Our story begins with King Louis XIV of France.
In his day, not only was he curious, he was also a coffee lover having tasted it on his many travels to Yemen. It was customary at the time for the local noblemen and the European elite to indulge in coffee as an everyday pleasure. This ritual fascinated Louis with a feverish obsession and he wished to make this ritual a part of everyday French culture.
So how does one procure a coffee tree from the Arabs, who jealously guarded their new discovery? A challenge Louis took on gladly, but had to do so in secrecy.
A group of Dutch spies, owing Louis a favour, were summoned to steal, with great difficulty, a coffee tree. The tree was stolen from the Arabian port of Mocha and carried on to Java. It went by sea to Holland, and overland to Paris, into the hands of King Louis XIV.
Louis had the first greenhouse in Europe constructed to house the coffee tree, as the climate in France is unsuitable for growing coffee. In that greenhouse, under strict secrecy, the tree flowered, bore fruit, and became the single most important tree in the history of coffee growing. Through botanical self reliance, in that the coffee tree pollinates itself, many coffee trees were produced from this single tree in the greenhouse.
Now what to do with all these trees that could not be planted in the harsh climate of France. Louis realized if he shipped these trees to lands under his control in South and Central America he could successfully grow the supply of coffee he so desperately wanted.
From that single coffee tree, billions of Arabica coffee trees growing in South and Central America kick-started the coffee culture in France, ultimately spreading throughout Europe.
Throughout this entire process King Louis XIV was adamant his strategy be a complete secret, as he was dealing with his friends the Arabs who would look no doubt unfavorably upon their relationship should they become aware of his actions. To navigate through this relationship, King Louis XIV swore all those involved to use a code name whenever referring to the work at hand,
That code name was: Noble Tree
In honour of King Louis efforts we continue to pursue European traditions.
Our story is still being written, here in High River, Alberta.