7 Great Tips - How & Where to Buy Green Coffee Beans

Updated on: September 8, 2023
Author: Nick
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Green Coffee Beans

So you’ve decided to jump on the home roasting wagon and you want to figure out how and where to buy green coffee beans, which by the way are coffee beans that haven’t been roasted yet!

Well, you came to the right place!

First and foremost, I want to congratulate you on making this decision. You will now experience something most coffee lovers can only dream of: pride and bragging rights, haha!

In all seriousness though, roasting your own coffee beans might be a bit of a challenge at first, but it will be rewarding once that heavenly aroma of freshly roasted coffee envelops your home and gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling inside. Plus you get to save some money too.

To be able to experience this, you first have to buy the right type of beans to roast, and this article will tell you where to buy green coffee beans.

Keep reading for more!

7 Pro Tips for Buying Green Coffee Beans

Purchasing green coffee beans is just like buying wine. Suppose you see a wine bottle just labeled as “South Africa” or “France.” If you are a serious wine drinker, you would never be satisfied with just this information.

You would want to know more about the wine, like the grapes used to make it, where they were grown (region), tasting notes, and different processes used.

Similarly, if you are a coffee lover, labeling is not everything you would need to know. You will look to see where it came from, the estate where it was grown, the altitude, the varieties, processing methods, and so on.

So here are 7 tips to keep in mind when buying green coffee beans:

Tip 1: Coffee Producing Origins

If you are looking for where to buy green coffee beans, your first objective is to figure out which region it was produced. If you are able to see which farm the coffee is grown and at which altitude it’s grown at, then that’s usually indicative of a good quality batch. Sometimes, the batch will only show the sub-region. If that’s the only information available on the package, then most likely it is not from a single farm and I would not recommend buying it.

Where to Buy Green Coffee Beans

Here are some regions, their flavor profiles and their corresponding altitudes for reference:

Central American Coffees

The best and most popular coffees come from Costa Rica & Guatemala.

  • Costa Rica: these coffees come from the Caturra variety, which is a mutation that causes the plant to grow smaller. They’re known for being bright and full-bodied. Look for the “good hard bean” classification which is given to beans that have been grown at altitudes of 3,300 to 3,900 feet.

  • Guatemala: Antigua is internationally known for some of the highest quality beans. They are known to have a full and velvety body, rich aroma and fine acidity, and they are grown at altitudes of 4,600 to 5,600 feet.

South American Coffees

Colombia and Brazil rank 1st and 2nd in the world for coffee production and with good reason!

  • Colombia: these coffees maintain high standards of excellence and they’re known for their mild strength with a well-balanced acidity. Colombian Supremo, which is considered to be the highest grade, has an aromatic and delicate sweetness. While the Excelso Grade is softer and a little more acidic. The coffee beans are grown at altitudes of up to 6,600 feet.

  • Brazil: the coffees grown here are both Arabica & Robusta and their flavor profile is clear, medium-bodied, sweet and low acidity. They are grown at altitudes of 2,000 to 4,000 feet.

East African Coffees

The highest quality coffees come from Ethiopia & Kenya.

  • Ethiopia: these coffees are known to have a heavy body, rich aroma and fruity acidity. They are grown at altitudes higher than 6,000 feet.

  • Kenya: these coffees  are known to have complex flavors of bright acidity and sweetness. Similar to their Ethiopian neighbors, they are grown at altitudes higher than 6,000 feet.

Caribbean Coffees

Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico have the most popular coffees in that region.

  • Dominican Republic: these coffees are rich, full-bodied and have a light acidity. They are grown at altitudes of 2,000 to 5,000 feet. The higher the altitude here, the harsher the growing conditions.

  • Puerto Rico: these coffees are described as balanced, full-bodied and subtle. They are grown from altitudes of 2,400 to 2,800 feet.

Hawaiian Coffees

  • The most renowned Hawaiian coffee is Kona Coffee. This coffee is cultivated in the South and North Kona District of Hawaii. It stands among one the most expensive coffees in the world (although the most expensive is likely poop coffee (we are not kidding).

  • The flavor profile is known to be medium-bodied, quite acidic, and very rich with wine undertones. They are grown at altitudes of 800 to 2,500 feet.

New Guinea and Indonesian Coffees

Out of the three below, Sumatran coffee beans are known to be some of the most complex coffees in the world.

  • Sumatra: these coffees are described as full-bodied and smooth with complex earthy and spicy notes. They are grown at altitudes of 2,500 to 5,000 feet.

  • Sulawesi: similar to Sumatran coffee but with a lighter-body, buttery smoothness and a higher acidity. They are grown at altitudes of 3,600 to 6,000 feet.

  • Papua New Guinea: these coffees are described as full-bodied, sweet and floral, with a fruity aroma. They are grown at an altitude of about 5,300 feet  above sea level.

Tip 2: Coffee Bean Sizes

The second tip for where to buy green coffee beans is the beans' size. You want to ensure that these coffee beans are similar in size, shape, and color. Consistent size means these green coffee beans have been properly sorted by using a coffee screen.

Having a uniform size is very important because it will affect your roasting process, final appearance and overall taste.

Tip 3: Coffee Processing Methods

Then you want to know what processing method was used. The 2 most popular methods are:

  • The Dry-Process: also known as the natural method, which involves long periods of sunshine. This method produces heavy-bodied, sweet, smooth and complex coffees. 

  • The Wet-Process: also known as the washed method, which produces coffees that are cleaner, brighter, fruitier and more acidic.

The process used is dependent on the environmental conditions. So make sure the region and processing methods align.

Tip 4: Coffee Drying Conditions

Try to get more information about the drying conditions of the green coffee beans. This information is usually found on the label. Did they devote the proper time to drying the beans? This has a significant effect on the green coffee beans' overall quality.

Coffee should be dried from a 60% moisture content to about 11-12%.

Tip 5: Coffee Bean Appearance & Texture

Next tip for where to buy green coffee beans is the coffee beans’ appearance. You might find that some green coffee beans are covered in brown silver skin. Don’t worry, this is not a defect. They are called a fox bean in Brazil. Usually, naturally dried/processed coffee beans show these characteristics.

Fox Bean

Make sure to check if the coffee beans have a little bit of pink skin covering them or inside of them (crack some to check). This could be considered a defect.

Properly check if the beans have faded or are white around the edges. This would be the result of improper drying or storage in humid conditions.

Finally pick the green coffee beans and feel their touch. If they feel fragile, then they might have been dried at a higher temperature or for a longer period than they should have.

On the other hand, if they are pliable, then they weren’t dried sufficiently. Either way, do not buy them! 

Tip 6: Coffee Bean Scent

Do not forget to smell green coffee beans. Smoke damage and fermentation can be easily detected when they’re green. Once roasted, these scents will be more subtle.

Tip 7: Sustainable, Organic & Ethically Sourced Coffee

These days it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that their actions have positive effects on our planet and laborers around the world. Check the coffee label for certifications from Fair Trade, Organic & Rainforest Alliance.


Where to Buy Green Coffee Beans for Home Roasting

Now that you know what to look for when you are searching for the right beans. Next I will share with you where to buy green coffee beans!

There are a number of importers/suppliers in green coffee beans. You can see if there are any coffee roasters in your area that sell green coffee beans. Just make sure you follow the 7 tips mentioned earlier when you are buying them in person.

If you can’t buy them in person or If you are new to this, I would recommend you buy them online. To help make this process simple, I have come up with the top 8 choices. Here's where to buy green coffee beans online:

Brazilian Cerrado Green Coffee - Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC.

  • Kosher Certified
  • Sustainably Sourced
  • Best Roasted to Medium or Dark

Guatemala Antigua - Arabica Green Coffee Beans - Grand Paradé Coffee

  • Notes of orange, berry, caramel, and chocolate
  • Cultivated at an altitude of 4,430 feet (1,350 m)
  • Grown in Volcanic Rich Soil

Brazil Adrano Volcano Green Coffee Beans - Heirloom Coffee LLC

  • Fully Dry Processed
  • Winner of Bronze Medal at 2015 & 2017 Golden Bean Awards
  • Mix of Yellow Catuai & Red Mundo Novo Arabicas

Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Arabica Green Coffee Beans - Smokin Beans

  • Fragrant and Floral with Wine & Fruit Overtones
  • Best Roasted to Medium or Dark
  • Wet-Processing Method

Unroasted Organic Ethiopian Sidamo Green Coffee Beans - Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC

  • Best Roasted Light to Medium
  • 100% Arabica Beans
  • Kosher certified and sustainably sourced

Unroasted Papua New Guinea Green Coffee Beans - Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC

  • Best Roasted to Medium
  • Provides an intense sweet body
  • Sustainably Sourced

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

How Long Do Green Coffee Beans Stay Fresh?

According to coffee experts, you can store your green coffee beans for up to 24 months, during which the beans do not lose aroma qualities and unique flavors. However, you need to store them in a cold, stable, dark, and pest-free environment.

Is It Worth Roasting Your Coffee Beans?

If you are a coffee lover and conscious about freshness and aroma features, roasting your green coffee beans is worth it. Other than the fact that you get fresh coffee every time, roasting your own green coffee beans can be rewarding!

How Do You Pick Green Coffee Beans?

This process starts with your preference. You are advised to find green coffee beans that have your preferred flavor profile. For instance, if you like sweet coffee, search for green beans with notes of berry, chocolate, and/or caramel.

Can You Buy Green Coffee Beans?

Yes, you can! If you are wondering where to buy green coffee beans, then you might find some coffee roasters in your area that sell them, or you can buy green coffee beans online. Either way, if you haven’t tried roasting your own coffee beans, I highly recommend trying it at least once!

Final Remarks

Buying green coffee beans for home roasting can be challenging, especially for newbies, and this article should make it easier by showing you exactly where to buy green coffee beans.

And remember the most important benefit when you buy green coffee beans is: the freshest smelling and tasting coffee you will EVER have!

Nick loves coffee... Actually, he NEEDS coffee! So, he has dedicated his time to learning all he can about this magical bean. He can make a mean latte, is obsessed with flat whites, and is always up for a cup of java!
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