6 Best Green Coffee Beans You Can Buy Unroasted
You’ve mastered all of your home coffee-brewing process variables. Now what? There’s one more challenge left to tackle: roasting your beans. Not only will you have the freshest roast coffee possible, but you could also experiment with roasting levels on the same beans.
Your roasting journey starts with getting the best green coffee beans. Read on for some of our favorite brands and how to deal with them.
At A Glance:
- OUR TOP PICK: Smokin’ Beans Guatemala
- FAMILY OWNED: Primos Coffee Co Nicaraguan
- VARIETY PACK: Martini Coffee Roasters Sampler
Where to Buy the Best Green (aka Unroasted) Coffee Beans for Roasting in 2023
Don’t expect to find green coffee beans at all the same places you buy your regular coffee. To help you on your way, we’ve tracked down some of the best green coffee bean suppliers online.
1. Smokin Beans Guatemala – Best Overall
Of the eight growing regions in Guatemala, San Marcos is both the warmest and the wettest, with diverse microclimates that make it ideal for coffee growing. It’s here, between two volcanoes at heights of around 5,900 feet, that you’ll find the Finca Nueva Granada.
The farm engages in sustainable practices both environmentally and socially. Plants are shade-grown and processed in water from their own spring, and there’s an on-site school to support workers.
Smokin’ Beans say this Guatemala coffee is suitable for all coffee roast types, but the flavor profile has all of the things we’d hope to find in a medium-dark roast. Dark chocolate and nuts are typical of Guatemalan coffees, and sweet flavors of raisins come through from the Bourbon beans.
If this brew isn’t quite to your taste, Smokin’ Beans has an incredible range of single-origin and blended green coffees to choose from. You’ll find everything from green unroasted Monsoon Malabar to Kenya peaberry and three different types of decaf.
2. Stone Street Colombian Supremo – Budget Pick
Supremo beans are the largest and most highly prized of the Colombian beans. And while the name refers to the size, rather than a particular type of coffee plant, it’s been carefully graded to ensure consistent sizing, which means consistent roasting.
Stone Street offers these Colombian Supremo beans as a light roast via its roastery. This emphasizes clean, acidic flavors with sweetness from chocolate and caramel in the cup.
It’s possibly a lot milder than what you’d expect from Colombian beans, but you can always try for a more bold flavor with a darker roast.
Stone Street’s Colombian Supremo beans aren’t necessarily the cheapest green unroasted coffee beans per ounce, but they’re one of the few options available in smaller quantities. It’s a nice option for anyone that wants to experiment a little.
We appreciate the 3-layer Kraft bag with a one-way valve that helps with degassing while keeping your coffee safe from sunlight and oxidization.
3. Primos Coffee Co Nicaraguan – Best Low Acid
Texan roasters Primos Coffee only sell single-origin coffee from Nicaragua. Moreover, coffee is grown on their farm in the Jinotega growing region. They planted the first crops in 1929, and almost 100 years on, it’s still in the family, with the fourth generation of coffee farmers.
Caturra, Paraneima, and Java Nica are all grown under shade in micro-lots on the farm but are never blended to ensure you can enjoy the unique characteristics of each coffee bean. All beans are wet-processed and sun-dried. Later in the process, they use the skins of the coffee cherries for compost and recycle the processed water for use on the farm. These Caturra beans have a delicate profile that’s best enjoyed as a medium roast.
Your brew will have notes of cacao and citrus, with a rich sweetness throughout. The coffee is naturally low acid, making it a good choice to enjoy black or for anyone with stomach sensitivities.
4. Fresh Roasted Coffee Brazil Cerrado – Best Value for Money
Fresh Roasted Coffee might be famous for getting your roasted beans to you as quickly as possible, but you might not know that the brand has an incredible selection of high-quality unroasted beans as well.
Cerrado Mineiro is part of the large growing region of Minas Gerais. It doesn’t have exceptionally high altitudes. It’s known for producing specialty grade coffee and was the first of Brazil’s coffee-growing regions to obtain denomination of origin status.
Brazilian beans tend to be very versatile in roast levels, but Cerrado beans work well with a medium to dark roast. They have a bold flavor, intense aroma, smooth nuttiness, and deep chocolate notes.
Fresh Roasted Coffee also sells unroasted Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee beans, which offers even better value for money for one of the most expensive coffees in the world (1).
5. Morning Hills Ethiopian Yirgacheffe – Best Organic Coffee
If you’re a coffee enthusiast, Yirgacheffe beans won’t need much of an introduction. This Ethiopian coffee regularly lists the best roasted whole coffee beans, and is known for its bright, clean brew.
These Morning Hills unroasted green coffee beans are sourced from Kochere, a small town outside Yirgacheffe. Heirloom varieties are grown on smallholder farms, using naturally organic farming processes. Beans are washed-processed in community mills, sun-dried, then graded and sold.
While all Yirgacheefe coffees share a similar profile, you’ll find different flavors in the beans in each subregion.
Kochere farms sit at up to 7000 feet above sea level on iron-rich soil, giving the coffee a floral, tea-like flavor with plenty of citrus and stone fruit.
6. Martini Coffee Roasters Sampler Pack – Best Sampler Pack
You’ve probably noticed that green unroasted coffee beans tend to be sold in much larger packages. So if you’re just trying your hand at roasting, a sample pack might be a better option. This Arabica bean variety box from Martini Coffee roasters gives coffee drinkers a broad spread of coffee styles that will help to experiment with different roast profiles.
For full-bodied flavors, you have the Brazil Cerrado beans, with a taste of dark chocolate and walnuts. The Colombia Supremo beans are sourced from the famed Pereira region of the country and have sweeter flavors of caramel, milk chocolate, and orange.
The Guatemalan option is grown in the Huehuetenango region, which has some of the country’s highest farms. Here the beans develop a bright and lively acidity, complemented by sweet milk chocolate and brown sugar notes. The Yirgacheffe is the best coffee for a light roast, with black tea, lemongrass, and raspberry notes.
Factors To Consider When Buying Green Coffee Beans
If you’re used to buying roast coffee beans, you know that fresh is best, but does the same apply when buying high-quality green beans? Here’s what you need to look for, and how to deal with your unroasted coffee beans.
What to look for in unroasted green coffee beans?
Consistency is the key in so many things to do with making coffee, including shopping for green beans. Beans with variable sizes will not roast at the same speed, meaning smaller beans could end up at a darker roast level–not ideal for brewing a good cup of coffee.
Your raw coffee beans won’t have a roast date listed, but ideally, they should indicate the harvest date. You don’t want to be buying beans that have been sitting in a warehouse for a year.
You’ll also need to make sure that the bean flavors will be suitable for the roast level that you plan to use, but more on that below…
How to store green coffee beans?
The good news is that when you buy green coffee beans, they last much longer than freshly roasted beans. While it’s best to use roasted beans within a month, unroasted coffee beans can stay fresh for up to a year under the right conditions. This is why you’ll notice that roasters sell green unroasted coffee beans in much larger packages.
You need to protect your green beans from sunlight, humidity, and direct heat. You also want to avoid any sudden changes in temperature, which can create condensation, leading to mold. If your beans come in an airtight package with a one-way valve, that’s a good place for short-term storage. You might want to consider a jar or other container that allows for more airflow between the beans in the long term.
Jute or burlap bags are what you probably most associate with unroasted beans. But unless you’re buying in huge quantities, this isn’t going to be your usual storage method. We use Jute to increase breathability, but it does leave beans vulnerable to pests (2).
Roasting at home
You might be wary about home roasting simply due to the equipment that’s required, especially if you’ve seen the size of some commercial roasters. However, there are plenty of coffee roasters for home use made for small-scale batches and are also affordable and easy to use. If you want to test the waters before making any investment, you can perform some DIY coffee roasting with the equipment you already have at home.
Determining roast level
Part of the joy of home roasters is that you get complete control of your roasting levels. But you still want to make sure you’re going to get the best flavor out of your purchase. The trick is to consider both the characteristics of the bean type you’re using and the brewing method.
…when you try a new roast profile… it’s time to rethink your method
For example, single-origin green coffee beans with a delicate taste are often given light to medium roast, which will help retain the subtle natural taste of the beans. But light roasts aren’t suitable for all brewing methods and tend to work better with pour-over. So our top pick for the green coffee beans for espresso would be those that stand up well to a dark roast, which provides the best extraction in an espresso machine.
Unroasted green coffee beans aren’t always as easy to track down, but we hope this list has shown you that there’s still plenty of variety on offer. All of the green beans on our list are worth a try, but we think the Smokin’ Beans Guatemala is a great place to start with.
You can eat green coffee beans, but the taste won’t be enjoyable. They can be very bitter and also tough to chew. If you want to try green beans for health benefits, including weight loss and reducing blood pressure, you are better off using a green coffee extract (3). You can also try enzyme coffee for that purpose.
The price of green coffee beans is almost always lower than buying the same beans in their roasted state. However, you need to consider that you’ll usually need to buy the beans in more significant amounts and that you do need to add the cost of your home roasting equipment.
The best roast for French press tends to be a medium or dark roast. French press brewing tends to suppress the acidity of the beans, while at the same time amping up the rich, flavorful oils that come out during the extended roasting process (4).
- Anthony, J. (2019, December 5). What are the most expensive coffees in the world in 2019? It’s made by elephants, literally. The. Financesonline.Com. https://financesonline.com/top-10-most-expensive-coffee-in-the-world-luwak-coffee-is-not-the-no-1/
- Lee, C. (2020, August 23). Green Coffee Storage by Chris Lee – Sweet Maria’s Coffee Library. Sweet Maria’s Coffee Library. https://library.sweetmarias.com/green-coffee-storage/
- Hill, R. A. D. (2019, September 18). What Is Green Coffee? All You Need to Know. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/green-coffee
- Coffee Roasts Guide. (n.d.). National Coffee Association of U.S.A. Retrieved February 16, 2022, from https://www.ncausa.org/about-coffee/coffee-roasts-guide