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Favorite Green Coffee Vendors?
I've used Sweet Maria's exclusively for the year I've been roasting now. What are everybody's favorites and why? Is SM's considered the best source? I really like the way they bring you into the experience and the journey. Just wondering what comparable alternatives there are....
First of all, kudos to SweetMaria's for being the premier source for greens from around the world for the home roaster. Nobody reviews and gives the travel information like Thompson Owen. I buy there from time to time, mostly the exotics and some coffee paraphernalia. I send newbies there for an initial orientation to home roasting. got started through the efforts of a small group of folks who hung out on SM's subscription email list, yours truly included. So, hats off to SM. s:1

Having said that, I have become a big fan of
The coffees are reliably reviewed by BobY [one of our Founders here, BTW]. The reviews are not as elaborate as Thom's, but you can definitely tell what you are getting and the prices are hard to beat. It is free to join.

The Catch(es):
1) You have to buy in 5# increments;
2) You cannot resell the coffee, either green or roasted, as it is considered taking advantage of the volunteer coop labor;
3) There is seldom any coffee there because it sells out so quickly. Tons go through the distributors hands. But the members have learned hang out to watch for the arrival of the coffees, which are announced up to a week in advance. However the exact moment that they will go in the cart is not known. When the cart opens, the coffees are gone in a matter of hours. Some members are very happy. Others are wondering what happened. "But, but, I check in every week." Snooze ya lose. It's a zero sum game, but the coffee is great.

The Green Coffee Buying Club is a spin off of the Coop. They wanted to be able to resell the coffee and to make a profit, so they organized in a way to do that. I understand that they have more coffees more often and the collective buying power yields a good price. I don't know who (all) reviews the coffees there, but the names that I heard a few years back were knowledgeable folks. I believe that you have to buy in bulk from them also. Perhaps someone who knows them better can post about their procedures.
While I've not tried it (I defer to bvelch (Bill) and seedlings (Chad)),
javavino is right in your city and they are sister companies to a green coffee plantation in Nicarauga (Selva Negra Coffee Estate). And please, Bill and Chad, jump in to offer your tasting results of the coffee.
IF you're looking for a deal and like to sample things on your own, you can check out this thread:

(Coffees under $4)

I'm a huge fan of finding local distributors and keeping money around my own area. I found a distributor who is less than an hour from my home, and I drive out there once every few weeks to pick up an order. I hope this helps.
Edited by seedlings on 11/25/2008 9:00 AM
I have only purchased from Sweet Maria's and Coffee Bean Corral but I'm always open to other sources (especially more local). CBC used to be here in NC but they changed hands earlier this year IIRC, and have moved elsewhere in the southeast. sounds very interesting and I'll check it out soon.
I've been using www.catesgreencof... for over a year and have been quite happy. I've also used Sweet Maria's and most recently ordered from Javavino. I roasted the Selva Negra last Thursday (11/20) and today has had the best flavor yet!
I'm in the Raleigh area of NC and would gladly welcome the opportunity to split larger quantities if it makes economic sense for anyone else that is nearby.
Edited by MarkB on 11/25/2008 5:01 PM


hebrews wrote:While I've not tried it (I defer to bvelch (Bill) and seedlings (Chad)), javavino is right in your city and they are sister companies to a green coffee plantation in Nicarauga (Selva Negra Coffee Estate).

Indeed it is. I got ten pounds of the Selva Negra last month at an unbeatable price. I liked it and will probably buy from them again.

OTOH, their prices for other greens is quite a bit higher and not the bargain that the Selva Negra is. OTOOH, they are local. I had my first taste of Monsooned Malabar there about a year ago.

This is my current list in order of the most coffee I've purchased:



www.ourcoffeebarn... (currently my favorite - I think they buy from the same supplier as Sweet Marias) (excellent coffees purchased directly through relationships with the farms, but prices have gone WAY up - free shipping over $40, though)

Edited by seedlings on 11/25/2008 9:06 AM
Roaster: CoffeeAir II 2# DIY air roaster
Grinder: Vintage Grindmaster 500
Brewers: Vintage Cory DCU DCL, Aeropress, Press, Osaka Titanium pourover
I've learned a lot from SweetMarias, and have bought most of my greens from them, before I found out about Javavino-- from what I can tell, you need to phone them in order to get the best prices. It is true that the Selva Negra is their cheapest, but they have other coffees for less than $3, and still more for well under $4, and these are in 10 pound increments. I like their Columbian and their decaf Sumatra.

I'll still buy from SweetMarias, from time to time, because they have such a wide variety and excellent descriptions.


Thanks for all the great input everybody! I'll have fun trying out some new vendors!:)
Maybe this thread should be a sticky at the top?
Another great one is thetaridgecoffee out of South Bend...tell Kevin that Steve Brown sent may get a discount!
My favorite vendors are Sweet Maria's and Coffee bean Coral. I recently added Burnam Coffee traders. Coffee bean Corral has a nifty data base which was great when I started taste comparisons. I really like Tom's cupping evaluatios and his product selection process. I hope that this info will help you
May the Force be with your cup
As has already been said, a newby like myself can learn a lot from the SM site. Same for the coffebeancorral site. Very informative in terms of helping you know what to expect in your cup.
Before I began roasting I had done all of most of my business with ourcoffeebarn and have never been disappointed. They are very nice people and communicate with you very well. I'll give them another look on the greens.
Good stuff here!
Green Coffee Buying Club

Not a traditional vendor, but great folks, great coffee and much to learn. You won't find a better price on coffee day to day, week to week.
Hey Clifford,
How is the quality of Burman? I like the descriptions and the prices. Does it stack up to the corral and SM?
Edited by ginny on 12/07/2015 12:53 AM
Yes, I am very impressed with the quality of the coffee at Burman Coffee traders. The service is excellent also. a 10 on my ratings
May the Force be with your cup
Mine of course! I like Invalsa coffee, I think they only sell Brazilian though.
Jim Lyon
Jim's Coffee Beans
Sweet Maria's, of course ... (guess that goes pretty much without saying) ... but also ...


Clifford wrote:I am very impressed with the quality of the coffee at Burman Coffee traders. The service is excellent also.

Amen to that. My experience in dealing with BCT has been very positive. Coffee quality and service have both been excellent, and their prices are very good. Garry and Jon Burman have been great to deal with. And, if you happen to live within Spee-Dee's delivery area (MN, N/SD, NE, IA, IL, WI), they will ship up to 49 lbs for a flat rate of $5.

Regards, and happy mugs!
Edited by Eldo on 08/08/2009 4:14 PM
Tip: A cup of coffee speeds
up all processes in Windows
Too bad Ohio is not on their list
May the Force be with your cup
Sweet Maria's is the best as far as the information goes. Their site is very informative. I've recently found www.QualityGreenC... especially for special coffees. They carry Panama Geisha and some COE stuff. They also have quality discount. I think they give out some coupons as well. I've received emails from them with coupons...
Edited by JuJuBean on 10/30/2009 5:32 PM
Big B
I visited the above link and found that "Quality Green Coffee" is a new supplier. The great thing about capitalism is that the best & most competitive survive (when the government does not interfere!). So I am willing to explore.

I have had good success with Sweet Maria's coffee & have found their reviews to be fairly accurate (although my palate is not yet refined enough to discern the difference between "tobacco" or "spice" and I am not sure what "blueberry" in coffee means). My current favorite there is the Colombian Finca Buenavista -Carlos Imbachi Micro lot, but it is limited to one pound purchases.

I also like Coffee Bean Corrals' 1/2 pound sampler packs.

The first green coffee beans I bought were direct from the grower in Hawaii (Kona Ono Peaberry) at around $12 Lb (for 100% real Kona!)... but I found that I should probably learn how to roast before spending money on fancy coffee & expecting fireworks... I roasted it so fast (about 4 to 5 minutes total) that is was so sour/bitter/bad that I thought I had been poisoned.

Welcome, JuJuBean
Edited by Big B on 10/30/2009 6:07 PM
It's only as good as you make it...
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