9 Fair Trade Coffee Companies That Are Good to the Last Drop

From small-scale growers to established roasters, these companies offer fantastic coffee at fair trade prices.

Dec 16, 2018

(Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash)

There is nothing better than waking up to the smell of coffee. Hot, cold, perked, pressed, pods, or k-cups – it doesn't make a difference how it is prepared – coffee is the morning go-to-choice for over 50 percent of Americans.

That translates to a whopping 400 million cups of coffee a day in the US and over 2.25 billion cups worldwide. Coffee is an extremely popular beverage. And it isn't just for mornings; most coffee drinkers have three cups a day.

Coffee drinkers are not just grabbing a quick cup of black coffee anymore. Americans are becoming more sophisticated, drinking espresso, cappuccino, lattes, and iced coffee. They want quality coffee, specialty blends, and buy fair trade coffees. And they are more educated consumers, demanding coffee production that doesn't exploit coffee farmers in developing countries, offers fair trade certification, is organic, and ethical.

With so many companies promoting fair trade certified coffee – even if it is only one or two of the types of coffee a company sells – it is hard to weed out the chaff from the cream of the crop. We choose nine coffee brands that have made ethical treatment part of their mission.

So, here's to a great cup of coffee, make mine light, sweet, fair trade, and organic.

1. Larry's Coffee

Larry’s Coffee is committed to blend and slow roast innovative and unique coffees. All of their 15 blends are 100 percent fair trade, shade grown, and organic. Larry's Coffee is a member of Cooperative Coffees and has organic, Fair Trade, and B Corporation certificates. This green company has made environmental sustainability a big part of their business model using passive and active solar construction, renewable energy, composting, and rainwater harvesting to minimize their environmental impact. Have a cup of great coffee and protect the earth too.

2. Café Mam

Since 1990, Café Mam has been sourcing only fair trade, 100 percent organic (certified by Oregon Tilth), and shade-grown coffee from indigenous cooperative groups. The coffee is grown by native Mayan coffee growers in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico. There are 12 coffee choices and all the packaging is recyclable or compostable. Plus, a percentage of sales is donated to nonprofit organizations dedicated to organic, social justice, and environmental causes.

3. Higher Ground Roasters

Dedicated to providing 20 of the finest coffees the world has to offer, Higher Ground Roasters uses only 100 percent organic, fair trade, and shade-grown coffee beans. The company is really into creating positive relationships from the farm to the cup by partnering with conservation nonprofits. The company takes the higher ground in being green too. It is moving towards a completely green sustainable business model by offsetting its energy use by purchasing wind power credits through renewable choice energy.

4. Grumpy Mule

Grumpy Mule is as stubborn as a mule when it comes to their ethics. The Mule has fair trade, rainforest alliance, and organic certifications for all their products There are 18 coffee choices available with nerdy names and colorful packaging. Drinking quality products can be delicious and entertaining at the same time.

5. Conscious Coffees

Buying only certified organic fair trade coffee grown on small family farms that are collectively self-organized into cooperatives, Conscious Coffees is a certified B corporation and 2018 Best for the World Honoree. The company is also committed to educating consumers about the social, environmental, and economic impacts of growing, harvesting, processing, roasting, and trading coffee. There are 11 global coffee selections available to choose from.

6. Rise Up Coffee Roasters

Rise Up Coffee is an independent small batch coffee roaster that was founded by Tim Cureton after a life-changing coffee experience after volunteering for the Peace Corp. The company has grown in just a few years from a small producer with a coffee truck to a team of over 100 employees. Rise Up roasts 10 varieties (plus funky seasonal offerings) of only sustainable certified organic and certified fair trade coffee.

7. Pure Vida Coffee

Pura Vida was one of the first brands to exclusively sell fair trade coffee and has since added certifications for shade grown and organic practices across its products. The company roasts seven specialty coffees and stresses that great causes happen every time you brew Pure Vida coffee because a portion of the proceeds helps to fund programs that help at-risk youth locally and globally. Drink up!

8. Equal Exchange

Brewing coffee for over 25 years, Equal Exchange was founded on a novel idea that food could be traded in a way that was honest and fair to both farmers and consumers. Owners Jonathan Rosenthal and Michael Rozyne plunged right in and began selling fairly traded coffee from Nicaragua. Their co-op has over 100 workers/owners and each has an equal share and voting rights in the company. Although not all the coffee is organic, this worker-owned company still earns high marks in our book. There is a myriad of coffees to choose from including k-cups.

9. Wandering Bear Coffee Company

Because a Wandering Bear never hibernates, this company assures its patrons won't either after drinking their Peruvian Fair Trade organic Arabica cold brew coffee. You can try their single-serve cold brews or their new cold brew on tap. You will always get the freshest cup with Wandering Bear's innovative way of storing coffee.

BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.

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