Bright Bean Selected: Equator Coffee

Equator Coffee

Equator Coffee


Helen Russell and Brooke McDonnell found Equator Coffee in a Marin County garage in 1995. In 1997, Brooke made her first trip to Guatemala to learn how coffee actually grows firsthand. In 2008, in cooperation with world-renowned coffee Expert Willem Boot, founded its own coffee farm, Finca Sophia, in Volcan, Panama.

Equator Coffee offers a wide range of flavours, including 15 different single origins (from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama, Indonesia, Guatemala, Ethiopia, and Kenya) and over 30 blends.

In 2013, Equator Coffee opened its first retail store in the Tam Junction neighbourhood of Mill Valley, CA. Today, it operates 12 coffee shops across California. Most of them are in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Memberships, Awards and Certifications

  • Partner of Fair Trade USA since 1999 for its high standards for worker’s rights, gender equality and fair pay

  • Certified B Corp since 2011 as recognition for social sustainability, environmental performance standards, accountability standards and transparency for the public

  • National Business of the Year by Small Business Administration in 2016. First Certified LGBTQ-owned business to win this award

  • Nationally certified SHEowns business since 2023 for meeting high standards of gender equality in the workplace 

  • 1st Place in the Washed Gesha category and 2nd Place in the Natural Gesha category by Panama Cup in 2020