How to Choose Green Beans


Doing Research

pen-paperThere are probably as many perspectives on how to find good quality green coffee beans as there are home roasters. I would not say that my method is the best, but I guess sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. I am one of those people who researchers things to death. This is especially true when it comes to spending my money on a product. When I “got into coffee” I got into coffee. I read all of the books, internet articles, and blogs that I could read. When I decided to roast my own coffee I took my research to the next level and learned all that I could about roasters. I ultimately chose the Nesco Professional Roaster. I then had to research where to buy the roaster – looking to get the best bang for my buck. I happened upon Burman Coffee Traders in Madison, Wisconsin and they seemed to have the best deal based on products, service, reputation, (and the fact that I am from Wisconsin).

Luck Helps

When I ordered my roaster from Burman, it came with some sample coffees, but I knew that those few pounds would not be enough; so I ordered extra. I was pleased and impressed with the quality of their green beans and the roast and flavors they provided (as well as their prices and apparent expertise) so it was an easy decision to just “stick with” them. I was then fortunate enough to have another vendor follow me on twitter and begin a dialogue there. I discovered that OurCoffeeBarn was located only 15 miles from my parents’ house so I went to visit. OurCoffeeBarn not only sells green beans, but roasting equipment, roasted beans, and accessories as well. I bought some beans there and was also impressed with their quality, service, and selection. Having found a couple of good suppliers whom I know I can trust, I just stick with them.

Coffee Clubs

coffee-clubPerhaps one day soon I will take the next step and buy my own beans from an importer. This is the next logical step in my progression since it involves a great deal of research and study to learn how to predict the quality of the beans and the coffee those beans will ultimately produce. The best and easiest way to do this is to join one of the many green coffee bean buying clubs that are out there and to then research the offerings that are posted there until you find something you think you will like from an importer you think you can trust. This, to me, is probably much more risky, but also, potentially much more rewarding. Also, with the coffee bean buying clubs it appears as though there is potential for much greater variety than is typically available from your average green bean direct supplier.

Coffee Blogs

Perhaps one of the best things to do is to find a blog, or rather several blogs, written by home roasters and learn all that you can from them about buying green beans, and buy where they buy from whom they buy. Finding good green coffee beans is not rocket science, but it does take time, attention, and effort if you are going to find green coffee beans that will provide you with the best possible cup of coffee you can roast and drink. Perhaps that too is part of what makes roasting coffee so appealing: the search for the perfect bean, because that is where it all begins.

photos by (thumb to bottom):  genie stafford | alexfrance | bjdavis

I love my wife and family, and am a coffee connoisseur who loves to try a variety of brewing methods and who roasts his own coffee at home. I am in pursuit of the perfect roast of the perfect bean, to be brewed in the perfect method to produce the perfect cup of coffee.

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  1. Brian

    Great tips for those looking to get started. I’d like to contribute one tip I learned.

    When I began attempting to roast, I reached out to the companies that make the coffee I like. I asked if they sold green/unroasted coffee beans. Most did not but I did find a few who did.

  2. Joel Crofton

    Great to see there’s a live and well coffee roasting community at large. Thanks for sharing, – thought I’d do the same. – Came across this today ( and thought it might interest those who had been considering a green bean coffee club. They haven’t started just yet, but the idea looks interesting enough. I’ll report back once they start the membership. Thanks again for the great content. -Joel

  3. Coffee LatinAmerica

    We are an importer that works directly with farmers to provide home roasters and professional roasters the best possible coffees from Latin America. We can offer competitive pricing down to a 300 gram sample on up to a full burlap bag. We also offer smaller full bags that are 50 lbs a piece. Please let me know how we can help you buy direct at a great price and get some really fantastic high scoring specialty coffees. You can email me directly at [email protected]. Thanks!

  4. iwan

    Yeah..there are lots of good coffee bean in indonesia but the good one usually sell to overseas coz of the price and most of them already taken I can only het those grade 4 or 5..and I am searching for better grade coffee beans. I didn’t sell coffee beans btw..just selling coffee powder..btw I am in batam and there is also singaporean asking for my factory to supply them those cheap coffee the demand in sg that high?

  5. kh

    Hi Iwan,

    just curious, you should be able to find pretty good beans in Indonesia as well. Do you also sell green beans ?

    kim hai

    • iwan

      Yes nguyyen can u gave us your messenger or phone no to me send it to my email address so that I can communicate to you directly and I am free intrested to see your robusta sample..if nessesarry I will go to viet to meet up with you if the price and coffee is good..thx

  6. iwan

    Hi nguyyen trong,
    I am a novice in coffee industry and my father own a small coffee roasting company in indonesia. I would like to have u send me your green coffee bean sample and price..coz lots of my consumer say that my coffee is not good and do not have the thick coffee fragrant so I guess that the problem lay on the coffee bean..plz teach me how to make a good tradition black coffee any1..
    Plz send me your price detail at [email protected] TQ

  7. kh


    I am a big coffee fan myself as well. I am into roasting and interested to try coffee from all places. Pls ping me if you have any leads or suggestions. Nice to know u guys.

    kh from Singapore

  8. Jasmine

    I am a huge coffee lover. I never thought about roasting my own, I do ground my own from time to time, but I am sure that doesn’t compare to the fresh flavor of your own roast. It seems there is quite a bit of time and effort donataed to finding the right bean, I din’t read much on this post about doing the roasting, but like you said..”that’s where it all begins!”

  9. Colin Young

    I have still to move into the coffee bean zone never mind buying green and roasting my own. Is it easy to buy green beans? I don’t think I have seen many of them in the local shops here.

    Do you guys get them over the internet?

    I will look for more blogs I think but I have only just discovered Jason’s blog hear and am ploughing my way through his work.