Updated: Aug 3
Welcome to the next installment of our Get to know... series - where we invite you to learn more about the amazing companies that make up our SHE Certified Community™. This feature highlights Equator Coffees - a Certified SHEowns™ queer women owned B-Corp that has been roasting coffee in Marin County CA since 1995. We had them answer some questions and tell us more about the journey of Equator Coffees in the interview below!
Introduce your company!
In 1995, Equator Founders Helen Russell and Brooke McDonnell began their values-driven path, roasting coffee in a Marin County, CA garage. Possessing an obsessive commitment to green coffee sourcing and unparalleled roasting expertise, Helen and Brooke have committed over 28 years to sustainable and fair trade coffee practices all in the name of creating a remarkable coffee experience for consumers. Today, Equator Coffees is a retail and wholesale coffee roaster and coffee farm owner with ten retail cafes throughout California—from Marin County to San Francisco to Oakland and beyond. Throughout the years, Equator Coffees has spearheaded industry-leading sourcing and roasting practices, and has forged progressive partnerships with Michelin-starred chefs, specialty grocers, tech campuses, and more. Women-owned, LGBTQ-founded and an early adopter of Fair Trade certification, Equator Coffees is the first California coffee roaster to achieve B Corp Certification, and is now proudly SHEowns certified.
What is your mission as a company?
Coffee can be a force for good. That realization inspired our founders Brooke and Helen to roast and sell coffee themselves from a Marin County garage in 1995. Coffee can be roasted better, brewed better and, most importantly, it can be sourced in a way that makes lives better. That garage became Equator Coffees and marked the beginning of a high-impact coffee company focused on quality, sustainability and social responsibility.
Show off a product your proud of.
In April 2022, Equator Coffees received licensing approval from the Regenerative Organic Alliance to participate in the ROC™ supply chain. Last year, Cooperativa Sacaclí in Nicaragua became the first coffee producer in the world to harvest a Regenerative Organic Certified crop. Already organic and fair trade certified, Cooperativa Sacaclí took the additional steps to receive ROC™ certification to protect the future of its members and the planet against the effects of climate change. We are proud to offer Nicaragua Sacaclí - Regenerative Organic Certified washed coffee. The medium-light roast highlights the crop’s balance of sweet and savory flavors, with hints of red apple, baker’s chocolate, walnut, and mint. Find the coffee here: https://www.equatorcoffees.com/products/nicaragua-coopertiva-sacacli-roc-certified-regenerative-coffee
Which SHE mark(s) have you been certified for?
We have been Certified SHEowns™!
Why are you proud to be a women-led company?
Being women and queer founded and owned has guided the direction of Equator since the beginning. We have always focused on taking care of our teams and stakeholders throughout the supply chain, even before there were certifications in these areas.
What benefits have you experienced being a women led business?
As a women-founded and owned organization, we're firm believers in holistically minded decision making. Growth cannot come at the expense of the health of our people and the planet.
Supporting businesses owned by women, and other marginalized identities, has the potential to shift capitalism into something that works for more people.
In what ways other than gender equity do you think your company is making the world a better place?
Equator was founded on the idea that what we do and how we do it matters. It’s been co-founders Helen Russell and Brooke McDonnell’s life work and passion to apply that philosophy to coffee, to provide greater transparency into the coffee production process, as well as establish more equitable and sustainable practices in support of a better international coffee economy. As a B Corp-certified organization - our work is never done. There is no “finish line” when it comes to sustainability work. Instead, we choose to publish an annual report as a check-in with our community, and as a dialogue to share what we’re doing, what’s working, and where we hope to improve. Read our 2023 Impact Report here: https://www.equatorcoffees.com/pages/our-impact
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
“The SHE Mark™ is a great community and we are honored to be a part of what they are building. Wherever there are women making waves in business thats where we want to be.” - Devorah Freudiger, Director of Coffee Culture at Equator Coffees.
Where can everyone find, shop, and connect with Equator Coffees?
Instagram: @Equator Coffees
Visit a cafe: https://www.equatorcoffees.com/pages/cafes