top questions

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

They are not municipally/locally/traditionally recyclable.

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 based out of Canada to participate in our recycling program in partnership with TerraCycle.

Enter the code at checkout in the “gift card or discount code” box and hit “apply”. Our promo codes are only valid until the expiration date and time described in the terms and conditions. They cannot be applied retroactively to previous purchases or the purchase of gift cards and cannot be redeemed for cash or used in combination with any other offer. The discounts are calculated before taxes and shipping are added. Our offers are only valid for Ethical Bean products and transactions made on They are only valid for orders shipping within Canada. They are usually not valid for subscriptions, please check the terms and conditions. 

recycling program

Coffee is a tricky, high maintenance product to package with particular standards to make sure it stays fresh. We've been on the hunt for an eco-friendly bag that meets our standards of freshness and food safety for years, but no luck so far. In the meantime, we encourage everyone across Canada to participate in our recycling program in partnership with TerraCycle.

We appreciate all the feedback we’ve received throughout the years (yes, we take feedback very seriously!). The expanded program allows us to make recycling coffee bags more accessible to everyone across Canada and better manage our environmental footprint, all while still enjoying good coffee. Plus, it helps everyone do good by donating to those who are in need. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Through this expanded program, you can collect TerraCycle points that can be used towards donation to a not-for-profit organization of your choice.

No. Our main goal is to keep as many coffee bags out of the landfill as possible, so we’re proud to do our part and collect for everyone!


The silver foil bag that the pods are sealed in can be returned as part of the program. Of course, the pods themselves go in the compost and the cardboard box goes into your regular cardboard recycling.

Nope, it’s on us! When you sign up for the program, you can print a prepaid shipping label to ship your empty bags to TerraCycle via UPS. Because good coffee should be its own reward!

TerraCycle cleans, shreds, and pelletizes collected materials that can be remolded to make new recycled products like park benches. Follow them on Instagram for more details!

Questions about our 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.

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.


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

Not yet.

Unfortunately, to ensure freshness and quality, the inner bag has to pass challenging tests to make sure it's 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 recycling program. Send them over to TerraCycle and they’ll take care of it for you! 


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

questions about our single serve pour over coffee

Yes, fully compostable.

Not yet. Unfortunately, to ensure freshness and quality, the inner bag has to pass challenging tests to make sure it's protecting the filters from oxygen.

No, same great taste. Approved by our Director of Coffee, Aaron. 

Roasted fresh and nitrogen sealed.

more questions about our coffee

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. 

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. 

Silver = whole bean. Solid colour = ground.

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. 

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. 

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 mg1 single shot of espresso: 60 mg

Zero calories and zero fat. Black coffee contains an insignificant amount of calories, macronutrients, carbohydrates, fat, or protein—meaning 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!). 

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

Yes. Add cream to make it extra ketolicious.

Yes, we are certified Kosher.

Our decaf roast is 99.9% caffeine free.


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. 

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

Since we started in 2003.

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.

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

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