We independently research, test, review and recommend the best products. Learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
If you love coffee, you’re not alone: 7 out of 10 Americans drink coffee weekly, and 62% of us drink it daily. Additionally, more than half of all coffee drinkers in the United States want to buy coffee that is good for the environment, farmers and their communities.
This is where certification programs like Fairtrade America, Fair Trade USA and Fair for Life come in. These organizations use independent assessment and certification processes to verify that growers meet standards that include safe working conditions, fair wages, good agricultural practices and environmental stewardship. Some fair trade organizations also provide development funds, which accrue to farmers and workers so they can decide how to allocate them to community improvement projects.
We all have different tastes, so it’s impossible to find a unique flavor profile for every coffee drinker. But some companies are going above and beyond to protect farmers, communities and the natural habitats of birds and wildlife. Whether you drink your coffee drip, cold brew, or topped with a frothy crema, here are our top picks for the best fair trade coffees:
What to Look for in Fair Trade Coffee
seal of certification
Look for coffee that has a seal of certification by an independent third-party organization such as Fairtrade America, Fair Trade USA, and Fair for Life.
Choose the appropriate grind for your preferred brewing method. For example, a fine grind is best for espresso machines, while a coarse grind is best for French presses. The coffee roaster often has advice on the website for the best type of infuser to use for each type of coffee.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where does fair trade coffee come from?
Fair Trade coffee is sourced from nearly every coffee-producing country in the world, including Colombia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Peru, Rwanda, Sumatra and others. To make sure you’re buying fair trade coffee, look for seals that indicate a coffee has been certified fair trade by independent third-party organizations such as Fairtrade America, Fair Trade USA, and Fair for Life.
How much does fair trade coffee cost more?
Because fair trade guarantees a minimum price to coffee producers, many consumers believe that fair trade coffee always costs more. This is not necessarily true. In fact, there’s great variability in the price you’ll pay for coffee, and there are great fair trade brands at every price point, from budget to splurge.
Is fair trade coffee organic?
Not always, although fair trade organizations often encourage organic farming methods by providing training to farmers in organic methods and paying a higher premium for organic produce. To make sure a product is, in fact, organic, look for the USDA Organic seal.
Why trust Treehugger?
Treehugger wants to help you support fair wages and sound environmental stewardship for coffee farmers and their communities around the world. Arricca Elin SanSone is a health and lifestyle writer specializing in home, cooking and gardening.
She researched the market based on fair trade certification processes and each company’s individual ethics. Treehugger team members have also suggested fair trade favorites.