Honest Organic now has a new range of delicious ready-to-drink coffees and no-added sugar kids’ drinks available. We caught up with Honest’s founder Seth Goldman to find out more about the brand’s beginning, its mission to make the world a better place – and how he found out that Barack Obama was a fan...

“If there was one word to describe Honest, it’s: authenticity,” says Honest co-founder Seth Goldman. That means authenticity around quality of ingredients, taste, suppliers and our connection to consumers.”

Drinks that are more than 20 years in the making
And Seth should know about authenticity. He co-created the Honest brand from his kitchen table more than 20 years ago. “Honest is and always has been a mission-driven business. What we’re about is connecting people to nature, offering them healthier drinks and having a positive impact on the communities we source our ingredients from,” he says.

World’s first organic bottled tea brand
It all started back in 1997 when Seth and his business partner Barry Nalebuff had a light-bulb moment. “We’d noticed that most of the tea that went into bottled tea in the US was tea dust and fannings, the leftover bits once whole tea leaves had been separated and sold. This meant that most bottled teas in the US were made with some of the lowest-quality tea and they were not even brewed.

“It was obvious what we should do. And that was to make a bottled tea for the American market using freshly-brewed high-quality tea. Honest Tea, in other words.”

This became the world’s first organic bottled tea brand.

“President Obama told me that he had a button in the White House that he’d press and people would bring him a bottle of Honest. Better than pushing a button for something else!”  – Seth Goldman, co-founder of Honest

Full of beans
Not content with revolutionising the US tea market, Honest have now brought refreshing ready-to-drink coffees to the UK. Their two new drinks include Honest Organic Coffee Latte and Honest Organic Coffee Mocha, both of which use 100% organic Arabica beans and contain less sugar than most RTD milk drinks with coffee in Great Britain.

“Honest Organic embodies the values that we believe in at the Soil Association.”  – Lee Holdstock, Trade Relations Manager at The Soil Association

100% Arabica coffee beans

The coffee beans that go into Honest Coffee are “the very best 100% Arabica coffee beans,” says Seth. “We source from Peru, Honduras, Salvador and Mexico and our beans are expertly roasted to maximise a rich flavour before being blended with creamy, organic milk and just enough organic cane sugar to make it a tad sweet without taking away from the rich flavours.”

The new Honest organic range includes Mocha and Latte

Honest Organic mission statement
“We’d love to attract socially conscious consumers, who feel good about doing the right thing,” says Seth. The Honest Organic mission statement is to:

  • Promote health and wellness
  • Reduce our carbon footprint
  • Create economic opportunity
  • Be transparent
  • Help build communities

“With every pound of tea, cocoa, coffee or sugar we buy, a portion of that money goes back to the suppliers to invest in their communities,” says Seth. “That might be a school, healthcare, infrastructure or modern farm equipment.”

Certified organic
Honest Organic is certified by the Soil Association
– the UK’s leading membership charity campaigning for organic, healthy, humane and sustainable food. “We don’t use chemicals, we use natural pesticides,” explains Seth. “I’m talking about nature’s pesticides – ladybugs!”

Working in partnership with the Soil Association
"I think it's incredibly exciting that we're working in partnership with Honest,” says Lee Holdstock, Trade Relations Manager at The Soil Association. “One of the things we know has been a challenge for organic is simply accessibility: consumers really want to buy organic but can’t find great-tasting organic drinks.

“Working together, we can bring great products like this to the consumer. Products that embodies the values that we believe in at the Soil Association and that Honest Organic believes in too.” 

Big fans in powerful places: Barack Obama
“I met Barack Obama on a flight once – economy, I might add,” says Seth. “It was before he became President. He was still a Senator then. I’d heard he liked the brand, so I introduced myself as ‘the Honest Tea Guy’. He told me that while he had previously been a big green tea drinker, he was steering himself away from the caffeine in green tea in favour of our drinks. Specifically our herbal tea, Black Forest Berry.

“Then I met him again when he was President and reintroduced myself as the ‘Honest Tea Guy’. He said he was still a fan and, in fact, that he had a button in the Whitehouse that he’d press and people would bring him a bottle of Honest. Better than pushing a button for something else!”

Honest Kids
Although the teas aren’t available in the UK, the portfolio now also includes a kids’ range of drinks that are 100% organic range with no added sugar. The range includes Appley Ever After, Berry Berry Good and Twisted Tropical Punch.

The Honest Organic Kids range includes: Appley Ever After, Berry Berry Good and Twisted Tropical Punch

Why join the Coca-Cola portfolio?
Seth says that it’s incredibly important for the Honest brand that the drinks give back to communities and stay organic. But that’s going to cost more. Joining Coca-Cola means keeping costs down while being able to expand and keeping the Honest values. “Joining the Coca-Cola family has meant that we have access to their supply chains and logistics. This means we can do thing far more efficiently. We are able to expand, while staying true to our original mission: never compromising on taste or authenticity.”

In 20 years: The household name for organic
"The launch of Honest Organic Coffee and Kids’ drinks is a realisation of a dream that Seth started this journey 20 years ago,” says Gemma Barnett, Marketing Manager Stills & Portfolio Expansion at The Coca-Cola Company. “We can now take his vision forward. Honest is incredibly popular in the US, and although we want to be just as popular here. We're not going to get there tomorrow, but in 20 years’ time we're going to be the household name for organic drinks."

Want to taste these organic drinks for yourself? Honest Kids is available at selected Tesco, Waitrose, Asda, Morrisons and Co-Operative stores, and Honest Coffee is available in selected Wasabi and W H Smith stores.

Find out more about Honest Coffee and Honest Kids