This Coffee Lover Grows His Own

A Jamaican surgeon connects with his homeland by bringing the island's most precious beans to the Garden State.

Surgeon Harold E. Chung-Loy, known as Reggie, hangs out with the big roaster at Reggie's Roast headquarters.
Surgeon Harold E. Chung-Loy, known as Reggie, hangs out with the big roaster at Reggie's Roast headquarters in Lindem
Photo by Eliot Caroom for the Star Ledger

Dr. Harold E. Chung-Loy was looking to buy some land in his native Jamaica in 1994 when he came across an old coffee farm. Chung-Loy, a surgeon in Edison, loves a good cup of coffee—especially one brewed with Jamaican Blue Mountain beans, among the rarest and most expensive in the world. Some of the beans were still growing wild on the old plantation, which largely had been given over to cocoa cultivation. The doctor smelled an opportunity.

Chung-Loy—better known as “Reggie”—purchased the farm in the New Monkland region of St. Thomas Parish and began to raise authentic Jamaican Blue Mountain beans. He later purchased a second farm nearby. In 1999, Chung-Loy began roasting the beans at a plant in Linden. The roasted beans are marketed as Reggie’s Roast Coffee.

To be certified as Blue Mountain coffee, beans must be grown in the eponymous mountain range between 2,000 and 5,000 feet above sea level. Chung-Loy’s fields are both situated at about 3,500 feet. The growing conditions and the natural elements in the soil give the beans a “very sweet and mild taste,” says Reggie’s Roast sales manager, Reggie Barrow.  The beans, he says, exhibit a “very chocolatey aroma.”

Coffee brewed from the beans has other admirable qualities. “It has a low acidity because of the way it’s grown,” Barrow says. “It’s grown slower than typical coffees, in the natural shade. I liken it to using a slow cooker. You get a lot more flavor out of the coffee.”

Reggie’s Roast is one of only two companies that grow their own Jamaican Blue Mountain beans and roast them stateside. The beans (light, medium or dark roast) can be purchased online at their website, starting at $25.99 for an 8-ounce bag. In New Jersey, Reggie’s Roast can be found at Stop & Shop and Ashley Marketplace in South Orange. Delightful Cake Kreation in Springfield serves it by the cup.

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  1. Karen Rainville

    Hi Reggie, can I buy your coffee in Fl or just online? BTW, how is life treating you? I’d love to say hello… it’s been so long. Call me, 727-793-5577. Karen