9 Best Sustainable Coffee Brands For An Ethical Cup Of Joe

Ethical Coffee Brands Are Improving The Taste Of Our Cup Of Joe. Here’s Why And Our Favorites To Try.

We independently research all featured brands and products. To avoid waste, we test products on an as needed basis. This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a small commission. Learn more about why we do this here.

Real talk: do you know how much farmers are getting paid for your favorite cup of coffee? 

Sometimes, it’s as little as pennies for each pound they sell. 

Thankfully, sustainable coffee brands are turning the industry around by paying premium prices and supporting sustainable farming practices. 

The result? 

Farmers can hone their craft and support their families—while their ethical coffee supports your day!

A Quick Sip From The Top Sustainable Coffee Companies

Sip around the world with Atlas Coffee Club. Their subscription model helps you discover premium, single-origin coffee blends while supporting coffee farmers and their communities. 

Tayst has you covered for compostable coffee pods so you can enjoy ethical, single-serve coffee that’s free from plastic packaging. 

For the best organic fair trade coffee, Equal Exchange partners with farming co-operatives to help them build sustainable and resilient business models with great-tasting coffee. 

Whether you like to drink Fairtrade or support female coffee growers, your morning coffee (and the rest) can support a whole range of issues. 

What’s more, you can have them delivered to your front door as part of a tailored subscription model, so you’ll never run dry. 

From eco-friendly ground coffee to sustainable coffee pods, find our favorite ethical coffee brands that put farmers first. 

Drop down to the end to learn more about what we look for when choosing the best brew.

Best Sustainable Coffee Brands, USA

1. Lifeboost Coffee

Sustainable Coffee by Lifeboost Coffee
Images by pebble magazine

Price Range | $20–$200 | Shop Lifeboost Coffee

Ingredients | Non-GMO, mycotoxin, and chemical-free specialty coffee beans. USDA Certified Organic and low acidity levels. Decaf coffee is processed using a non-solvent method. Flavored coffees are sugar, gluten, and dairy-free. 

What We Love | Lifeboost offers premium organic coffee that’s gentle on digestion, supports local farmers, and is kind to the planet. All coffee is third-party tested for toxins to ensure each cup has nothing but goodness. 

Lifeboost Coffee’s Sustainable Shade Grown Coffee

Lifeboost Coffee makes genuinely healthy, delicious coffee that is stomach-friendly thanks to low acidity levels. 

Their secret? 

Organic single-origin Arabica beans are grown high up in the shady mountains of Nicaragua, allowing them to mature at a slower rate and absorb more nutrients. The coffee is handpicked, washed with spring water, and dried in the sun. 

They’re one of the only sustainable shade grown organic coffee brands. 

Lifeboost doesn’t compromise on flavor. You can choose between classic light, medium, and dark roasts or mix it up with flavored coffees like pumpkin spice, smoky butterscotch, or cinnamon cappuccino. 

With deliciously smooth notes of buttery rum, caramel, and vanilla, Lifeboost’s Highlander Grogg is one of our favorites for a mid-morning liquid hug. 

If you prefer a non-flavored straight-up roast, the Midnight Roast is their darkest roast that packs a bold punch without being abrasive on the stomach or teeth. 

While this roast is our absolute favorite, their focus on providing low acidity coffee—both through high elevation bean sourcing and a special roasting process—means we even enjoy their lighter roasts, which we normally don’t because of their acidic taste and feel.

Order it as beans or ground as a one-time order or in a subscription. 

Lifeboost Coffee’s Sustainability 

Certifications | USDA Organic

Sourcing & Supply Chain | Lifeboost’s specialty Arabica coffee is sourced from small single-origin farmers in Nicaragua who receive fair wages. 

Pay It Forward | A portion of profits from every bag purchased is donated to Rainforest Trust and Project Alianza to build schools for the children of local coffee growers. 

2. Brewpoint Coffee

Sustainable Coffee by Brewpoint Coffee
Images by Brewpoint Coffee

Price Range | $15–$20 | Shop Brewpoint Coffee

Ingredients | Specialty small-batch ground coffee and coffee beans from Costa Rica, Brazil, Mexico, Ethiopia and Vietnam. 

What We Love | From helping people start their own coffee shops to working with ethical suppliers, Brewpoint Coffee promotes a community of giving back.

Brewpoint Coffee’s Small Batch Sustainable Coffee

A decade ago, Brewpoint Coffee started out as a single coffee shop. 

The woman and minority owned sustainable coffee company has since grown into four coffee shops, a coffee roastery, and an events space in Illinois, USA. 

They offer a selection of small-batch coffee blends, which you can buy online as beans or ground for a French Press, drip, or espresso. 

Order as a one-time purchase or subscribe to a coffee program and receive a new coffee every one to six weeks. 

If you need help choosing your perfect coffee, take their coffee quiz

For something different, the Barrel Aged Coffee features Ethiopian beans left for three weeks in a barrel that originally contained rum and then was used for Liquid Love’s Ambrosia Hugs sour ale. 

The result? A fruity, vanilla taste with soft, boozy notes. 

Brewpoint Coffee’s Sustainability 

Certifications | Woman and Minority Owned Certified by the State of Illinois Business Enterprise Program (BEP). 

Sourcing & Supply Chain | Brewpoint Coffee sources from ethical suppliers, including  Cafe Con Amor, which supports farmers in Costa Rica. They pay above fair trade standards. 

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion | Brewpoint’s coffee shops are grounded in a community where everyone feels welcome. Their vision is to create a nationally-known brand that supports other black, brown, and women-owned specialty coffee businesses.

Pay It Forward | The ethical coffee company supports World Coffee Research to help protect the future of coffee farmers and build a more sustainable specialty coffee supply chain. Through the District 205 Transition Program, they help provide employment opportunities for young people with disabilities. 

3. Tayst

Sustainable Coffee by Tayst
Images by Tayst

Price Range | $14–$55 | Shop Tayst

Ingredients | All specialty beans are non-GMO plus mycotoxin and chemical-free. Happy Hazelnut and Vintage Vanilla blends contain some natural and artificial flavorings.

What We Love | Offering compostable coffee pods for Keurig machines, Tayst is helping to revolutionize the single-serve coffee market by cutting plastic out of coffee packaging for good.

Tayst’s Eco-Friendly Coffee

Sustainable coffee pods, capsules, ground coffee, and whole beans, whatever your coffee style, you’ll find it at Tasyt

They offer dark to medium roasts, decaf blends, and flavored coffees for when you want to mix it up. No need to go to a coffee shop when you can get pumpkin crush or vanilla cream lattes on tap!

Try Tayst coffee as a one-time purchase, or order a subscription and never run out of your favorite blends. You can cancel or modify your order every time.  

Nespresso machine? 

No worries! Choose a coffee pod subscription or one-time purchase based on the number of cups you drink a month. Packages go from 30-90 cups, and you get a free mug from 40 cups. 

The pods are compostable, and the coffee flavors are full-bodied, fruity, and utterly delicious. 

Tayst’s Sustainability 

Certifications | Rainforest Alliance, BPI-certified compostable

Sourcing & Supply Chain | Tayst sources its coffee from Rainforest Alliance-certified farms and smallholders in Ethiopia and South America. The certification supports fair and ethical working conditions and sustainable farming practices. 

Thoughtful Packaging | Coffee pods and bags are certified commercially compostable. Ground coffee comes in recyclable cans, and the brand’s long-term goal is to become zero waste. 

4. Atlas Coffee Club

Sustainable Coffee by Atlas Coffee Club
Images by pebble magazine

Price Range | $9–$49 | Shop Atlas Coffee Club

Ingredients | Premium, Arabica single origin ethical coffee beans, coffee pods, and ground coffee. 

What We Love | Atlas Coffee Club’s subscription model invites you to travel the world from your coffee cup. All coffee is single origin and sustainably sourced from long-term partners. 

Atlas Coffee Club’s Eco-Friendly Coffee Subscription

There’s a whole world of specialty coffee out there, and Atlas Coffee wants you to taste it. 

Their ethical coffee subscription sends out a premium coffee from a new country each month based on your preferences. 

Choose between ground, whole bean, and sustainable coffee pods for both Keurig and Nespresso machines. You can also select the grind type for your brewing method and your preference for light, medium, or dark roasts (or opt for a variety). 

Along with your coffee, you’ll receive a postcard of the country and tasting notes to help you make the most of each brew. If you don’t love it, they’ll send you next month’s free. 

We tried this month’s Peruvian roasts and can say they were delicious. Grown at high altitudes, the complex flavors shine through and the dark roast makes the perfect wake-me-up cup of joe. 

Atlas Coffee Club’s Sustainability 

Sourcing & Supply Chain | Atlas Coffee works directly with farmers in over 50 countries worldwide, including Columbia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ethiopia, India, Malawi, and Peru. They pay above Fairtrade prices. 

Thoughtful Packaging | All packaging, from their coffee bean bags to their Nespresso coffee pods, is recycled and recyclable.

Pay It Forward |  From less-waste education projects in India to preventing debt in Nicaragua, Atlas supports farms in creating a more sustainable business model.

5. Grace Farms

Sustainable Coffee by Grace Farms
Images by Grace Farms

Price Range | $14–$56 | Shop Grace Farms

Ingredients | Single-origin organic Arabica coffee. Their Single Origin Asoprosierra (Colombia) and Single Origin Ketiara (Indonesia) whole bean coffees are Fairtrade and USDA-certified organic. 

What We Love | One of the most sustainable coffee and tea brands, Grace Farms is a not-for-profit organization with a vision to make the world a fairer and more peaceful place. 100% of profits support their work to end forced labor worldwide. 

Grace Farms’ Ethical Coffee

With every sip, Grace Farms’ tea and coffee make the world a better place.

Their small but impactful collection of coffees comes from single-origin women-led co-ops, which means every purchase helps empower women in Indonesia, Colombia, and Ethiopia. 

Choose from light, medium-light, medium, and dark roast coffee, either ground or whole bean. You can make a one-time purchase or subscribe, save, and share the love. 

With full-bodied notes of caramel, sweet herbs, and citrus, Grace Farms single origin Colombian light roast is strikingly smooth. The gentle roast allows the coffee flavors to come into their own in all their complexity. 

Grace Farms’ Sustainability 

Certifications | B Corp, Fairtrade, USDA Organic

Sourcing & Supply Chain | Grace Farms works exclusively with women-led co-operatives in Ethiopia, Colombia, and Indonesia. They’re helping all their partners become Fairtrade certified. 

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion | The not-for-profit was founded to create a peaceful place for people to convene, no matter their background. Their Connecticut location is a welcoming and inclusive space for all. 

Thoughtful Packaging | They prioritize biodegradable and recyclable packaging made from post consumer or FSC-certified materials. 

Pay It Forward | The Grace Farms Foundation works with not-for-profits, businesses, and government agencies to combat modern slavery worldwide. 

Best Sustainable Coffee Brands, UK

6. RiSE Coffee Box

Sustainable Coffee by RiSE Coffee Box
Images by RiSE Coffee Box

Price Range | £15–£39 | Shop RiSE Coffee Box

Ingredients | 100% high-quality Arabica specialty coffee beans sourced from the best ethical coffee roasters in the UK. 

What We Love | RiSE helps coffee lovers discover sustainable coffee roasters with their monthly subscription boxes. 1% of all sales helps fund educational initiatives in coffee-growing communities

RiSE Coffee Box’s Ethical Coffee Subscription 

Each RiSE Coffee Box includes responsibly sourced freshly roasted coffee from over 100 independent UK roasters. Choose between whole bean or fine/medium/coarse ground coffee. 

You’ll also receive stories and information about each month’s chosen coffee, brewing tips, and a treat from one of their food or drinks partners. 

Don’t forget to check out their coffee gifts that are bound to hit the spot for coffee lovers in your life. 

Rise Coffee Box’s Sustainability 

Certifications | FSC

Carbon | Aiming to become Carbon Neutral, RiSE offsets emissions, ships by sea, and uses electric vehicles. 

Sourcing & Supply Chain | RiSE scrutinizes every roaster to ensure only the most ethical ones make it into their subscription box. All their partners pay above Fair Trade prices. 

Thoughtful Packaging | Their subscription boxes are plastic-free and made from FSC-certified recyclable and compostable materials. They work with roasters that share their commitment to eco-friendly packaging. 

Pay It Forward | RiSE’s Friendly Coffee Fund (FCF) gives 1% of all sales back to coffee-growing communities, like helping eradicate child labor in Uganda by funding education.

7. Cafédirect

Sustainable Coffee by Cafédirect
Images by Cafédirect

Price Range | £3.50–£26 | Shop Cafédirect

Ingredients | 100% Fairtrade single-origin Arabica sustainable coffee beans, which are free from palm oil, gluten, GMOs, artificial colors, flavors, added sugar, and preservatives.

What We Love | Cafédirect is the UK’s largest Fairtrade hot drinks company. The purpose-led business has built long-term partnerships with farmers to bring you great-tasting coffee that improves the lives of producers. 

Cafédirect’s Fair Trade Sustainable Coffee

Cafédirect offers a selection of whole beans, ground coffee, and freeze-dried instant coffee. There are decaf blends for those who like the taste without the buzz. 

One of the most accessible sustainable organic coffee brands, Cafédirect’s popular organic Machu Picchu and Mayan Gold blends are also available in UK supermarkets. 

The Fairtrade Empower Ground Coffee is the definition of easy-drinking. Its medium roast gives it a smooth and refreshing flavor with delicate hints of dark, toasted spices. 

Cafédirect’s Sustainability 

Certifications | B Corp, Fairtrade, Soil Association Organic

Sourcing & Supply Chain | This Fairtrade social enterprise sources its ethical bean coffee from small family-run farms in 38 grower organizations across 12 developing countries. 

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion | Cafédirect trades directly with farmers. In line with their Gold Standard responsible growth framework, they always pay a fair price, include farmers in business decisions, and reinvest in producers.

Pay It Forward | At least a third of Cafédirect profits are reinvested into its growing partners’ businesses and communities, improving the lives of more than 1.8 million people worldwide. 

8. Equal Exchange

Sustainable Coffee by Equal Exchange
Images by pebble magazine

Price Range | £6–£26 | Shop Equal Exchange

Ingredients | Specialty organic coffee beans that are Fair Trade, palm oil free, and added sugar-free. 

What We Love | Equal Exchange offers some of the best fair trade organic coffee. They partner with farming co-operatives to help smallholders build resilient businesses in a competitive market. 

Equal Exchange’s Ethical Coffee

Equal Exchange offers Fair Trade, farmer-first, ethically sourced coffee in various roasts and blends.

You’ll find espresso whole beans, an Italian roast, decaffeinated beans, organic medium roasts, and more. 

For a daily pick-me-up, try one of our personal favorites, the Organic D R Congo Coffee with subtle chocolate, brown spice, and vanilla notes.

Not only does its bold flavor perfectly complement a sweet bar of their ethical chocolate, but the blend supports the farmers of the Sopacdi co-op as they continue to rebuild their lives after the civil war. 

It’s a medium roast, meaning we find it strikes the perfect balance between suitable caffeine content and moderate acidity, so it’s not too harsh on the palate first thing in the AM.

Equal Exchange’s Sustainability 

Certifications | Soil Association Organic

Sourcing & Supply Chain | Equal Exchange’s coffee is sustainably produced by Fair Trade farmer cooperatives around the world. 

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion | Their ‘Grown by Women’ coffee range supports female farmers in the cooperatives they work with. 

9. Suma

Sustainable Coffee by Suma
Images by Suma

Price Range | £5–£6 | Shop Suma

Ingredients | Organic Fairtrade Arabica coffee beans. Non-GMO, gluten-free, and suitable for vegans.

What We Love | Certified Fairtrade Suma Wholefoods is a cooperative committed to sourcing the most sustainable, ethical, and delicious food products.

Suma’s Sustainable Coffee

Suma’s select coffee range includes organic espresso, medium roasts, dark roasts, ground blends, and whole beans at a pocket-friendly price, making them one of the most affordable brands for sustainable coffee. 

They also offer a decaffeinated blend with beans sourced from farmers in South America and the Far East and processed using the chemical-free Swiss Water method. 

For a medium strength full-bodied coffee, try the Fair Trade Peru Ground Coffee. It has delectable sweet aromas with hints of spice, which come out very well in an Aeropress. 

Suma’s Sustainability 

Certifications | Fairtrade

Carbon | Suma uses 100% renewable energy and offsets emissions by planting around 10,000 trees a year. They aim to decarbonize their vehicle fleet. 

Sourcing & Supply Chain | The cooperative sources coffee beans from Fairtrade and ethical farmers in Peru, Colombia, Sumatra, and Ethiopia. 

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion | As a business owned by its workers, Suma has an equal pay, equal say approach. They aim to work with more Fairtrade and co-operative suppliers. 

Our Considerations For Choosing The Most Sustainable Coffee Brands

What is ethical coffee, and how do we know which coffee brands make a truly transparent brew? 

The coffee industry has no set sustainability standards, but there are many paths to achieving an ethical brew.

We’ve created a set of criteria to help us filter out the best eco-friendly coffee brands that put people and the planet first. 


B Corporation (B Corp),  Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI),  Fairtrade, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Rainforest Alliance, Soil Association, USDA Organic 

Carbon Goals & Achievements: 

Since coffee is grown all over the world, there are unavoidable carbon emissions in transportation. 

Brands should still mitigate their impact by avoiding air freight, adopting renewable energy, carbon offsetting, and taking other steps towards becoming at least carbon neutral.

Sourcing & Supply Chain: 

The coffee industry has a notorious reputation for exploitation and child labor. Responsible companies should commit to ethical coffee sourcing and actively work to ensure their supply chain is fair, safe, and transparent. 

We like to see ethical coffee brands work closely with farmers and build long-term partnerships that improve their local communities. We’re especially keen to highlight those that support women farmers. 

We also looked for brands sourcing sustainably grown coffee from organic, non-GMO, and wildlife-friendly farms.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: 

We always prioritize women and minority-owned businesses, initiatives, and co-ops. 

Thoughtful Packaging

Eco-friendly coffee packaging should be plastic-free, ideally compostable, and at a minimum recyclable. 

Pay It Forward: 

Paying it forward isn’t a requirement for ethical coffee brands, but it makes our macchiato taste extra smooth when brands step up and support initiatives they care about. 

Closing Thoughts On The Best Eco-Friendly Coffee Brands

From growing to roasting, packaging, and distribution, a lot goes into your morning cup of joe.

Unfortunately, demand for cheap coffee dominates the market, with some farmers earning less than a dollar a pound for their beans. Economic insecurity has multiple negative impacts on families and communities, including increased child labor.

The solution? 

Make sure your favorite brew is sustainable by buying from ethical coffee companies supporting fair trade and organic practices.

Fairtrade premiums and brands that re-invest a percentage of their profits into grower communities help coffee farmers build a fair and resilient business for years to come.

Know another coffee lover?

Share this list of sustainable coffee companies and help spread the word about the joys of java done right.