Monday, 26 March 2018

Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival


If you are a Jamaican who grew up with a grandparent at any point in your life, you have had some experience with coffee. My great grandmother is the culprit in this case. Feeding my mother’s three infants with tuff crackers soaked in black coffee, and please believe it was not decaf. She is the reason I adore coffee so much, and also the reason my younger brother hates it. I was most excited to hear that Jamaica (Home of the best coffee in the world) Was finally having a coffee festival to showcase Blue Mountain coffee in all its glory.

The location was perfection. Right in coffee country, perched above the entire Jamaica in the blue mountains, at the Jamaica Defense Force Training camp. We were literally in the clouds, probably the closest my bare skin has ever been to the sun. From the highest points we could see downtown Kingston, parts of the airport and what I think was port royal. The sun was hot, but the breeze was so cool. I told my cousin I would wear a bipolar blouse. She looked at me puzzled, I explained; Long sleeves in case its cold, but a thin long sleeve in case its hot. It worked out for the best because it was both hot and cold at times. I however wore a ‘cold shoulder’ style top, with no sun screen. So my shoulders are now burnt crispy and I am now suffering from sunburn for the first time in my life.

Anyway, back to the event. We were shuttled up the hill from UTECH, which I was so grateful for. I stepped off the bus and as I got closer to the booths, the cool breeze blew and the strong scent of coffee filled my nostrils; I was like yes! I was beyond excited to see all the different stalls and what they had to offer.

looking from the top

Being a foodie, naturally I was more interested in the food stalls than the stalls offering bath and body products. So I started with food first. When you first get to a festival, if you are not given a map of the layout and where each vendor is located and what they have, your first moments are really spent taking it all in. You look at the stalls and what other people are eating before your mind really decides where to start. I went from peanut butter, to ice cream, to soup, to ribs, to iced coffee with coconut rum, to espresso martinis, to bread pudding, chicken, pulled pork, coffee rice and peas and coffee fried dumplings, ackee and saltfish, brownies and coffee ginger lemonade. I loved that most places had free tastings and were willing to allow you to sample their items before purchasing.

In addition to the food, my other interests were coffee scrubs, coffee candles and any body oils. There were so many persons with those items for sale, so narrowing in on one to buy from was quite a task. For me it boiled down to price and smell. I went for whose candle had the strongest coffee scent and was for the best price, same for body oil and scrubs. In addition to the body products there were some really beautiful handmade jewelry, craft and art vendors as well.

The event was hosted by Emprezz Golding, she did such a wonderful job (I generally find her voice to be very soothing). While the patrons are eating and laughing and having a grand time, even doing sip and paint (kudos to CannOn ball cafe and Artify that was genius), the stage is buzzing with performances. There were three main performances. Two dance (Charles Town Maroons and The Dance Expressionz group) and one musical performance by Tarrus Riley. There was even a hype dance off battle in the crowd between the Dance expressionz group and the sandals team, that was so lit. The performances were perfectly spaced out to give patrons time to enjoy the stalls, yet still take a break to enjoy watching them.

Emprezz Golding

Charles Town Maroons

The Dance Expressionz group

Tarrus Riley

I must say for the first staging of this event it was absolutely perfect. A solid 9.5 out of 10. It was affordable, well planned and executed, no chaos, everything orderly, things happened on schedule (as far as we knew) I loved that they allowed us to really walk around the grounds of the camp. My cousin and I walked up to this really beautiful great hall that had couches and coffee tables. The hall had the most incredible views I’ve ever seen, It was just so perfect.

Best seat in the house

My only drawback was the abundance of drink and dessert coffee items, and the lack of coffee in food explored in a different way. I mean, coffee ice cream, while it was absolutely delicious, is not really a new thing. However, the coffee rice and peas floored me, even though the coffee taste in the rice and peas was too subtle. I find the unusual uses of coffee in food didn’t use enough coffee. The pulled pork and ribs, did not taste strong enough. The rice and peas and bammy and fried dumpling, smelled like coffee and had a slight hint of it. I want to taste strong coffee in everything. The jerk chicken should have had a coffee spice rub, they could have had coffee candied bacon, coffee BBQ sauce on burgers, coffee oxtail, coffee BBQ pigs tails, coffee ketchup on the fries (that was a reach, but you get the picture). I just wanted it to be coffee everything, not only the drinks and desserts but the savory food as well. And now that I think about it, a coffee ketchup could probably work too, imagine that on a hot dog “, all sum caaffee bun n cheese” since its Easter season. I guess I feel this way because I’m a foodie. Also, some kind of covered eating area would be nice too, the sun was ripe. Maybe picnic tables with umbrellas, or some kind of canopy for shade. 

I assume that as the years go by, more savory food vendors will get on board. Maybe even compete to see who has the best flavored coffee infused food. This was a great launch and I only anticipate greater things to come. I can tell you, it’s another can’t miss event added to my yearly calendar. I loved the venue and hope it stays there, but wherever it is, I’ll be there. And I would recommend everybody go next year too.


  • This post does not even scratch the surface. There were too many vendors of all types to mention by name. follow @jamaicacoffeefest to keep up to date with all things Jamaica Blue mountain coffee.
  • Also in attendance The Hon. Edmund Bartlett MP and The Most Hon. Juliet Holness MP
  • To see video highlights, check out my Instagram page on the app, the highlights will be up for the next two weeks @greedygirlcooks 

Coffee fried dumpling from Natural by Nature

Artify & Cannonball cafe sip n paint

Paradise Child coffee scrubs

coffee rice and peas from Natural by Nature

Ital is vital from Natural by Nature

Espresso infused pulled pork sandwich by Copperwod Pork

Soup King beef and chicken soups

herb potatoes and Espresso infused ribs by Copperwood Pork

This was 100% free, thanks Stoneleigh

Blue Ridge Coffee bread pudding with coffee infused condensed milk

Kande's Delight raspberry pistachio ice cream

Photo-op with CEO Kevin Dean

Amazingly delicious espresso martini

Minister Bartlett posing for the Camera 

The JDF Bar kept the non coffee drinks flowing 

In the clouds

The Great Hall 

View from below

XOXO Greedygirl

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