Jamaica's Blue Mountains are best known for their coffee - 80 per cent of which is exported to Japan Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The UAE has its share of coffee lovers, but even for them, this might be a bit too much to swallow.

A Dubai café is now retailing coffee at an eye-watering Dh1 per gramme, or Dh250 for a 250-gramme pack. The brew in question is the unquestionably superior Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee – but still?

Luxury branded coffee, such as Davidoff, costs Dh27 for the same amount at your neighbourhood supermarket. Other brands retail under Dh15. 

Let’s take a closer look at what you’re getting at that price. The best brews are mild and well balanced, with a vibrant but smooth acidity and almost no bitterness. 

The globally protected certification, controlled by the island’s coffee board, is only applied to coffee to beans grown on the Caribbean island’s eponymous mountains. Coffee is grown at different heights on the mountain range, and various grades are harvested from this tropical rainforest. 

Anything labelled Jamaica Blue Mountain must traditionally be grown at an elevation of between 910 and 1,700 metres. Other appellations, such as Jamaica High Mountain and Jamaica Supreme, are applied to plants grown between 460 and 910 metres, and below the 460-metre mark respectively.

The best coffee in each category is usually labelled Grade 1 and must have no primary defects, no unripened beans or quakers and exhibit a distinctly identifiable aroma, taste, acidity or body.

“I have leveraged my personal relationships in Jamaica to source the highest quality designation of Grade 1 JBM on offer at Mokha 1450 Coffee Boutique from three exceptional female coffee farmers in Jamaica whose farm is located at the highest regions of the Jamaican Blue Mountains,” says Garfield Kerr, Managing Director of Mokha 1450. “What makes Mokha 1450’s JBM Grade 1 unique, even when compared to other JBM Grade 1 coffees, is that it is 100-per-cent-certified JBM Grade One coffee that was supervised and shipped directly to Dubai from the Coffee Industry Board in Jamaica.” 

Mokha 1450 supports female-run coffee farms in Yemen and Ethiopia.

It isn’t the most expensive coffee in the world, though – that dubious honour is reserved for Kopi Luwak, the so-called civet cat coffee, which retails between $100 (Dh367) and $600 per pound. 

HISTORY IN A CUP

Jamaica has the French to thank for their valuable cash crop. In 1723, so the story goes, France’s Louis Xv sent three coffee plants to his territory of Martinique, an island 1,900 kilometres south-west of Jamaica.

Five years later, the colony’s governor sent a gift of one plant to the governor of Jamaica, which was by then a British colony. That single shrub was soon nurtured into a plantation, and within a decade, the British East India company was exporting the beans to Europe – and all around the world. Over 80 per cent is now purchased by the Japanese.

Mokha 1450 sells a cup of brewed coffee at prices between Dh50 and Dh150. For details, call 04 321 6455. For an option, Desertcart.ae retails a pound (about 450 grammes) of Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee, grade unspecified at Dh247.