Is a £96 Cup of Coffee Actually Worth It? I Travelled 5,000 Miles to Find Out

Napoleon, the iconic British explorer, died in 1821 on St. Helena Island, an overseas territory of the South Atlantic British overseas territory. His days were filled with forlornness and coffee, which is now one of the world’s rarest and most expensive coffees. The St Helenian coffee, brewed from an Arabica bean called green-tipped bourbon, has never been cross-fertilized with any other varieties and remains as pure as the brew Napoleon imbibed. This rarity along with the logistics of exporting it and the island’s minimal production ensures the beans are worth their weight in gold.

Jill Bolton’s coffee shop, Rosemary Gate Estate, is the only place where you can drink it on the island, as her beans come from a 2.5-acre plantation her husband set up called Rosemary Gate Estate. Most other cafes in town serve imported coffee because even on the island, the homegrown coffee retails for around £10 per 4oz bag. Visitors can tour Rosemary Gate, where unroasted green coffee beans are exported exclusively to Harrods.

St Helena’s coffee production went into a steep decline until the early 1990s when a few small operations emerged. The honorary French Consul, Michel Dancoisne-Martineau, visited Longwood House, converted for Napoleon during his exile, and was surprised to find imported French roasted coffee arriving in espresso bone china cups emblazoned with the République Française crest.

Debbie and Neil Fantom, who recently launched coffee production at Wranghams, have restored an acre of a coffee plantation and a stately 18th-century Georgian manor house. They have rescued coffee bushes from overgrown vegetation and pruned them back into production with tips gained from the internet. Their darker roast is made with wondrous citrusy notes, making the St Helenian espresso so sought after beyond its rarity.

Read More @ Telegraph

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