Simply put, it’s not easy to find coffee that is high-quality, sustainable and affordable. Tony’s Coffee — especially for those in the Pacific Northwest — is an ideal blend of all three.

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Let’s start with some brutal honesty: I am not a coffee aficionado or connoisseur — far from it. However, like many people, my mornings start with a mad dash to the coffee pot before I accidentally brush my teeth with a razor blade or something horrible like that. Coffee is not only a fixture in my daily routine; it’s an an opportunity to start each day with an Earth-friendly action.

With that said, I’m going to attack this review from the angle of “The World’s Most Average Coffee Drinker.” I hope you will forgive my honest and ineloquent approach.

At Emeraldology, we ask two questions when we review products: 1) Does it work? and 2) What makes it eco-friendly? Let’s get after it.

Does Tony’s Coffee work?

In short, you bet your cinnamon buns this coffee works, both in terms of taste and caffeine kick. I’m not a connoisseur by any means — in fact, I’ve been known to guzzle lukewarm gas station sludge — but I prefer and appreciate quality coffee when I come across it. And I definitely came across it while sampling Tony’s Coffee.

At some point I decided I am a medium roast guy, so I tried the Backcountry Blend, Cafe Carmelita and Snow Joe drip grinds. All three were notably tastier than grocery story blends at a similar $13 per 12 oz price point. Better yet, I feel like I’m getting top-shelf beans without all the coffee house romance and panache.

Backcountry Blend

I’ll be honest — I’m not picking up the notes of toasted almond, as advertised on the bag, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there. However, this is a rich, wonderful blend that I could see becoming my go-to morning coffee.

Cafe Carmelita

This blend is a nice treat, and the caramel notes definitely come through, even for my taste-blind tongue. I’m definitely keeping Cafe Carmelita in my back pocket as my “fancy” brew for when the Queen of England… or my mother-in-law… visits.

Snow Joe

Oh boy did this blend arrive in my life at the perfect time. This coffee delivers on promises of “cocoa, spice and wintry cheer,” and will be my go-to brew for the holiday season. (Bonus points for the label art!)

tony's coffee
Snow Joe medium roast is perfect for the holiday season. Photo source.

A $13 per 12 oz bag, Tony’s Coffee isn’t the cheapest coffee on the market, but is very affordable for organic, fair trade, sustainable coffee. Just compare Tony’s to it’s Bird-friendly certified competitors. If $13 is too steep, consider autoshipping a monthly subscription for $11.70. Or, sign up for Tony’s newsletter for 20% off your first order.

In terms of functionality alone, this product is well worth the price. If you don’t believe me, Tony’s Coffee was recently named Roast Magazine’s “2021 Macro Roaster of the Year.” The award recognizes “product excellence, sustainability practices, industry leadership, roasting innovation, and commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity.”

That sounds pretty legit to me. Now let’s look at some of those sustainability efforts.

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What makes this coffee eco-friendly?

Even a cursory glance at Tony’s Coffee’s website reveals that sustainability is baked right into this company’s biscuits. (There’s probably a more appropriate coffee metaphor to be had, but you can’t win ’em all.)

In 2002 — before sustainability had a fraction of the influence and marketability it does now — Tony’s Coffee began sourcing certified organic, shade grown and fair trade coffees. Shortly after, in 2006, they began purchasing 100% renewable energy to offset its CO2. Again, way ahead of the curve.

Related reading: Check out espresso art guru David Schomer’s sustainability efforts

In the 2010’s, Tony’s Coffee received Platinum Recognition from the NW Clear Air Agency and installed a Loring Roaster that cut its carbon footprint in half. In 2020 its roastery and delivery fleet became 100% carbon neutral.

To mark its 50th anniversary, Tony’s Coffee is pledging to become historically carbon neutral by offsetting all of its emissions from its founding in 1971 to 2030 (because why not get ahead of the curve). Their efforts are being verified and tracked by Gold Standard.

Achievements aside, here’s what I love about Tony’s Coffee: it’s extremely apparent that this company isn’t just using sustainability as a marketing device, aka greenwashing. This company has extensive sustainability efforts dating back to the early 2000’s, and it doesn’t stop there. Tony’s has an awesome profit-share program that rewards employees for the company’s success. On top of that, Tony’s has paid over $1 million in social premiums, uplifting the people in its supply chain.

Bottom Line

It’s not just a few little efforts that makes Tony’s Coffee eco-friendly and socially responsible; it’s a series of longstanding and meaningful efforts. So for $13 a bag — actually $11.70 because I’m definitely signing up for autoship — I can enjoy my morning tweak knowing that Tony’s is taking care of the things I care about.

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Feature photo source.