Lyon, 20 October 2023 – Ecotone, European pioneer and leader in organic, plant-based, and fair trade products, announces the opening of its “Caféière”, the largest 100% organic coffee factory in Europe. An investment of 10 million euros for the company, to respond even better to the growing demand for quality organic products in the coffee and hot drinks market.
A meaningful name for a centre of expertise for organic coffee and tea in harmony with the environment.
The term “caféière” refers to a plantation of coffee trees, the shrub from which the coffee beans come. These plantations are originally islands of biodiversity, because the 80 species of coffee trees in the world thrive in rich and varied ecosystems.
With financial support from the European Union and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), La Caféière can boast a limited, controlled, and conscious impact on its environment, in line with the company’s values and mission “Food for biodiversity”.
A number of environmental impact studies, taking into account the fauna, flora, and acoustic impact of its operations, were carried out before and during the works. These studies made it possible to design and implement environmental protection measures that were integrated into the design of the plant itself (for example, in terms of water management in wetlands).
La Caféière has also invested in reducing CO2 emissions by installing a roasting smoke burner that cuts emissions by 30% compared with traditional methods. With all its energy contracts based on green energy, 100% LED lighting, and 1/3 of its roof soon to be covered with photovoltaic panels, the plant is taking a global approach to energy efficiency.
In terms of waste, a “0% landfill, 100% circularity” policy has been implemented. Of the total materials left over from manufacturing processes, 85% are recycled or reused (in compost), and 15% are incinerated with energy recovery.
Very high safety standards go hand in hand with environmental commitments; the objective of ‘zero accidents’ also infuses the interior architecture and the design of the site.
The plant is firmly rooted in the local area, offering 60 direct jobs and promotes local and regional partnerships (construction companies, service providers, recruitment, etc.). Local associations also work with La Caféière, such as a local ESAT for the social and professional integration of adults with disabilities, and the Bordeaux and Gironde food bank for the redistribution of products.
A coffee of excellence, labelled, from sectors committed to preserving biodiversity, and designed using traditional production methods such as slow roasting.
La Caféière is dedicated to the production of organic coffee and tea, with a strong, certified commitment to quality and sustainability. It produces for Ecotone brands that are acclaimed by consumers for their excellent taste and environmental commitment: Destination, Naturela, Clipper, Bonneterre, Alter Eco, and Piramide.
More than 60% of La Caféière’s sales are now made with Fairtrade certified products. The aim is to achieve over 70% Fair Trade coffee and tea within two years.
To preserve biodiversity, the coffee cherries are hand-picked when ripe from high-altitude plantations and mainly come from organically grown and reared ‘Coffea arabica’ coffee trees in Central and South America and East Africa. The cherries are then washed and air-dried by our partner producers to produce a dense, transportable, and storable green coffee.
The coffee and tea sectors that supply La Cafétière are distinguished by their agricultural practices, which go even further than the standards set out in the organic specifications, such as the diversity of plant species grown per plot (agroforestry), the achievement of a decent level of income for small producers, and the attention paid by our partner cooperatives to combating deforestation in their areas.
La Caféière is also renowned for its traditional production methods. For the coffee, a slow roast of between 12 and 17 minutes, at a low temperature, preserves the natural aromas. Each coffee is roasted cru by cru, then blended to create unique aromatic balances. Three roasters and an R&D team work on site at all times to ensure that the different vintages are produced correctly.
Each year, 3,200 tonnes of coffee from 12 different origins are received, resulting in around 5.5 million units sold, or almost half (46%) of the French organic market in specialist networks.
For tea, the factory focuses on loose whole leaves, producing 100 tonnes a year. The teas are flavored on site with 100% natural organic flavorings, i.e. no artificial flavorings, flavor enhancers, additives, or preservatives. The teas are also hand-picked, which means they are harvested in a way that respects the plants and plantations: only the first two leaves of the tea bush are picked, with the bud still present, to concentrate the maximum flavor, while respecting the growth of each tea tree.
At least 6 major labels demonstrate the quality of the coffees and teas and the commitments of La Caféière: Organic, Fair for Life, Faitrade/Max Havelaar, Qualité Artisan, Bio Entreprise durable, and B Corp.
Christophe Barnouin, CEO of Ecotone, comments: “The inauguration of La Caféière marks an important milestone in the development of organic and Fair Trade coffee in France. It strengthens our production capacity with a modern, scalable plant that has an optimised environmental impact. It showcases our expertise and excellence as a roaster, as well as our requirements in terms of preserving biodiversity. We are now well equipped to respond to the growing consumption of organic coffee and tea, which are essential vectors for the ecological transition in the hot drinks sector.
Renaud Chamonal, General Manager of Destination, added: “Organic is an effective and proven solution to major environmental and public health challenges, and we’re doing everything we can to make it available to as many people as possible. In this way, La Caféière is paving the way for the future of hot beverage consumption. We are democratising access to organic coffee and tea, by combining excellent products, authentic tastes, affordable prices for consumers and fair remuneration for our partner producers”.
Key figures for la caféière:
- 180 organic tea and coffee products
- 60 direct jobs
- 9500 m2 (including 8000m2 dedicated entirely to the coffee factory)
- 3200 tonnes of organic coffee received each year
- 5.5 million units of organic coffee sold annually
- 12 organic coffee origins, i.e. around thirty green coffee material codes
- 60% of coffee sales generated by fair trade labelled products
- 100 ref coffee products
- 100 tonnes of organic tea produced each year
- 80 references of tea products
- 72% of tea sales made with fair trade labelled products
Ecotone is the leading company in Europe for organic, plant-based, healthy and fair-trade food. Headquartered in Lyon, France, our family of companies is committed to making food that supports biodiversity. Our brands include many pioneers and market leaders such as Bjorg, Bonneterre, Clipper, Whole Earth, Allos, Alter Eco… With offices and production sites across seven countries, brand distributed in more than 80 countries, our 1,600 people embody every day our purpose: “Food for biodiversity”. In 2022 Ecotone becomes the highest-ranking food B Corp among large companies, entering the top 10 of large B Corp certified companies worldwide.