Cinco de Mayo, Napoleon, & Coffee ???

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

If it is one thing this blog stands for, its coffee. No coffee … No blog!

Now Stanczyk has been a big fan of Napoleon primarily for two reasons:

1. Codex Napoleon – What it did for genealogical records (2 witnesses, standardized format, etc.)

2. Napoleon’s Army – His effusive praise for Polish soldiery and of course for Napoleon himself being a royal pain to the partitioning powers of Poland.

Today, I must add a third reason in praise of Napoleon. The Emperor was a coffee aficionado! He is reputed to be a very BIG coffee drinker (ten, twenty, thirty or more cups a day ???). Once again he had effusive praise … for St Helena Coffee! What you may not know was that while he was exiled to St Helena (in the South Atlantic off the coast of Africa) which was largely run by Britain’s East India Company [should not the Emperor have developed a taste for tea?] he lauded the island coffee.

After Napoleon died on 5th-May-1821, his praise of the island’s coffee, caused it to become popular amongst the French. So as you sip your favorite Cinco de Mayo beverage today, be it a margarita or a Kentucky mint julep, this jester will be sipping some St Helena Coffee in honor of the Emperor. After all, his heir and nephew, Napoleon III (Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte) and I have a birthday in common — perhaps that is a fourth reason to be a fan.

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