Moon Author's Review
Mavis Bank Coffee Factory (8:30 a.m. oon and 13:30 p.m Mon.Fri., tour reservations recommended, US$8 adults, US$3.50 children) was established in 1923 by an English planter, Victor Munn. As the biggest coffee factory in Jamaica, it has been the economic foundation for the area since. The company is currently owned by the National Investment Bank of Jamaica (NIJB) and the founding Munn family, who share 70/30-percent stakes. Today, operations at the 327-worker factory are overseen by local PNP politician Senator Norman Grant, who holds the position of managing director.
Mavis Bank Coffee Factory is supplied by six of its own plantations, including Abbey, St. Thomas, and Orchard Rest, and around 5,000 independent farms. Most of the picking is done by local women, who receive about US$50 per box full of berries. Of this, the vast majority goes to the farm owner where the berries were picked. The coffee is then left outside to dry for 57 days, weather permitting, or dried in a giant tumbler for two days if it’s too rainy outside. Once dry, the coffee is aged in big sacks for 46 weeks before the outer parchment, or hull, is removed and the beans are cleaned and roasted. The whole process takes 34 months from bush to mug. Four grades (peaberry, 1, 2, and 3) are produced at MBCF, around 7580 percent of which is consumed in Japan, with 5 percent going to the United States and 4 percent to Europe and the rest of the world. The remainder goes to local markets. MBCF processes 1.4 million pounds of green beans per year from 6,000 farmers.
The best tours of the factory are led by Doreen "Barbara" Johnson who has worked at MBCF since 1987.