Tue | Oct 27, 2020

The Greens perking up coffee production

Published:Saturday | September 19, 2020 | 12:07 AMChristopher Serju/Senior Gleaner Writer
Vinessa Green, CEO of Mountain Bliss Coffee, shows the new product during the opening of the newly renovated road from Guava Ridge to Content in St Andrew East Rural on Wednesday, July 29.
Vinessa Green, CEO of Mountain Bliss Coffee, shows the new product during the opening of the newly renovated road from Guava Ridge to Content in St Andrew East Rural on Wednesday, July 29.

THEIR SHOP was among the many trading establishments which adorned the roadway at the Content Gap square in St Andrew East Rural during the recent reopening ceremony for the resurfaced Guava Ridge to Content Road, all offering the same general items for sale.

However, as we chatted, it became clear that the Greens’ business extended well beyond the little space the building occupied.

Vinessa Green explained that, in addition to the Blissful Mousntain Farms, the family business operations also includes the Coffee and Farm Tours for which they offer overnight lodgings for up to five persons.

The farm is situated on two and a half acres of land, offering a picturesque view of Port Royal and sections of Kingston, which are miles away, and the Greens use their coveted hold on this piece of Jamaica to market a slice of rural life that few Jamaicans are privileged to know.

“Many persons who drink coffee have never seen a tree, or have any idea about the process it goes through once it picked,” Green explained.

“Once our overnight visitors arrive when the crop is in season, we show them how to pick the coffee, how we process it as ground coffee or whole beans, and we also package in tea bags, which is our latest offering. This is the same ground coffee we offer, but it is in tea bags which you can just slip into your cup and you don’t have to strain. You just add your sugar, milk or sweetener and it’s ready to drink.”

This unconventional method of packaging coffee has been well received but has not yet really taken the market. It was the brainchild of Green.

MARGINALISED FARMERS

It came out of her recognition that, over the years, farmers have earned very little from the sale of their primary produce, in fact, as she puts it, they have been “marginalised”.

“We decided to go into value-added because we were not getting enough from primary production. We have the one-pound ground for $3,450 and we also offer half-pound ground for $1,750. We also offer whole (green) beans and we also offer the processed as well. These are premium-packed beans without cracks or any blemishes, which are processed and packaged as whole beans.

“They are vacuum packed which keeps them fresh for longer and we usually package for ourselves . But, with the increased demand, decided to outsource and let others get a part of the business. So now most of the roasting and packaging is done in Kingston.”

Green, who is trained teacher, was lured back into the family members which now employs five other relatives who operate as tour guides and chefs and fit in to help wherever else their skills are needed.

After participating in the brewing of their own cup of coffee, visitors are taken on a tour of the farm and, in addition to regular crops such as banana, the range of cash crops, the herb and mint gardens, are introduced to orchard crops for which the cool climes of upper St Andrew are well known. These include peaches, ‘American pear’ and other crops like winter vegetables, which thrive in the cool temperature.

Green was quick to boast that the climate is one of the enviable factors which contribute to the taste and quality of the coffee, telling The Gleaner: “The constant mist and coolness are among the factors which contribute to our premium coffee, which you should definitely buy because of the process it goes through to get to perfection. The gentle time that we take to do everything, we hand pick, roast with our hands, everything is done on timely basis at every stage of the process. We do it the old-time way and in small batches, so that we get premium quality by controlling things at every stage.”

To get your cup of this premium coffee, send your email to vinessa_green@yahoo.com or call 876-548-8894 or check them out on social media.

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com