COFFEE company Amber Estates received a rare contract to supply US-based chain Starbucks.
The deal happened around the time the local company relocated into a larger complex in Blaise Industrial Park in Kingston neighbouring CVM-TV.
Checks by the Observer reveal that the Fortune 500 company Starbucks started selling the beans in select US stores and online late this month. It's the third time on record that Starbucks will sell Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.
But neither Starbucks nor Amber Estates, which is controlled by Dr Charles Lyn, agreed to speak to the Observer up to press time. Starbucks in a mailed response indicated that all key "contacts" were unavailable.
The US chain will sell eight-ounce (228 grammes) beans for US$29.95, which equates to roughly twice the cost of most rival beans.
Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee offers a luxurious taste profile known for its low acidity, but Starbucks described Amber Estates as offering even more nuanced overtones.
"Notes of citrus fruit and smooth milk chocolate complemented by intense, satisfying aromas," stated Starbucks on details on the brew.
Amber Estates, which sells the Gold Cup coffee brand, previously won the bid to supply Starbucks back in 2011.
At that time, the United States-based coffee chain purchased a record 110 barrels of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee or 60 per cent more than its initial purchase in 2010 from the then Government-controlled Wallenford Estate brand, according to the Coffee Industry Board (CIB) data.
Up to press time, the CIB did not respond to Observer queries on details of the current Amber deal.
The latest contract occurred amidst the relocation of Amber Estates into a much larger suite at the Blaise Park from its previous suite (also at the Blaise Park) adjoining the Fletcher-controlled Coffee Roasters Jamaica. The Lyns also did not respond to our request for details on the expansion.
Amber Estate was started in 1994 by consultant surgeon Dr Charles Lyn on lands farmed for coffee since the 1800s. The estate is described as one of the highest farms in the Blue Mountains at 4,500 feet.
Jamaica Observer sources indicate that a third coffee company will enter the Blaise Industrial Park complex, having acquired a series of suites. That company declined to comment and asked not to be named based on ongoing negotiations.
Export earnings from Jamaican coffee are falling down from highs of some US$30 million to a low of US$13 million in 2012. It however comes amidst growing local consumption evidenced in part by a growing number of cafés. Over eight new cafés have opened in Kingston alone within the last 12 months.