Deciding How To Shop for Green Coffee - Page 2

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.

#11: Post by Milligan »

As others have touched on, don't sweat it too much. For most on here this is a hobby. Hobbies are fun both in success and failure, unlike a business.

It is hard to know if your buyer's remorse is the result of a green problem or a roast problem. I find most vendors that cater to the home roaster are pretty spot on with their descriptions. Most of my struggles when I first began were less a green issue and more of a roast concern.

I enjoy Sweet Maria, Hacea, Showroom, and Happy Mug. Happy Mug is a good one to get both roasted and green coffee from. They don't have the super high end greens, but they are great for good solid greens at a fair price.

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#12: Post by yakster »

Chert wrote:I had opportunity to visit Lake Atitlan in Guatemala in 2002 and brought home some green coffee from Mission San Lucas Toliman, a cooperative project that continues to pay farmers equitable price for very good coffee and use proceeds to buy land and build houses for people in that area. I brought in 8 lbs green coffee and found a popcorn popper.
I've roasted coffee from Mission San Lucas Toliman, good coffee and customer service.

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#13: Post by vecchi della seattle »

They all have a niche. Happy Mug is the value guy. SM's on a mission (great web site for info). Hacea offers a curated experience. Theta Ridge has the Daterra. Coffee Bean Corral has the best search selector. Burman has a big selection and is a pretty good value. And then if you can take a 22lb box of the best beans you can buy, that would be Royal's Crown Jewels. Load up a cart at a few and then compare carts before you hit the go button. Me?, I lean toward Burman, Hacea and Happy Mug. I'd speculate that most roasters start at SM's. Sorry, that didn't actually answer the question.
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#14: Post by mpdeem »

So much great advice has already been shared so will limit mine to 'buyer's remorse'. Don't sweat it if you end up buying coffee that underwhelms (or worse). Part of the coffee journey is discovering what you like and don't like.

I do feel guilty about tossing otherwise perfectly good coffee simply because of personal dislike. My solution is to re home the coffees that I don't like. I do the same when I end up buying more coffee than I can possibly roast -which given my caffeine limits-happens more often than I'd care to admit ;)

I will always make mention when re homing a coffee due to personal dislike. I do this for two reasons. First for transparency's sake, I want to clarify why I am re homing this coffee. Second, because I am hoping the recipient might end up coaxing some amazing flavors from the coffee...succeeding where I failed. In the latter case, I would certainly be interested in hearing more details of how they roasted the coffee. A large part of coffee roasting is learning from other roasters. Sometimes an underwhelming coffee reveals itself with a different roast profile or platform - or with more skill. Re homing coffee allows you the opportunity to hear feedback from another roaster on the same coffee - a learning experience even if their impressions match yours.

Often re homing can be a fun can barter an exchange of coffees, offering each other feedback on the coffees shared. I tend to re home mine for free since most of my orders tend to be on the small side anyway. A little pay it forward never hurts -and in my case, I can well afford it especially when rewarded with further feedback.

If re homing is too much of a hassle - use the coffee to try out novel roast profiles. Some of the greatest roasting lessons have come from the coffees that I did not love. In trying to coax better flavors, I am forced to experiment rather than just do my standard roast profiles. Even though in most cases, the coffees continued to disappoint despite my best efforts, I always come away having learned more about roasting. Yes it is frustrating to keep trying and still getting mediocre results -but if you approach it as a learning experience, you will have far less buyer's remorse.

I just recently bought some coffees that should have been thoroughly enjoyable yet ended up being very disappointing. I ended up using some to try out new roast profiles -with still rather disappointing results in the taste department I ended up re homing the remainder of the coffees to another forum member. They were not expensive..but they were not cheap....yet I did not have any buyer's remorse. The coffees are now in the hands of a more capable roaster...and I look forward to hearing what sorts of results are obtained. In fact my only regret is not having a larger amount to re home-because I would be tempted to ask for a sample roast in return- just to see what another member was able to get from these coffees.

Good luck in your journey. Keep the orders small, stick with familiar coffees you like. The worst that happens is you blew a few bucks and have some extra greens.

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#15: Post by portafalter (original poster) »

I spent a bit of time thinking about the issues I have with purchasing coffee and with some of the (very thorough and helpful) advice mentioned above.

I put together this mockup of a website that I think could be helpful for the broader community.

The website would:
* Aggregate green coffee listings from all coffee distributors in the US (maybe the EU someday!)
* Keep the aggregated listings up-to-date, refreshing more than daily
* List them in an easy-to-digest format
* Allow for filtering by origin, region, process, distributor, and price range
* Link to coffee distributors straight from the page (e.g., click a listing, go straight to that listing at the distributor)

The website would allow users to:
* View up-to-date listings across all coffee distributors
* Only need to visit a single website to compare all their options
* Easily mix-and-match across multiple vendors to ensure users get exactly what they want

What do you all think about this? Is this something you would use when you go to purchase beans? Any feedback on the information included or functionality?

Keep in mind, this is a very rough wireframe. Ignore that it looks like a little... unrefined :wink:

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#16: Post by Chert »

This may function like that for commercial traders. I've seen it but I'm not sure the function: V-hub.
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#17: Post by portafalter (original poster) »

That's very interesting, Flint. Thanks for sharing!

I'm envisioning this as more focused on the home roasters who doesn't purchase by the 30kg bag :D

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#18: Post by Chert »

Right, but 30-70 kg bags, pallets and containers may be how they can power/fund a central website like that.

Can scripts mine the information from all the sites on the green sources list? I don't know what's possible.
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portafalter (original poster)

#19: Post by portafalter (original poster) »

Can scripts mine the information from all the sites on the green sources list? I don't know what's possible.
Leave that up to me - I just want to know if anyone would use the aggregator if I took the time to build it :)


#20: Post by Milligan »

That would be pretty nice. Then it could auto alert everyone when a new green is added too