Jamaica Blue takes the Blue Mountain coffee brand global
An Australian company with apparently no connection to Jamaica save its name is doing well in carrying the Blue Mountain brand across the globe with plans to add five new stores by 2023.
Jamaica Blue, described as a franchise business of Australian company Foodco, operates coffee shops throughout Australia, New Zealand, UK, China, Malaysia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.
The company, which started operations on October 1, 1992, announced in May 2022 that it now boasts over 170 locations across seven countries.
It is currently expanding into the UK and Ireland and plans to invest £350,000 in a new Belfast store. The Jamaica Observer reached out to Jamaica Blue to explore its connection to the island, and to find out if it sold Blue Mountain coffee at all, among its speciality coffees at its nearly 200 stores.
Sarah Bolton-Hall, business manager, International of Foodco Group Pty Ltd, responded, “I am writing in response to your recent inquiry regarding Jamaica Blue cafes — origins, expansion plans and sales. Are you able to provide us with some further information with regards to reason for your request and in what context the information will be used?”
Sunday Finance replied, introducing the Jamaica Observer. No further response has been forthcoming, however.
Blue Mountain Coffee trademark
The Blue Mountain Coffee trademark is owned by the Government of Jamaica. Sunday Finance reached out to the Jamaica Agricultural Regulatory Authority (JACRA) to get its opinion on the use of the coffee brand.
A source from the government agency noted, “We own the name by a case we won against them years ago and there is a compensation arrangement that they pay us royalty for using the name Jamaica Blue.” Another official noted that this was settled almost 20 years ago and that Jamaica Blue now uses the name by licence.
The first source said, however, that there was some concern, as “the few barrels of coffee (JBM) bought by them cannot compare with the number of shops they have worldwide”.
JACRA was asked to share the quantity of JBM purchased by the company annually for its stores.
Franchisemall.com shares that the estimated investment required to open a Jamaica Blue Franchise is between US$200,000 and $265,000. There is an initial franchise fee of US$20,000 which grants the licence to run a business under the Jamaica Blue name.
Jamaican Blue Mountains
Jamaica Blue states on its own website: “Born in Miranda, Australia on 1st October 1992 and growing globally, we’re named after the Jamaica Blue Mountains, widely regarded as home of the best coffee in the world.”
It added, “Whilst an international brand, we are locally owned and operated and thus have a strong love for our local community and giving back.”
In 2022, Jamaica Blue opened its first casual dining coffee shop in Ireland at Forestside shopping centre, Belfast, with plans to open five more across Northern Ireland in the coming year, expanding into the Republic of Ireland in 2023.