Why It’s More Important Than Ever To Buy Fair Trade Coffee

screen-shot-2020-01-28-at-2-58-20-pmDid you know that coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world? With rampant global deforestation and clean water insecurity, buying Fair Trade coffee has never been more important. When you vote with your dollars by buying Fair Trade coffee beans, you are protecting against global deforestation and water contamination, as well as slave labor practices inflicted on poverty prone farmers. Environmental stewardship is a natural outcome of Fair Trade farming because these farms invest in their communities by protecting natural resources as well as offering jobs and education. In addition, the Fair Trade Certified business model protects against a coffee and cocoa industry that is rife with slave labor abuse. Fair Trade coffee represents a mere 1% of coffee grown globally. It is estimated that 250 million child slaves are working to bring us our favorite coffee and chocolate.

rodrigo-flores-sn87tq_o7zs-unsplashFair trade farmers are guaranteed a fair price regardless of how the volatile coffee market is fluctuating. Because of this guaranteed minimum, investment in the workers, education, environment, and community remains consistent.

You may be surprised to know that some of your favorite coffee shops actually sell Fair Trade coffee. Dunkin Donuts was one of the first chains to commit to a 100% fair trade brew in 2004. And screen-shot-2020-01-28-at-3-14-38-pmStarbucks is 99% Fair Trade – but be sure to bring your reusable insulated carafe or coffee cup when visiting these shops because their recycling and waste record remains abysmal. Krogers’ ‘Simple Truth’ is 100% Fair Trade and Albertson’s ‘O Organics’ Coffee will be Fair Trade certified by mid 2020. How do you know your coffee is Fair Trade? Look the certification on the label.

nathan-dumlao-n3btvq51dl0-unsplashThe most eco-friendly and ethical way to enjoy a cup of Joe is make it Fair Trade and make it yourself! Go zero-waste by using a mesh cone or reusable pods for your machine. And remember that coffee grinds are great for the compost but can also be deposited directly in the earth, skipping the decomposition process.

Look for Organic, Fair Trade, B-Corp coffee in recyclable or compostable packaging when possible. There isn’t a recycling solution for those plastic pouches. Is your favorite brew Fair Trade? Check out Fair Trade USA’s website.

10 certified Fair Trade Coffee Recommendations:

screen-shot-2020-01-28-at-3-38-19-pmBoulder Organic Coffee

Beans sourced from the 15% of organic farms who are certified Fair Trade, Boulder Organic Coffee roasts them with artisan, handcrafted, high-altitude techniques in a 20 kilo Diedrich drum roaster, capturing the unmatched richness of fresh roasted, specialty grade coffee.

Type of Coffee | Whole Bean and Ground Coffee
Coffee Origin | Mexico, Guatemala,Peru, Honduras, Ethiopia, Sumatra
Coffee Benefits | Organic, Fair Trade
Coffee Price | starting at $14.00 – 12 ounces

screen-shot-2020-01-27-at-11-56-34-pmBirds And Beans Coffee

Is your coffee bird friendly? And what is Bird Friendly coffee anyway? Well, rather than being grown on farms that have been cleared of vegetation, Bird Friendly coffees are planted under a canopy of trees. These trees provide the shelter, food and homes migratory and local birds need to survive. Birds And Beans Coffee is a three-fer: Fair Trade; delicious; protective of biodiversity!

Type of Coffee | Whole Bean and Ground Coffee
Coffee Origin | Nicaragua, Guatemala, Peru
Coffee Benefits | Organic, Fair Trade, B-Certified Roaster, Conserving Bird Habitats
Coffee Price | $14.50 – 12 ounces

screen-shot-2020-01-28-at-3-00-51-pmConscious Coffees

Conscious Coffees is a Green Coffee Importing Cooperative. 2018 Best for the World honoree, and recognized as Best for the World each year since 2015, earning a community impact score in the top 10% of all Certified B Corporations internationally on the B Impact Assessment

Type of Coffee | Whole Bean and Ground Coffee
Coffee Origin | Columbia, Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Sumatra Gayo, Uganda
Coffee Benefits | Organic, B-Corp, Cooperative Coffee member
Coffee Price | starting at $14.00 – 12 ounces

Dean Cycon of Dean's Beans with coffee farmer community

Dean Cycon of Dean’s Beans with coffee farmer community

Dean’s Beans

Dean’s Beans, a Fair Trade member for over 20 years, has been recognized with numerous awards such as the Flourish Award for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), and the Oslo Business for Peace Honoree. Dean’s is committed to only purchase shade grown coffees supporting healthy environments for coffee growers while protecting the critical migratory bird habitat.

Type of Coffee | Whole Bean, Ground Coffee and Green Beans- *for home roasting
Coffee Origin | Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, Sumatra, Peru, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste
Coffee Benefits | Organic, Fair Trade, Kosher
Coffee Price | starting at $9.99 – 12 ounces


Doma is a husband and wife operation since 1997. They utilize an eco-friendly roaster, conserving 80% natural gas over traditional roasters. Doma’s partners with several community organizations and non-profits to give back to local communities.

Type of Coffee | Whole Bean and Ground Coffee
Coffee Origin | Columbia, Brazil, Sumatra, Guatemala, Ethiopia
Coffee Benefits | Organic, Fairly traded through direct relationships
Coffee Price | starting at $13.00 – 12 ounces

screen-shot-2020-01-28-at-11-58-25-amHigher Ground Coffee

Committed to shade growing to protect biodiversity, Higher Ground Coffee also strives to adopt a holistic approach as a sustainable business as modeled in their efforts to offset daily energy usage by purchasing wind power credits through Renewable Choice Energy, which helps subsidize wind farms. Non-Profit partnerships include The Black Warrior Riverkeeper and The Cahaba River Society 


Type of Coffee | Whole Bean and Ground Coffee
Coffee Origin | Peru, Mexico, Ethiopia, Sumatra, Guatemala, Bolivia, Papua New Guinea
Coffee Benefits | Organic, Fair Trade, Shade Grown
Coffee Price | starting at $12.99 – 12 ounces

screen-shot-2020-01-28-at-11-01-24-amJust Coffee

Just Coffee are self-described as ‘small players in the coffee industry with excellent beans and a loud voice’. Their company’s origin is grass-roots to the core. Their passion has been to produce the finest coffee while honoring their partner grower’s expertise and hard work.

Type of Coffee | Whole Bean and Ground Coffee
Coffee Origin | Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Sumatra, Peru, Honduras, Ecuador, DR Congo
Coffee Benefits | Organic, Fair Trade, B-Corp
Coffee Price | starting at $15.00 – 12 ounces

screen-shot-2020-01-28-at-1-48-53-pmLarry’s Coffee

Sourced from twelve country cooperatives, Larry’s brand boasts seven certifications! Larry’s sustainable practices are reflected in their facility materials and practices to biodiesel fuel and biodegradable packaging. In addition to ordering direct from Larry’s site, you can also find their coffee at grocery stores like Earth Fare, The Fresh Market, Harris Teeter, Lowes Foods, Publix, Sprouts, and Whole Foods.

Type of Coffee | Whole Bean and Ground Coffee
Coffee Origin | Honduras, Bolivia, Peru, Columbia, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sumatra, Laos
Coffee Benefits | Organic, CRS Fair Trade, B-Corp, Kosher, Fair Trade Proof, Cooperative Coffee Member, Shade Grown
Coffee Price | starting at $15.00 – 12 ounces

screen-shot-2020-01-28-at-3-15-04-pmPura Vida Coffee

Pura Vida Coffee was established in 1998 to roast great Fair Trade Organic coffees while applying the majority of the net proceeds of the business to fund programs through the Create Good Foundation, benefiting at-risk youth around the world. Pura Vida Create Good was one of the first companies to sell exclusively fair trade coffee nationally.


Type of Coffee | Whole Bean and Ground Coffee
Coffee Origin | Peru, Honduras, Ethiopia, Sumatra
Coffee Benefits | Organic, Fair Trade
Coffee Price | starting at $10.95 – 12 ounces

 Rise Up Coffee Roasters

screen-shot-2020-01-28-at-3-08-55-pmThis Maryland roaster was founded by Tom Cureton. Tom’s Peace Corp experience inspired him to honor coffee farmers who most often toil in poverty. Rise Up’s motto: The farmer who grew the coffee should receive the glory.

Type of Coffee | Whole Bean and Ground Coffee
Coffee Origin | Honduras, Guatemala
Coffee Benefits | Organic, Fair Trade
Coffee Price | starting at $13.00 – 12 ounces


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About the Author

Here at Jenny Green Jeans, by sharing success stories and easy-to- implement tips, I hope to inspire and empower you to continue to make sustainable choices in your life and watch how far the impact goes. Please contact me with any questions or suggestions you may have. Also visit the Green Design Goods store for my favorite environmentally sustainable products.

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