Selecting the Supreme: Discovering the Finest Fair-Trade Coffee Brands

Are you a coffee lover who also believes in supporting fair trade practices? Look no further! In this article, we will take you on a journey to discover the best fair-trade coffee brands available in the market today. From Cafédirect and Equal Exchange to Higher Ground Roasters and Grumpy Mule, we will provide you with a comprehensive list of top-notch coffee brands that not only deliver a delicious cup of joe but also prioritize ethically sourced beans. So grab your favorite mug and get ready to explore these incredible fair-trade coffee options that are guaranteed to make your morning brew even more satisfying.


Fair Trade Coffee For Your Morning Cup

The coffee bean industry is a prominent global commodity, particularly in the Western world. However, it is also one of the industries with the highest instances of forced labor worldwide. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), around 150 million child slaves are involved in the production of everyday items like coffee and cocoa.

These forced laborers suffer from a lack of rights and are exploited for their work, enduring long hours of labor with little to no compensation. Additionally, they often face exposure to harmful chemicals, such as fertilizers and pesticides, which results in lifelong health conditions.

Choosing to purchase fair trade coffee allows us to support ethical treatment for the laborers who work hard to produce our daily cup of coffee. Fair trade coffee brands prioritize developing long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships with farmers through fair trade and direct trade practices. By supporting these brands, we contribute to creating a better world, one cup of coffee at a time.

To further explore fair trade options, you can also consider organic meal kit delivery services and fair trade chocolate.



Ethics | Fair trade, certified B Corp, reinvests up to 50 percent of profits, gives back

Location | London, UK

Where to Buy | Online or at stockists

Cafédirect is a top choice when it comes to quality and comprehensive ethical practices. With over 30 years of impact, they have given back over £30 million to coffee growers, building long-lasting partnerships through face-to-face meetings. Notably, Cafédirect has been recognized for its commitment to fair trade and has obtained both Fair Trade and Gold Standard certifications, ensuring fair treatment for people and the planet. Moreover, Cafédirect reinvests 50 percent of its profits into a UK nonprofit called Producers Direct, which works closely with farmers to improve sustainability and livelihoods.


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Equal Exchange

Ethics | Worker-owned cooperative, fair trade, USDA certified organic coffee

Location | St. Paul, MN

Where to Buy | Online or at stockists like Target

Equal Exchange has been dedicated to crafting exceptional coffee for over 30 years. What sets them apart is their innovative approach of being a worker-owned cooperative. With a team of over 130 workers/owners, each individual holds an equal share and voting rights within the business. This unique structure ensures that all stakeholders have a say in the decision-making processes. Equal Exchange has consistently received top marks for its commitment to fair trade and caring for both people and the planet.


Shop Equal Exchange


Higher Ground Roasters

Ethics | Fair Trade certified, USDA certified organic, shade-grown, gives back, sustainable & renewable power

Location | Vestavia, AL

Where to Buy | Online, groceries & cafes throughout Southeast US

Higher Ground Roasters has made it their mission to provide the finest coffees from around the world to everyone. They exclusively roast 100 percent certified organic and Fair Trade beans, ensuring a commitment to sustainable practices. Additionally, Higher Ground purchases wind power credits to support wind farms and offset their daily carbon use. Beyond their dedication to coffee, the brand actively contributes to nonprofits like the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the Cahaba River Society. From farm to cup, Higher Ground Roasters goes above and beyond in every aspect.


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Grumpy Mule

Ethics | Fair trade, organic, gives back, supports environmental initiatives

Location | Yorkshire, UK

Where to Buy | Online

Grumpy Mule holds steadfast to their commitment to ethical practices. While it may be easier to focus on short-term sustainability, Grumpy Mule has chosen a path of long-term standards that govern their roasting and sourcing practices. As a result, they have earned fair trade and organic certifications, ensuring that every cup of coffee has a conscientious story. Their passion for coffee shines through in their playful brand, with coffee nerds leading the charge. Don't miss out on their comprehensive online guides to various coffee brewing methods.


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BLK Bold

Ethics | Fair Trade certified, gives back to youth-centered causes

Location | Des Moines, IA

Where to Buy | Online or at stockists like Target

BLK Bold is more than just a coffee and tea brand. When you purchase their Fair Trade certified beans sourced from coffee capitals like Honduras and Ethiopia, you're also contributing to philanthropy. Five percent of their profits support initiatives focused on youth, such as addressing teen homelessness and providing workforce development opportunities. If you're a daily coffee drinker, you can even sign up for a regular subscription with an additional one-dollar shipping fee. Start your day with BLK Bold and help shape the future for youth across the country.


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Wandering Bear Coffee

Ethics | USDA certified organic, Fair Trade certified, recyclable packaging

Location | New York City, NY

Where to Buy | Online or at stockists

Wandering Bear operates under the belief that everyone deserves great coffee. They not only deliver on taste but also make sustainable choices. For instance, their cold brews are smooth and strong, perfect for jumpstarting your morning at home. The single-serve cold brews are convenient for on-the-go mornings, while their tap cold brews utilize innovative and sustainable storage methods, ensuring freshness in every cup. Wandering Bear's dedication to both taste and sustainability sets them apart.


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Made by DWC

Ethics | Fair trade, made in small batches, social enterprise, gives back

Location | Los Angeles, CA

Where to Buy | Online

Made by DWC is a social enterprise focused on empowering women and breaking the cycle of chronic homelessness through employment. With their newly introduced line of coffee, they extend their commitment to making a positive impact. Made by DWC sources their beans thoughtfully and roasts them in small batches. Their coffee comes in two roasts, Uganda and Papua New Guinea, both promising delicious flavors. Profits from their coffee support career and mentorship programs, enabling you to feel good about your cup of coffee.


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Ethics | Fair trade, certified organic, eco-friendly practices & packaging, gives back, made in small batches

Location | Post Falls, ID

Where to Buy | Online or at stockists like Albertsons

As a member of Cooperative Coffees, DOMA coffee is certified organic and fairly traded through direct relationships. The brand is committed to eco-friendly practices, utilizing an eco-friendly roaster that conserves 80 percent of natural gas compared to traditional roasters. Alongside their sustainable practices, DOMA has formed partnerships with several community organizations and non-profits to give back. By choosing DOMA, you support both ethical trade and meaningful contributions to the community.




Stumptown Roasters

Ethics | Direct trade, some certified organic

Location | Portland, OR

Where to Buy | Online, at Stumptown cafes, or at stockists

Stumptown has established itself as a pioneer in quality coffee, shaping Portland into a coffee destination city. They prioritize ethics as much as they do taste, employing direct trade sourcing techniques that prioritize developing relationships and ensuring transparency with their producers. Renowned worldwide, Stumptown's attention to detail and commitment to making the world a better place make them an exceptional choice.


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Rise Up Coffee Roasters

Ethics | Fair Trade certified, USDA certified organic, made in small batches

Location | Easton, MD

Where to Buy | Online, at Maryland cafes, or at stockists

Rise Up Coffee was born out of the passion of founder Tom Cureton, who was inspired after his return from Peace Corps service. From a small coffee truck, Rise Up Coffee has grown into a team dedicated to the love of java. Their commitment extends to supporting small farmers and producing certified organic and Fair Trade beans in small batches. You can experience their artisanal brews at their personality-packed locations throughout Maryland.


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Pura Vida Coffee

Ethics | Fair Trade certified, USDA certified organic, shade-grown, gives back

Location | Seattle, WA

Where to Buy | Online

Pura Vida Coffee was one of the early pioneers in exclusively selling Fair Trade coffee. They have since expanded their certifications to include shade-grown and organic practices across all their products. Their commitment doesn't end there; they also actively support a sister nonprofit that focuses on providing education and health initiatives for at-risk children. Whether for your home or office, Pura Vida Coffee offers a decaf house blend and supports a sustainable future.


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Café Mam

Ethics | Fair Trade certified, USDA certified organic, shade-grown, biodegradable packaging, supports indigenous farmers in Mexican co-ops

Location | Eugene, OR

Where to Buy | Online or at stockists

Café Mam sources Fair Trade and organic beans from cooperatives of native Mayan farmers in the highlands of Chiapas. With a loyal following, Café Mam is known for their unwavering commitment to quality and consistency. They believe that coffee doesn't need more glossy brands but rather more authentic passion for quality and care. When you choose Café Mam, you support indigenous farmers and enjoy a delicious cup of coffee.


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Allegro Coffee

Ethics | Fair trade, USDA certified organic

Location | Thornton, CO

Where to Buy | Online or at Whole Foods

Allegro Coffee ensures fair pay and labor conditions for farmers and workers, while also promoting organic growing methods. Their commitment to people and the planet is reflected in the timeless, artisanal traditions that make their coffee stand out. As the in-house brand for Whole Foods, Allegro Coffee is readily accessible nationwide, making it easier to choose ethically-sourced coffee.


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Conscious Coffees

Ethics | Certified B Corp, organic, fair trade, beyond living wages

Location | Boulder, CO

Where to Buy | Online or at stockists

Conscious Coffees is a certified B Corporation that exclusively sources beans from small family farms organized into cooperatives. Their focus extends beyond fair trade to promote organic practices and go beyond just providing livable wages. They are dedicated to educating consumers about the social, environmental, and economic impacts of coffee production. Being recognized as a Best for the World winner among certified B Corps in 2021, Conscious Coffees continues to impress with their commitment to quality and care.


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Lifeboost is committed to not only ensuring your coffee purchase meets high standards but also to making a positive impact. Their coffee is fair trade, single-origin, free of toxins, non-GMO, and low-acid. They also promote shade-grown methods, which preserve trees and protect bird and animal life, as recognized by Smithsonian's National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute.

Lifeboost takes great care in sourcing fully mature beans from small farms. They roast the coffee in small batches, avoiding blending different types of beans. To ensure quality and safety, a third party inspects the beans for any presence of bacteria or pesticides. If they pass inspection, the beans are shipped out. With this meticulous process, Lifeboost offers a range of coffees, from classics like Medium Roast to unique options like their Luxe line featuring rare and exotic varieties. You can order single bags or sign up for a recurring coffee subscription.


Kicking Horse Coffee

When Kicking Horse Coffee started in 1996, their mission was clear: to create an organic and fair trade product. They began by roasting coffee in a garage in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Over the years, they have gained recognition as the top organic and fair trade coffee brand in Canada, as well as one of the best places to work.

Kicking Horse Coffee sources all their beans from Fairtrade and organic-certified farms. This ensures that farmers receive fair compensation, the community benefits from their investment, and the beans are free from pesticides while capturing rich flavors. Their beans primarily come from countries like Honduras, Peru, Nicaragua, and Mexico, depending on the season. Kicking Horse Coffee stands out with their whimsical names for various blends, including Grizzly Claw, Three Sisters, and Kick A**. You can conveniently find their Kick A** blend at grocery stores across the U.S.


Tiny Footprint Coffee

While many coffee brands prioritize eco-friendly initiatives, Tiny Footprint Coffee takes it a step further. They proudly proclaim to be the world's first carbon-negative coffee company. Partnering with nonprofit Mindo Cloudforest Foundation, they donate funds to support forest restoration efforts in Ecuador. When you purchase their ground or whole bean coffee, you can explore the unique flavor profiles, learn about the farms' origins, and support eco-friendly initiatives.

Tiny Footprint Coffee not only supports sustainability but also focuses on empowering female farmers whenever possible. Their commitment to making a positive environmental and social impact sets them apart.


Ethical Bean Coffee

Ethical Bean Coffee was founded on the principles of ensuring fair compensation for coffee farmers in Guatemala. During a visit to Guatemala, the company's future founders witnessed the unfair treatment of local farmers and made it their mission to support every farmer they work with.

Since its inception in 1999, Ethical Bean Coffee has been a fair trade company, advocating for fair wages and sustainable farming methods. Additionally, they invest in renewable energy to reduce their carbon footprint. All of their coffee is 100% organic, and they offer various flavors, including compostable coffee pods for single-serve machines. With their coffee subscription program, you never have to worry about running out of your favorite brew.


Larry's Coffee

Larry's Coffee, located in the charming Five Points neighborhood of Raleigh, North Carolina, goes above and beyond in their commitment to Fair Trade practices. Not only do they prioritize fairness in their business, but they also prioritize eco-friendliness and sustainability. Their innovative three-building complex incorporates numerous energy-saving features, including a remarkable "clearstory" that floods their facilities with natural daylight, reducing the need for electricity. They also employ state-of-the-art insulation, zone heating, and reflective flooring, among other measures. It's worth noting that even the bathrooms at their roastery are powered by rainwater tanks capable of storing an impressive 2,500 gallons.

Certified as a B-Corporation, Larry's Coffee ensures that all their products are fair trade, shade-grown, and organic. Their extensive range of options includes a delightful selection of whole bean and ground coffees, each with its own endearing name. For instance, you can savor the bold and dark-roasted Awake in Class or indulge in the single-origin goodness of Bolivia Aipep. Additionally, they cater to espresso lovers with an array of specialized roasts.

What truly sets Larry's Coffee apart from other fair trade brands is their exceptional nitro and cold brew offerings. True to their commitment to excellence, their nitro coffee, which adheres to the same exacting standards as the rest of their coffee, is conveniently available in 4-packs of cans. If you prefer to enjoy their cold brew at home, you have the option of purchasing it by the jug or as a concentrate. While Larry's Coffee can be found in various cafes and stores throughout the Raleigh/Durham area, they also offer online ordering and shipping, allowing customers across the United States and around the world to experience their exceptional coffee.


Nossa Família Coffee

In a refreshing departure from the norm, Nossa Família Coffee was actually founded by someone native to the very countries where a significant portion of the coffee we consume is grown. Augusto Carneiro's family has been cultivating coffee beans in Brazil for generations since the late 1800s. After he relocated to Portland, Oregon, he decided to bring his family's cherished coffee with him, which led to the birth of Nossa Família Coffee.

During its early days, the company would ship all its coffee beans directly to Carneiro's family farms in Brazil. Although they have since expanded their sourcing, their mission has not wavered. Nossa Família Coffee remains steadfast in its commitment to providing exceptional farm-direct coffee to the United States while supporting small-scale farmers. As Augusto Carneiro shared on the thought-provoking "Faces of Marketing" podcast, his aspiration is to transport people to Brazil, Guatemala, and the other origins from which they source their coffee, so that these individuals may truly experience the essence of these coffee-growing regions.

In addition to their dedication to fair trade and sustainable, eco-friendly growing and roasting practices, Nossa Família Coffee also gives back to the community. For every bag sold, they donate 50 cents to various causes. For instance, purchasing their "Full Cycle" blend, a tribute to Carneiro's deep love for cycling and the city of Portland, directly contributes to organizations that aim to create more accessible and healthier communities through biking.



While only a fraction of Volcanica's impressive selection of 180 coffee varieties are certified as fair trade, these 18 varieties should not be overlooked. Unlike some fair trade brands that may be harder to find in grocery stores, Volcanica's coffee enjoys broader availability. This makes their popular fair trade roasts an excellent choice for those seeking a more responsible option for their morning cup of java.

Despite not being exclusively fair trade, this remarkable brand maintains direct partnerships with local coffee farms and cooperatives to ensure the sourcing of all their beans. Interestingly, some of their coffee beans are grown and harvested on mountains and volcanoes. As Maurice Contreras, co-founder of Volcanica, shared with Forbes, the combination of rich volcanic soil, high elevation, cool climate, and moisture from the clouds nourishes the coffee plants, resulting in a superior coffee bean.

With every purchase made through Volcanica's website, a portion is dedicated to supporting the nonprofit charity:water. This organization is on a noble mission to ensure that every individual on our planet has access to safe and clean drinking water. The funds they receive contribute to vital initiatives such as the construction of wells and the development of rainwater harvesting infrastructure.


Pachamama Coffee

Pachamama Coffee is yet another fair trade brand with a captivating origin story. Founded by farmers from Peru, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, the company emerged from a collective desire to grow and roast their own coffee instead of selling their hard-earned product to roasters for a fraction of its true value. After roasting their initial batches, the cooperative swiftly gained traction by supplying independent groceries in the United States. This success prompted them to establish their own roasting facility in Sacramento. Today, Pachamama's offerings continue to grace the shelves of numerous markets in California, in addition to their cozy cafes throughout Northern California.

In addition to their brick-and-mortar presence, Pachamama Coffee also offers a convenient direct-to-consumer subscription service called Coffee C.S.A. Within this service, coffee enthusiasts can choose from an enticing selection of single-origin or blended coffees. Each bag of coffee is not only fair trade but also shade-grown and certified organic. Launching their innovative Traceable Coffee platform in 2010, which received support from the World Bank, the company allows consumers to trace the origins of their coffee and even enables them to show appreciation for the farmer by offering a "Tip the Farmer" feature.

The commendable efforts of Pachamama Coffee have garnered recognition within the industry. When the Specialty Coffee Association presented the Sustainability Award Business Model Category, the Pachamama Coffee Collective emerged as the deserving winner. In response to this honor, Merling Preza, president and co-founder of Pachamama Coffee, emphasized their commitment to equity across all aspects of their business, including equitable distribution, women's participation, fair prices for producers, and fair salaries.

In a world where ethical consumerism is on the rise, fair-trade coffee has become an essential choice for conscious coffee lovers. With a wide range of options available, from big names like Café Mam and Allegro Coffee to smaller, artisanal brands like Higher Ground Roasters and Grumpy Mule, there's a brew for everyone. So why not make a change in your morning routine? By choosing one of these best fair-trade coffee brands, not only will you enjoy a delicious cup of joe, but you'll also be supporting farmers and communities around the world. It's a win-win situation that will leave you feeling good about your caffeine fix.

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