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Top 10 Fair Trade and Organic Coffee Roasters from Canada

Organic coffee

The lines at the Tim Horton’s drive through every morning are just insane. And while it seems convenient to stop for coffee on your way to work, it’s worth making your coffee at home and taking it with you in a reusable mug. You don’t just avoid tossing another paper cup but you can also make a conscious choice for a coffee brand that is Fair Trade and organic.

There is a lot of stuff going on in the world of coffee, that many of us would rather not like to think about. Coffee is the second largest commodity in the world and forced labor is a sad reality.

When we choose Fair Trade or Direct Trade coffee, we support small-scale farmers and workers. With Fairtrade, they’re able to improve their lives while they adhering to social, economic and environmental standards.

Another thing to look out for when buying coffee is an organic certification. Organic coffee is pesticide and herbicide free and full of flavor. Growing coffee without pesticides and herbicides does not only mean healthier soil but also healthier farmers and a healthier you.

Drumroll for our Top 10:

LEVEL GROUND TRADING

| Trade model: Direct Fair Trade
| Farming: Organic & Small scale farms
| Packaging: Compostable
| Type: Whole bean, ground
| Roasted in: Victoria, BC

Level Ground Trading is a Fair Trade company founded in 1997 by four Canadian families. Their mission is to improve the lives of disadvantaged producers through trade instead of charity. They started out with buying coffee from a cooperative in Colombia and soon expanded to other countries and products. Today, they don’t just sell Fair Trade coffee, but also tea, dried fruit, and cane sugar.

Level Ground Trading uses direct Fair Trade to source their ingredients. This means, that they import their products directly and travel to the countries where they’re grown. They connect with small-scale farmers face-to-face and establish long-term relationships. In their company history, they have consistently given more money back to farmers than regular Fair Trade companies. For every dollar paid for coffee and tea, Level Ground Trading gives $0.69 directly back to the farmer compared to $0.48 that a regular Fair Trade company gives back. The premiums go directly to projects that help the farmers like healthcare benefits, school scholarships, agricultural training, co-op projects and more.

The company also takes a proactive stance on minimizing their environmental footprint. They stick to a ‘zero to landfill’ mandate for their office and their roasting facility. They also compost over 20,000 lbs of organic matter and reclaim 24,000 empty coffee packages per year. And the best part for you? They made their packaging 100% compostable!

KICKING HORSE COFFEE

| Trade model: Fair Trade
| Farming: Organic
| Type: Whole bean, ground
| Roasted in: Invermere, BC

Kicking Horse Coffee is a Canadian coffee company from the heart of the Rocky Mountains. They have taken Canada by storm with their premium quality coffee, cheeky attitude, and quirky design. In an industry with so many problems, they’re doing the right thing: They commit to only using fair trade, organic and sustainable coffee.

Kicking Horse Coffee is a leader in the ethical and sustainable coffee business. They care about the communities they affect, whether it’s with the local coffee growers or their neighbors in Canada. They also commit to good practices for the planet and for future generations. Moreover, they partner with The Nature Conservancy of Canada to help conserve lands in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia.

3 | SALT SPRING COFFEE

| Trade model: Fair Trade
| Farming: Organic
| Roasted in: Richmond, BC
| Type: Whole bean, ground
| Commitments: B Corp, 1% For the Planet

Top 10 Fair Trade and Organic Coffee Roasters from Canada

 

Another coffee roaster from British Colombia, Salt Spring Coffee shows great commitments to their coffee growers and their local community. They’re a fellow member of 1% for the Planet, a B Corp and they were the first to sell carbon neutral coffee in Canada.

 

4 | 49th Parallel Coffee

| Trade model: Direct Trade
| Farming: Small scale farms
| Roasted in: Vancouver, BC

Top 10 Fair Trade and Organic Coffee Roasters from Canada

With their roastery located in Vancouver, 49th Parallel has the west coast by storm. They work directly with the farmers that they source their coffee from and publish regular transparency updates sharing their sources, case studies, and even their coffee prices.

 

5 | Detour Coffee

| Trade model: Direct Trade
| Farming: Small scale farms
| Type: Whole bean
| Location: Burlington, ON

Top 10 Fair Trade and Organic Coffee Roasters from Canada

DETOUR is a small coffee roaster from Burlington. They source their coffee beans directly from small scale farmers. They also put a great emphasis on sustainable roasting: their emissions are 80% lower than most coffee roasters.

 

6 | Pilot Coffee Roasters

| Trade model: Direct Trade
| Farming: Small scale farms
| Type: Whole bean
| Roasted in: Toronto, ON

Top 10 Fair Trade and Organic Coffee Roasters from Canada

Toronto based Pilot Coffee Roasters is a speciality coffee roaster that has won many awards. With a heavy focus on Direct Trade they have been able to build great relationships which have led to collaboration on unique projects with farmers.

 

7 | 23 degrees

| Trade model: Fair Trade
| Farming: Organic
| Type: Whole bean
| Roasted in: Toronto, ON

Top 10 Fair Trade and Organic Coffee Roasters from Canada

Another Toronto-based coffee roaster, 23 Degrees Roastery is not only fairtrade certified but also organic certified. With their focus on great tasting coffee, they limit their portfolio to only 5 coffees to be able to deliver an amazing tasting experience.

 

8 | Reunion Island Coffee

| Trade model: Fair Trade
| Farming: Organic, Rainforest Alliance Certified
| Type: Whole bean, Ground, Single Serve
| Commitments: B Corp
| Roasted in: Oakville, ON

Top 10 Fair Trade and Organic Coffee Roasters from Canada

Oakville-based coffee roaster Reunion Island is a force to be reckoned with. Their commitment to sustainability is a shining beacon in a troubled industry. They’re a B Corp, they run on Bullfrog power and they developed zero-waste compostable coffee pods.

 

9 | Los Beans

| Trade model: Direct Trade, Fair Trade
| Farming: Organic
| Type: Whole bean
| Roasted in: Vancouver, BC

Top 10 Fair Trade and Organic Coffee Roasters from Canada

Vancouver-based Los Beans does not only roast an amazing selection of organic coffees, but they also have a great commitment to their farmers and to the environment. 

 

10 | One Coffee

| Trade model: Fair Trade
| Farming: Organic
| Type: Single Serve
| Packaging: Biodegradable
| Roasted in: Delta, BC

Top 10 Fair Trade and Organic Coffee Roasters from Canada

One Coffee makes single serve cups for K-Cup machines. Their Single Serve cups are 90% biodegradable and are filled with organic, fairtrade Arabica coffee.

7 thoughts on “Top 10 Fair Trade and Organic Coffee Roasters from Canada

  1. Sara says:

    Hey… just wondering why Merchants of Green is not included on your top 10 fair trade organic coffees in canada? They are the ORIGINAL fair trade/organic coffee roaster, doing this for 20 years, AND supporting remarkable regenerative and restorative farming practices via Solar Powered coffee production in Honduras… owned by a woman’s cooperative… the list goes on and on as to why this company deserves to be on this list. ??? Would love you guys to add it! I’ve been buying this amazing coffee for 10+ years. It truly is the best. :)-Sara

    • Dali says:

      I’d like to make a correction to the Paradise Mountain Coffee comment — They own and run their own farm in Thailand therefore don’t trade on the open market. Only companies that do would be fair trade.
      Thanks!

  2. Hope says:

    i would to support these wonderful companies…BUT being a senior on limited monthly income..i simply CANNOT afford to buy a package of coffee for $16.99 or more as a lot of these coffees cost! perhaps if the companies made it more affordable for the everyday person, we would support canadian coffee companies more readily! my tub of coffee costs $6.99 on sale…so you can surely see the difference in cost.

    • FAIR/SQUARE says:

      Hi Hope, thank you very much for your comment. I understand that it can be difficult to afford coffee that costs $16. I do have to say however that the companies listed are all small independent coffee roasters, not big corporations that are able to offer cheap coffee only because of vast exploitation of workers and resources in the coffee supply chain. The companies listed try to break this cycle and give fair wages to the coffee farmers and empower them. For us a FAIR/SQUARE this is worth the higher price tag. On top of that, the taste of these fair trade and direct trade coffees is incredible! We’d rather drink a bit less coffee and enjoy every single sip!

  3. Robyn says:

    Love the list, thanks for sharing! I’m a bit sad to see Kicking Horse listed on there as a “Canadian Company” since they were bought by Lavazza, the Italian mega corporation. Support local, friends!

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