FAQs

What is Kew Park?

Kew Park is a farm in the hills of Westmoreland, Jamaica, that grows coffee, beef cattle, pigs, layer chickens, and fruit trees such as ackee, lychee, and orange. It is in the middle of the island almost exactly halfway between Montego Bay and Savanna la Mar.

Where is the coffee grown?

Kew Park’s 35-acre coffee farm is located 1200 feet above sea level, on the north-facing slopes of the ridge on the southern side of the farm. On the north-facing slope the coffee gets longer day length, more moisture at night, and is in the edge of the natural forest. The pulping, drying, and roasting of the beans takes place about two miles down the road from the coffee trees. The coffee roaster can be found in the farm’s cottage, a small stone house that is thought to have been constructed by the Spanish settlers in the 17th century.

How does Kew Park grow its coffee at a lower altitude than some coffees?

Compared to some coffee farms in countries like Ethiopia and Colombia, our coffee is grown at a lower altitude. However, coffee trees don’t care as much for altitude as they do for a constant cool climate that never dips below freezing and has a lot of rain. In the tropics, these environments are often found in high altitude places, but there are also microclimates that provide the same prerequisites for good coffee, such as Kew Park. Because Kew Park is located in the middle of the island, it receives steady rainfall – over 120 inches of rain a year – from the trade winds, i.e. from the southeast trade winds and the northeast trade winds.

Why is Kew Park coffee more expensive than coffee I buy in the grocery store?

The better question is, how is it cheaper than most Jamaican coffee? Blue Mountain coffee – the most famous coffee in Jamaica – is $40/pound. Kona coffee, another popular bean, is $30/pound. Kew Park is $16/pound. Jamaica is a small island, and the coffee production and economy is much smaller than other non-island countries, meaning that each bag will cost more than a mass-produced pound of coffee.

Is Kew Park “fair-trade” or “organic”?

Although Kew Park coffee doesn’t have these official labels, it is fair-trade because when you buy Kew Park coffee you’re buying it directly from the farmers. We also don’t use any inorganic sprays or chemicals on our coffee trees.

Why shade-grown coffee? What does it mean to be bird-friendly coffee?

You can read more about shade-grown coffee and bird-friendly coffee here

What is coffee rust, and has it affected Kew Park?

Coffee rust – or Hemileia vastatrix – is a fast-spreading fungus that grows on the leaf, reducing it for photosynthesis and damaging it. If coffee rust is severe enough it affects health of the tree and the crop. The rust can be identified by bright yellow or orange powdery spots on the underside of leaves. 

Coffee rust has destroyed many coffee crops in Central and South America, and somewhat in Jamaica. Fortunately, Fortunately, there are ways to prevent the fungus from spreading and damaging the crops. Field sanitation, shade reduction, pruning and removal of lower branches resting on soil surface, and good nutrition management are initial ways to prevent coffee rust from spreading. It can also be controlled by changing the chemistry of the leaf, and using sprays such as copper, or systemic fungicides. Recently, some coffee farms in Colombia have worked with USAID to plant coffee trees that are genetically modified to resist the fungus, which has been successful in boosting the crop back up in those areas.

However, Kew Park’s coffee has remained undamaged by coffee rust, and healthy precautions and measures are being taken to ensure that it remains unaffected. We have never used systemic fungicides or GMOs.

Where did the name Kew Park come from / Why is it called Kew Park?

Kew Park was originally known as the letter “Q” Park, named after the previous owner, Richard Quarrel, who owned it until 1830s. When the Williams family purchased it from him, they renamed it Kew Park. 

What makes good coffee?

Good coffee is grown in cool areas that receive a lot of rain, planted in lightly acidic, well-drained soils (i.e. not clay-rich soils). Good coffee is picked only when the bean is fully ripe (deep red in color) so that the natural flavor of the coffee is at its peak. It has to be pulped quickly before it starts to ferment in the bean, dried evenly down to the consistent 12% moisture, hulled and graded accurately, and then roasted to its optimum medium or dark roast, according to taste. 

How do you make cold brew coffee?

The easiest way to make cold brew coffee is in a French press coffee maker. Fill the pot 1/3 full of coarse-ground coffee (preferably Kew Park!) and fill with cold filtered water. Stir it to ensure all the grounds are wet and then rest the filter lightly on top. Let it stand on your kitchen counter for 24 hours and then stir again before pushing down the filter press. The resulting cold brew coffee is a strong concentrate with 66% less acid than hot brewed coffee and three times the caffeine of normal-strength coffee. You can keep it in the refrigerator for up to three weeks and dilute with hot water or milk to taste for a hot cup of coffee.