Vancouver’s Ethical Bean serves up coffee with a side of ethics to go

The ethics of coffee are now as easy to swallow as the liquid itself.

Credit: Aaron De Lazer

Vancouver-based Ethical Bean Coffee Company’s carbon-neutral cafes serve up fair-trade organic brew with locally made pastries in biodegradable packaging


There is plenty percolating beyond the stylish interior of Ethical Bean Coffee Company’s Kootenay Street head office, aside from the roasting of certified organic, shade grown, fair trade coffee.


Legions of coffee connoisseurs are drawn to the facility’s new storefront café, where they can sip their favourite brew and enjoy a hearty lunch in the 100-per-cent carbon-neutral facility that boasts LEED CI accreditation.

Lloyd Bernhardt, co-founder of Ethical Bean, and his team have also concocted a smart solution – Ethical Bean Xpress – for harried commuters who want to get their java jolt while they’re passing through the Commercial Drive or Granville Street SkyTrain stations.

The insulating “sleeves” that surround compostable “to-go” coffee cups are made from 75 percent post-consumer fibre. You can sweeten your beverage with fair trade sugar, enjoy a mocha made with fair trade chocolate, or sample pastries from local bakery Uprising Breads, which are served up in biodegradable bags. Serviettes and cutlery are biodegradable, too.

Bernhardt says the new carbon-neutral cafes are a way to bring awareness to the thousands of riders who pass through the stations each day. “Ethical Bean and Ethical Bean Xpress believe that providing fair trade certified organic coffee is just a better way to do business,” he says. “This way, we can make sure that farmers receive a fair price for their efforts, without affecting the long-term health of the environment.”

A fast java fix never looked so green.