If students are the heart of college, then caffeine is the life blood. And while many will jump at the chance to score a cheap cup of joe, cost isn’t the only factor. College students rank sustainable business practices as an important factor in where they buy their coffee. A 2016 study conducted by S&D Coffee & Tea Inc. found 40 percent of millennials “ think more positively of places that offer coffee with features like local, sustainable, fair-trade certified, single origin, etc.”
While some millennials are willing to pay extra to get fair trade products, that’s not realistic for everyone. Here’s five fair trade coffee brands that won’t break the bank:
- Specifications: Fair trade, organic
- Roasts: Variety, all made from Arabica beans
- Prices: $11.99 for a 12 oz. bag
Lorraine Walker founded Silver Bridge Coffee Company in 2008 after experimenting with making specialty blends in a popcorn popper. Not only is this Ohio-based business a member of the Specialty Coffee Association of American and Fair Trade USA, Walker also is a strong supporter of women in business. Silver Bridge sells Cafe Feminino blends, a foundation that “provides grants for women and their families in coffee-producing countries such as Peru, Columbia and Guatemala.”
If that’s not enough to sell you on Silver Bridge, consider this: It is the only Ohio company to offer 100 percent recyclable disposable coffee pods.
— Silver Bridge Coffee (@silverbridgecof) July 15, 2016
- Specifications: Fair trade, organic,
- Roasts: Variety
- Prices: starting at $9.95 for a 10 oz. bag
Equal Exchange co-op prioritizes small business owners. In promoting fair trade practices, it connects consumers in North America with South American growers. Their coffee is made from organic beans and comes in a variety of blends, from dark to light roasts.
All products are available at the website, and can be purchased in a variety of forms, from 10 oz. bags to environmentally-friendly pods. There’s even a wholesale option for those looking to buy in bulk. Now: Get 10 percent off and free shipping when you sign up for the mailing list.
Grounds for Change
- Specifications: Fair Trade, organic, shade grown, carbon free
- Roasts: Variety, including specialty and seasonal
- Prices: $10.95 for a 12 oz. bag
Grounds for Change is a certified organic and fair trade coffee company in the Pacific Northwest. Its mission: “To support social equity and environmental sustainability through fair trade, organic, shade grown coffee.”
Shade grown coffee beans grow under a tree canopy and are not exposed to chemical fertilizers. Grounds for Change says this helps its coffee — brewed only in small batches — be as fresh as possible. The coffee is available in dark, medium and light roasts, with limited availability for seasonal flavors. You can also join the Coffee of the Month club and receive a different blend every month for up to a year. A three-month subscription starts at $69. 96 and ships free!
Buy Grounds for Change online here.
- Specifications: Fair trade, direct trade
- Roasts: Variety, as well as seasonal
- Prices: $8.99 for 18 pods, or $6.69 for a 12 oz. bag
You already purchase many of your college essentials at Target, so why not add fair trade coffee to the list? In August 2016 Target’s Archer Farms brand launched its fair trade coffee line. Amanda Irish, VP of Target Owned Brands, said in an AOL article the company overhauled its coffee production to give customers not only better options, but more sustainable ones.
— Ingo (@IngoRingeling) February 4, 2017
Pura Vida Create Good
- Specifications: Fair trade, organic, shade grown
- Roasts: Variety, from bold to mild (also decaf)
- Prices: $10.95 for a 12 oz. bag
Available both for individual and wholesale purchase, Pura Vida Create Good coffee is locally roasted in small batches to guarantee freshness. The company is also doing its part to educate consumers about the fair trade process. Its Create Good Foundation is a public charity that funds projects for at-risk children in coffee-producing countries.
Pura Vida’s unique coffee blends range from spicy and full-bodied to delicate and sweet. With flavors and names from all around the world, these roasts are sure to please.
College Coffee Fix is a weekly newsletter that seeks to educate and connect college students about fair trade products.