In this section we will explore the different coffee estates in Jamaica. Most of the estates were created in the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century as the British colonists sought to exploit the world demand for coffee. The supply of coffee worldwide had suffered when one of the biggest producers, St. Domingue (Haiti) was undergoing the slave rebellion that would lead to its independence.
In many of the short bio’s of these estates we provide the original acreage of the plantation. Interestingly, in most of them the amount of land given over to coffee is less than 50%, and in many around 25% of total. Part of this is due to the difficult terrain. Unplantable land was called “ruinate”. A significant amount of land was provided to the slaves as they were responsible for feeding themselves.
After emancipation in 1838, many estates were abandoned or sold off in small lots to the former slaves due to the multiple difficulties that were affecting Jamaican coffee, some internal, some external. The estate names act both as trademarks and designate coffee that is purchased from small growers whose property once comprised the estate. Some estates though, remained intact.
The short biographies of these estates are mostly of their early days. We will update them with their modern histories as we continue our research of Jamaica’s Blue Mountain estates.