Coffee, with annual exports in excess of 0 billion, is one of the largest internationally-traded commodities. Since most coffee is cultivated in emerging economies with relatively few labor protections, there is vast potential for abuse in the industry. Child labor, meager wages, long hours in harsh working conditions, and exposure to hazardous chemicals are commonplace on coffee farms. As a consumer, you can demonstrate your opposition to these labor abuses by buying Fair Trade certified coffee. Purchase beans online from these Fair Trade coffee brands, and feel good about the coffee you brew at home.
You may recognize the Allegro Coffee brand, especially if you frequent Whole Foods. The supermarket’s in-house Fair Trade coffee supplier, based in Thornton, Colorado, also sells beans online. Allegro founder Jeffrey Cohn is committed to ensuring the farmers and workers responsible for the fine coffee he sells work under fair labor conditions.
Recipient of more than 30 Great Taste Awards, Cafédirect’s flavorful roasted beans are of the highest caliber. This Fair Trade, Gold Standard certified company reinvests one-third of its profits into its producers and their communities. Cafédirect has also made almost 90% of its farmers shareholders in the company. The London-based company sells Fair Trade coffee directly to consumers online.
This Boulder-based company’s mission is to “create long-term relationships with their growers, customers, and the environment.” It considers educating consumers about the economic, environmental, and social impacts of coffee production and trade part and parcel of its mission. Conscious Coffees, a certified B Corporation and Cooperative Coffees member, is particularly picky about where its coffee comes from and how it’s grown. All beans Conscious Coffees buys and sells are grown on small family farms collectively self-organized into cooperatives.
This Cooperative Coffees member exemplifies a transparent commitment to sustainability at every stage of its coffee production, roasting, and distribution chain. DOMA’s farmers, working under fair labor conditions, use sustainable practices, fertilizers, and pesticides. DOMA’s eco-friendly roaster consumes 80 percent less natural gas than traditional coffee roasters. And the Idaho-based company packages and ships its coffee sustainably. DOMA’s “super dank” blend, with hints of chocolate, clove, and dried fruit, is currently trending in the Fair Trade coffee world.
A Fair Trade coffee pioneer, Equal Exchange has promoted fair treatment of coffee farmers for more than 25 years. Today, Equal Exchange is a cooperative of more than 100 worker-owners, each with an equal share and voting rights. A dark, full-bodied Organic French Roast is the St. Paul company’s top selling blend.
Ethics is the backbone of this Alabama coffee roaster. Higher Ground buys and roasts exclusively Certified Organic, Fair Trade, and shade-grown beans. In addition to initiatives that support farmers abroad, Higher Ground partners with sustainable nonprofit organizations at home. The roaster supports the preservation efforts of The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, The Black Warrior Riverkeepers, and The Cahaba River Society.
A longtime member of Cooperative Coffees, this Wisconsin roaster has a steadily-growing loyal drinking base. The flavor, freshness, and quality of its beans are Kickapoo’s biggest selling point. But the roaster certainly scores points with ethical consumers for its Fair Trade and energy conservation practices. Kickapoo communicates directly with and regularly visits growers around the world. The company also covers 100 percent of its electricity needs with solar power.
This Cooperative Coffees member’s commitment to sustainable operations stands out even among its peers on this list. Larry’s Fair Trade coffee beans are shade-grown on chemical-free farms. The North Carolina roaster runs its operations almost entirely on biofuel and harvested rainwater.
While serving in the Peace Corps, Tim Cureton developed a deep love for coffee. He also cultivated an interest in how coffee is grown, sold, roasted, and distributed. After returning to the States, he started Rise Up Coffee using a business loan. Rise Up now employs upwards of 60 individuals, each passionate about quality organic coffee and dedicated to the Fair Trade cause.
Thanks to Stumptown, Portland has upstaged some of Seattle’s star power in the coffee industry over the last few years. Stumptown, which uses the direct trade sourcing model, is committed to developing relationships with farmers and modeling excellence in transparency. The successful Fair Trade coffee roaster is also unwaveringly committed to quality.
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