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 favourite brands and how to deal with them.
At A Glance:
- Best Overall: Bella Barista Brazil Camocim Espírito Santo Organic
- Budget Pick: Rave Coffee Colombia El Carmen
- Best Value For Money: Redber Colombia Excelso Huila
Where to Buy the Best Green 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.
|Bella Barista Brazil Camocim Espírito Santo Organic||
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|Rave Coffee Colombia El Carmen||
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|Redber Colombia Excelso Huila||
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|Rohebohnen Arabica Ethiopia Maji||
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|Adems Djimmah Ethiopian||
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|Martini Coffee Roasters Africa Sampler||
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1. Bella Barista Brazil Camocim Espírito Santo Organic – Best Overall
- Bean: Yellow and Red Catuai
- Process: Pulped natural
- Package size: 1kg
Bella Barista is one of the big names in professional coffee equipment for home use, so introducing coffee to the store’s offering was an obvious move. Since 2019, they’ve proudly sourced only organic beans, but have now begun to work with biodynamic producers as well.
Like organic farming, biodynamic agriculture avoids the use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers but goes further by requiring regeneration of the local ecosystem, and ecological and social responsibility (1).
Henrique Sloper is a pioneer of biodynamic coffee farming, with his Camocin and Atalaia farms in the Pedra Azul region of Brazil. He favours the pulped natural method of processing, which brings out the natural sweetness of the beans and enhances aromatics for a more rounded taste.
The Camocim Espirito Santo creates a well-balanced cup of coffee with a full body and medium acidity. The sweetness comes through in dessert-like flavours of chocolate and vanilla, rounded off by notes of hazelnut. For their own store, Bella Barista treats these beans to a medium roast, but like all good Brazilian beans, they’re suitable for most coffee roast types.
Rave Coffee stands out for its bold packaging and low prices, but rest assured there’s more to this roastery than meets the eye. They source only beans that score well on the SCA scale for quality, with a minimum of 82 for blends and 84 for single origins, believing that everyone should be able to afford good coffee.
The Colombia El Carmen is the company’s best selling single-origin coffee, sourced as part of their Suarez sustainability project. This supports around 300 families farming around the town of Pitalito in the Huila growing region of Colombia. They plant a mix of coffees at altitudes of between 1450 and 2150 m.a.s.l.
When combined they produce a coffee with the freshness of red fruits, balanced with deeper notes of caramel and chocolate. Rave suggests a medium-dark roast for these beans, which will amp up the natural caramel tastes of the coffee.
If you want a good selection of beans, it’s hard to go past Redber Coffee. The Guildford roastery offers more than 40 single-origin Arabicas, as well as blends and decaf. The extensive range extends to their unroasted beans too, with more than 20 options from the world’s best coffee growing regions, such as Huila, Colombia.
The Huila growing region produces the most coffee in the country, and thankfully, the quality matches the quantity. Coffees grown here tend to be sweet and aromatic with a bright acidity. Redber’s Colombia Excelso Huila delivers acidity and sweetness with fresh notes of orange, which develops into a rounder aftertaste with velvety chocolate notes.
These beans will happily suit anything from a medium through to an extra dark roast. When roasted and brewed as espresso, it’s an excellent base for milk drinks like cappuccinos and flat whites.
German coffee specialists Rohebohnen sell only green coffee, with a wide range of speciality beans from Africa, Asia and South America. But their Organic Ethiopia Maji stands out as something special.
What’s interesting here is the growing method. Coffee is not planted but allowed to self-sow and grow wild under the shade of the forest. Plants might be thinned to increase their health and yield, but the natural structure of the ecosystem is always maintained. Only around 10% of Ethiopian coffee is produced this way.
Maji beans are not as well known as other Ethiopian coffees, but they share similar traits with those from Sidamo. It’s big on floral and spice aromatics, with tangy fruit flavours at the first sip. Rohebohnen suggests a medium roast and brewing as a filter coffee, served without milk.
Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, and here you’ll still find both traditional growing methods and heirloom varieties of coffee. The coffee grown in the Djimmah region, near Kaffa in the country’s southwest, is often considered to be the closest to the original wild coffee plant.
Adems Djimma beans have been naturally processed, but aren’t quite as fruit-heavy as other unwashed African beans. What you’ll get is a very clean cup with a grassy aroma. Initial tastes are of bright lemon, with a light berry flavour and a hint of cinnamon. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. These beans are naturally low-acid, which makes them ideal for coffee lovers with sensitive stomachs or digestive issues.
Adems sell some of the most popular coffee, tea and chocolate brands, but also have a small selection of their own green and roasted beans.
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 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.
The company sources from all over the world, but this box shows off the best of their African beans. The exact selection may change with seasonal availability, but you can always expect high-quality Arabicas.
Examples of what you might receive are Burundi A Sogestal Kirimiro, a high altitude Bourbon coffee with notes of lemon, spice and black tea that’s ideal for a light roast. Top grade Kenya Plus AA beans are floral and fruity, but with a full-bodied flavour. Rwanda Abakundakawa is a versatile coffee that can take on different roast levels, offering notes of stone fruit and brown sugar. With Uganda Bukonzo you get a tangy, fruit-forward cup with some nutty notes to finish.
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 flavours 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 mould. 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 flavour 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 the best 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 Bella Barista’s Brazil Camocim Espírito Santo Organic is a great place to start.
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).
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, flavourful oils that come out during the extended roasting process (4).
- Biodynamic approach and principles. (n.d.). Demeter International. Retrieved June 7, 2022, from https://demeter.net/biodynamics/biodynamic-approach/
- 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