Ethical coffee is coffee bought from farmers who are paid fairly, use sustainable farming techniques (think shade-grown), and won't do things like deforest or burn mountain areas to make room for coffee beans. It's like ethical fashion in that it supports the local economy, but also good environmental practices.
Ethical Bean Coffee follows many of the same principles as ethical clothing; producers should be transparent about their production process, should pay their employees fair wages, and should ensure quality control. Companies that follow these practices will usually note this somewhere on their website, so you can take a quick look before making your purchase.
Ethical bean coffee is a fairly recent phenomenon, but it's one that encapsulates the aspirations of so many people today. They yearn for organic coffees with values, ethically-sourced beans, and beautiful labels to put them in context alongside their favourite Instagrammers. Far from being about exclusivity or snobbery; ethical crowing is an open source movement that celebrates democratic principles through transparency. It wants to be inclusive of all kinds of people who appreciate good coffee with solid ethics underpinning its global supply chain - paying what they deem as "fair trade" prices for our most precious resource (water).