October 01, 2021

Coffee is a dependable commodity for the two-thirds of Canadians who enjoy at least one cup daily. When there’s no telling what a day will bring, sometimes the only reliable thing is the bittersweet taste of coffee to get you out of a rut, spark your creative flow, and tackle the items on your to-do list.

But for smallholder coffee producers, who make up 80% of the world’s coffee supply, the market is the furthest thing from dependable. With stagnant low wages, increasing production costs, and the price of coffee changing on average every three minutes, coffee producers in the global South face unfair working conditions. Fairtrade promotes stability by ensuring farmers receive a fixed minimum price and on top of that, are given premiums to be directly invested back into their communities.

Every day is International Coffee Day if you’re a coffee lover, and every day is a day you can choose to support Fairtrade coffee companies. Here are eight quality and convenient options on campus and in the lower mainland:

1. Renaissance Coffee

The warmth and kindness of the staff at Renaissance Coffee isn’t the only reason to support the business. They also have Fairtrade espresso and tea! Their café in the AQ 3000 level has been an integral pillar of the SFU community since 1996.

2. Blenz

The new Blenz in the Student Union Building is the only Blenz location with Fairtrade coffee, from espresso to drip. We recommend trying their iced coffee and sitting in their cozy café for your next study session.

3. Ethical Bean Coffee Company

Founders Kim and Lloyd were inspired to start Ethical Bean in 2003, after witnessing the stark number of coffee farmers living below the poverty line in Guatemala. Whether you’re grabbing a brewed cup from Mackenzie Cafe, or buying beans to roast at home, choosing Ethical Bean’s Fairtrade organic coffee is a vote for better working conditions for coffee farmers. Order online or find them at most grocery stores!

4. Kicking Horse

Kicking horse is a local Fairtrade organic coffee company that’s been giving Canadians a kick of caffeine since their conception as a small family-owned roastery in the rocky mountains. They’re now one of the most affordable and ubiquitous Fairtrade coffee brands out there, so if you’re an at-home coffee connoisseur, put them on your grocery list, as they’re available in most grocery stores!

5. Spirit Bear

With coffee offerings like “Raven”, “Eagle”, and “Frog-Breakfast Blend”, Spirit Bear is Aboriginal-owned, Fairtrade, and organic. The Port-Coquitlam based company is passionate about expanding and fighting “the big guys” (Tim Hortons and Starbucks) as well as being environmentally and socially responsible. You can order their sampler pack here.

6. Doi Chaang Coffee Company Inc. 

If you’re a bit of a coffee snob and have a taste for complex coffee notes that highlight the coffee growing region, Doi Chaang Coffee’s is the Fairtrade brand of choice. With distinct roast varieties and high grade valve bags that guarantee freshness, this specialty coffee will treat your palate. Find the nearest store that carrier the brand here.

7. Beachcomber Coffee

Another organic Fairtrade coffee roaster is Beachcomber, which is based in Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast. Their small-batch roasting ensures quality taste. Find the nearest retailer here.