wikiHow to Buy Green Coffee Beans

Green coffee beans are raw, or pre-roasted coffee beans that can be roasted at home. Green coffee beans have a shelf life of up to two years; whereas roasted coffee beans have a shelf life of up to two weeks. Therefore, green beans roasted at home can be significantly fresher than coffee beans purchased from a store or business chain. Since consumers can purchase green coffee beans from a wide variety of importers and distributors, certain selection processes must be taken into consideration when buying green coffee beans. Here are some steps on how to buy green coffee beans.


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    Perform research to determine which region you want your green coffee beans to come from. Much like wine, coffee beans come from numerous regions all around the world and each has a distinct taste depending on the environment it was grown in. Green coffee beans from Mexico may have hazelnut flavor undertones, whereas green coffee beans from Guatemala may have natural chocolate undertones.
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    Examine green coffee beans before you buy them. The green coffee beans you buy must all be generally the same color, shape and size. Coffee beans of the same size will roast more evenly, whereas smaller beans may roast quicker and affect the overall taste. Green coffee beans of different colors may indicate potential drying problems and different shapes may indicate that a different strain of bean may have been mixed in.
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    Smell the green coffee beans. Defects such as fermenting or smoke damage can be easily detected in raw green coffee beans.
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    Feel the consistency of the green coffee beans. Coffee beans should not be pliable or too fragile. Flexible beans have not been dried properly and are highly likely to become moldy, whereas fragile or brittle beans have been dried for either too long or at too high of a temperature.
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    Inquire about green coffee bean storage methods. Find out how the green coffee beans were stored by the producer or on the plantation. Green coffee beans should be always be separated by geographic origin in addition to the strain of bean when storing in silos or other locations.
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    Inquire about the processing methods. Green coffee beans should always be processed immediately after harvesting or else they become fermented immediately. Processing will also help separate any sticks, leaves, overripe coffee cherries and undeveloped coffee cherries from the ripe green coffee beans.
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    Purchase green coffee beans in bulk. Plantations will usually sell green coffee beans in increments of 5 lb (2.27 kg) bags or more, which may lower the price you pay for coffee beans considerably.


  • If you want to buy green coffee beans locally or while traveling, find a store that will offer sample packs or allow you to taste the green beans after they have been roasted before you buy them.


  • Green coffee beans that are white or faded around the edges is usually a result of insufficient drying methods or storage in humid conditions and should be avoided. Pale and discolored beans also indicate oxidation or exposure to polluted water.
  • Avoid buying green coffee beans that are broken, malformed, contain visible insect damage, or beans that are black. Beans with these descriptions are considered defective and should not be roasted.

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Categories: Coffee