In an unusual chain of events that began with the Mayor of Amsterdam gifting a young coffee plant to King Louis XIV of France in 1714, coffee was introduced to the Americas. This gifted tree was planted in the Royal Botanical Garden in Paris. In 1723 a French naval officer, Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu obtained a seedling and set off for Martinique. Sharing his water rations with the coffee plant and protecting it from fellow shipmates, a storm and pirate attack, de Clieu successfully transported and planted his coffee tree in Martinique. By 1726 the tree had grown and multiplied, and the first harvest was ready. By 1777, fifty years later, there were a reported 18 million coffee trees growing on the island and that sole plant became the progenitor of virtually all the coffee plants in Central and South America today. Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu is a coffee hero if there ever was one.