COFFEE BLOOMS IN BRAZIL
(Circa 1727 to 1800)
1727: Brazils government wants a cut of the coffee market; but first, they need an agent to smuggle seeds from a coffee country. Enter Lt. Col. Francisco de Melo Palheta, the James Bond of Beans.
Colonel Palheta is dispatched to French Guiana, ostensibly to mediate a border dispute. Eschewing the fortresslike coffee farms, suave Palheta chooses a path of less resistancethe governors wife. The plan pays off. At a state farewell dinner she presents him a sly token of affection: a bouquet spiked with seedlings.
From these scant shoots sprout the worlds greatest coffee empire. By 1800 Brazils monster harvests would turn coffee from an elite indulgence to an everyday elixir, a drink for the people.