The Jamaica Coffee Festival is on for another year, following its inaugural celebration in 2018! The 3-day festivities include a farmer workshop (Friday, March 1), the main event (Saturday, March 2), and Blue Mountain Culinary Trail (Sunday, March 3). The farmer workshop is just as it sounds – interactive business development sessions for local farmers. The Jamaica Coffee Festival main event highlights the variety of our world-renowned Blue Mountain coffee in the forms of food, body care, decor, and of course beverage products.

The Blue Mountain Culinary Trail features 14 eateries and heritage sites within the UNESCO World Heritage Site, some of them include lunch specials for you to indulge in during the festival period. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit and even dine at some of these sites, 2 of which were facilitated during a blogger culinary trail by Market Me Jamaica in association with the Jamaica Coffee Festival. Here’s a preview of 8 / 14 sites you may look forward to during the Jamaica Coffee Festival and onward!

Photo credit: Market Me Ja

barbecue Heritage Gardens of Cold Spring

The  1st stop on the blogger Blue Mountain Culinary Trail was the Heritage Gardens of Cold Spring. This 18th century coffee production site was used for pulping, washing, and drying of coffee beans on barbecues. Walking through the manicured gardens will reveal an icy spring which continues to provide the property’s water to this day. Nature trails and a gazebo are in place to enjoy the serenity of the surroundings. There isn’t an open restaurant at the 3-bedroom cottage, but we were able to sample a full meal while visiting. The venue caters to overnight guests, corporate functions, weddings, retreats and other events.

Photo credit: Market Me Ja

Cafe Blue

The 2nd stop on the Blogger Blue Mountain Culinary Trail has been voted as a favourite Sunday chill spot, amongst other things. It may be safe to say that Cafe Blue is one of, if not the favourite eatery of many Kingstonians in the mountains.

Its patio of high chairs and intricately-designed wooden table tops provides stylish front row seats to the lush mountainside while hummingbirds whizz by. Desserts, coffee and views galore, it is indeed a lovely afternoon spot to indulge your sweet tooth while with friends. I recommend visiting in the early afternoon; being as popular it is, the offerings are often in high demand and can be hard to get your hands on if you visit late.

Photo credit: Market Me Ja

Crystal Ridge Restaurant

Crystal Ridge Restaurant is literally just steps away from Cafe Blue, and is a spot to enjoy homestyle Jamaican cooking. The plaid-style table settings facing the large windows, like its neighbour, provide a great view of the mountainside while enjoying a filling meal.

I introduced first-time visitors to the island to Crystal Ridge Restaurant, as 1 of 10 activities in Kingston during their 2-day visit to the parish. Oxtail, curry goat, rice and peas, plantains, you name it… they enjoyed it!

Strawberry Hill Hotel

Another favourite – the luxurious Strawberry Hill Hotel! Known for its panoramic views as well as its picturesque venue, it’s a popular place for private events, Sunday brunch and tea, and of course weekend getaways. Visitors are welcome to tour the gardens and indulge in their food offerings. The sizeable Georgian-style venue provides surroundings that could come right out of a postcard! Its also reputed to have been frequentled by numerous public figures such as Admiral Lord Nelson and Bob Marley.

Rafjam’s Bed & Breakfast

Rafjam’s is a homey, tucked away bed & breakfast with an on-site restaurant that is open for drop-ins, with meals cooked to order. While waiting for your meal, feel free to roam the property where you’ll be sure to observe a number of flowers and insects you don’t typically see on the flat. A river backdrop flows through the property, and you’re welcome to take a dip, or even opt for a short hike a bigger nearby waterfall.

EITS Cafe

Marked by a vintage vehicle repurposed as an entrance sign, don’t be fooled to think that EITS Cafe is only coffee and small eats like a typical cafe; it is actually a bar and restaurant. I’ve never encountered the same menu twice when visiting, so I assume they change it regularly (or I have convenient timing between menu updates).

Spring water straight from the source is the first offering you’ll receive as you sit and observe the sentimental photos lining their walls, and of course the marvelous Blue Mountain views. Not only can you eat and drink here, but take a stroll to the veranda, piano bar + mini gallery, and cottages on site.

Blue Ridge Restaurant

On the other side of the mountain from the sites mentioned above is Blue Ridge Restaurant. It is a lovely place for just about any meal! Breakfast is included only for overnight guests at their cottages situated on a coffee farm.

Lunch and dinner have the same menu, and are open to the public (+ it’s 1 of my favourite romantic date venues). The Blue Ridge restaurant is lined with large windows to provide guests with a 180 view and crisp natural breeze of the Blue Mountains while they enjoy meals.

Blue & John Crow Mountains National Park

Jamaica’s first national park covers over 100,000 acres and includes the island’s highest point – the Blue Mountain Peak (7,401 feet). The area is considered a nature lover’s paradise (with good reason), with miles of hiking trails, hundreds of flowering plants and birds, plus flowing rivers and waterfalls. In 2015, the Blue and John Crow Mountains was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site deserving of special protection.

3 recreational areas of the park include Holywell, Portland Gap, and the Blue Mountain Peak Trail. These are popular camping, hiking and adventure sites, with Holywell often used for cookouts and day chills.

These are just roughly half of the sites to enjoy along the Blue Mountain Culinary Trail, imagine how much more there is to see! Find more information about the Jamaica Coffee Festival and all the other Culinary Trail sites at https://jamaicacoffeefest.com .

Photo credit: Market Me Ja

Take a look at numerous ways Blue Mountain coffee is used and enjoyed. Outside of with cream and brown sugar, I love Blue Mountain coffee as a hair rinse/tinter when the sun fades my natural dark brown hair colour! Yes, believe it or not, a coffee rinse makes your hair stronger and darker without the need for dye.

How do you enjoy your Blue Mountain Coffee, or coffee in general?

Let me know in the comments.

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