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Smooth and Mellow with Royal Ancestry: Brazil Santos Bourbon Private Reserve

The history of the beans from which our Brazil Santos Bourbon coffee is derived is complex. Its path to South America involved a key role for King Louis XIV, the Sun King of France’s House of Bourbon.

The Sun King Makes His Mark on Coffee

Louis was crowned as a young boy in 1643, and he reigned for 72 years as France bloomed in a golden age. In the early 18th century he received a gift of coffee plants, and the French eventually established coffee seedlings on Bourbon Island in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Madagascar. These mutated to what became known as the Bourbon variety of coffee plant and eventually entered South America.

Bourbon’s Migration to the Americas

Bourbon coffee plants apparently made their way to Brazil around 1720, possibly thanks to French colonists joining the Minas Gerais region’s gold and diamond rush. Gold production continued for decades but eventually collapsed. Coffee, however, proved more sustainable.

By the 1840s, Brazil was the world’s largest supplier of coffee, accounting for 40% of production worldwide. That doubled by the 1920s, when the country nearly monopolized the international market; however, the market share subsequently dropped as other countries increased production.

Royal Lineage

Much of the coffee today can be traced back to King Louis XIV’s original plants. Today, there are Red Bourbon, Yellow Bourbon and Orange Bourbon varieties; Yellow and Orange Bourbon get their names from spontaneous natural mutations that cause their cherries to ripen to their respective colors.

Community® Brazil Santos Bourbon is a single-origin coffee grown on select farms in the southern part of Minas Gerais, and it is known for its smooth, mellow flavor. While Bourbon’s sweet notes and gentle brightness make it popular among coffee growers and coffee drinkers, production of Yellow Bourbon is becoming increasingly rare in the Minas Gerais region. It represents just 30% of production, so savor each cup of this Private Reserve® coffee.