The Guadeloupe Bonifieur is a variety of coffee grown in Guadeloupe. Guadeloupe Bonifieur is the ancestor of Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee[1][citation needed] and is very rare.[2] The fresh air, high altitude, and abundance of rain create ideal conditions for growing this Arabica variety.[3] The variety is called Guadeloupe Bonifieur because of its high quality and great taste[citation needed], and because, in the past, it was used to enhance lower quality blends.[2] Connoisseurs consider it one of the best coffees in the world,[2][4] even though it is only available from a few distributors.


The name Bonifieur comes from the French "to improve", and is derived from the coffee's enhancing qualities[1][citation needed]. The Guadeloupe Bonifieur is considered by connoisseurs as "one of the best coffees in the world"[1][citation needed].[2] Nevertheless, there is no official definition of the Bonifieur[citation needed]. Producers refuse to establish a product characterisation[citation needed] because of the extreme diversity of cultural techniques and inconsistent quality[citation needed]. Some historians even have different version of the name's origin[citation needed]. According to some, the producers would keep the Guadeloupe Habitant, of superior quality[citation needed], for themselves and the rest, of lesser quality was exported. According to others, the “café bonifieur” was of better quality, therefore was exported.[citation needed] Guadeloupe Bonifieur is notorious for its mystery, as some claim it to be mythical.[5]


The French Revolution, and coffee diseases decreased the plantation[citation needed]. In 1859, only 2009 hectares remained[citation needed]. The Grande Riviere valley only accounted for 6 great estates then: Loiseau, Vitalis, Sainte – Anne, Beausejour, La Grivelière, Barthole[citation needed]. The French colony used to export 6000 tons of coffee to mainland France at the end of the 17th century under the name “cafe bonifieur”[citation needed]. However, the increase in taxes due to the Blocus in early 18th century reduced the export to 1000 tons[citation needed]. Heavy competition damaged the coffee industry, and the production decreased to 225 tons during the 18th century[citation needed]. Coffee still dominated the landscape in the early 20th century, but new diseases like the yellow rust, and a 1928 hurricane, destroyed this failing production[citation needed]. The banana tree, primarily used to protect the coffee trees, recovered quicker and developed at the expense of coffee trees.[citation needed] After the war, the rural exodus broke the growth that took place where the export volume increased by 25%[citation needed]. Altitude plantations were progressively abandoned[citation needed], the plots were concentrated in the piedmonts, and coffee was not mentioned in the agricultural statistics after 1965[citation needed]. Some dynamic producers revived the culture, with economic plans and identity assertion in the zone[citation needed]. They leaned on the patrimonial value of the “cafe bonifieur”: its reputation, typicality and history.[citation needed]

Today, the Guadeloupe Bonifieur is experiencing a rebirth[2] and is now available thanks to a cooperative of coffee growers on the Basse Terre. The objective is to revive and organise coffee growing on Guadeloupe[citation needed]. Although only 30 tons of Guadeloupe Bonifieur is produced annually,[2] it is sought after because of its rarity and good quality. Guadeloupe Bonifieur is the only coffee other than Jamaican Blue Mountain to be exported in barrels. The famous Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is the same variety[1][citation needed], and was imported from Martinique to Jamaica by Sir Nicholas Lawes and grown in the three Blue Mountain parishes. Guadeloupe Bonifieur and Jamaican Blue Mountain are very similar.[citation needed] Cultural events, museums, demonstration plantation and reconstructed farms are among the initiatives put in place[6] and managed to attract tourists and local residents.


Guadeloupe Bonifieur is green, long, and slightly thick bean,[7] covered by a pellicule of whitish silvery color, which separates from the bean in the roast[citation needed]. It has excellent cup qualities.

Guadeloupe Bonifieur is a strain of the Typica de Coffea Arabica known as le Bourbon Pointu.[2] It originated from the Java offered to Louis XIV[citation needed] and bred in the Jardin des Plantes.[8] The modern day coffee plants are descended from this line, which gives them a strong patrimony specificity and value.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d "Guadeloupe Bonifieur History and Facts". Archived from the original on 2015-07-01. Retrieved 2015-02-20.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g The Isle of Gadeloupe Tourist Board
  3. ^ Coffee museum
  4. ^ The Isle of Guadeloupe
  5. ^ Research from the CIRAD
  6. ^ France Guide
  7. ^ "Green and Roasted Coffee Characteristics". Archived from the original on 2013-01-16. Retrieved 2010-05-20.
  8. ^ Auguste Lacour, Histoire de la Guadeloupe, vol. 1 (1635-1789). Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe, 1855 full text at Google Books, p. 235f