It takes a lot to build a community. Trust, organization, cooperation and perseverance are all part of the formula. But so are the more basic things that bring us all together – the food we eat and the beverages we drink.
The daily (or more) cup of coffee that is part of many peoples’ routines comes with inherent personal and sometimes social connections and benefits. Being selective about the types of coffee we drink and their origins can benefit us personally while also bringing about positive change to the environment and communities throughout the world. With our culture’s extensive consumption of coffee, selecting the right kind is a small choice that can have a huge global impact in community consciousness.
Whether it be through the exploitation of coffee laborers or the deforestation processes that result from the rising popularity of sun cultivated coffee farms, many modern practices in the coffee industry are detrimental to communities and global culture. These five coffee B Corps are engaging in community campaigns or practices to strengthen their communities and better the world.
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Featured Product: Superdark French Roast ($12.99 per 12-ounce bag)
With coffee flavors ranging from meekly mild to boisterously bold, Ethical Bean’s products are made exclusively from fair-trade organic beans. Since 2007, the company has been carbon neutral. By purchasing carbon credits, Ethical Bean’s dollars are applied to hydro power projects that create clean energy from river water for Guatemalan communities. Some of the company’s credits are also applied to reforestation efforts in the region, making it an environmentally conscious company.
All eight of Ethical Bean’s coffee offerings are roasted locally and can be purchased online. The Rocket Fuel line is a deeply dark roast with overt cocoa influences and a bit of a kick. Ethical Bean also offers the Lush Medium Dark Roast with smoky fruit flavors and the Mellow Medium Roast with hints of hazelnut.
Ethical Bean engages with its customers via its iPhone app, a community campaign which allows users to learn more about each coffee’s origins, history, and roasting information by scanning the barcode on individual products.
Location: Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
Featured Product: Byron’s Maracaturra Natural ($14.95 per 12-ounce bag)
With origins in Nicaragua, Byron’s Maracaturra Natural is Salt Spring’s only small-batch product, which allows close attention to be given to the process. The naturally processed coffee features a bright blend of raspberry and caramel flavors with a light, creamy finish. The variety’s biodynamic agriculture production system utilizes manures and composts rather than chemicals for soil and plants. The method also emphasizes a production process (including planting, fertilizing and picking) in sync with lunar cycles.
Salt Spring Coffee produces eight other brews in its “Classic Coffee” line. Many of its varieties have roots in Latin America or Sumatra and support practices that are fair to farmers, including ensuring equitable working conditions and fair payment to smallholder farmers.
Through donations to 1% for the Planet initiatives, Salt Spring Coffee is also engaged in furthering environmental sustainability. One of its projects involves providing affordable solar panels to communities in Nicaragua, a country in which 25 percent of the population doesn’t have access to electricity.
Two popular medium roast blends from Salt Spring Coffee — Canopy Bird and Blue Heron — feature spicy rich notes and hints of tangerine, respectively.
Location: Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
Featured Product: 30A Coffee ($12.95 per 12-ounce bag)
Amavida offers a variety of coffees from countries near the equator around the globe. Its single-origin line of products boasts rich flavors from nations including Honduras, Colombia, Rwanda, Indonesia, Democratic Republic of the Congo and more.
Named for Florida’s Scenic Highway 30, 30A coffee is a medium blend featuring honey, chocolate and mango flavors perfect for energizing your morning. This product is organic and a certified fair trade coffee, and the beans are sourced directly from some of the finest and most responsible farms in the world.
In 2015, Amavida ran a campaign to empower female coffee producers on Congo farms. Project Congo Coffee was a product developed for the initiative and was infused with orange peel and vanilla flavors for a sweet, medium-bodied taste. In the spirit of the conscious company’s community efforts, $5 from each bag sold went directly to Project Congo. The proceeds were donated to programs that educated women on practices to run their own lives and businesses. Amavida is continually involved in such community campaigns.
Amavida also provides specialty products including chai, smoothies and flavoring syrups in the wholesale market.
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Featured Product: Cask Conditioned Coffee ($19.45 per 8-ounce bag)
With over 35 varieties of coffee available to purchase online, Larry’s Coffee offers an extensive marketplace of flavorful brews, souvenir gifts and tools for home brewing. Its edgy varieties, including blends such as Fire in the Belly (tones of chocolate, caramel and citrus) and Malabar Triple X (Indian-influenced mix of spicy and nutty flavors), are perfect for coffee drinkers across the board.
The process of crafting another popular item, Cask Conditioned Coffee, is elaborate. Peruvian beans are aged in a Jack Daniels whiskey barrel for five weeks before roasting. The result is a rich flavor with hints of grape, oak and maple. Although this variety is significantly more expensive than other Larry’s Coffee products, the whiskey flavor in each cup is an exciting way to start your morning.
Larry’s Coffee is a conscious company dedicated to energy sustainability. The facility’s interior includes zone heating and reflective flooring to harness the power of natural sunlight. The business also composts and collects rainwater for its operations. It also obtains biodiesel from fellow B Corp Piedmont Biofuels, so all of its local deliveries are made via its biodiesel van. Community consciousness and sustainability are at the forefront of Larry’s Coffee’s operations.
Location: Fort Bragg, California
Featured Product: Grey Whale Blend ($14 per 12-ounce bag)
“Not just a cup but a just cup” concisely describes Thanksgiving Coffee’s mission for socially conscious distribution channels. Sixteen years ago, Thanksgiving Coffee became just the second U.S. company licensed to roast and distribute fair trade coffee products. Fair trade agreements grant farmers market control and protect them in the case of economic collapse, so they can continue to work.
Thanksgiving Coffee supports individual farming communities from 10 countries worldwide. The company offers coffees of light, medium, dark and very dark roasts. The medium roast Grey Whale Blend combines traditional mocha java with hints of vanilla, and can be shipped monthly via “coffee subscription.”
The Cause Coffee program is a unique aspect of Thanksgiving’s mission. This community campaign allows shoppers to purchase distinct, customized blends with a portion of the proceeds going directly to various non-profits. Some of the more than 40 options include:
- Save Our Wolves Dark Roast (benefiting Defenders of Wildlife)
- Anova Very Dark Fire Roast (benefiting Anova autism education)
- Cat Nap Decaf Blend (benefiting Mendocino Coast Humane Society)
Learn more about coffee-producing B Corps and fair trade coffee by visiting our Directory.