Genrri Herrera, president of the Fairtrade Organic cooperative COCREBISTOL in Honduras

A beautiful blend: Fairtrade organic coffee stirs up change for forest conservation

LEON has launched its Fairtrade organic coffee across Sainsbury’s stores nationwide this week, and every bag sold will protect 4m2 of rainforest in Tanzania.

Each pack of coffee tells the story of Leon’s partnership with Puro Fairtrade Coffee, well-known for funding the purchase and protection of rainforest reserves in coffee-producing countries.

Inside each pack, the coffee tells another story: a beautiful blend that dives deeper than origins, fusing Fairtrade with Direct Trade, combining coffee roaster with coffee producer. But like all good stories, we first need to go back to when it began.

It was 2014, Puro were busy behind cameras in Honduras capturing footage for their Honduran Rainforest Reserve film. A cloudy afternoon set the stage for a serendipitous moment: a chance to take time out with a local Fairtrade organic cooperative, COCREBISTOL, friends of friends and kindred spirits. The co-op itself was created to tackle an environmental problem – coffee wastewater (‘agua miel’) polluting water sources – but it then went on to address a number of other local environmental challenges.

The relationship between COCREBISTOL and Puro rapidly evolved over the following three years. Together they would create La Finca de Puro Café, a Fairtrade Organic Puro coffee farm, regenerating land that had been deforested and degraded – demonstrating how coffee can be a positive tool for community and for conservation. Through this farm, Puro would then themselves become a Fairtrade organic coffee co-op member, opening up first-hand perspectives and ability to speak from, and not just of, the co-op.

All-important questions were now being asked of Puro by the co-op: ‘What journey does our coffee go on? Where in the world do people enjoy it? How does it compare to other coffees?’

‘Come and see for yourself,’ said Puro, as they organised flights and a tour for co-op president Genrri Herrera, so that he too might speak from and not of the company. This tour saw Genrri travelling throughout Europe, visiting the port of Antwerp where the co-op’s coffee is received, and Puro’s head office in Turnhout, where it is cupped, roasted and packed. He then went on to visit daughter companies in other countries, serving and enjoying the co-op’s coffee at key Puro client venues, including LEON’s.

Puro shared with their co-op friends that their coffee would now be available in another 1,000 places in the UK, to which they received the reply in the video below:

Genrri Herrera, president of the Fairtrade organic cooperative COCREBISTOL in Honduras.

LEON also has roots in this region of Honduras, not just through their Puro coffee purchases, but thanks to the rainforest reserve named in their honour: Leon de Montana (the name is also a nod to the mountain lion who resides there).

Ashley Davis, Managing Director of LEON Grocery, said: ‘It’s always been our mission to offer food that tastes good and does good, so we’re proud to now offer our triple-certified coffee in Sainsbury’s stores across the country, making our coffee more accessible to the nation than ever. It’s great to be linked to the ground and growers of this coffee.’

LEON’s Fairtrade organic coffee is available in Sainsbury’s at a RRP of £4. There are two flavour profiles: Blonde Roast (200g ground), with notes of smooth caramel and hints of citrus, and Dark Roast (200g whole bean and ground) with a full, well-balanced flavour with spicy undertones. How does it compare to other coffees? You tell us; we’re already sold.


Written by Andy Orchard