The 7 Best-Tasting and Sustainable Coffee Brands for Feel-Good Sipping

sustainable coffee
Image courtesy Saliha on Unsplash

Start your day the very best way, with the Ethos founders’ favorite sustainable coffee that’s better for the planet and your palate.

Like the saying goes: youth is wasted on the young. For the rest of us, though there’s coffee. While coffee can’t solve all of our problems, it sure gives us the motivation to try.

And there’s some science to suggest it’s not wholly the buzz that’s worth the sipping. Coffee consumption is linked to a longer lifespan and reduced risk of some life-limiting diseases.

When coffee is sustainably sourced, it’s also helping to protect vital tropical rainforests and ecosystems, namely thousands of bird species. Turns out that near-instant focus comes with a whole host of other perks when coffee helps you to be a force for good in the world. We’ll sip to that!

Best sustainable coffee

There are four types of coffee beans: arabica, robusta, liberica, and excelsa. Arabica is the most common and considered the most palatable of the beans, but like all things, there are die-hard fans for the harder to find beans.

But whichever you choose, keep your eyes peeled for labels that indicate your coffee is fair trade, organic, or bird friendly—ideally all three. While there are no certifications for “sustainable,” a number of roasters and brands are being more transparent than ever, a good indication that there are ethical and responsible harvesting practices in place.

1. Allegro

This Whole Foods Market-owned brand is committed to quality, organic beans and ethical sourcing. With its Climate Pledge Friendly certifications, the coffee brand is committed to help preserve the natural world.

“Time is fleeting,” Allegro says. Which is why it has also achieved Bird-Friendly status. Since the 1970s, the company has worked to source the finest quality beans, developing small farmer relations to bring you the perfect cup every time, while protecting our natural resources.

Try the French Roast while you sip and enjoy a quiet morning, hopefully outside somewhere, listening to the birds.

2. Wildland

Coffee in a tea bag? Why not? Wildland makes grabbing a cup as easy as pouring and dunking. You can take this with you camping, traveling, to the office—essentially carry it with you wherever you go.

Wildland works only with small, sustainable coffee farmers in Cerrado, Brazil, to ensure you get an ethical and excellent cup of coffee every time. Every cup is traceable to the source. Sustainability extends to the tea bags (coffee bags?), which are fully compostable, and the packaging is 100 percent recyclable.

What does coffee in a tea bag taste like? Just as good as your favorite drip or pour-over. Wildland Coffee is a medium roast with hints of dark chocolate, caramel, and peanut butter, with a creamy body.

3. Rise Up Organic Espresso

How about a good cry with your coffee? Rise Up was started by friends with the mission of empowering friends they hadn’t met yet—coffee farmers.

“The farmer who grew this coffee should receive the glory,” the company website reads. “We are among the fortunate who get to roast their beautiful coffees and share them with you. By staying committed to the time-honored craft of artisanal coffee roasting, we strive to make them proud.”

And you can enjoy delicious coffee picked at the peak of ripeness from certified organic and Fair Trade growers across Central and South America. Try the espresso but the company also offers recyclable bulk packs, small-batch blends, and lots of cute merch.

javy coffee ethos

4. Javy Coffee Concentrate

Javy is a must-have for any coffee lover. Not only does it allow you to whip up a perfect cup in no time, but you have versatility with the concentrate that whole bean doesn’t give you. No more K-Cups or messy grinds here—just a concentrated coffee that you can adjust to your strength preference with ease. “Our magic combination of thermal blends allows us to roast the beans to concentrated perfection while retaining flavor all without burning them,” the company says.

Javy only uses organic Arabica beans from small growers across Colombia and Central America Javy supports farmers who focus on producing quality and value, which has allowed it to create a sustainable coffee supply chain that delivers premium solutions to everyone from crop to cup. Each six-ounce concentrated bottle makes 30 cups of coffee, and the bottle is fully recyclable when you’re through.

5. Equal Exchange

Equal Exchange has been serving up delicious and sustainable coffee for over 30 years. The three founders met while working at a food co-op where they were a part of the movement to transform the relationship between the public and food producers. 

They took that empowering structure to the coffee industry. They set out back then to create a coffee company that was honest and fair in a way that empowered both the farmers they sourced from and the consumers they sold to. The answer to that resulted in a coffee company that is worker-owned. Today, the co-op has over 130 worker-owners and they each hold an equal share and voting rights within the company. 

The company is now sold worldwide but still has the same core ethics. They continue to be dedicated to social change for their farmers and to educating consumers on the trade issues that affect the industry.

6. BLK + Bold

Based out of Des Moines, Iowa, BLK + Bold has a wonderful assortment of sustainable coffees and teas. All of the coffees are Fair Trade certified and are sourced from all the major coffee capitals, including Honduras and Ethiopia. Oh, the company is also B Corp certified! The founders, Pernell and Rod, created the company with a desire to make purpose popular. BLK + Bold gives back 5 percent of its profits to initiatives to help youth programming, enhance development, and eradicate youth homelessness.

If you are a daily brewer, (aren’t we all?), BLK + Bold has an easy-as-pie subscription model where coffee just shows up at your door every month. It’s like a coffee-filled dream.

7. Nguyen Coffee Supply

Nguyen Coffee Supply is the first Vietnamese specialty coffee company in the United States. The company imports via direct trade and roast in Brooklyn, New York. The company is woman-owned by Shra Nguyen, who is a first-generation Vietnamese American and the daughter of refugees. She is on a mission to change the future of specialty coffee through diversity, inclusion, and sustainability. The company partners with a fourth-generation farmer, Mr. Ton, who owns and operates his family farm in Vietnam. Together, they bring his organic, green beans to the U.S. for people to enjoy the fresh-roasted brews. 

There are three distinct offerings that champion the specialty of the arabica bean of Vietnam and famed robusta bean. The Moxy roast is sweet and fruity. For a bold and nutty taste, you’ll want to try the Loyalty blend. And if you need an extra kick, the Truegrit is the strongest offering with twice as much caffeine as the Moxy.

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