The 9 Best Fair Trade Coffee Brands (Ethically Sourced Beans)

Last Updated on September 26, 2021 by John Moretti

As a coffee lover, you naturally want to know what the 9 best fair trade coffee beans are to ensure your coffee producer is looking after the environment while supporting the people who have put in the hard work of growing your coffee beans in a sustainable manner.

The 9 best fair trade coffee beans are Grounds For Change, Dean’s Beans, Equal Exchange, Counter Culture Coffee, Larry’s Coffee, Cafédirect, Conscious Coffees, Red Bay Coffee, and Ethical Bean Coffee. These 9 brands produce the most delicious, ethically conscious coffee beans.

Let’s explore the 9 best fair trade coffee beans to find out which fair trade coffee beans produce delicious coffee while taking into account the economic, social, and environmental concerns surrounding sustainable coffee bean production.

Grounds For Change

Grounds for Change sell a variety of roasts ranging from light to dark in 2l and 5l bags. Alternatively, you can purchase their coffees in 8oz, 12oz, and 16oz packs which are also available in various roasts ranging from light to dark.

Their blends are composed of beans sourced from African and Asian, as well as from Latin America. Grounds for Change also sells single origin coffees from Congo, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Columbia, Ethiopia, Honduras, Sumatra, and Peru.

Grounds for Change allow you to purchase samplers, individual bags, and even gift sets, allowing you to share ethically sourced coffee with a fellow coffee lover. 

Grounds for Change is unique in its ethical endeavors, as its entire supply chain from farming down to serving is offset by the number of trees planted by the company, making it a certified carbon-free business.

The Grounds for Change brand takes its ethical endeavors even further by using 100% renewable energy. They have also implemented an extensive recycling program to minimize waste while also donating more than 1% of their gross annual sales to environmental organizations because they are members of the environmental global giving network, 1% for the Planet. 

If you’re looking for delicious fair trade coffee beans that are ethically sourced by a company that supports historically marginalized women in the coffee industry, while being conscious of the environment then Grounds for Change is the brand for you.

Dean’s Beans

Dean’s Beans offer whole coffee beans in 1lb and 5lb bags. Their coffee is available in three grinds, namely normal, coarse, or espresso, with medium roasts, dark roasts, and medium-dark roasts available. Excitingly, they offer green (unroasted) beans that will be particularly useful for home roasters, natural water processed decaf, or a cold brew blend.

To make the choice easier for you, they also offer regular, decaf, and green sample packs that allow you to decide which coffee you’d like. These sample packs come with six 4oz bags of the most popular Dean’s Beans coffees.

These beans are sourced from various places, including Mexico, Nicaragua, Columbia, Sumatra, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Timor-L’este, Papua New Guinea, and Peru.

Dean’s Beans epitomizes social responsibility as a coffee brand. The coffee roaster and retailer has existed for over twenty years, being specifically founded to offer high-quality specialty coffee to promote change in coffee farms all over Asia, Africa, and America.

Dean’s Beans membership of the Fair Trade Federation led to it co-founding Cooperative Coffees, which is an organization of coffee roasters that sparked the moment to promote true direct trade in the coffee industry by buying coffee beans directly from coffee farmers.

The company has forged relationships with coffee farmers, supporting them to develop and utilize sustainable agriculture to combat climate change. Dean’s Beans has devoted an exceptional amount of time and resources to ensuring their coffee beans are produced in an environmentally conscious manner. 

If you’re looking for affordable, ethically sourced coffee beans, then Dean’s Beans are definitely one of the best fair trade coffee beans for you.

Equal Exchange

Equal Exchange coffee beans are ethically sourced from places like Peru, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico, Ethiopia, Congo, Colombia, and Honduras. These coffee beans can be purchased in 10oz and 12oz bags that are sold in packs of six, or alternatively purchased in 5lb bags and are available in medium to dark roasts.

Equal Exchange is a global worker-owned coffee roaster that centers its coffee production around labor rights, dedicating its operations to producing ethically sourced coffee beans while improving the economic power of farmers and their families.

This global worker-owned and operated cooperative focuses on assisting the agricultural communities they partner with, centering their efforts around promoting sustainable and safe farming methods while enforcing fair trade standards. 

If you’re someone who values labor rights, then purchasing your fair trade coffee beans from Equal Exchange will allow you to enjoy your coffee, knowing that it was made in a safe work environment where labor rights were upheld.

Counter Culture Coffee

Counter Culture Coffee offers a variety of blends as well as single origin coffees from many coffee-producing regions internationally. They offer light, medium and dark roasts that are available in 12oz, 24oz, as well as 5lb bags

Counter Culture Coffee is arguably one of the most transparent coffee companies on the market. Each year they have released a transparency report detailing their efforts on increasing their sustainability endeavors.

Based on their focus on transparency, the company ensures you as the consumer understand the price you pay. Due to their focus being on direct trade with coffee farmers, they naturally want to ensure that coffee farmers are receiving fair compensation, which reflects in the cost of their coffee brand.

Counter Culture Coffee works with a variety of coffee producers ranging from single-family farms to large co-ops. Their roasting and shipping operations are directed at maximizing sustainability efforts by using fewer resources and reducing waste to reduce their carbon footprint.

If you’re looking for fair trade coffee beans that are ethically sourced by a company that promotes transparency in their coffee bean sourcing, then Counter Culture Coffee is the brand for you.

Larry’s Coffee

Larry’s Coffee sells whole coffee beans in six different grinds. They offer blended and single origin coffee from all over the world, available in light, medium, and dark roasts coming in bags of 12oz, 2lb, and 5lb.

Larry’s Coffee is a sustainability-driven coffee roaster that sources shade-grown, fair trade organic coffee. They focus their efforts on building long-term partnerships with farmers and make annual visits to their partner farms to ensure they remain ethical in their production of coffee beans.

The coffee company also makes use of a third-party auditing service to confirm that they are truly sourcing fair trade coffee beans.

If you’re looking for fair trade coffee beans that originate from a people and planet-friendly coffee roaster, then Larry’s Coffee is the brand for you.


Cafédirect offers fair trade coffee beans that are available in 250g (approximately 9oz) and 1kg (approximately 35oz) bags. They also offer coffee subscriptions, enabling you to ensure you have the best fair trade coffee beans delivered to your door each month.

Cafédirect has a long history of being one of the best fair trade coffee producers, with the brand being the first coffee company to receive its Fairtrade certification in 1994

Cafédirect sources their coffee beans from Colombia, Tanzania, Peru, and Mexico, which allows them to offer single origin fair trade coffee beans at affordable prices. The brand prides themselves in reinvesting their profits back into the communities that produce their coffee. 

Through their social efforts in working directly with farmers, the coffee brand has improved the quality of the farmer’s livelihoods while also improving the quality of their crops. Their sustainability efforts enable farmers to improve their production techniques, invest in the broader community while also planning for the future. 

As a Fairtrade certified brand, Cafédirect ensures they pay their farmers the minimum Fairtrade price, which is particularly important in instances where the price of coffee is less than the production cost. 

Conscious Coffees

Conscious Coffees offer delicious organic whole beans available in 8oz and 12oz bags. Additionally, they allow you to try a sampler pack that boasts four different kinds of single origin coffee beans in 8oz bags. Their coffee beans are available for purchase in light, medium, medium-dark and dark roasts.

Conscious Coffees is a coffee brand that is committed to offering single origin, organic coffee. This small family-owned business also offers organic coffee subscriptions to ensure your coffee needs are met each month. Their single origin beans originate from places like Ethiopia, Honduras, Sumatra, Congo, Columbia, and Mexico. 

Conscious Coffees values community building, paying well beyond fair trade prices. This coffee brand sources coffee from the same producer-partners each year, consequently providing a reliable source of income to farmers. 

Red Bay Coffee

Red Bay Coffee boasts eight signature coffees, including six single origins, three espresso, two blends, and one decaffeinated. Their coffee beans are available in roasts ranging from medium to dark, sold in 12oz and 5lb bags.

Their ethically sourced coffee originates from places like Mexico, Tanzania, Guatemala, Brazil, Columbia, Sumatra, and Burundi. When it comes to their relationship with the farmers of their delicious coffee beans, Red Bay Coffee maintains that they have forged direct relationships with these farmers, which enables the farmers to get a reasonable price for their coffee.

Red Bay Coffee is a coffee producer that focuses its efforts on ethical sourcing, socially responsible hiring, and community building. The company is committed to ensuring its coffee production is of high quality while using its coffee production as a vehicle for social and economic restoration, diversity, inclusion, entrepreneurship, and environmental sustainability.

Ethical Bean Coffee

Ethical Bean Coffee offers fair trade organic roasted coffee beans that are available in medium, medium-dark and dark roasts. These fair trade beans are roasted in Canada and come in 12oz and 2lb whole bean bags.

Ethical Bean uses renewable energy, with its focus being on ensuring that its coffee production is good for the farmers and the planet. Ethical Bean ensures their coffees are “washed” or “wet-processed,” exclusively purchasing their coffee beans from fair trade farmers who cultivate their beans under shaded canopies. 

These farmers employ farming methods that do not use synthetic fertilizers and harmful chemicals in their coffee bean production, enabling them to produce organic, 100% fair trade coffee beans.

The Importance of Buying Fair Trade Coffee Beans

While fair trade coffee beans might be a bit pricier than other coffee beans, there are various considerations that make them worth the price difference. 

Given the fact that coffee beans are a large commodity in the United States, it’s no surprise that the coffee bean industry engages in forced labor practices globally. The forced laborers have little to no rights, are forced to work with little to no pay, and have to endure long working hours regardless of the weather conditions.

Amongst these workers are children who are missing out on school to work to produce coffee beans. These workers work in harsh conditions, being exposed to dangerous chemical pesticides and fertilizers, which can lead to them contracting lifelong health conditions.

When you purchase fair trade coffee beans, you are not just purchasing delicious coffee, you are also supporting fair trade brands that have emphasized the importance of developing mutually beneficial partnerships through the employment of fair trade practices.

Fair trade coffee beans are produced in conditions that uphold a high standard of sustainability, ensuring the production of coffee beans takes into account various economic, social and environmental requirements.

Fair trade coffee beans are produced in an environmentally sustainable way, providing adequate labor conditions for those working on the farms, preventing child labor while also ensuring a reasonable minimum price is paid for the coffee. 

Purchasing fair trade coffee beans is a great way to ensure you’re enjoying an ethically sourced cup of coffee.

The Final Word

Buying fair trade coffee beans allows you to enjoy your coffee with a good conscience, knowing your coffee was produced in an ethical, sustainable manner. 

When choosing which fair trade coffee beans to purchase, we suggest you try one of these nine fair trade brands: Grounds For Change, Dean’s Beans, Equal Exchange, Counter Culture Coffee, Larry’s Coffee, Cafédirect, Conscious Coffees, Red Bay Coffee, Ethical Bean Coffee.