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St Helena Coffee
On the 10th February 1733, coffee seeds were brought to the Island of St. Helena, by its then owners The East India Company. The Green Tipped Bourbon Coffee seeds were brought from the coffee port of Mocha in Yemen, on a Company ship the "Houghton" by Captain Philips.
Over the past ten years, St. Helena coffee has been become known to coffee connoisseurs world-wide, who have been seduced by its distinctive quality and uniqueness.
St. Helena coffee is unique, as it is not just a pure Arabica coffee, but a single type of Arabica bean known as Green Tipped Bourbon Arabica.
Green Tipped Bourbon Arabica is a subtle and delicate bean, which requires great care during harvesting, wet processing and roasting, to ensure that all of its wonderful characteristics are preserved for the enjoyment of the true coffee connoisseurs.
With the Island being one of the most remote places on earth, situated on the South Atlantic Ocean, in the path of the South East Trade Winds, St. Helena has one of the purest environments in the world.
Only natural fertilizers are utilized. Livestock manure is not used as it may contain non-organic substances from concentrated animal feed or veterinary treatments.
The coffee is wet processed using pure spring water descending from the Island's peaks, along the Central Ridge.
St. Helena is fortunate of having a rich supply of guano, the dropping of sea birds, which are collected from small out-crops, of rock along the island coasts and used as a natural fertilizer. The guano being extremely rich is allowed to dry and than applied sparingly at the base of the trees during the early stage of the wet Season.
Being a volcanic island, St Helena's soils are extremely rich and the climate sub-tropical. Combined with our organic cultivation philosophy and single bean origin, St Helena Coffee is a truly unique coffee sensation.
St Helena is, of course, famous for Napoleon Bonaparte. The original tomb of the exiled Emperor Bonaparte is located at the head of Geranium Valley on St Helena. Napoleon often used to visit this site, where it is said he found peace and tranquility and requested as his place of final rest. This area was also the place of residence for his Chief Aid, Marshall Bertrand and his wife. Several stone terraces were unearthed and artifacts discovered, such as Wedgewood china, wine bottles and a lovely set of stone steps framed by an arch of ferns leading towards Napoleon's tomb.
In 2010, St. Helena Trading (UK) Ltd. arrived at a joint venture with Solomon & Co. (St. Helena) Plc. to resuscitate the St. Helenian coffee production following the sad demise of the Napoleon Estate and related holdings. The first crop from this cooperation came on stream in March of 2011.
All the former quality and related controls were re-established and surpassed, allowing for the same elegant connoisseur's coffee to return to the exotic coffee market, albeit in small quantities as before. Production is now focussed in the area centered on the historic coffee farm of Bamboo Hedge, collectively known as the Sandy Bay Estates. The land around the adjoining Wranghams Estate is also being cleared for re-newed coffee cultivation and, it is hoped, that this will come on stream in the near future, further assuring a regular and enhanced crop of St.Helenian coffee.
The British government has now authorised the construction of an airport which will completely change St. Helena's accessability with positive implications for both its tourist and agricultural industries.
St Helena Coffee Profile
St Helena coffee is wet processed to the highest possible standards, with a wonderful semi translucent sheen in green bean form. This delicate bean, medium roasted has a high lively acidity, with good balance and good body. This coffee has a superb fragrant bouquet with no off flavours and pleasant floral fruity hints of citrus and caramel strongly hinting of its Yemeni origins.
St Helena coffee is subjected to the most rigorous quality control. Due to the relatively small quantity of coffee produced, it is possible to give the coffee more attention than a larger coffee industry could expect to do.
One of the major challenges for coffee production in St Helena is the deep scarcity of local farm labor.
Here are some of the characteristics of Napoleon´s Valley Estate:
Altitude; 720 meters, but because of its unique geographical position this will be equivalent to more than a 1000 meters of altitude in other coffee producing countries
Green Tipped Bourbon
Sun-drying, this process is very slow since it takes approximately 4 months to dry the coffee while it takes just 4-5 days in all other coffee producing countries