First and foremost, it is important to know that there are multiple Fair Trade certifications. The original Fair Trade mark is run by Fairtrade International in Germany. Fairtrade international then works through regional entities, for instance Fairtrade America in the United States. Separately, there is a completely different standard called Fair Trade USA, run by Ashoka fellow and social entrepreneur Paul Rice. With this in mind, here are several “Fair Trade” coffee companies for your next cup.
1). Coffee Express Co.
Coffee Express Co. was founded by Tom Isaia, who purchased his first espresso machine in 1971 and opened the Blind Pig Café in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In 1975, Tom upgraded to Coffee Express Co., and began importing, selling, and servicing Rancilio brand espresso machines.
Express Co. became the leading roaster of specialty and organic coffee in Michigan. In 1997, they expanded and moved to Plymouth, where they are today.
2). Royal Cup Coffee Inc.
The story of Royal Cup Coffee Inc. has a humble beginning: in 1896, Henry T. Batterton made rounds in Birmingham, Alabama, selling coffee from his horse-drawn wagon.
His company, Batterton Coffee Company, served coffee so fresh and flavorful that it was deemed fit for royalty. Because of its high-quality taste, it became known around town as a “royal” cup of coffee.
It wasn’t until 1950, after William E. Smith purchased Batterton Coffee Company, that the company was renamed Royal Cup Coffee. To this day, the Smith family still owns and manages the business.
Over the past 100 years, Royal Cup Coffee and Tea has grown from its small, hometown roots to become a major importer, roaster and distributor of the world’s finest specialty and premium coffees and teas. Royal Cup’s reach extends throughout the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean, serving customers in the food service, hospitality, office and specialty coffee markets.
3). F. Gaviña & Sons, Inc.
F. Gaviña & Sons, Inc. is a family business, the creation of the Gaviña family. Their coffee story began in 1870 in the mountains of Southern Cuba.
After the Gaviña family’s arrival in Los Angeles in 1963, they carried on a tradition of passion for producing gourmet coffee by founding F. Gaviña & Sons, Inc. in 1967. While the company’s focus has shifted over the years from cultivation to coffee roasting and wholesale distribution, the end goal has remained the same: creating fine coffee—and doing it the right way from bean to cup.
“My father said coffee runs through our veins. Perhaps that explains why I think everyone deserves a great cup.” – Leonor Gaviña-Valls, Vice President of Marketing
Visit the Gaviña plant in Vernon, California, and you’ll discover the company’s dedication to the quality of their final product. One of the top coffee roasting facilities in the country with over 240,000 square feet, it has the capacity of up to 60 million pounds.
Roasting is the company’s craft, combining sophisticated equipment with the expertise of their Roastmaster, who’s been with the company for over a quarter century. It’s this blend of state-of-the art technology and personal attention to detail that creates the ideal cup of coffee.
The company’s certifications:
· SQF Level 3: Highest Safe Quality Food level of achievement
· MBE: Minority Business Enterprise
· USDA Organic
· Rainforest Alliance
· Fair Trade
4). Barrie House Coffee & Tea
Barrie House is a family-owned coffee roaster established in 1934. The company is located just outside of New York City and are a leading coffee roaster. Barrie House is proud of the superior quality and consistency they have provided for over 85 years.
The company is involved in every aspect from coffee and raw materials procurement, roasting and processing, blend development, innovative flavoring, packaging and graphics and production end-to-end.
Barrie House is #9 producer of Fair Trade USA coffee in the U.S. and has helped farmers invest over $1 million into sustainable projects. The company’s support of Fair Trade ensures that the farmers who grow our coffee can build their businesses; invest in quality, education, and community infrastructure; and improve the environment.
5). Kaffe Magnum Opus
Kaffe Magnum Opus started as an aroma in 1955 or so, in an A and P store in East Rockaway, Long Island. Founder Bob Johnson was then only 10, but had the enviable task of grinding the coffee for his parents’ home use.
“I always remember the aroma”, says Bob. “That aroma hit me again in the Galleria Mall in Philadelphia in 1989 and I decided there and then to change my life completely.
After 23 years in finance, Bob followed the aroma into the coffee business and started Kaffe Magnum Opus in 1991, as an in-line store – Coffee Time – in the Cumberland Mall, Vineland, New Jersey.
Freshness is king in the coffee business and Kaffe Magnum Opus only roasts to order. Even in its new facility with larger roasting equipment, the focus is on roasting batches. This insures freshness.
Kaffe Magnum Opus is flexible and has changed many times to fit customer needs. It now has well over 250 flavors – and growing, 100 origins and blends and is intensifying efforts to market Fair Trade Organic coffee.
6). Kicking Horse Coffee
Kicking Horse Coffee makes coffee “that kicks ass, and we’ve done it for over 20 years.”
The company prides itself on exceptional tasting coffee—it is Canada’s #1 selling Whole Bean coffee.
They are proud that all of their coffee is Organic and Fairtrade. And it’s all “deep and delicious, roasted right in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.”
And it’s not just the company’s coffee that’s good. They were named the #1 Best Workplace in Canada by Great Place to Work® in 2018. They were also named a 2015 Fairtrade favourite product.
Kicking Horse believes great coffee is the answer to many things.
But their question to the world is still, “How will you wake up and kick ass with us?”
7). Old City Coffee, Inc.
Old City Coffee, Inc. was founded in 1985 by Ruth Isaac, who ran it as a one-person operation. The original location at 221 Church Street in Philadelphia offered freshly-roasted, Arabica coffee beans, brewed coffee, espresso drinks and brewing accessories.
Old City Coffee’s original mission to supply the public with the freshest, highest-grade coffees, combined with excellent service and competitive pricing has not changed since the store’s opening. This simple but successful formula has been the framework for their continued growth.
Shortly after opening, the company added their own home style baking to their offerings. By 1988, Old City Coffee at the Reading Terminal Market was in operation.
This was an immediate success in the bustling landmark market by complementing the other merchants’ fresh, high-quality foodstuffs. All roasting is now done on site at the Terminal location. In1990, the Church Street location was expanded to include a European-style cafe.
Today, in addition to their brick and mortar locations, Old City offers retail mail order and specialty coffee catering. Old City Coffee at the Pennsylvania Convention Center began operation in November 1993 as a certified participant in the City of Philadelphia Minority Enterprise Council program supporting women-owned businesses.
8). Farmer Brothers
Farmer Brothers offers gourmet restaurant coffee service and products, “from our house to yours.”
Because Farmer Brothers is a national company that grew branch-by-branch and customer-by-customer, each local branch is operated as its own business.
With Farmer Brothers restaurant coffee service comes all the scalability of a national manufacturer, wholesaler and distributor, located nearby—no matter where one does business in the Continental U.S
Farmer Brothers develops a custom coffee and beverage plan for each client. The company’s products, equipment and restaurant coffee services are customized to meet the exact restaurant needs and specifications.