Jamaica is well known for its coffee. There are three general types of coffee grown in Jamaica. Each general type in turn is broken down into grades, for example #1, #2, #3, etc., with slightly different characteristics from each other within a given general type of coffee. Before purchasing Jamaican coffee make sure the coffee you are buying is certified by the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica. They closely monitor the growth, quality, and distribution of Jamaican coffee. The three general types of Jamaican coffee have different tastes and sell at different prices.

Blue Mountain

Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is a classification of coffee grown in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. Only coffee harvested from specific portions of the parishes of Saint Andrew, Saint Thomas, Portland, and Saint Mary may be considered Blue Mountain coffee. Traditionally, only coffee grown at elevations between 3,000 and 5,500 feet (1,700 m) could be called Jamaica Blue Mountain. Blue Mountain coffee is known for its distinct characteristics, aroma, a noticeable sweetness, clean brew, and mild acidity. This is the most expensive type of coffee grown in Jamaica.

High Mountain

Coffee grown at elevations between 1,500 and 3,000 feet (910 m) is called Jamaica High Mountain coffee. High Mountain coffee has many of the qualities of a Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee though it may not pass the strict quality standards set by the Jamaican Coffee Industry Board. It has balance, fruit flavors, intense aroma, medium acidity, clean taste, and unique sweetness. Jamaica High Mountain coffee is regarded as inferior coffee compared to the Blue Mountain coffee and is offered at a lower price. 

Low Mountain

Coffee grown below 1,500-foot (460 m) elevation is called Jamaica Supreme or Jamaica Low Mountain coffee. This fine gourmet coffee has to be certified by the Jamaican Coffee Industry Board and is widely recognized in the industry name for its smooth delicate taste, and unmistakable aroma. This lesser-prized coffee is sold at the lowest price.

Purchasing

Jamaican coffee can be purchased at many places in Jamaica. It is available at hotel gift shops, supermarkets, and at the airports in Montego Bay and Kingston. The shops at the airports are normally duty free. Prices will be highest at hotel gift shops and lower at supermarkets and at the airports.

Most brands of Jamaican coffee are sold as either whole bean, which you can grind at home, or as ground. Packages range from 2oz., a size often sold in a multipack for gift giving, up to multiple pound bags (2lb., 5lb., 8lb., 10lb. and even 20lb. on occasion). The small size packages, 2oz., 4oz., and 8oz., are often a poor value when compared to larger size bags. Most people find the 1lb. package the best option because of its lower cost per pound while the whole bag can be consumed before it goes stale.

Most brands, both ground and whole bean, are packed in air tight containers which have a 'sell by' date on the package. Open the containers only when you are ready to use the coffee. Ground coffee has much more surface area than whole beans, so it goes bad much faster. Whole beans are ideally consumed within one month. Ground beans are ideally consumed within two weeks. The package size purchased, see above, should match the rate at which you will use the coffee in the package.