If you enjoy roasting and brewing specialty coffee, you might want to know the best place to buy green coffee beans.
Here is our guide for you. Read on!
Why would you want to roast beans at home?
Before we talk about buying unroasted beans, also known as “green” beans, let’s think about why you would want to go to the trouble of doing so.
If you tried to make coffee with unroasted beans, the result would be nothing like the aromatic steaming brew we all love to drink.
Green beans have very little taste; the delicious flavors and aromas of coffee are created during roasting by something known as the Maillard reaction, the same process that changes slices of bread into toast or a slab of meat into a juicy steak (1).
Roasting also creates a large amount of carbon dioxide. Freshly roasted beans are filled with CO2 which the beans give off in large quantities over the first few days.
During this phase, the beans are not ready for brewing. If you try to use them while they are still filled with CO2, the coffee will taste sour and unpleasant.
After a period of around four days to a week, depending on the beans and the level of roast, the dissipation of carbon dioxide slows.
At this point, the beans are in their optimum condition for brewing and will give you the freshest, most flavorsome cup of coffee possible.
However, once the beans reach this point, the clock is ticking. After most of the CO2 has been given off, oxidization begins; this is the process that turns beans stale and there is very little that can be done to slow it down.
Once oxidization kicks in, there is a window of only two weeks – from about one week after roasting to about three weeks after roasting – when coffee beans are in peak condition for brewing.
Regular beans bought from a store will usually have no information about the date of roasting, but it is practically certain that by the time you open the bag, far longer than three weeks will have already passed since they were roasted.
Even if you buy beans from an artisanal roaster that roasts to order, your beans will still only be in their optimal condition for around two weeks, and if you don’t finish them all before then, their condition will begin to deteriorate.
Note also that sealing the beans in a bag will not prevent oxidization since the process does not rely on contact with the external air.
Green beans, on the other hand, will stay fresh for up to a year when properly stored.
What this all means is, if you always want to brew coffee with the freshest beans possible, the best way is to buy green beans and roast them in small batches at home.
More control over flavor and more scope to experiment
There is another reason why coffee enthusiasts might choose to roast at home and this is the scope it offers for experimentation.
If coffee is just that drink that helps start your engine in the morning, you could simply opt for the simplicity of a pod-based coffee maker.
However, for the true aficionado, the chance to perfect the art of roasting and to experiment with the different flavors you can create by varying the roast is a way to gain an even deeper appreciation for your favorite drink.
What to look for
If you are roasting your own at home, you will doubtlessly be interested in tasting some interesting coffees rather than buying the non-descript, mass-produced products that line supermarket shelves.
Imagine buying a bottle of wine that was just labeled “France” or “South Africa”. A serious wine drinker would never settle this and would demand to know much more about the wine.
The wine drinker would want information about the grapes used, the region where the grapes were grown, the terroir and more, as well as tasting notes and suggestions for what food to pair it with.
Coffee should be the same. It is not enough to know simply the country where it comes from, you should look for information about the estate where it was grown, the altitude, the varietal, the processing method and so on.
All this information is vital and, when coupled with the results of your experimentation in roasting, will lead to a better understanding of the coffee you are purchasing.
The Best place to buy green coffee beans online 2020
While there is now a huge and growing number of importers offering green coffee beans, the best place to buy them is by shopping online and having them shipped right to your door.
Here are some of the best choices.
1. COLOMBIAN SUPREMO Unroasted Green Raw Coffee Beans
For those who enjoy the intense flavor, rich aroma and unique smooth taste of Colombian arabica, these Colombian Supremo beans from New York-based Stone Street could be an excellent pick.
They are an extra-large top-quality bean and recommended roasting levels are light to medium.
2. Single Origin Unroasted Green Coffee Beans By Primos Coffee Co. (Our Top Recommended)
These single origin beans come from a family estate in Nicaragua.
They are harvested by hand and wet-processed before being dried naturally.
They are grown at high altitude and take eight months to ripen, allowing a delicate flavor to develop. The recommended roast is medium.
3. Green Unroasted Coffee, Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC. (Brazilian Cerrado)
These beans sold by Fresh Roasted Coffee are a high-quality single origin Brazilian Cerrado.
This is a company that prides itself on the attention they pay to the origin, flavor profile and quality of their coffees. These beans have a bold flavor with hints of cocoa and walnut.
4. GUATEMALA IN A BURLAP BAG- Farm: Finca Nueva Granada, Bourbon
These single-origin bourbon varietal beans from the Finca Nueva Granada are grown at an altitude of 1,800m (5,900ft).
They display a complex flavor profile that includes strong notes of dark chocolate and cinnamon as well as undertones of butter, toasted nuts and raisins, and lemon.
5. Brazil Adrano Volcano Coffee, Green Unroasted Coffee Beans
An award-winning single-origin coffee grown in the volcanic microclimate of Poços de Caldas in Brazil.
The beans are a mix of Yellow Catuai and Red Mundo Novo that are fully dry-processed to give a ripened taste profile.
A darker roast is recommended for a buttery aroma and smooth body.
6. ETHIOPIA YIRGACHEFFE
An Ethiopian Heirloom bean that is grown between 1,770m and 2,200m (5,580-7,220ft).
They are hand-picked, washed and sun-dried.
The flavor profile is juicy, floral and fruity with notes of blueberry and lemon.
The taste is clean and bright in the mouth.
7. Ethiopian Sidamo Coffee
These Sidamo beans from Arjuno World Market are certified 100% organic and Fair Trade.
The cupping notes describe a mild spicy kick with a wine-like essence and a floral aroma.
These beans, from one of Ethiopia’s most famous growing regions, are best at a light-medium roast.
8. Colombian Narino Supremo Unroasted Green Coffee Beans Caturra
These are an excellent quality Narino Supremo of the Caturra, Castillo and Typica varietals.
They are grown at altitudes of 1,750-2,100m (5,740-6,890ft) and are triple picked.
Cupping notes describe them as being smooth with some sweetness and a bright acidity.
9. Teasia Coffee, Single Origin, Honduras
These single origin beans from Honduras sold by Teasia are of the Bourbon, Catuai and Caturra varietals.
They are grown at 1,400-1,600m (4,590-5,250ft) in clay soil and are fully washed and sun-dried.
The price is extremely reasonable for 5lbs of high-quality green beans.
10. Papua New Guinea Organic Wild-grown Unroasted Green Coffee Beans
Papua New Guinea is a place that can grow excellent coffee, but due to poor infrastructure, inaccessibility of the highlands and bandit activity, you never really know what you are buying.
These excellent beans are sourced from farmers, ensuring your money goes to those who need it most.
Green beans a logical next step
For any coffee enthusiast with a growing interest in the beans they use to brew their cup, moving into home roasting is a logical next step.
It allows you to learn much more about the coffee you are drinking and experiment with the roasting level to come up with your perfect brew.
Knowing the best place to buy unroasted coffee beans and knowing what to look for when buying them will allow you to experience your passion for coffee on a whole new level.
Do you roast your own beans? Which origins do you prefer? Which method do you use for roasting?
If you have anything to add, please leave us a comment as we love hearing from you – and if you enjoyed this article, please don’t forget to share!