When I was offered some coffee to review, I was a initially a little hesitant. Coffee is not my favourite drink, nor is it my favourite flavour. But, since commencing this blog, I have been using it more and more to add an additional depth to chocolate cakes and find it works really well. I am not averse to a cup of coffee, it’s just not something I ever think to drink. The smell of roasting and brewing coffee is another matter entirely and usually has me going weak at the knees. In the end it was Puro’s ethical stance that swayed me and got me brewing.
As the name suggests, Puro Fairtrade Coffee is a fairtrade brand, certified by the Fairtrade Foundation and belonging to Belgian company Miko which has been roasting coffee for 212 years. Some of its coffee is also organic, although not certified by the Soil Association, the certifying body I trust most. Miko won an award last year for its partnership with the World Land Trust and its work in helping to protect the rainforests of South America; the trust is also supported by David Attenborough. A total of 8103 acres of rainforest in Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia have so far been saved and are now protected from logging. This may not seem a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. One new tree species, 12 orchids and one frog have all been discovered in these areas since they became reserves. One of the orchids is now known as the Puro orchid! I was also pleased to find that Miko produces all of its own electricity via solar panels.
You can find out more about the Puro story by watching this short clip.
When the coffee package arrived, I was ridiculously excited to find it all wrapped up in a hessian sack just like a sack of bona fide beans. I had a very good feeling about it from then on in. Diving into the bag was rather like a Christmas stocking; pulling out one lumpy unidentified item after another was an enjoyable guessing game. Not only did I pull out three 250g packets of coffee, but also a 3 cup cafetiere, a Pura cup and saucer, a pack of individual hot chocolate sachets and some sugar sachets too.
As neither CT nor I are coffee connoisseurs, I invited some more knowledgeable friends around for a tasting. I used the cafetiere provided to make three brews of filter coffee and we tasted them blind. First off, we breathed in the aroma, then tasted them black and finally added milk. The results were very interesting to my untutored palate – it seems quality will out. Arabica is meant to be the premier coffee species and the one with the highest percentage of Arabica to Robusta, was the one we liked best. Like chocolate, it seems that the best beans are grown in South America with the more standard everyday ones grown in Africa (Congo). That said, we liked all of them.
Each bag came with a hand written label showing type, origins, content and description – all are fairtrade and shade grown. I’ve written our tasting notes first, followed by Puro’s own in italics. We did not read the descriptions until after we’d done our own tasting, but as you can see our notes echoed theirs.
Puro Noble – 80% Arabica, 20% Robusta beans shade grown in Guatemala, Peru, Honduras and the Congo – smooth, mild and graceful – mellow and well balanced, this was pronounced (by the experts) to be a standard good cup of coffee they would be happy to drink at any time of the day. 6/10
The complex character of this blend comes from the mild and smooth yet floral Guatemalan high grown Arabica skilfully blended with the Peruvian Arabica for a perfect balance of flavour. Through the addition of premium Robusta, a hint of dark chocolate is injected into the cup.
Puro Organic – 100% Arabica beans shade grown in Peru & Honduras – lovely bouquet, chocolatey, rich, creamy, distinct smell. Chocolate taste, complex with several different flavours detected – strong but not too bitter – it would make a satisfying mid-morning or after dinner coffee 9/10
This amazingly delicate blend is distinctive in flavour. It combines beautifully soft notes of chocolate with citric overtones that gives it a fruitiness whilst adding natural sweetness.
Puro Fuerte – 50% Arabica, 50% Robusta, the beans come from Guatemala, Peru, Honduras and the Congo. Middle of the road, richer, fiercer, more bitter, richer bouquet, higher roast, robust – a wake-me-up morning coffee. 8/10
Wow, good morning and a warm welcome from this intense fiery blend. This dark roasted blend of high grown Arabica with the finest Congo Robusta creates a warm balanced cup with lively fragrant flavours, which when added to perfectly tempered milk create a bitter sweet chocolate.
To accompany the coffee, I made some coffee biscuits with whipped coffee chocolate ganache. For a change, I thought I would make coffee the star of the show rather than chocolate and much to my surprise, I found these biscuits to be utterly delicious. The Puro Fuerte, being of a robust nature, was an ideal coffee with which to flavour the biscuits. They proved to be very popular.
Puro coffee is drunk in a number of locations including all National Trust sites and Royal Parks. Each month there is a chance to win a coffee pack by entering a caption competition on Puro’s facebook page – definitely worth a try.