Top questions:

How should I store my coffee beans?

Store your coffee in an airtight container in a dark and cool place.

This keeps it away from heat, light, moisture and moochers. No fridges, no freezers, no funny business.

Tip from our team: don’t have too much coffee to store. Treat your coffee like produce and buy it as you need it to ensure maximum freshness.

Where can I find the roasted on and best before dates?

Two places.

The first is on the white sticker on the back, below the QR Code (BEST BEFORE: YEAR, MONTH, DATE). The roasting date will be exactly one year before the best before date.

The second is by scanning the QR Code with the Ethical Bean iPhone app or any QR code reader; the very first section below the image and description indicates the “Roasted On” and “Enjoy by” dates.


How is Fairtrade Certified coffee different than non-Fairtrade Certified coffee?

The key word here is fair. Fair terms of trade, fair prices, fair working conditions.

Fairtrade Certified coffee is produced and traded through an alternative system to the conventional global coffee market. How it works: Fairtrade coffee producers are assured a minimum price per pound—a price that’s guaranteed to cover their cost of production—meaning they’re not subject to the volatility of global coffee market prices (and oh, can it ever be volatile).

In addition to being guaranteed a minimum price, producers also receive the Fairtrade Premium—an additional sum of money paid on top of the sale price—that they use to invest in what they feel will best allow them to build thriving workplaces and communities (e.g. education, medical care, water treatment).

Where does your coffee come from?

We purchase coffee primarily from South and Central America—rotating between the two based on seasons.

We are origin agnostic, meaning our selections are fluid; our m.o. is to select the freshest coffee possible. Central America = Spring through Summer. South America = Fall and Winter. 

Already have a lot on your mind? Just grab your favourite colour and don’t worry. It’ll be delish. Want to go even deeper? The specific origins are always indicated on the back of our bags. Deeper? Scan the QR code for next level details on the origin and co-ops that the coffee came from.

How is your coffee decaffeinated?

With the Mountain Water Process.

Most methods of decaffeination use chemical solvents, like methylene chloride or ethyl acetate, to strip the caffeine molecules from the unroasted or “green” beans. Our decaf beans, however, have been decaffeinated using the Mountain Water Process. In short, this process is 100% chemical free, using just water (and a special formula of flow, pressure, temperature, and suction) to extract the caffeine molecules. The decaffeinated green beans are then dried, packed, and sent to our head roastery.

I’ve never tried your coffee before. Which roast do you recommend I start with?

When it comes to our coffee, the differences are subtle, with the degree of roast probably being the most defining quality. As a starting point, from light to darkest: 

Classic. Medium Roast. Unpretentious, coffee quintessence. Drink it all day, every day, any way you like. A coffee for the people.
Sweet Espresso. Medium Dark Roast. Built from the ground up for espresso, falling all over itself with a caramelized brown sugar echo on your palate.
Lush. Medium Dark Roast. A coffee for all seasons. Most popular for a reason. Fruit, smoke, and earth tones. If you drink coffee, you’ll like this.
Superdark. Dark Roast. The end of the line. Any darker and you’d be drinking a cup of smoke tendrils—but with our signature, smooth, dark roasted profile. Epic. 

While we have you, the rest of our collection: 

Exotic. Medium Roast. 100% Washed Ethiopian. Lightly floral, fruity aromatics headline this approachable but different cup. A coffee for those that know.
Mellow. Medium Roast. If you want a change from drinking our Classic (as if!) or were looking for something slightly tempered but not too dark. Nutty aroma. Sweet brightness.
Decaf. Medium Dark Roast. Water processed decaf that gives up nothing but the caffeine. Gobs of body, with an intriguing chocolate character.
Bold. Dark Roast. A solid dark roasted coffee with our uniquely clean cup profile.

Are your coffee bags recyclable?

The short answer: no—not in regular recycling streams.

We’re still on the hunt for an eco-friendly bag that meets our standards of freshness and food safety, but no luck so far. In the meantime, we encourage everyone to participate in our bag return program (12 empty bags from you = 1 free bag from us).

How does your bag return program work?

12 empty bags = 1 free bag.

Every time you have 12 empty bags (pod bags included), send them our way via mail or drop them off in person and we’ll send you a full bag back in return (in the size of the bag sent with the least value).

Where do the bags go? We send them to an innovative recycling company that specializes in developing zero-waste solutions for difficult-to-recycle waste streams. They clean, shred, and pelletize the plastic, and then find ways to integrate it into products already in production (e.g. plastic park benches). Learn more here.

Address for shipping the bags (postage not included): Ethical Bean Coffee, 1315 Kootenay St, Vancouver, BC V5K 4Y3.

Questions about our pods:

Where can I compost my Ethical Bean pods?

In your green bin.

Our coffee pods are 100% certified compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI), meaning they’ll break down in as little as five weeks in commercial composting systems. Unless directed otherwise by your municipality*, you can put your used pods directly into your green bin or take them to a transfer station that offers organics drop off.

*Many composting facilities are still in the process of deciding whether or not they want to accept compostable coffee pods (for a bunch of different reasons)—with some taking them and some not. The verdict is still out on how compostable pods will officially be treated in organic waste diversion programs (with lots of working groups dedicating their time to getting an answer). Stay tuned for updates.

Can I compost your pods in my backyard composting system?

We can’t guarantee success.

We can’t make a blanket statement about how our pods break down in a home composting environment, because individual results really vary. Success is dependent on several conditions—like local temperatures, surrounding matter, humidity, and so on.

To learn more, read our blog post on composting basics. 

What are your compostable pods made of?

Over 90% of the total weight of a used pod is coffee grounds.

The remaining 10% of the weight is composed of an integrated lid, a mesh filter and a unique brown ring—all made of different renewable materials, including roasted coffee bean skins, or “chaff”.

To learn more about the pods, check out www.purpod100.com.

Is the inner bag of the pod boxes compostable or recyclable?

Not yet.

Unfortunately, to ensure freshness and quality, the inner bag has to pass challenging tests to make sure its protecting the coffee pods from oxygen. With ethical in our name, you can imagine that this is less than ideal, so in the meantime, the inner bag of all pod boxes is part of our bag return program (12 free pod bags = 1 free box of pods for you). 


Will the pods work in my Nespresso coffee maker?


Our compostable pods are K-cup compatible, designed to work in Keurig 1.0 and 2.0 brewers.

More questions about our coffee:

Your coffee is labelled as 100% Arabica. What does that mean?

There are only two commercially relevant coffee plant types: Arabica or Robusta. Arabica is the thoroughbred, grown only at high altitudes. It’s the darling of the Specialty Coffee world—prized for its fine flavour and cup manners. Robusta is grown at lower altitudes, known for its durability, pest resistance, and low cost. Its cup quality, on the other hand, qualifies as “rough”, with twice the caffeine as found in Arabica. 

How can I tell if the bag I’m purchasing is fresh?

On the back of all of our bags, you’ll find a best before date; this date is exactly one year after the coffee was roasted. Obviously, the closer to the roast date the better. 

What’s the difference between your silver bags and your solid colour bags?

Silver = whole bean. Solid colour = ground.

Is your coffee non-GMO?

All of our coffee is 100% certified organic, and organic standards prohibit the use of any GMOs in the production and processing of a product. This means that all certified organic products—including our coffee—are non-GMO. 

Is your coffee shade grown?

This is a complex question, as the qualifications for shade-grown coffee vary depending on the source. For example, some require a layering of the canopy, and some require a specific height and mix of trees. Given the complexities of the definition, we don’t market our coffee as shade grown. 

How much caffeine is in your coffee?

There are a few key factors that impact the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee—like the grind size, the brewing method, and the water temperature. Generally speaking, the finer the grind size and the hotter the water, the more caffeine. With that being said, here is a general guide: 

  • 1 8 oz cup of drip coffee: 90-110 mg
  • 1 single shot of espresso: 60 mg

What’s the nutritional breakdown of your coffee?

Zero calories and zero fat. Black coffee contains an insignificant amount of calories, macronutrients, carbohydrates, fat, or proteinmeaning it’s pretty well void of anything you’d put on a nutritional chart. Obviously this changes when you add milk, cream, sugar or other sweeteners (darn!). 

Is your coffee gluten-free?

Yes. No wheat or gluten in any of our products.

Is your coffee keto-friendly?

Yes. Add cream to make it extra ketolicious.

Is Ethical Bean coffee kosher?

Yes, we are certified Kosher.

Is your decaffeinated coffee 100% caffeine free?

Our decaf roast is 99.9% caffeine free.

Can I use your Sweet Espresso roast in my drip machine?


One note: our pre-ground Sweet Espresso is rather fine, as we grind it for espresso purposes. If you’re going to use it for drip, we suggest buying it whole bean and grinding it to medium. 

I only have an espresso machine. Can I use any of your roasts for espresso?

Yes and no.

Technically, any roast will “work”, but any roast doesn’t guarantee quality. The thing to understand is that espresso isn’t a particular coffee bean or type of roast; it’s actually a brewing process—marked by brisk ­­­­preparation, intense pressure, and focused flavour. With that in mind, espresso blends are created with particular coffees, often roasted and blended in a specific way to taste great when prepared specifically as espresso.

May we humbly suggest you use our Sweet Espresso blend for all your espresso needs?

Questions about Fairtrade:

When did you become Fairtrade Certified? 

Since we started in 2003. 

How is the Fairtrade Minimum Price set for coffee?

A consultative process.

The Fairtrade Minimum Price is the lowest possible price that a buyer of Fairtrade coffee must pay to the coffee grower per pound. The price is set based on a consultative process with Fairtrade farmers, workers, and traders and is guaranteed to cover production costs.

Note: when the market price is higher than the Minimum Price, the market price applies.

What are some examples of how cooperatives have invested their Fairtrade Premium?

Reforestation projects, agricultural improvements, school upgrades.

For a specific example, one of the cooperatives we do business with—Cenfrocafe in Peru—uses part of their premium to fund an education program for youth on cooperative management, coffee production, and quality control.

To learn more, visit http://fairtrade.ca/

How many coffee farmers are part of the Fairtrade movement? 

As of 2018, 844,310 farmers from 31 different countries around the world.

If you still have questions, please contact us for more details: email hidden; JavaScript is required