Everyone has heard of Irish coffee, coffee livened up with a generous helping of Irish whiskey, but how about Jamaican coffee? For a true taste of the Caribbean, swap that whiskey out for rum – and if that sounds intriguing, here’s our recipe for how to make the perfect cup!
Make sure you brew great coffee from great ingredients
If you want the perfect cup of Jamaican coffee, you need to make sure the coffee itself is as good as possible. It’s no good just brewing a cup of instant and pouring in a dose of rum – for the best results, you need to use the best ingredients and to pay great attention to each step during brewing.
Here are the steps you need to follow for the best results:
1. Use top coffee
For great coffee, you need great ingredients, and the first of these is the coffee beans.
If you want a truly decadent cup of the finest Jamaican coffee, we recommend you use Jamaican Blue Mountain beans since these are the best the island produces – and indeed are some of the most sought-after beans anywhere in the world.
If you are using Jamaican Blue Mountain, make sure they are genuine and that the bag carries the 100% Blue Mountain seal – Blue Mountain “blends” may contain less than 10% of the real thing and are a far inferior product.
Of course, some purists might consider using Blue Mountain beans to mix with rum to be a crime – if you don’t want to use Blue Mountain, substitute for any other high-quality beans (preferably of Jamaican origin).
2. Don’t forget the water!
The second ingredient in coffee is water, but this is often overlooked. The coffee you brew is only as good as the ingredients you use, and if you use poor-quality water, the taste will suffer. For the very best results, always brew using purified water or spring water. Tap water is not good enough.
3. Choose your brewing method
Choose the brewing method you prefer. While French press or electric drip machines are fine, we recommend using the pour-over method for best results, especially if you are using real Jamaican Blue Mountain.
4. Make sure your beans are in perfect condition
Coffee beans are at their best between about a week and two weeks after roasting. Make sure your beans are fresh and that you store them properly.
Moisture, air, sunlight and heat are the enemies of coffee, so store your beans in a cool, dry, dark place in an airtight container. Only bring them out when you are ready to grind them.
5. Grind the beans just before brewing
Even the freshest coffee beans begin to deteriorate very quickly after grinding – within around as little as a minute, in fact. This is why you should grind your beans just before brewing and not in advance. Above all, make sure you are grinding them yourself and don’t opt for pre-ground.
6. Choose the right grind for your method
You should know the correct grind for the brewing method you are using. For French press, you need a coarser grind, but for pour-over, you need a medium grind. If you don’t use the correct grind, your coffee will be over- or under-extracted, negatively impacting on the flavor.
7. Dose correctly
It is very important to use the right amount of coffee beans for the volume of coffee you plan to brew. This depends to a certain extent on your own personal preference – whether you like your coffee stronger or lighter – but you there are certain limits.
In general, a good place to start is two tablespoons of coffee beans for each 8oz of coffee you want to make. Feel free to take this as a starting point from which to experiment – the real golden rule of brewing coffee is that the perfect cup is the one you like most.
8. Heat the water to the correct temperature
Water that is too hot will scald the coffee, making it bitter, but the water that is not hot enough will not extract the coffee properly. The ideal temperature is 196-204°F. It is best to use a thermometer, but if you don’t have one, boil the water and then leave it to stand for one minute before using.
9. Use a gooseneck kettle
If you are using the pour over method, you should make sure you use a gooseneck kettle. This will allow you to pour the water onto the grounds slowly and accurately to ensure a perfectly even extraction.
If you prefer a richer, more intense coffee, you should pour more slowly; for a lighter taste, pour a little faster. Since you are going to add rum to this coffee, we recommend pouring more slowly for a more robust flavor that can stand up to the strength of the rum.
You may find that if your coffee is too light, the flavor of the rum will overpower it.
10. Add the Jamaican rum of your choice
Up until this point, we have focused on the brewing part. Without a great coffee, you can’t make great Jamaican coffee – but now we need to add the rum.
As we said before, you can’t just throw in any old ingredients and expect a great result, so make sure you select a good quality Jamaican rum. It doesn’t matter which brand you use, as long as it is a decent rum. Use whichever rum you prefer – but the better the rum, the better the result.
Add a dose of rum to each cup. The amount is up to you, but about 1oz is a good place to start. If that’s too strong, start off with a little less.
11. Pour over cream and serve
For the finishing touch, take a teaspoon and slowly pour cream over the back of the spoon and onto the coffee so that it floats on top. Once this is accomplished, your delicious Jamaican coffee is ready to serve.
Feel free to sweeten with brown sugar, demerara sugar as required.
Delicious taste of the Caribbean
Jamaican coffee makes a delicious and exotic alternative to Irish coffee – whether you’re in the Caribbean or somewhere else far away just dreaming of palm trees and white sand beaches. But wherever you are, now you know how to make the perfect cup of Jamaican coffee!
My name is Kathy Gallo, Editor of Daily Cupo, a Coffee buff. The guide you find here is designed exactly for you, and it is our hope that you find it not only interesting but also actionable.