About the Company
Sea Islands are home to many of the world’s finest single origin coffees, such as Jamaica Blue Mountain, Hawaiian Kona, St Helena, and it was in recognition of this that we named our company Sea Island Coffee when we first started trading in 2007.
After decades of trading green bean coffees from some of the world’s finest coffee estates through our sister company, Blue Mountain Coffee Europe Ltd, we wanted to use our sourcing and product expertise to make these coffees directly available to coffee connoisseurs to drink at home.
The world of speciality coffees goes from strength to strength and now dominates the coffee agenda, reinforced by various forms of organic and ethical certification.
But we at Sea Island felt that, within this greater speciality family, a group of cousins existed who were not receiving proper attention or recognition. These Arabica coffees, from a wide base of locations, shared various characteristics which were entirely distinct from the general run of specialty coffees.
They tended to come from small islands with limited cultivation acreage not capable of serious expansion and often with tiny populations to boot but, nevertheless, islands lying well within the tropics & sub-tropics and exposed to healthy maritime winds compensating, in the case of lower growing elevations, for less mountainous terrains.
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They also shared extraordinary, often buccaneering, stories with a long history of cultivation. Scarcity and high value, with the producers acting as their own market makers, were another defining characteristic.
Cup quality is an essential feature, (think of Jamaica with its rigorous quality controls; some of the toughest in the world), but just as important to our coffees is their combination of scarcity with extraordinary stories and exotic locations – story-centric rather than cup-centric coffees.
Each of the coffees that we offer is the product of a unique combination of the right soil, topography and climate with superior, often highly delicate, coffee plants. For over two decades, we have been visiting origin and forging long term personal relationships with the coffee farmers; in the case of Jamaica and St Helena, we have even invested directly in the estates we buy from, such is our belief in their coffees.
We roast weekly in small batches, and we grind and pack to order to make sure that every cup is as fresh and as vibrant as possible; this is a freshness that supermarket coffees simply cannot match.
The price of our coffees reflects the labour intensive and skilled nature of growing, harvesting and processing them.
Every coffee we offer is:
Grown at high altitude (above 1500ft) or in sea island microclimates that replicate this. Grown in small quantities. Grown from plants that are valued for their flavour not their yield or their resistance to disease. Rare plants produce rare flavours. Some of the rarest and most wonderful plants are grown in less than a handful of locations around the world. Hand-picked only when perfectly ripe by skilled farmers, who have to return several times in a harvest season to each plant. Our wild animal coffees are collected by trained knowledgeable foragers. Sorted by hand and processed by artisanal and labour intensive methods. The higher volume speciality and commercial grade coffees you see on the high street tend to be traded under New York C Contract Pricing; by contrast, the producers of our coffees are market makers. Our producers set their own prices, insulating them from fluctuations in commodity pricing and so giving them a sustainable pricing regime that keeps them in business, able to keep on producing their extraordinary coffees. Small batch roasted here in the UK.