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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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    Member #610488
    Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:56 am
    Food.com Groupie



    As I open my eyes and look around the bedroom, I realize I need a cup of coffee ASAP!! I stumble out of bed and slog to the kitchen and over to the coffee machine. OOHHHH!! Bright….shiny…..coffee machine. I reach for the unopened bag of coffee beans on the counter and while my eyes try to focus on the label, I remember that this was one of the bags of coffee beans from my recent trip to Haiti with all of my crew, the Soup-A-Stars!! Oh what a trip it was.

    With everyone flying in from around the world to the Toussaint Louverture International Airport in the capital city of Port Au Prince, you could tell that my crew and I were itching to get out into the countryside. Thank goodness, Boomette and Dreamer in Ontario both arrived first on the flight from Montreal. Without Boomette’s French language skills, I know that customs for the crew would have been a lot worse that it was. Starrynews….why did you bring your Looney Spoon Phoodies head gear with you, Carnival is not until next year?



    Iewe, Starrynews, Linky, and Charlotte J all arrived on the flight from Chicago while AZPARZYCH’s flight from Los Angeles arrived a few minutes later. While the first group were shepherding luggage out to the curb, threeovens New York flight arrived. Once everyone was curbside and we were waiting for our driver and guide, I did a head count and came up one short. Where was Lifeisgood? In the airport restaurant eating a plateful of griot and white rice.



    Out on the curb sat our tour bus and our guide, Johanne. She was standing next to the bus with a huge smile.



    Our first order of business was to load the bus and head out of the airport and into the Haitian countryside. As we drive down the road, our guide Johanne shares some information about Haiti. We listen and look out the window at the scenery as we climb into the mountains.



    Johanne started out with “Haiti was originally discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492 but it was not until 1625 that permanent settlements were created by the French on the western portion of the island of Hispaniola. Called Saint-Domingue, it grew slowly as a colony until the 1750’s when the introduction of sugar production and later coffee production began. Soon called the "Pearl of the Antilles" , it became one of the richest colonies in the 18th century French empire, its riches built on the slave trade from Africa. By the 1780s, Saint-Domingue produced about 40 percent of all the sugar and 60 percent of all the coffee consumed in Europe. This single colony, roughly the size of Maryland or Belgium, produced more sugar and coffee than all of Britain's West Indian colonies combined.

    All of Haiti’s coffee is Arabica, the high-quality bean used in gourmet coffees. Ninety percent is the typica variety and may derive from a plant that a French naval officer brought to Martinique in the 1720s. Because coffee growing methods in Haiti have changed very little in the last three centuries, the country’s plants remain effectively unchanged from the earliest trees brought to the Western Hemisphere.

    Haiti gained independence from France on 1 January 1804. Haiti is the world's oldest black republic and one of the oldest republics in the Western Hemisphere. Between the present day and independence, there have been many elections as well as coups. A period of occupation by the United States and the Duvalier era were dark points during this time.

    With the recent earthquake and almost total collapse of our government, there has been a lot of anarchy. We appreciate the aid and assistance that has been showered on our country but more needs to be done and, by doing these introduction tours, we hope that those who visit will step up and help Haiti rise from the ashes of the earthquake.”

    What an interesting introduction to Haiti, I thought. Along with the history lesson, Johanne had been pointing out various cultural locations on our journey to the largest center of coffee production in Haiti, the town of Thiotte, a mountain town in south-east Haiti, not too far from the border with the Dominican Republic. To help occupy time while we drove, Dreamer in Ontario kept coming up with silly songs and road-trip games for us to play. Great fun was had by all of us!!



    Once we have arrived, we pull into the driveway of Jerome Banave where we were to be treated to a visit of Banave’s rainforest-like four-acre coffee garden. Jerome is 76 years old.



    As we walk through his coffee garden, he explains that there are two main ways to process coffee from the cherries that grow on the plant into beans that are ready for roasting: dry and wet. “In Haiti, the traditional method is the dry one, largely because the hard cocoon formed during the process can preserve cherries for a year or longer. The coffee cherries are first cleaned and then placed in the sun to dry. It can take up to 4 weeks to dry sufficiently. Once dry, the cherries go through a hulling machine which takes off the outer fruit layer and are then packaged for transport. ” The other way Jerome talked about is washed coffee, wet-processed beans. Large machines remove the outer layer and the pulp through a soaking and fermentation process before they are dried. Once the seed has been cleaned of its outer layer, it is dried in the sun until it is mostly dry and then it is polished before packaging for transport. He mentioned that wet-processed coffee is the way he processes his crop each spring after the harvest because it is the type favored by American coffee drinkers and helps him to earn three times the price of dry-processed beans.

    Linky raised her hand and asked Jerome a question. “Is there any organic coffee grown in Haiti?,” she wondered. Jerome replied that Haiti’s crop is organic because most of the nation’s 200,000 coffee farmers cannot afford to use chemical fertilizers or pesticides, even if they wanted to. This allows the humid mountain gardens where the crops grow to be fortresses of biodiversity, home to tropical oaks, laurels, and fruit trees that provide the shade needed for coffee production.

    We thanked Jerome for the wonderful tour of his coffee gardens and prepared to head back to the bus. Another head count found us missing Charlotte J. After yelling her name a few times, she came running back to the bus with a fistful of various flowers she had found while we walked through Jerome’s coffee garden.



    As we travel back to Thiotte, we pull over at a small restaurant and had a wonderful lunch of Soup Joumou (pumpkin soup) served with Diri ak Pwa (Rice and beans). AZPARZYCH finished her meal fairly quickly since she had seen a bakery off to one side of the dirt road we had been traveling along and really wanted to pick up some of the local bread, made in the style of a French baguette, so we would have the start of a picnic lunch later in the trip. Iewe had seen a fruit stand selling a wide variety of tropical fruit so she wandered over and started purchasing for the upcoming picnic as well. With full stomachs, we left the café and continued down the road to the federation offices, where Jerome was a member.



    Back in the year 2005, an American aid organization helped to set up a group of farmers’ cooperatives that would help farmers to sell their coffee beans for a higher price. The Fédération des Associations Caféières Natives oversaw the local farmers cooperatives and was responsible for supplying roasters abroad with washed beans to be sold at three times the world market price. But as the aid subsidies dwindled, no one proved willing or able to manage the venture as a viable business. The endeavor went bankrupt, leaving little behind besides the Haitian Bleu trademark. The local farmers’ cooperatives now try and assist member farmers by purchasing their coffee beans and reselling them in bulk. The problem with this method is that the farmers’ cooperatives lack financing and pay only a portion of the price up front. Members often have to wait until the end of the season to receive the remainder, or ristourne as it is called in French. Local and Dominican traders often pay immediately upon purchase and are happy to buy low-grade coffee or even raw cherries. The majority of Haitian farmers end up bypassing the cooperative and selling low-value coffee at correspondingly low prices.



    We were met at the cooperative by the cooperative president, Emmanuel Dubois, who showed us around and then invited us over to a table where we would be treated to a coffee tasting. Facing us was a lineup of five coffees grown in the mountains around Haiti and specially brewed just for us. We sat facing the table and the various cups were passed around for tasting.



    When we taste each one, they turn out to be perfect in every way, world-class, potentially award-winning coffees. It's shocking: All of them belong in coffee markets around the globe but you rarely see any for sale.

    Emmanuel explains, “Over 90 percent of coffee beans are dry processed and end up being consumed by the domestic market here in Haiti or over the border to the neighboring Dominican Republic on donkeys, duty-free. Only 2 percent are wet processed beans good enough for export and most sells only in the rarest of First World markets and through a hodgepodge of small ventures. A handful of small companies or non-profit ventures market Haitian coffee they have roasted through the Haitian Bleu logo as a way to help the country’s farmers, but they move tiny volumes.”

    As we headed back to the bus, we walked past a roasting machine where small batches of beans were being roasted. Most beans in Haiti are roasted by locals either at home or by coffee companies in each community. Emmanuel offered to sell some beans from the local cooperative that had been freshly roasted and we all bought several bags. I couldn’t believe how many threeovens had purchased, “20”, a serious coffee drinker, for sure. After boarding the bus, we all hung out of the windows waving goodbye to the great folks who took the time to show us around.

    We ended up learning about Haitian Blue coffee, the coffee industry in Haiti and how warm and friendly the people are here. More adventures occurred afterwards while in Haiti but I’m a gentleman who tells no tales and anyways….I needed my coffee!!



    Recipe is icon_arrow.gif Haitian Griots 505317
    NorthwestGal
    Wed Aug 07, 2013 10:05 am
    Forum Host
    Celticevergreen wrote:



    As I open my eyes and look around the bedroom, I realize I need a cup of coffee ASAP!! I stumble out of bed and slog to the kitchen and over to the coffee machine. OOHHHH!! Bright….shiny…..coffee machine. I reach for the unopened bag of coffee beans on the counter and while my eyes try to focus on the label, I remember that this was one of the bags of coffee beans from my recent trip to Haiti with all of my crew, the Soup-A-Stars!! Oh what a trip it was.

    With everyone flying in from around the world to the Toussaint Louverture International Airport in the capital city of Port Au Prince, you could tell that my crew and I were itching to get out into the countryside. Thank goodness, Boomette and Dreamer in Ontario both arrived first on the flight from Montreal. Without Boomette’s French language skills, I know that customs for the crew would have been a lot worse that it was. Starrynews….why did you bring your Looney Spoon Phoodies head gear with you, Carnival is not until next year?



    Iewe, Starrynews, Linky, and Charlotte J all arrived on the flight from Chicago while AZPARZYCH’s flight from Los Angeles arrived a few minutes later. While the first group were shepherding luggage out to the curb, threeovens New York flight arrived. Once everyone was curbside and we were waiting for our driver and guide, I did a head count and came up one short. Where was Lifeisgood? In the airport restaurant eating a plateful of griot and white rice.



    Out on the curb sat our tour bus and our guide, Johanne. She was standing next to the bus with a huge smile.



    Our first order of business was to load the bus and head out of the airport and into the Haitian countryside. As we drive down the road, our guide Johanne shares some information about Haiti. We listen and look out the window at the scenery as we climb into the mountains.



    Johanne started out with “Haiti was originally discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492 but it was not until 1625 that permanent settlements were created by the French on the western portion of the island of Hispaniola. Called Saint-Domingue, it grew slowly as a colony until the 1750’s when the introduction of sugar production and later coffee production began. Soon called the "Pearl of the Antilles" , it became one of the richest colonies in the 18th century French empire, its riches built on the slave trade from Africa. By the 1780s, Saint-Domingue produced about 40 percent of all the sugar and 60 percent of all the coffee consumed in Europe. This single colony, roughly the size of Maryland or Belgium, produced more sugar and coffee than all of Britain's West Indian colonies combined.

    All of Haiti’s coffee is Arabica, the high-quality bean used in gourmet coffees. Ninety percent is the typica variety and may derive from a plant that a French naval officer brought to Martinique in the 1720s. Because coffee growing methods in Haiti have changed very little in the last three centuries, the country’s plants remain effectively unchanged from the earliest trees brought to the Western Hemisphere.

    Haiti gained independence from France on 1 January 1804. Haiti is the world's oldest black republic and one of the oldest republics in the Western Hemisphere. Between the present day and independence, there have been many elections as well as coups. A period of occupation by the United States and the Duvalier era were dark points during this time.

    With the recent earthquake and almost total collapse of our government, there has been a lot of anarchy. We appreciate the aid and assistance that has been showered on our country but more needs to be done and, by doing these introduction tours, we hope that those who visit will step up and help Haiti rise from the ashes of the earthquake.”

    What an interesting introduction to Haiti, I thought. Along with the history lesson, Johanne had been pointing out various cultural locations on our journey to the largest center of coffee production in Haiti, the town of Thiotte, a mountain town in south-east Haiti, not too far from the border with the Dominican Republic. To help occupy time while we drove, Dreamer in Ontario kept coming up with silly songs and road-trip games for us to play. Great fun was had by all of us!!



    Once we have arrived, we pull into the driveway of Jerome Banave where we were to be treated to a visit of Banave’s rainforest-like four-acre coffee garden. Jerome is 76 years old.



    As we walk through his coffee garden, he explains that there are two main ways to process coffee from the cherries that grow on the plant into beans that are ready for roasting: dry and wet. “In Haiti, the traditional method is the dry one, largely because the hard cocoon formed during the process can preserve cherries for a year or longer. The coffee cherries are first cleaned and then placed in the sun to dry. It can take up to 4 weeks to dry sufficiently. Once dry, the cherries go through a hulling machine which takes off the outer fruit layer and are then packaged for transport. ” The other way Jerome talked about is washed coffee, wet-processed beans. Large machines remove the outer layer and the pulp through a soaking and fermentation process before they are dried. Once the seed has been cleaned of its outer layer, it is dried in the sun until it is mostly dry and then it is polished before packaging for transport. He mentioned that wet-processed coffee is the way he processes his crop each spring after the harvest because it is the type favored by American coffee drinkers and helps him to earn three times the price of dry-processed beans.

    Linky raised her hand and asked Jerome a question. “Is there any organic coffee grown in Haiti?,” she wondered. Jerome replied that Haiti’s crop is organic because most of the nation’s 200,000 coffee farmers cannot afford to use chemical fertilizers or pesticides, even if they wanted to. This allows the humid mountain gardens where the crops grow to be fortresses of biodiversity, home to tropical oaks, laurels, and fruit trees that provide the shade needed for coffee production.

    We thanked Jerome for the wonderful tour of his coffee gardens and prepared to head back to the bus. Another head count found us missing Charlotte J. After yelling her name a few times, she came running back to the bus with a fistful of various flowers she had found while we walked through Jerome’s coffee garden.



    As we travel back to Thiotte, we pull over at a small restaurant and had a wonderful lunch of Soup Joumou (pumpkin soup) served with Diri ak Pwa (Rice and beans). AZPARZYCH finished her meal fairly quickly since she had seen a bakery off to one side of the dirt road we had been traveling along and really wanted to pick up some of the local bread, made in the style of a French baguette, so we would have the start of a picnic lunch later in the trip. Iewe had seen a fruit stand selling a wide variety of tropical fruit so she wandered over and started purchasing for the upcoming picnic as well. With full stomachs, we left the café and continued down the road to the federation offices, where Jerome was a member.



    Back in the year 2005, an American aid organization helped to set up a group of farmers’ cooperatives that would help farmers to sell their coffee beans for a higher price. The Fédération des Associations Caféières Natives oversaw the local farmers cooperatives and was responsible for supplying roasters abroad with washed beans to be sold at three times the world market price. But as the aid subsidies dwindled, no one proved willing or able to manage the venture as a viable business. The endeavor went bankrupt, leaving little behind besides the Haitian Bleu trademark. The local farmers’ cooperatives now try and assist member farmers by purchasing their coffee beans and reselling them in bulk. The problem with this method is that the farmers’ cooperatives lack financing and pay only a portion of the price up front. Members often have to wait until the end of the season to receive the remainder, or ristourne as it is called in French. Local and Dominican traders often pay immediately upon purchase and are happy to buy low-grade coffee or even raw cherries. The majority of Haitian farmers end up bypassing the cooperative and selling low-value coffee at correspondingly low prices.



    We were met at the cooperative by the cooperative president, Emmanuel Dubois, who showed us around and then invited us over to a table where we would be treated to a coffee tasting. Facing us was a lineup of five coffees grown in the mountains around Haiti and specially brewed just for us. We sat facing the table and the various cups were passed around for tasting.



    When we taste each one, they turn out to be perfect in every way, world-class, potentially award-winning coffees. It's shocking: All of them belong in coffee markets around the globe but you rarely see any for sale.

    Emmanuel explains, “Over 90 percent of coffee beans are dry processed and end up being consumed by the domestic market here in Haiti or over the border to the neighboring Dominican Republic on donkeys, duty-free. Only 2 percent are wet processed beans good enough for export and most sells only in the rarest of First World markets and through a hodgepodge of small ventures. A handful of small companies or non-profit ventures market Haitian coffee they have roasted through the Haitian Bleu logo as a way to help the country’s farmers, but they move tiny volumes.”

    As we headed back to the bus, we walked past a roasting machine where small batches of beans were being roasted. Most beans in Haiti are roasted by locals either at home or by coffee companies in each community. Emmanuel offered to sell some beans from the local cooperative that had been freshly roasted and we all bought several bags. I couldn’t believe how many threeovens had purchased, “20”, a serious coffee drinker, for sure. After boarding the bus, we all hung out of the windows waving goodbye to the great folks who took the time to show us around.

    We ended up learning about Haitian Blue coffee, the coffee industry in Haiti and how warm and friendly the people are here. More adventures occurred afterwards while in Haiti but I’m a gentleman who tells no tales and anyways….I needed my coffee!!



    Recipe is icon_arrow.gif Haitian Griots 505317


    What a wonderful story, Celticevergreen. I didn't realize Haitian coffee primarily remained within Haiti. Your team recipe sounds delicious. And it sounds like your team had a great adventure, and I hope you enjoyed participating in the Coffee Plantation Challenge. I truly enjoyed your story.

    NorthwestGal
    NorthwestGal
    Wed Aug 07, 2013 10:52 am
    Forum Host



    After the crazy times endured during Round #1, the ZWT hosts decided to kick off Round #2 by rejuvenating with a relaxing, leisure tour of a coffee growing enterprise. What could be so strenuous about that? A suggestion was made to remember to bring something to drink, so we don’t get dehydrated. We were so excited about the entire coffee theme, so we decided to include a bottle of locally produced Tia Mara in one of our backpacks, so we could sample a few coffee shots along the way.

    For our tour, we chose to visit an organic coffee plantation in the town of Jarabocoa, in the high mountains of the Dominican Republic.



    Little did we know that our remote destination was so high in the mountains that the customary method for reaching the location was by mountain bikes or horseback icon_eek.gif icon_eek.gif

    “I don’t think so” was the resounding echo in the hosts’ conference room. So the hosts did the only thing weary tourists can do…..they grabbed the phone directory and made several phone calls until they were able to make all the necessary arrangements for a multi-terrain jeep to transport us to our destination. We had hoped for an air-conditioned units with full beverage service. But we settled for two open-air jeeps, and our only beverage was our single bottle of Tia Maria icon_wink.gif

    ~ After passing the Tia Maria a few times, we hardly felt the bumpy ride up the mountain. But we eventually made our way to our destination though, Estancia Natura at Spirit Mountain. It’s a beautiful, serene ecological reserve and coffee plantation nestled high in the foothills in the town of Jarabacoa in the La Vega province of the Dominican Republic. The plantation was the first certified organic coffee-growing enterprise in the Caribbean. The local region is beautiful with lush greenery and rolling hills with a variety of indigenous trees, tropical vegetation and beautiful flowers.

    The entire plantation covers more than 350 acres that includes everything from the fields that house the coffee plants to tree-houses for staff and visitor camping to the various landscaped processing areas where picked coffee cherries are sun-dried, sorted, etc. Educational tours and seminars are given throughout the year that explains the process and work involved in operating a sustainable organic coffee growing business.

    It is operated by an American couple, Krista and Chad Wallace, along with their partner Jeff Loftsgaarden. They bought the plantation in 2003, several years after it was destroyed by Hurricane George. They rebuilt the property, carefully designing every aspect with ecological standards and environmental harmony in mind. And within a short period of time, they returned the plantation to operational standards and developed it into an exceptional example of the sustaining organic coffee growing business and educational retreat center for which it is so well known throughout the coffee industry.

    Besides educational tours, the more adventurous visitors can also partake in such additional local activities as horseback riding, zip lining, motorbike racing, downhill mountain biking, rappelling and rock climbing.

    We started our tour with a bit of a briefing in the staff quarters and were welcomed with an impressive buffet of pastries and, of course, plenty of hot coffee to sample. The Tia Maria came in handy as a flavoring enhancement. We were then given a quick lesson in all the steps involved in a full-scale organic coffee growing enterprise at Spirit Mountain.

    For instance, coffee taste is greatly dependent on the type of coffee plants grown and the elevation in which they’re grown. The higher it’s grown, the longer it will take to mature, which allows for a fuller, denser bean. ‘Typica’ and ‘Caturra’ coffee plants can be found in abundance in this area located at the steep terrain that ranges in elevation from 3,500 to 4,500 feet above sea level, with only recent plantings of ‘bourbon’ varieties. These plants produce dark roast blends which offer a sweet body and full, strong flavor that is lacking in the acidity and sharpness of many coffees grown in Central America.

    In addition, wind plays an important factor as well which micro nutrients are carried from the sea to the nearest coffee fields which contribute a unique food base to the trees. So coffee growing enterprises situated closer to the Caribbean Sea (where eastern winds dominate) tend to produce coffee beans that have an edge over coffee grown from the north face of the mountain range which faces the Atlantic Ocean.

    The Tia Maria was starting to take effect and numb our brains by now, so it was a good time to get some fresh air.


    ~ And what good timing! Because the tour was now headed off into the thickets in the steep terrain, strolling on foot down a long trail to learn more about everything involved in organic coffee growing. We first came up on the seedlings being nurtured for the next plantings that will eventually be harvested in the next few years. It’s an important step because the success of future harvests depends greatly on the proper care of the seedlings.

    We then headed further down the trail to the fields of the plantation that house the coffee growing plants. We made our way through the thick forest to spot a number of different coffee plants that would eventually be harvested and processed.

    ~ It’s harvest time! So we all grabbed a few baskets and went to work picking the coffee cherries that were at the optimal time for harvesting. Coffee harvesting is exhausting work, not only because of the physical work involved but also because of the difficult reaches due to the odd position of some of the plants. By the end of the day, we were exhausted and looking forward to passing that bottle of Tia Maria again!

    ~ Oh, but the views we spectacular! Being so high in this lovely mountainous region, some rather breathtaking views were captured while enjoying our tour. Here we stopped to marvel at the sweeping view of the majestic valley and nearby Salto Baiguate. The photo gives a rough idea of the high elevation and beauty of the region in which Estancia Natura is situated.

    Well, with all the strenuous hikes through steep terrain and exhausting picking, it wasn't exactly the relaxing experience we expected it would be. But it did prove to be rejuvenating. Because after the interesting and educational experience of touring this organic coffee growing plantation, the hosts were inspired to enjoy a few coffee recipes.

    ~ So we made our way to the closest shop and purchased an adequate supply of Spirit Mountain coffee, and we made our way back to our suite of the ZWT luxury liner for some serious coffee sampling. (We've decided that whatever is left after our cooking frenzy will be placed in the freezer so we can make a little homemade Tia Maria later icon_wink.gif)

    And being the culinary explorers that we are, we hosts were adventurous and immediately got busy in the kitchenette, creating a plethora of wonderful new coffee dishes to sample in our suite. We had everything from java biscuits to coffee-laced exfoliating creams….and everything in between. But we saved the VERY BEST efforts of our impromptu “cook-off” to share with the rest of the Tour participants. We hope you enjoy them!

    Best Rub recipe - Pulled Pork With a Coffee Rub -- Crockpot

    Best Beverage recipe - Jamocha Me Crazy Milkshake

    Best Muffin recipe - Apple and Pecan Muffins (Gluten-Free or Not )


    Chef Jean
    Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:11 pm
    Food.com Groupie

    The Hot Pink Panthers visit the Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn in Costa Rica.


    Since we have a few avid nature lovers on our team, including Karen Elizabeth and Michelle Berteig the team was more than happy to take a trip to a Sustainable Coffee Plantation and a luxurious, sustainable inn on the same property. Rosie316 did ask me, Chef Jean, to include the bird watching tour in our trip since it was offered by the same tour guides as the coffee tour! I of course agreed, but not until after I made myself and Muffin Goddess a cup of coffee from coffee cherries that we picked and processed ourselves.
    Once the planning was complete and we made it to Costa Rica we checked into our rooms at the Finca Rosa Blanca Inn. Once settled in our team photographer, Tisme, grabbed her camera and we were off to learn about coffee making and how the Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation is a little different than other Plantations.

    We were treated to a complete history of coffee while hiking through the tree-shaded plantation to the "Beneficio" where we process the cherry and put it out to dry on its way to roasting and grinding in the Casa del Café. We started off picking coffee cherries from the organically grown trees. While we were pick away we learned that the coffee plant evolved in Africa under the canopy of trees and grows best in the shade. A traditional coffee farm can provide habitat to exuberantly varied birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, insects, trees and flowering plants. The amazing thing about coffee farming is that it can be done in harmony with tropical forest conservation - and for many centuries, it was, but most modern coffee plantations no longer feel it important to conserve rainforests or wildlife. For the Finca Rosa Blanca Plantation conservation is of the upmost importance.
    After picking our basket of cherries we learned how to prepare and dry the them. Coffee beans are the seeds of fruits that resemble cherries, with a red skin when ripe. Beneath the pulp lie two beans, flat sides together. When the fruit is ripe a thin, slimy layer of mucilage surrounds the parchment. Underneath the parchment the beans are covered in another thinner membrane, the silver skin (the seed coat). Each cherry generally contains two coffee beans; if there is only one it assumes a rounder shape and is known as a peaberry. Coffee beans must be removed from the fruit and dried before they can be roasted; this can be done in two ways, known as the dry and the wet methods. When the process is complete the unroasted coffee beans are known as green coffee. This plantation uses the dry method.
    First the cherries are sorted so that only the perfectly ripe, undamaged seeds are used. This can be done by winnowing, which is commonly done by hand, using a large sieve. Any unwanted cherries or other material not winnowed away can be picked out from the top of the sieve. Next the coffee cherries are spread out in the sun on matting raised to waist height on trestles. As the cherries dry, they are raked or turned by hand to ensure even drying. It may take up to 4 weeks before the cherries are dried to the 12.5% maximum moisture content, depending on the weather conditions. Oh well, I guess we won’t be drinking coffee from the beans we picked ourselves!
    Lastly we learned about roasting the green coffee. Green coffee beans are heated to between 180ºC and 240ºC for 8 to 15 minutes, depending on the degree of roast required. As moisture is lost, the bean "pops" audibly rather like popcorn and a chemical reaction called pyrolysis takes place: starches are converted into sugar, proteins are broken down and the entire cellular structure of the bean is altered. The heating process precipitates the release of caffeol, or coffee oil, the essence of coffee that we enjoy in the cup. Since it is also volatile and water soluble, once the coffee beans have been roasted, the flavor can be damaged by moisture, light and especially by oxygen.
    After learning all these wonderful things about coffee, we learned a little more about the plantation itself. While we enjoyed a coffee tasting we listened in on a lecture about the grounds.
    They have planted over 5,000 native trees on the coffee plantations with the help of the environmental protection agency (MINAET) and local school children. These native trees produce shade and nitrogen for the organic coffee and have created biological corridors for the birds and animals of the area. The coffee is planted following the natural topography of the farm to avoid erosion and water waste and is protected by living fences planted with native shrubs and trees. They use no agrochemicals, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides on the farm preferring to apply the rich compost from their vermiculture (worm beds) and from the composting of organic refuse at the hotel and they apply only natural remedies for the fungus and pests which often plague the coffee trees.
    Now that we were fully educated on the organic and sustainable art of coffee making alligirl and sofie-a-toast made us reservations at the hotel restaurant where we enjoyed a wonderful organic dinner made from produce grown right on the plantation! . For dessert we enjoyed a wonderful concoction of coffee, doughnuts and ice cream. We enjoyed it so much morgainegeiser convinced the chef to give us the recipe to take home. We of course emailed the recipe for Coffee and Donut Milkshakes to Baby Kato right away, we just know that she’ll love it!
    NorthwestGal
    Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:34 pm
    Forum Host
    Chef Jean wrote:

    The Hot Pink Panthers visit the Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn in Costa Rica.


    Since we have a few avid nature lovers on our team, including Karen Elizabeth and Michelle Berteig the team was more than happy to take a trip to a Sustainable Coffee Plantation and a luxurious, sustainable inn on the same property. Rosie316 did ask me, Chef Jean, to include the bird watching tour in our trip since it was offered by the same tour guides as the coffee tour! I of course agreed, but not until after I made myself and Muffin Goddess a cup of coffee from coffee cherries that we picked and processed ourselves.
    Once the planning was complete and we made it to Costa Rica we checked into our rooms at the Finca Rosa Blanca Inn. Once settled in our team photographer, Tisme, grabbed her camera and we were off to learn about coffee making and how the Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation is a little different than other Plantations.

    We were treated to a complete history of coffee while hiking through the tree-shaded plantation to the "Beneficio" where we process the cherry and put it out to dry on its way to roasting and grinding in the Casa del Café. We started off picking coffee cherries from the organically grown trees. While we were pick away we learned that the coffee plant evolved in Africa under the canopy of trees and grows best in the shade. A traditional coffee farm can provide habitat to exuberantly varied birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, insects, trees and flowering plants. The amazing thing about coffee farming is that it can be done in harmony with tropical forest conservation - and for many centuries, it was, but most modern coffee plantations no longer feel it important to conserve rainforests or wildlife. For the Finca Rosa Blanca Plantation conservation is of the upmost importance.
    After picking our basket of cherries we learned how to prepare and dry the them. Coffee beans are the seeds of fruits that resemble cherries, with a red skin when ripe. Beneath the pulp lie two beans, flat sides together. When the fruit is ripe a thin, slimy layer of mucilage surrounds the parchment. Underneath the parchment the beans are covered in another thinner membrane, the silver skin (the seed coat). Each cherry generally contains two coffee beans; if there is only one it assumes a rounder shape and is known as a peaberry. Coffee beans must be removed from the fruit and dried before they can be roasted; this can be done in two ways, known as the dry and the wet methods. When the process is complete the unroasted coffee beans are known as green coffee. This plantation uses the dry method.
    First the cherries are sorted so that only the perfectly ripe, undamaged seeds are used. This can be done by winnowing, which is commonly done by hand, using a large sieve. Any unwanted cherries or other material not winnowed away can be picked out from the top of the sieve. Next the coffee cherries are spread out in the sun on matting raised to waist height on trestles. As the cherries dry, they are raked or turned by hand to ensure even drying. It may take up to 4 weeks before the cherries are dried to the 12.5% maximum moisture content, depending on the weather conditions. Oh well, I guess we won’t be drinking coffee from the beans we picked ourselves!
    Lastly we learned about roasting the green coffee. Green coffee beans are heated to between 180ºC and 240ºC for 8 to 15 minutes, depending on the degree of roast required. As moisture is lost, the bean "pops" audibly rather like popcorn and a chemical reaction called pyrolysis takes place: starches are converted into sugar, proteins are broken down and the entire cellular structure of the bean is altered. The heating process precipitates the release of caffeol, or coffee oil, the essence of coffee that we enjoy in the cup. Since it is also volatile and water soluble, once the coffee beans have been roasted, the flavor can be damaged by moisture, light and especially by oxygen.
    After learning all these wonderful things about coffee, we learned a little more about the plantation itself. While we enjoyed a coffee tasting we listened in on a lecture about the grounds.
    They have planted over 5,000 native trees on the coffee plantations with the help of the environmental protection agency (MINAET) and local school children. These native trees produce shade and nitrogen for the organic coffee and have created biological corridors for the birds and animals of the area. The coffee is planted following the natural topography of the farm to avoid erosion and water waste and is protected by living fences planted with native shrubs and trees. They use no agrochemicals, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides on the farm preferring to apply the rich compost from their vermiculture (worm beds) and from the composting of organic refuse at the hotel and they apply only natural remedies for the fungus and pests which often plague the coffee trees.
    Now that we were fully educated on the organic and sustainable art of coffee making alligirl and sofie-a-toast made us reservations at the hotel restaurant where we enjoyed a wonderful organic dinner made from produce grown right on the plantation! . For dessert we enjoyed a wonderful concoction of coffee, doughnuts and ice cream. We enjoyed it so much morgainegeiser convinced the chef to give us the recipe to take home. We of course emailed the recipe for Coffee and Donut Milkshakes to Baby Kato right away, we just know that she’ll love it!


    What a great story, Chef Jean. I'm all about those luxury accommodations on these lovely grounds. Makes me want to whisk myself away to the Caribbean tonight. And your team recipe sounds totally yummy. I hope you enjoyed the Coffee Plantation challenge.

    NorthwestGal
    momaphet
    Sat Aug 10, 2013 5:47 pm
    Food.com Groupie


    Needing a break from cooking and exploding appliances Mike and the Appliance Killers decide to take a couple of days off from the Zaar World Tour, but where to go? With Mikekey and momaphet, two pale skinned, caffeine addicted Seattleites, doing a lot of prompting they decided to visit Island Coffees Farm in Strawberry Hill Jamaica .

    The Appliance Killers were excited to be staying at the famous Strawberry Hill Hotel. The lands surrounding the hotel have historically been used for growing coffee and is now home to Island Coffees Farm.
    Island Coffees is a small, family run business created in 2011 by Jonathan and Paula Surtees. After the majority of the coffee plants were destroyed during the devastating hurricane Gilbert in 1988, it had been their dream to revive the coffee farm, 3000 ft above sea level, nestled within the stunning Jamaican Blue Mountains and after 24 years, their dreams have finally been realized! Not just any old coffee, Island Coffees Ltd. is approved by the Coffee Industry Board (CIB) of Jamaica and awarded a Special Dealers License and Trademark Agreement for the selling of 100% Blue Mountain Coffee and any other Coffee grown in Jamaica

    True to its name, the Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is grown in the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica, in between Kingston mostly in the south and Port Maria in the north. Rising to 7,500 ft, the Blue Mountain Range is the highest point in the Caribbean, however the highest coffee growing regions range between 3000 ft – 5200 ft. This broad band consists of a cold, damp and dark, fertile soil and good drainage, providing ideal conditions for growing coffee.
    After a lovely breakfast of fresh pineapple and local delicacies, Mike and the Appliance Killers were ready to go. While exploring the farm PanNan, sheepdoc, ElmoToo and Dr Jenny were all eager to hear how the coffee beans are grown and processed. Our guide explained how many people are surprised at the expense of Blue Mountain coffee without understanding the processes that are involved in the growing and picking, let alone the processing. Almost all the work is done by hand with great attention paid to moisture content and grading of the bean. Generally hand picking the beans is laborious and time consuming.
    When new coffee plants need to be planted, approved coffee seedlings are planted in May and October. 100% genuine Blue Mountain Coffee is only grown from high quality seedlings.

    Next pruning is a very important part of the cultivation process. When the coffee plant reaches 4-5 feet tall, pruning is done to extend the life of the coffee plant, to allow easier access when picking the ripped coffee cherries and more coffee per plant.
    Pruning begins the first time the coffee blossoms cherries and the ripped coffee cherries are picked for pulping and remain continuous throughout out the life of the coffee plant.
    Flowers begin to emerge approximately 3 years after the seedlings have been planted. During the peak of the Jamaican Blue Mountain® coffee plant (about 6 years), almost every day, the flowers will blossom open and coffee cherries are present. The coffee plants life expectancy is about 55-65 years. After the coffee cherries are collected they are then pulped, fermented, dried, hulled and winnowed and the Coffee Board carefully checks the color and moisture content of the bean before the processor can proceed to roasting.

    We hiked up the hillsides and enjoyed the glorious views and the lush growth around us.
    The farm is situated at 3,000ft (1,000m) which is the altitude boundary of the Blue Mountain coffee growing range. The slopes at Island Coffee Farms are approximately 30 degrees and the soils are mainly shaley conglomerates. The species of coffee they grow is Typica with some Geisha and Numbered Hybrids.

    Diner524 was in awe of the variety of plants on the farm, having expected only coffee beans. Instead we saw Banana and Mango trees, as their main canopy, along with the occasional Rose Apple, Lotus, Cedar and Jack Fruit. Our guide told us how in the more open areas they use Bananas and Plantains as the main shade because they grow so fast.
    As we took a lunch break our guide also talked about the politics of coffee, he told us the Jamaican coffee industry employs around 120,000 people making it a significant contributor to the country’s economy. That is the reason that when any of the large processors has gotten into trouble, the government has stepped in to help. The government, until recently, owned the two largest processors of coffee, Wallenford and Mavis Bank
    Another reason for the government’s involvement in Blue Mountain Coffee is because the beverage acts as an “ambassador” for Jamaica based on the fame of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee in the world. It is a small percentage of international coffee sales, but is the one of the world’s most expensive coffees, recognized for its nuanced flavors, balance and lack of bitterness. It is the quintessential coffee.

    A special treat after lunch was getting to watch Paula Surtees do some flavor profiling.

    The Surtees’ produce their own brand, Strawberry Hill Blue Mountain Coffee. They chose a dark or “Full City” roast for their roast profile favouring those who love a strong burst of flavours and which they recommend is best served in a glass Chemex drip carafe.
    In order to ensure the sustainability of the roast profile, and guarantee the taste and aroma that their customers have come to know and love, they only supply the roasted beans and ground.
    Later as we lounged around the pool we relaxed and chatted about all that we had seen and heard that day. Cookgirl being more of a city girl wanted to know when we were going to get to drink more of Island Coffee Farms delicious coffee and maybe get some shopping in.
    The next morning we drove to the town of Ocho Rios, located on the north coast of Jamaica. After everyone a little shopping to keep Cookgirl happy, we made a stop at the Suretees’ own Island Coffee Farms Coffee Bar.
    We were delighted to find owner Jonathan grinding beans and chatting with customers behind the coffee bar.

    As we sat down to enjoy our first cup of coffee PanNan passed out Killer Mocha Muffins to the whole team and everyone in the place - she must have sweet talked the chef at the hotel into letting her bake in his kitchen! Trying to delay the inevitablity of having to leave, we lingered over several more cups of coffee, when Mikekey surprised us by saying “PERK UP Appliance Killers!” I’ve ordered Chemex carafes for everyone and they will be waiting for you when you get home.

    This got us all jumping, and having gotten over the drips, er, droops, we loaded up on all the Strawberry Hill Blue Mountain Coffee coffee beans we could carry (and afford), thanked our hosts for our fabulous visit to Island Coffees Farm and coffee bar and headed to the airport refreshed and ready for the next round of the tour!
    NorthwestGal
    Sat Aug 10, 2013 6:25 pm
    Forum Host
    momaphet wrote:


    Needing a break from cooking and exploding appliances Mike and the Appliance Killers decide to take a couple of days off from the Zaar World Tour, but where to go? With Mikekey and momaphet, two pale skinned, caffeine addicted Seattleites, doing a lot of prompting they decided to visit Island Coffees Farm in Strawberry Hill Jamaica .

    The Appliance Killers were excited to be staying at the famous Strawberry Hill Hotel. The lands surrounding the hotel have historically been used for growing coffee and is now home to Island Coffees Farm.
    Island Coffees is a small, family run business created in 2011 by Jonathan and Paula Surtees. After the majority of the coffee plants were destroyed during the devastating hurricane Gilbert in 1988, it had been their dream to revive the coffee farm, 3000 ft above sea level, nestled within the stunning Jamaican Blue Mountains and after 24 years, their dreams have finally been realized! Not just any old coffee, Island Coffees Ltd. is approved by the Coffee Industry Board (CIB) of Jamaica and awarded a Special Dealers License and Trademark Agreement for the selling of 100% Blue Mountain Coffee and any other Coffee grown in Jamaica

    True to its name, the Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is grown in the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica, in between Kingston mostly in the south and Port Maria in the north. Rising to 7,500 ft, the Blue Mountain Range is the highest point in the Caribbean, however the highest coffee growing regions range between 3000 ft – 5200 ft. This broad band consists of a cold, damp and dark, fertile soil and good drainage, providing ideal conditions for growing coffee.
    After a lovely breakfast of fresh pineapple and local delicacies, Mike and the Appliance Killers were ready to go. While exploring the farm PanNan, sheepdoc, ElmoToo and Dr Jenny were all eager to hear how the coffee beans are grown and processed. Our guide explained how many people are surprised at the expense of Blue Mountain coffee without understanding the processes that are involved in the growing and picking, let alone the processing. Almost all the work is done by hand with great attention paid to moisture content and grading of the bean. Generally hand picking the beans is laborious and time consuming.
    When new coffee plants need to be planted, approved coffee seedlings are planted in May and October. 100% genuine Blue Mountain Coffee is only grown from high quality seedlings.

    Next pruning is a very important part of the cultivation process. When the coffee plant reaches 4-5 feet tall, pruning is done to extend the life of the coffee plant, to allow easier access when picking the ripped coffee cherries and more coffee per plant.
    Pruning begins the first time the coffee blossoms cherries and the ripped coffee cherries are picked for pulping and remain continuous throughout out the life of the coffee plant.
    Flowers begin to emerge approximately 3 years after the seedlings have been planted. During the peak of the Jamaican Blue Mountain® coffee plant (about 6 years), almost every day, the flowers will blossom open and coffee cherries are present. The coffee plants life expectancy is about 55-65 years. After the coffee cherries are collected they are then pulped, fermented, dried, hulled and winnowed and the Coffee Board carefully checks the color and moisture content of the bean before the processor can proceed to roasting.

    We hiked up the hillsides and enjoyed the glorious views and the lush growth around us.
    The farm is situated at 3,000ft (1,000m) which is the altitude boundary of the Blue Mountain coffee growing range. The slopes at Island Coffee Farms are approximately 30 degrees and the soils are mainly shaley conglomerates. The species of coffee they grow is Typica with some Geisha and Numbered Hybrids.

    Diner524 was in awe of the variety of plants on the farm, having expected only coffee beans. Instead we saw Banana and Mango trees, as their main canopy, along with the occasional Rose Apple, Lotus, Cedar and Jack Fruit. Our guide told us how in the more open areas they use Bananas and Plantains as the main shade because they grow so fast.
    As we took a lunch break our guide also talked about the politics of coffee, he told us the Jamaican coffee industry employs around 120,000 people making it a significant contributor to the country’s economy. That is the reason that when any of the large processors has gotten into trouble, the government has stepped in to help. The government, until recently, owned the two largest processors of coffee, Wallenford and Mavis Bank
    Another reason for the government’s involvement in Blue Mountain Coffee is because the beverage acts as an “ambassador” for Jamaica based on the fame of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee in the world. It is a small percentage of international coffee sales, but is the one of the world’s most expensive coffees, recognized for its nuanced flavors, balance and lack of bitterness. It is the quintessential coffee.

    A special treat after lunch was getting to watch Paula Surtees do some flavor profiling.

    The Surtees’ produce their own brand, Strawberry Hill Blue Mountain Coffee. They chose a dark or “Full City” roast for their roast profile favouring those who love a strong burst of flavours and which they recommend is best served in a glass Chemex drip carafe.
    In order to ensure the sustainability of the roast profile, and guarantee the taste and aroma that their customers have come to know and love, they only supply the roasted beans and ground.
    Later as we lounged around the pool we relaxed and chatted about all that we had seen and heard that day. Cookgirl being more of a city girl wanted to know when we were going to get to drink more of Island Coffee Farms delicious coffee and maybe get some shopping in.
    The next morning we drove to the town of Ocho Rios, located on the north coast of Jamaica. After everyone a little shopping to keep Cookgirl happy, we made a stop at the Suretees’ own Island Coffee Farms Coffee Bar.
    We were delighted to find owner Jonathan grinding beans and chatting with customers behind the coffee bar.

    As we sat down to enjoy our first cup of coffee PanNan passed out Killer Mocha Muffins to the whole team and everyone in the place - she must have sweet talked the chef at the hotel into letting her bake in his kitchen! Trying to delay the inevitablity of having to leave, we lingered over several more cups of coffee, when Mikekey surprised us by saying “PERK UP Appliance Killers!” I’ve ordered Chemex carafes for everyone and they will be waiting for you when you get home.

    This got us all jumping, and having gotten over the drips, er, droops, we loaded up on all the Strawberry Hill Blue Mountain Coffee coffee beans we could carry (and afford), thanked our hosts for our fabulous visit to Island Coffees Farm and coffee bar and headed to the airport refreshed and ready for the next round of the tour!


    Thank you for such a wonderful story, momaphet. I hope you learned something, and I hope you enjoyed participating in the Coffee Plantation challenge.

    NorthwestGal
    Mia in Germany
    Sat Aug 10, 2013 9:46 pm
    Forum Host


    Ever since I had my first cup of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee, I've been dreaming about those mysterious mountains, which are the highest mountains of the island of Jamaica and one of the highest and longest continuous mountain ranges of the Caribbean, dominating the eastern third of the island between Kingston in the South and Port Antonio in the North.

    Rising up to 7.500 ft, the Blue Mountains have a cool and misty climate with lots of rain. Combined with a well drained soil rich in potash, nitrogen and phosphorus, this provides the perfect conditions for growing coffee.





    Around 1728, a couple of Arabica coffee seeds were sent as a gift by the governor of Martinique to Jamaica's governor Sir Nicholas Lawes.
    Due to the favourable conditions of climate and soil, the coffeecrop became established quickly on Jamaica, and the early 1800s already found about 600 coffee plantations on the island.
    Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is a globally protected certification mark.
    Only coffee grown in an altitude between 3,000 and 5,500 ft. within the parishes of St. Andrews, St. Thomas, Portland and St. Mary may be labled as Blue Mountain Coffee, certified by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica.
    Due to the specific climate of the region, Blue Mountain coffee berries take twice as long as other coffee berries to mature. This prolongued time on the plant is responsible for the uniquely rich, mild flavour of the processed coffee.

    To learn more about the cultivation and processing of this famous coffee, our team decided to stay at Whitfield Hall Coffee and Lodging, St. Thomas Parish, an 18th century estate founded by Colonel William Whitfield, an Englishman who in 1776 was granted a Crown patent to grow coffee on 300 acres in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica.



    Whitfield Hall is situated directly on the way to the Blue Mountain Peak, the highest peak of the Blue Mountains at 7,402 ft, now owned by the Allgrove family, whose roots in that district go back centuries.
    It belongs to a trio of farms called RSW estates (Resource, Sherwood and Whitfield Hall) which produces "estate" Blue Mountain Coffee, an especially exclusive and quality controlled product.



    Resource Estate is located above the Yallahs River and comprises 12 hectares and is owned by the Langford family, one of the oldest names in the history of Jamaican coffee.
    The third estate, Sherwood, with an area of over 400 hectares, is one of the largest intact original Blue Mountain coffee plantations, which has grown coffee almost continuously since the late 1700s. Most of the plantings are scattered in the tree shaded valleys.
    The 19th century house, pulpery and dry mill, including the 19th century drying barbeques, are the place where coffee from all three estates is processed.

    As we are an adventurous bunch, we don't mind Whitfield Hall being a hostel with bunkbedrooms and only one private room.
    Maryland Jim, our only gentleman, moves into the Colonel Whitfield room while Bayhill, loof, Debbwl, MomLuvs6, Chef PotPie, Marcasite Queen, domestic angel, alvinakatz and Mia in Germany seize the dormitory-style bedrooms.



    The lounge with the fireplace and the eating area has a pleasantly old fashioned air. There is no electricity, so we have to deal with vintage Tilley lamps and kerosene lanterns and limited cell phone reception.



    After a good night's sleep, the next morning, we take the coffee tour, still savouring the echo of the taste of a cup of Blue Mountain Coffee.

    Arabica coffee accounts for 75-80% of the world's coffee production. It takes about seven years to mature fully.
    The plant does best in altitudes between 4,200 and 4,900 feet and an average temperature between 59 and 75 degrees F.
    The small white flowers, whose strong sweet frangrance resembles the frangrance of jasmine flowers, appear after 2 to 4 years after planting.



    Coffee flowers tend to produce too many berries which results in inferior harvest or even detriment of the plant's health in the following years. So most plantations prune the trees to prevent overflowering.
    The ripe coffee berries, which actually are called "cherries", are harvested by hand. Only the ripest, bright red cherries are picked from the trees. A harvester may well visit one and the same tree up to seven times during one season until all the cherries are picked.
    The harvested cherries from Whitfield Hall, Resource and Sherwood are then delivered to the Sherwood Coffee Works factory, where the coffee is inspected and pulped within 12 hours of arrival.
    For pulping, they use a wet method processing which is more time consuming and more expensive than dry processing.



    The beans get squeezed from the fruit, the pulp is washed away, dried and used as fertilizer, while the beans, which have a coating of slippery, sugar containing mucilage, are fermented in water for 12-48 hours to remove the mucilage.
    After fermentation, the coffee gets washed.
    The resulting so called "parchment coffee" then is spread on concrete "barbeques" for sun-drying. We learn that RSW-Estate coffee is 100% sun-dried, which is supposed to enhance the flavour, as does the fermentation process.



    Dried to 11-13% moisture, the coffee gets bagged and placed in a sealed storage area, which maintains a constant temperature of 75 degrees F and an ideal moisture for the coffee to mature for a minimum of 2-3 months to optimum flavour.
    After maturing, the parchment coffee is hulled in small lots at low temperature, polished, graded to specific size, blown free of dust and then sorted by hand to remove chipped, broken, discolored, and off-taste beans.
    The average worker will sort about seventy five pounds of coffee a day!



    These are the five classifications of Blue Mountain Coffee allowed by the Coffee Industry Regulation Act:
    Blue Mountain No. 1- 96% of beans must have a screen size of 17/20. No more than 2% of the beans may have significant defects.
    Blue Mountain No. 2- 96% of beans must have a screen size of 16/17. No more than 2% of the beans may have significant defects.
    Blue Mountain No. 3- 96% of beans must have a screen size of 15/16. No more than 2% of the beans may have significant defects.
    Blue Mountain Peaberry- 96% of beans must be peaberry. No more than 2% of the beans may have significant defects.
    Blue Mountain Triage- Contains bean sizes from all previous classifications. No more than 4% of the beans may have significant defects.

    The sorted and classified green beans finally are barrelled at Sherwood factory for shipping to North America and Europe where the coffee is roasted.



    Our heads full of impressions and information, we return to Whitfield Hall, where loof meets the problem of not having an electric oven to make her Jamocha Bread!
    She boldly takes the challenge and tries the wood oven, and indeed, the bread turns out great!
    So we have the breakfast base to hike to the Blue Mountain Peak the next day before we get back to work for the ZWT.

    [/img]
    NorthwestGal
    Sat Aug 10, 2013 10:18 pm
    Forum Host
    Mia in Germany wrote:


    Ever since I had my first cup of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee, I've been dreaming about those mysterious mountains, which are the highest mountains of the island of Jamaica and one of the highest and longest continuous mountain ranges of the Caribbean, dominating the eastern third of the island between Kingston in the South and Port Antonio in the North.

    Rising up to 7.500 ft, the Blue Mountains have a cool and misty climate with lots of rain. Combined with a well drained soil rich in potash, nitrogen and phosphorus, this provides the perfect conditions for growing coffee.





    Around 1728, a couple of Arabica coffee seeds were sent as a gift by the governor of Martinique to Jamaica's governor Sir Nicholas Lawes.
    Due to the favourable conditions of climate and soil, the coffeecrop became established quickly on Jamaica, and the early 1800s already found about 600 coffee plantations on the island.
    Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is a globally protected certification mark.
    Only coffee grown in an altitude between 3,000 and 5,500 ft. within the parishes of St. Andrews, St. Thomas, Portland and St. Mary may be labled as Blue Mountain Coffee, certified by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica.
    Due to the specific climate of the region, Blue Mountain coffee berries take twice as long as other coffee berries to mature. This prolongued time on the plant is responsible for the uniquely rich, mild flavour of the processed coffee.

    To learn more about the cultivation and processing of this famous coffee, our team decided to stay at Whitfield Hall Coffee and Lodging, St. Thomas Parish, an 18th century estate founded by Colonel William Whitfield, an Englishman who in 1776 was granted a Crown patent to grow coffee on 300 acres in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica.



    Whitfield Hall is situated directly on the way to the Blue Mountain Peak, the highest peak of the Blue Mountains at 7,402 ft, now owned by the Allgrove family, whose roots in that district go back centuries.
    It belongs to a trio of farms called RSW estates (Resource, Sherwood and Whitfield Hall) which produces "estate" Blue Mountain Coffee, an especially exclusive and quality controlled product.



    Resource Estate is located above the Yallahs River and comprises 12 hectares and is owned by the Langford family, one of the oldest names in the history of Jamaican coffee.
    The third estate, Sherwood, with an area of over 400 hectares, is one of the largest intact original Blue Mountain coffee plantations, which has grown coffee almost continuously since the late 1700s. Most of the plantings are scattered in the tree shaded valleys.
    The 19th century house, pulpery and dry mill, including the 19th century drying barbeques, are the place where coffee from all three estates is processed.

    As we are an adventurous bunch, we don't mind Whitfield Hall being a hostel with bunkbedrooms and only one private room.
    Maryland Jim, our only gentleman, moves into the Colonel Whitfield room while Bayhill, loof, Debbwl, MomLuvs6, Chef PotPie, Marcasite Queen, domestic angel, alvinakatz and Mia in Germany seize the dormitory-style bedrooms.



    The lounge with the fireplace and the eating area has a pleasantly old fashioned air. There is no electricity, so we have to deal with vintage Tilley lamps and kerosene lanterns and limited cell phone reception.



    After a good night's sleep, the next morning, we take the coffee tour, still savouring the echo of the taste of a cup of Blue Mountain Coffee.

    Arabica coffee accounts for 75-80% of the world's coffee production. It takes about seven years to mature fully.
    The plant does best in altitudes between 4,200 and 4,900 feet and an average temperature between 59 and 75 degrees F.
    The small white flowers, whose strong sweet frangrance resembles the frangrance of jasmine flowers, appear after 2 to 4 years after planting.



    Coffee flowers tend to produce too many berries which results in inferior harvest or even detriment of the plant's health in the following years. So most plantations prune the trees to prevent overflowering.
    The ripe coffee berries, which actually are called "cherries", are harvested by hand. Only the ripest, bright red cherries are picked from the trees. A harvester may well visit one and the same tree up to seven times during one season until all the cherries are picked.
    The harvested cherries from Whitfield Hall, Resource and Sherwood are then delivered to the Sherwood Coffee Works factory, where the coffee is inspected and pulped within 12 hours of arrival.
    For pulping, they use a wet method processing which is more time consuming and more expensive than dry processing.



    The beans get squeezed from the fruit, the pulp is washed away, dried and used as fertilizer, while the beans, which have a coating of slippery, sugar containing mucilage, are fermented in water for 12-48 hours to remove the mucilage.
    After fermentation, the coffee gets washed.
    The resulting so called "parchment coffee" then is spread on concrete "barbeques" for sun-drying. We learn that RSW-Estate coffee is 100% sun-dried, which is supposed to enhance the flavour, as does the fermentation process.



    Dried to 11-13% moisture, the coffee gets bagged and placed in a sealed storage area, which maintains a constant temperature of 75 degrees F and an ideal moisture for the coffee to mature for a minimum of 2-3 months to optimum flavour.
    After maturing, the parchment coffee is hulled in small lots at low temperature, polished, graded to specific size, blown free of dust and then sorted by hand to remove chipped, broken, discolored, and off-taste beans.
    The average worker will sort about seventy five pounds of coffee a day!



    These are the five classifications of Blue Mountain Coffee allowed by the Coffee Industry Regulation Act:
    Blue Mountain No. 1- 96% of beans must have a screen size of 17/20. No more than 2% of the beans may have significant defects.
    Blue Mountain No. 2- 96% of beans must have a screen size of 16/17. No more than 2% of the beans may have significant defects.
    Blue Mountain No. 3- 96% of beans must have a screen size of 15/16. No more than 2% of the beans may have significant defects.
    Blue Mountain Peaberry- 96% of beans must be peaberry. No more than 2% of the beans may have significant defects.
    Blue Mountain Triage- Contains bean sizes from all previous classifications. No more than 4% of the beans may have significant defects.

    The sorted and classified green beans finally are barrelled at Sherwood factory for shipping to North America and Europe where the coffee is roasted.



    Our heads full of impressions and information, we return to Whitfield Hall, where loof meets the problem of not having an electric oven to make her Jamocha Bread!
    She boldly takes the challenge and tries the wood oven, and indeed, the bread turns out great!
    So we have the breakfast base to hike to the Blue Mountain Peak the next day before we get back to work for the ZWT.

    [/img]


    It sounds like a lot of fun, Mia in Germany. What a great story, and I hope you and your teammates learned a little about coffee growing. Thank you for participating in the Coffee Plantation Challenge.

    NorthwestGal
    Mia in Germany
    Sun Aug 11, 2013 1:43 pm
    Forum Host
    Thank you for this wonderful challenge idea, it was so interesting and a lot of fun!
    NorthwestGal
    Sun Aug 11, 2013 4:30 pm
    Forum Host
    Mia in Germany wrote:
    Thank you for this wonderful challenge idea, it was so interesting and a lot of fun!


    Thanks for that, Mia in Germany. We work hard to create these challenges, and it's nice to know when someone enjoys them. Thanks!
    Dienia B.
    Sun Aug 11, 2013 5:25 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Jamaican Coffee Beans
    A brief history

    The Jamaican coffee beans, by Tracie Blake
    It is believed that coffee beans first came to Jamaica by King Louis XV who was shipping the coffee plants to Martinique from Europe in the early 1700s.

    The majority of these original plants died but a small portion survived. Sir Nicholas Lawes planted the surviving plants in the hills of St. Elizabeth.

    By the early 1800s there were over 500 coffee bean plantations on the island but by mid to late 1900s the coffee bean industry diminished due to lack of required labour; the beans had to be hand picked.

    Farmers started farming other provisions that did not require such close attention.

    This, to no one’s surprise, led to inconsistency and a decrease in the quality of the coffee production. With what seemed to be the imminent failure of the coffee industry, the Jamaican Coffee Industry Board was formed.

    They managed the industry, including marketing, to ensure the stabilization and growth and longevity of the sector.

    Today, we produce some of the top brands around the world, including Jamaica Prime, Jamaica Select, High Mountain Supreme and Blue Mountain Coffee.

    Perhaps the most popular though is the Blue Mountain Coffee which is grown in the hills of the Blue Mountain. Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is a globally protected certification mark meaning that only coffee certified by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica can be labeled as such.

    The over 7500 feet elevation coupled with an island temperature of 82 degrees Fahrenheit, an annual rainfall of 80 inches, beautiful sunshine and the rich and soil resulted in a perfectly nurtured product.

    Referred to as the "Gourmet Bean", the coffee beans are handled with a gentle hand. After the beautiful red-coloured berries are picked, and washed, the beans are removed from the pulpy exterior, placed on parchment paper for drying, cured and then sorted.

    jamaican-coffee-beans dried_blue_mountain_coffee

    The entire process takes up to 8 weeks per picking as the beans are left to be dried for a period of about 6 weeks. This results in the perfectly high grade quality of Jamaican Coffee.

    In addition, they go through a period of quality assessment where they are tested and graded for distribution.

    Today, Jamaican coffee is used to make various byproducts of coffee- including pastries and perfumes.

    Our tour story:
    While we were on our birdwatching tour we stumbled upon Rohan Marley’s Coffee Bikecaffe. The coffee was so delicious we all talked about going on a tour. Our Caption, Debbie R., led the way to the litlte plantation which is a 52-acre private estates. This plantation was beautiful and sits atop the Blue Mountains in Chepstowe, Portland, Jamaica. This area is considered one of the world’s best for growing coffee beans.

    As we toured the farm we were even more impressed with Marley’s story. How he strives to support communities and the environment through organic, sustainable and ethical practices.
    Marley’s Jamaica Blue Mountain® coffee farm, partners with other farms in Africa, Central America and other top coffee-growing regions worldwide,

    See more at: http://rohanmarley.com/rohan-marley-in-jamaica/#sthash.EbmAYaXJ.dpuf







    we wanted a cool drink made with items from the islands so dienia b made up a coffee recipe and ellie and student chef found the spices allspice which is pimento and nutmeg. elizabeth found where they were roasting the beans and got us the freshest mix.bobby was very happy with her find. jackieoh no found cinnamon sticks and pounded the spices out on a rock .and we made Tasty Testers Spicy Frozen Coffee for all the other teams to drink lol





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