Boston’s Top 5 Socially Conscious Coffee Shops
By Emily O’Connor
coffee nerd, proud Husky, & social enterprise enthusiast


            Worth over $100 billion dollars in the global economy, coffee is one of the most heavily traded commodities in the world – second only to petroleum. Grown mainly in developing nations and consumed primarily by industrialized nations, the coffee bean serves as the economic livelihood of some 25 million farmers. A cup of coffee to start the morning a daily routine for many Americans, and Boston-dwellers are no exception. Boston’s wide selection of coffee shops and cafés are packed with hipster college students and seasoned business professionals alike. However, with fair trade coffee making up only a small percentage of the global market it can be difficult to ensure that your daily dose of caffeine is not contributing to the widespread exploitation of agricultural workers. Many coffee producers are trapped in a cycle of poverty and debt in a global economy that seeks cheap labor and low consumer prices. Fortunately for Bostonians, the city is host to several coffee shops who not only make a quality cup of Joe but also make socially conscious, sustainable, and fair trade practices a key aspect of their business model. Here are the top 5 socially conscious places in Boston to get your coffee fix:

  1. Equal Exchange – Dedicated to building economically and environmentally just relationships between farmers and consumers, Equal Exchange has been serving a variety of Fair Trade coffees, teas, and other foods for over 25 years. They source their beans through worker co-operatives and produce a delicious selection of ethically sourced chocolate bars.
  1. Blue State – As a certified B-Corp, Blue State Coffee donates a percentage of its sales to local non-profits. They also source and roast their own coffee beans to ensure that it meets their ethical, environmental, and quality standards. With 2 locations in Boston, Blue State is a great place to grab your morning brew!
  1. Neighborhoods Café – This is the place to go for specialty coffee and an impressive menu of sweet and savory crepes. Neighborhoods serves direct trade and single origin coffee by George Howell Coffee which is headquartered in Newton, MA. The café is also dedicated to sourcing their dairy products and ingredients locally. Even their most popular crepe the Sweet Simplicity is socially conscious with its use of ethically sourced chocolate-hazelnut spread. 
  1. Wired Puppy – Located on Newbury Street, this European style espresso café boasts a delicious selection of beans which are all certified organic and bought at premium prices from farmers. Baristas at Wired Puppy are knowledgeable and skilled. Stop in during your next Newbury shopping trip and enjoy a flavorful, fair-trade cup of tea or coffee.
  1. Boston Brewin Coffee – Founded in 2011, this Boston social enterprise takes both coffee and social impact very seriously. They brew direct and fair trade coffee from Dean’s Beans, a socially and environmentally responsible coffee company from Orange, MA. Boston Brewin Coffee also prides themselves in ensuring that all of their employees earn a living wage. On top of that, they sell delicious baked goods made by other local social businesses like Haley House Bakery and donate a percentage of their profits to non-profits and causes in the local community.
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