof­fee trees tended by happy farm­ers who are eager to ensure that the trees are prop­erly shaded, pruned, fer­til­ized, weeded and pam­pered. Between har­vest and flow­er­ing you must care­fully prune dead­wood and fer­til­ize the dor­mant trees if you want ongo­ing great results.

    Insect con­trol (cof­fee berry borer) has been done tra­di­tion­ally with spray­ing of cop­per based insec­ti­cides, but since this kills all insects it dam­ages the habi­tat for birds. Here only bio­logic con­trols using traps employ­ing pheromones are exploited. So although not an Organic cof­fee, it is grown in an envi­ron­men­tally friendly fashion.

    Coffee processed at Sherwood Coffee Works all comes from within two miles of the Works with the sin­gle excep­tion of one of the orig­i­nal con­trib­u­tors. The dif­fer­ence in RSW Estates Jamaica Blue Mountain cof­fee is that the whole com­mu­nity pros­pers because the whole com­mu­nity is involved in the quest for excel­lence. From the men rak­ing the cof­fee on the patios to the ladies who are “head sorters” and the plant man­ager him­self, each per­son on the team takes pride in doing the best job pos­si­ble and mak­ing sure that this is truly the best cof­fee in the world!
    When care­fully roasted and brewed the results in the cup jus­tify the high prices charged for Jamaica Blue Mountain RSW Estates cof­fee and make evi­dent the atten­tion to detail and judg­ment exer­cised at each step, grow­ing, har­vest­ing, pro­cess­ing and stor­ing. The del­i­cate slightly flo­ral aroma devel­ops into a clear, round, “bell like” sweet­ness in the cup with hints of nuts and light cit­rus acid­ity. A lin­ger­ing almost but­tery fin­ish with hints of bak­ing spices leaves your taste buds smiling.


    What more could coffee lovers like Hot Stuff desire?

    Some fun in Jamacia of course!

    After our wonderful time spent at the plantation aquiring a whole new appreation for coffee and 1 lb bags of fresh coffee beans clutched in out hot little hands we headed to Nagril and the beaches.

    We lost track of Katew for a time. When she caught up with us that evening she said that she had been shopping at a Farmers Market. It seems that "The nicest young man" had sold her some cooking herbs. She said that they must be very good as they had cost a fortune but she had been told that they were especially nice in baking so she had to give them a try.



    We strongly suggested that she NOT try to take the bunch back to Australia. The "import duty" would be unbelievable in more ways than one!.

    We found ourselves ravenous after helping Kate out with her herbs and decided to each tie into a lobster dinner before going out.



    Then it was Hotties on the town. Make room!



    I don't really remember who started with the rum but I think there is a good chance that it was CaliforniaJan.



    We only had one more day as we had to get back to ZWT 9 and we spent it relaxing........not to say hungover. This was just our speed.



    Saying a very fond farewell it was back home.



    Arriving back home we enjoyed
    Caribbean Thunder #505119
    and
    Jamaican Mocha Rum Cake #505108
    NorthwestGal
    Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:23 am
    Forum Host
    Annacia wrote:



    Hot Stuff Visit's E.S.W. Estates in Jamaica




    The year was 1797. The Bank of England issued the first One Pound note, Old Ironsides was launched in Boston, Albany replaced New York City as the capi­tol of New York, and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was born in England. In Kingston, Jamaica, Crown “Patents” were reg­is­tered cre­at­ing “Sherwood Forest & Eccleston Plantations.” That was just the begin­ning, in a coun­try with few roads and only man­power and hand tools.

    Native for­est were cleared, cof­fee was planted, a stone build­ing with two foot thick walls was built with hand adzed 12” x 12” hard­wood beams car­ry­ing the upper floor. Inside the cen­tral por­tion of the 130’ long build­ing an 18-foot diam­e­ter under­shot iron water­wheel was installed as well as fer­ment­ing tanks.

    Power was car­ried via shafts, pul­leys, and leather belts to the pro­cess­ing equip­ment inside the lower level. Nearly an acre of con­crete patios remain on the hill­side along with arched stone alcoves for parch­ment stor­age dur­ing drying.



    After reading about fine Caribbeam coffee and it's beginnings I had to tell Team Hot Stuff all about what I had learned. It didn't take long for us to plan a trip to Jamaica and a visit to E.S.W. Estates. They are growers of Jamacian Blue Mountain coffee.





    It is lovely at the RSW estates, with the high­est peaks of the Blue Mountains behind the farm and mist and rain­bows drift­ing through the gaps in the hills. The tem­per­a­ture is mod­er­ate and the trees are shaded. All you can hear is the rustling of the breeze and the occa­sional bark­ing of neigh­bor­hood dogs or early morn­ing roosters.

    We learned that in 1961 a group of 5 peo­ple bought the then neglected farm as a part­ner­ship and started ren­o­va­tions. It had been aban­doned prior to WWII and the cof­fee plant­i­ngs had dis­ap­peared as for­est reclaimed the old fields.

    New areas were iden­ti­fied and planted with a mix­ture of Geisha and Typica vari­eites. Native trees were retained. It was a hard slog. All but one of the orig­i­nal part­ners soon dropped out, leav­ing Sherwood as a single-family owned and oper­ated entity. It is now their only job and they are metic­u­lous about the care of the small amount of cof­fee they pro­duce and process, as well as the cof­fee that comes from a small hand­ful of other nearby owners.

    Their ded­i­ca­tion and hard work has brought up to date equip­ment and meth­ods but not to the detri­ment of qual­ity. The coffer cherries, which are picked by hand, are processed the day they are picked, or, if deliv­ered in the mid­dle of the night, the morn­ing of the next day. After the skins are removed the parch­ment is fer­mented for approx­i­mately 24 hours before being washed and rinsed. Due to the cool tanks and cover, 24 hours is the opti­mum time at this plantation's location.







    The wet parch­ment is then spread on a stain­less steel mesh above a squir­rel cage fan where ambi­ent tem­per­a­ture air at 3500 cubic feet per minute removes the sur­face mois­ture in about 24 hours. Only then is it spread on patios—locally called “barbecues”—for sun dry­ing which takes from 5–10 addi­tional days. The parch­ment is raked every half hour dur­ing the day. In the event of rain the parch­ment is cov­ered with tarps. All dry­ing parch­ment is bagged and cov­ered nightly to avoid dew. It is then spread again in the morn­ing, after the sun has warmed the barbecues.





    Research has sug­gested that three fac­tors con­tribute to the gor­geous deep blue-green color of the beans. First, the ultra-violet radi­a­tion of sun dry­ing is thought to enhance the color as the parch­ment drops from 30–20% mois­ture. Second the period of rest at 11.5% mois­ture allows the cof­fee to sta­bi­lize and main­tain the per­fect color. Third, it is impor­tant to stop dry­ing and rest the cof­fee at 11.5% rather than over-drying which can bleach the beans. And of course no mechan­i­cal or heated dry­ing is ever employed. Most mechan­i­cal dry­ing takes 14 hours and bypasses the UV enhance­ment, as well as the ben­e­fits of slow drying.

    The dry parch­ment cof­fee is “rested” for 8 weeks and reg­u­larly rotated in its cli­mate con­trolled stor­age at its ini­tial 11.5% mois­ture con­tent before being hulled in 1000 kilo batches which are processed sep­a­rately through the whole fin­ish­ing process. Each batch takes about five days to com­plete the fin­ish­ing. Meticulous turnout dates and data are kept for each lot at E.S.W. Estates.


    The Smout Peeler and Polisher

    Parchment is milled when ordered by the importer in a low tem­per­a­ture McKinnon “Smout” brand peeler-polisher. The advan­tage of this machine is that it peels and pol­ishes the beans in two passes so the tem­per­a­ture never goes over 89–90 degrees (F). It is then graded for size on an actual screen grader (a rar­ity these days) before being sorted for den­sity on a grav­ity table and run through an elec­tronic color sorter to eject off color and dam­aged beans.

    After all of this a crew of local women fur­ther hand sorts each green bean into 5-kilo batches. Since the color sorter does not ade­quately detect minor insect dam­age or chipped or mot­tled beans, these ladies are the final arbiters of qual­ity in pro­cess­ing. Each batch is passed first by the senior sorter and then by the plant man­ager before it is ready for the bar­rels.

    Finished cof­fee remains in the con­trolled store­room until ship­ment to The Coffee Industry Board for their metic­u­lous Quality Control inspection.

    [img]

    From there it is shipped to byers.

    This “ultra-niche” cof­fee has less than 1% under­size beans and prac­ti­cally zero defects. A pre­vi­ous Director General of the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica has stated that RSW Estates Jamaica Blue Mountain cof­fee is, “…a spe­cial niche cof­fee within an already rec­og­nized niche.”
    RSW have no plans to expand their pro­duc­tion. They said their pri­mary aims are turn­ing out the best prod­uct they can, sup­port the dis­trict, and make a lit­tle money in the process. “As soon as you exceed your abil­i­ties to con­trol what you’re doing, your stress level goes up, you take short­cuts, your stress level goes up again, and things start to fall apart. Then that’s the end.”This is all very labor inten­sive and makes Sherwood Works the largest local employer. The total pro­duc­tion of the 55-acre farm and asso­ci­ated local input is only about 60,000 pounds per year, and each batch of cherry is processed indi­vid­u­ally and seg­re­gated through the dry­ing process before being stored or shipped.

    All of the above is pred­i­cated on a more basic foun­da­tion. RSW empha­sized that if you want great cof­fee you need “happy” cof­fee trees tended by happy farm­ers who are eager to ensure that the trees are prop­erly shaded, pruned, fer­til­ized, weeded and pam­pered. Between har­vest and flow­er­ing you must care­fully prune dead­wood and fer­til­ize the dor­mant trees if you want ongo­ing great results.

    Insect con­trol (cof­fee berry borer) has been done tra­di­tion­ally with spray­ing of cop­per based insec­ti­cides, but since this kills all insects it dam­ages the habi­tat for birds. Here only bio­logic con­trols using traps employ­ing pheromones are exploited. So although not an Organic cof­fee, it is grown in an envi­ron­men­tally friendly fashion.

    Coffee processed at Sherwood Coffee Works all comes from within two miles of the Works with the sin­gle excep­tion of one of the orig­i­nal con­trib­u­tors. The dif­fer­ence in RSW Estates Jamaica Blue Mountain cof­fee is that the whole com­mu­nity pros­pers because the whole com­mu­nity is involved in the quest for excel­lence. From the men rak­ing the cof­fee on the patios to the ladies who are “head sorters” and the plant man­ager him­self, each per­son on the team takes pride in doing the best job pos­si­ble and mak­ing sure that this is truly the best cof­fee in the world!
    When care­fully roasted and brewed the results in the cup jus­tify the high prices charged for Jamaica Blue Mountain RSW Estates cof­fee and make evi­dent the atten­tion to detail and judg­ment exer­cised at each step, grow­ing, har­vest­ing, pro­cess­ing and stor­ing. The del­i­cate slightly flo­ral aroma devel­ops into a clear, round, “bell like” sweet­ness in the cup with hints of nuts and light cit­rus acid­ity. A lin­ger­ing almost but­tery fin­ish with hints of bak­ing spices leaves your taste buds smiling.


    What more could coffee lovers like Hot Stuff desire?

    Some fun in Jamacia of course!

    After our wonderful time spent at the plantation aquiring a whole new appreation for coffee and 1 lb bags of fresh coffee beans clutched in out hot little hands we headed to Nagril and the beaches.

    We lost track of Katew for a time. When she caught up with us that evening she said that she had been shopping at a Farmers Market. It seems that "The nicest young man" had sold her some cooking herbs. She said that they must be very good as they had cost a fortune but she had been told that they were especially nice in baking so she had to give them a try.



    We strongly suggested that she NOT try to take the bunch back to Australia. The "import duty" would be unbelievable in more ways than one!.

    We found ourselves ravenous after helping Kate out with her herbs and decided to each tie into a lobster dinner before going out.



    Then it was Hotties on the town. Make room!



    I don't really remember who started with the rum but I think there is a good chance that it was CaliforniaJan.



    We only had one more day as we had to get back to ZWT 9 and we spent it relaxing........not to say hungover. This was just our speed.



    Saying a very fond farewell it was back home.



    Arriving back home we enjoyed
    Caribbean Thunder #505119
    and
    Jamaican Mocha Rum Cake #505108


    Thanks for your story, Annacia. I learned a lot from reading it. And those two recipes sound delicious.

    NorthwestGal
    Lavender Lynn
    Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:41 am
    Food.com Groupie
    Northwest Gal, you didn't mark us as completed. Is there something yet to be done?
    NorthwestGal
    Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:31 am
    Forum Host
    Lavender Lynn wrote:
    Northwest Gal, you didn't mark us as completed. Is there something yet to be done?


    icon_redface.gif Only on my part. Sorry about that oversight. I'll get it marked as complete on Page 1 immediately.

    NorthwestGal
    Lavender Lynn
    Sun Aug 04, 2013 9:35 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    NorthwestGal wrote:
    Lavender Lynn wrote:
    Northwest Gal, you didn't mark us as completed. Is there something yet to be done?


    icon_redface.gif Only on my part. Sorry about that oversight. I'll get it marked as complete on Page 1 immediately.

    NorthwestGal


    Thank you so much. I don't mark anything as complete on page 1 until I see it in the challenge thread. icon_biggrin.gif
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