Spread the niceness

The 3rd Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival finally got underway on Saturday, April 2, 2022 after a 2-year hiatus. Jamaica’s buzzing entertainment industry was virtually at a standstill after COVID-19 was first reported on the island. This happened roughly a week before the proposed 2020 Jamaica Coffee Festival staging, ultimately cancelling it.

The Government of Jamaica lifted mandates related to the pandemic on March 18, 2022. The highly coveted coffee fest was one of the first large public events to be held after the industry’s official reopening.

Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival 2022

Ever since the inaugural festival, this initiative to highlight one of the world’s best-rated coffees has included a series of caffeine-powered events. The month-long 2022 celebrations included specials along the Blue Mountain Culinary Trail, select Blue Mountain tours, workshops, and marketplace events. The festivities concluded with the main event on the 1st Saturday of April.

Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival 2022 Marketplace

The obvious change from the 2 previous stagings of the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival Marketplace was the venue. Instead of the cool and misty peaks of the mountains, the 2022 event was instead held on the lawns of the Devon House gastronomic centre in the Kingston corporate area. Gates opened at 10AM, and by 10:30 the parking lot was already beginning to fill up.

White tent booths of the artisan and food villages lined the grass as businesses showcased their products. Local vendors and coffee estates helped to highlight the versatility of the day’s main ingredient. Items for sale, giveaways, as well as some free samples drew patrons as they browsed booths during the first half of the event. Some of Jamaica’s best were on display through body care, apparel & accessories, home & garden, and food & beverage products… many of which were infused with coffee, of course!

Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival 2022 Activities + Performances

On the main stage, a panel discussion including Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, Sandals & Beaches Resorts Chairman Adam Stewart, and hostess Terri-Karelle Reid, alongside other enthusiasts ensued in the early part. The opening discussion included talks about coffee industry preservations and Jamaica’s gastronomic tourism. Following the discussions, panelists visited artisan tents and interacted with beaming local entrepreneurs proud to share their goods.

In between onstage activities, Renaissance’s DJ Delano mastered the turntables. Dwight Richards delighted with his voice and trumpet while performing renditions of classic tunes. Barista and mixology competitions had contestants from Ragamuffin Café, Café Dolce, and DeafCan Coffee, and Human Employment and Resource Training (HEART) Trust whipping up coffee drinks and cocktails for judging. The competitions were won by Shanice of Café Dolce and HEART Graduate Brian Broderick respectively.

Hostesses of the day Terri-Karelle Reid and Khadine “Miss Kitty” Hylton held the crowd captive with their individual charm and vivaciousness. The venue electrified when patrons got involved in onstage giveaways and quick dance segments. Hon. Edmund Bartlett and Member of Parliament Juliet Holness got the most cheer from the crowd when they joined in the festivities. Their respective takes on ‘Leggo Di Bird’ and ‘Dirt Bounce’ dance crazes popularized by dancehall artist Lalee Ranks left the audience delighted with hearty laughs and applauses.

The atmosphere was again turned up a notch when musical performances began. Upcoming singjay Kalyra impressed at her 1st live performance with her vocals, dance moves, and bright daring outfit. In the company of backup dancers, she opened with song renditions and closed with her new single ‘One Wine’. She then made way for sultry headliner of the evening Christopher Martin whose melodic catalogue included notable favourites such as ‘Big Deal’, ‘Big Big’, and ‘Cheaters Prayer’. During his set, Bling Dawg also graced the stage in a surprise appearance. The hour-long music show had the sizable crowd of all ages delightfully swaying and singing along to culminate the long-awaited return of the Jamaica Coffee Festival.

The 2022 staging of the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Festival looked like a success! After attending all 3 of the Marketplace events over the years, I definitely enjoyed this 1 more than expected considering the venue change. The selection of hostesses, music, and extra dosages of caffeine created an atmosphere that was enjoyable for everyone and a cornerstone for one of Jamaica’s most prized products – Blue Mountain coffee.