The Island of St Helena is a small, mountainous, sub tropical island of 122 square kilometres, situated in the South Atlantic Ocean, on latitude 16 degrees south and longitude 5 degrees 45' west. The island was discovered by the Portuguese Admiral Joao da Nova on the 21st May, 1502. He landed where Jamestown stands today and built a chapel there. For over eighty years the Portuguese kept their discovery a secret and used it to replenish their East India fleet.
St Helena ceased to be Portugal's exclusive preserve in 1588, when Capt. Thomas Cavendish called there during the last stage of his round-the-world voyage in HMS Desire. English and then Dutch ships were soon calling frequently. Following a Dutch attempt to annex the island in 1633, the East India Company decided to fortify it and in 1659 the first permanent settlement was established.
In 1673 St Helena was captured by the Dutch but only four months later was recaptured by the English. The East India Company was granted administration of the island which continued until 1834 when it was brought under the direct control of the British Crown.
On 16 October 1815, the defeated French emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte arrived at St Helena and began his imposed exile. His home was to be Longwood House, where he was to remain until his death on the 5th May 1821.
Today St Helena is a British Overseas Territory with an English speaking population of approximately five thousand people, mainly of English, African and Chinese descent.
The nearest land is Ascension Island, some 1125 Km north west of St Helena, with the closest mainland port being Cape Town, Republic of South Africa, and some 2720 Km southeast of the island. St Helena Island is one of the most remote places on earth. Without an airport, access to the island is via the Royal Mail Ship St Helena, operated by Curnow Shipping Ltd. at Falmouth, Cornwall, England.
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 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 Aide, 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.