Today’s Los Angeles Times reports on the current state of the elite Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee bean in light of Hurricane Ivan damage and the insurgence of counterfeiters: Jamaica’s Coffee Makers Perk Up, Fighting Off Knockoffs and a Storm – Los Angeles Times.
Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee carries a lot of name brand recognition — though in part just because of its high market price. It is a great “bright” island-style coffee. Though, in this writer’s opinion, it is ridiculously overpriced. But what is interesting to read is their problem of brand protectionism, as it suggests the need to define it as a geographic indication in World Trade Organization speak. (Think “Champagne”, “Tequila”, or “Roquefort”.)
Taking a page from wine marketing, will consumers pay a premium for the certified terroir of a specific coffee’s production? Several years ago I didn’t think twice about shelling out $9 for the priviledge of a French press pot of Jamaican Blue Mountain at a Santa Barbara restaurant (Sage & Onion, to be precise). So why not?
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