In 1728, Sir Nicholas Lawes, the then Governor of Jamaica, imported coffee into Jamaica from Martinique. The country was ideal for this cultivation and nine years after its introduction 83,000 lbs. of coffee was exported.
Between 1728 and 1768, the coffee industry developed largely in the foothills of St. Andrew, but gradually the cultivation extended into the Blue Mountains. Since then, the industry has experienced many rises and falls, some farmers abandoning coffee for livestock and other crops.
In order to save the industry, in 1891 legislation was passed "to provide instructions in the art of cultivation and curing coffee by sending to certain districts, competent instructors." Efforts were made to increase the production of coffee and to establish a Central Coffee Work for processing and grading. This effort to improve quality, however, was not very successful: until 1943 it was unacceptable to the Canadian market, which at the time was the largest buyer of Jamaican coffee.
In 1944 the Government established a Central Coffee Clearing House where all coffee for export had to be delivered to the Clearing House where it was cleaned and graded. Improvement in the quality of Jamaica’s coffee export was underway.
In June 1950 the Coffee Industry Board was established to officially raise and maintain the quality of coffee exported.