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Favorite Green Coffee Vendors?
You bring up some good points, Allen. I think a way to address this whole cupping issue is to have 2 different description areas for each bean; one being a more general description of the tastes (as in "Citrusy with chocolate undertones), and another more specific description as in (Experienced cuppers may also notice Lemon Blossums, dark unsweetened chocolate, ripe red grapes, and Sandlewood incense).

That way a person with average tasting abilities, or the inexperienced cupper, will not feel intimidated and be turned off by the what can appear to be over the top descriptors many bean selling companies use.

Edited by ginny on 12/07/2015 12:58 AM
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." ~Abraham Lincoln
My cupping results are usually something like this.
"That's really good, not like the stuff we drank yesterday."
Of course we said that yesterday, too.

Ken in NC
Backwoods Roaster
"I wish I could taste as well as I wish I could roast."

As Abraham Lincoln said "Do not trust everything you read on the internet".
Lol. I can relate
Edited by ginny on 12/07/2015 12:58 AM
Hieronymus Mouse
Hi guys,

Well, I come from a tea background, mostly Chinese tea. Since teas can cost well over $30,000USD per pound and can be exquisite at 50 years of age -- tea, that is; I'm somewhat older -- it's taken very seriously. Tasting considers storage methods, intrinsic tea taste, tastes associated with the age of the tea, the leaf varietal, age of tree, soil, elevation of the trees, tastes associated with the vessel in which it is brewed, how it's brewed, and so on. There are issues of where in the mouth, throat, and nose the tea is working its miracles, and the order, intensity, and quality of these. The list of descriptors is miles long. After years, I can taste a lot in tea. New to coffee, I'm happy to get the basics.

In my coffee log, I try to push myself a little by thinking through what I am actually tasting. What works best is just noticing what's there when it comes to consciousness. For example, chocolate evaded me until one day, there it was. Certain herbal and earthy tastes, likewise. The secret is to drink lots and lots of coffee, I think.

Finally, as with tea, I like to switch among various coffees with different taste profiles, sort of a rotation, to keep the flavors fresh in my mind and mouth, so I don't become jaded, so to speak. This works with scotch whisky, too, but what would I know?

Hieronymus Mouse
Hi again,
Let me contextualize that last post of mine into relevance by saying that I've gotten most of my beans from Sweet Marias. I've also gotten some from Victrola in Seattle, WA. Further, I see that NYC vendors and cafes will sell their coffees green at around half of the roast price. My Gene caffee and I are new and in learning mode, so I'm mostly concentrating on the differences in taste profiles associated with roast levels, regions, and processing styles. My plan is to identify favorate coffee regions and then start buying in larger batches rather than a pound of several. Leaves me freer to experiment and play. So much to learn, so little time. Sweet Marias and Coffee Review put out awsomely detailed descriptions, most of which fly right over my head. I don't get a quarter of it. So be it.
Started home roasting back in the "mail order", 1-800 days when SweetMarias was located in Columbus, OH. Have had no reason to look elsewhere.
While I have tried many companies for greens I buy 90% of my personal greens from Sweet Marias and have since 2002 when I started honestly roasting and stopped simply fooling around with the beans.

I KNOW they will to excellent. One of the major reasons I started with Thom and Maria is that Thom gives me all of the information I could possibly want to understand the beans from how/where they were grown to the cupping scores.

That alone has allowed me to grow in my own understanding of the coffee. I ran across a place yesterday, I do troll around to see what's out there for this forum, and found a place that simply had the name about the coffee bean, basically a generic name, nothing about the farm, the altitude or anything about the bean...

I WOULD NEVER buy from a place that told me ZERO about the bean - IT'S THE BEAN, it's the bean after all that is of interest and if I no nothing why on earth would I buy it???

It could be and most likely is some 200-year-old garbage...

There are others companies and we do have a list there is a place I just got some from and they were excellent, I will find the name and re post it for you.


beach yes even at 20 degrees out I have on shorts!
I recommend looking around for a local roaster who sells beans, you may be able to find decent prices. If I buy 5lbs, I get any bean from my local roaster for $6.50lb including tax, which is comparable to most places online after shipping and with the convenience of being able to go get it whenever I like. I'm not an expert roaster, but IMO they are same quality as the beans I bought from Sweet Marias.

That said, I plan to try Happy Mug for my next purchase. Some of the best prices I've found for the little guy and seem to get good reviews. Will report back on that experience, but may be a couple months.
For me it's Sweet Marias for some things, an order or two from Happy mug depending on coffees currently featured, Roastmasters, who had a killer E. Yirg natural once, and seem to have some coffees I'd like to try, and The Green Coffee Buying Club for my larger orders. All have been decent and I have not had a problem with any coffee from these sources.

Hottop B-2K w barryR thermocouple mod, Mazzer Mini /Super Jolly burrs, Salvatore E-61 group machine, Aeropress, French press.
Just ordered a megasampler from Happy Mug, (mega for me anyway) let you know how it is after I roast some. Hopefully it's good cuz I'll be drinkin it for a while. :-)

Ordered 32 lbs because shipping is $14.50 up to 21lbs, $20 up to 32lbs, and $28 up to 42lbs, etc. So 32lbs was sweet spot for me. Also they offer discounts at 3lbs, 5lbs, and 9lbs for most coffees, so good increment to order at.

Finally, if you go to their facebook page there is link to get free 4oz sample through 12/12, only problem being it counts toward shipping. I added to my cart and shipping went up $8, so pretty much useless.
I've purchased beans from local roasters where I've lived in the past, but just moved to the Denver/Boulder, CO area and haven't found any yet. Any suggestions or recs that way, I'd be very grateful!

That said, I've also ordered from Sweet Marias and purchased from Burman Coffee Traders with fantastic results. Would buy from either of them again in a heartbeat!
I have a SM Kenya I am drinking now. I have gotten great beans from them, every time, for years.
That said, I also have gotten great beans from Happy Mug, every time. I am currently drinking the Eth Harrar from them.
And, I also have gotten great beans from Due South in Grenville, SC, a few hours drive from where we live, every time.
Green Coffee Buying Club ... I am new there. So far, so good.

Ken in NC
Backwoods Roaster
"I wish I could taste as well as I wish I could roast."

As Abraham Lincoln said "Do not trust everything you read on the internet".
Sweet Marias and Happy Mug - I have been very happy with the greens that I have gotten from both. Right now roasting a wonderful La Minita from Costa Rica that I received from Happy Mug.


Roasters: TJ-067, Hottop with TC4C and RAF Mods
Espresso: LaSpaziale VII/Macap M4 Grinder
Pour over: Bonmac Pro Cone
Press: Bodum
I'm very...happy with my Happy Mug experience. Got half the order in 2 days and the other half in 3 days from across the country and I'm thinkin the second package may have been misrouted by USPS because it bounced around the east coast a little bit.

Didn't want to get off topic, so posted thoughts on coffee here. http://forum.home...post_53595
My local specialty roasting house always has an exceptional selection of green which they graciously sell to me.

Happy Mug has been good as has Sweet Maria's.

I'm sitting at right around 100/125 lbs of green at the moment so should be set for a while ThumbsUp
Mick - "Drinking in life one cup at a time"
"I'd rather be roasting coffee"

Roaster 1: San Franciscan SF-1
Roaster 2: Hottop B-2K+
Roaster 3: 2 kilo Chinese drum
Grinders: Mazzer Major - Forte BG (x3)
Pour over: Hario - Bee House - Chemex - Kalita - Bodum
Drip: Bunn CWTF15-1 & CW15-TC (commercials)
Espresso: Pasquini Livia 90 auto
Vacuum: Cona - Bodum
Press: Frieling - Bodum Colombia
Guess I know where to go when the apocalypse comes. Problem solved! ThumbsUp


ginny wrote:

In case you are not aware we do have a new member who sells greens at:

May be worth checking out...


Free shipping under 20lbs and $6lb on 5lbs, is a really good price for small orders.
Here's a relatively new green coffee purveyor based out of New York called "Crop to Cup" https://www.cropt...

I haven't actually tried any coffee from them, as I'm sitting in about 50lb right now, but they seem to have a good selection and reasonable prices. I just read about them in Roast Magazine's Daily Coffee News, found here: http://dailycoffe...ler-model/

There is something comforting about seeing new stores opening that want to sell green coffee to home roasters.
"Grind it like it did you some great injustice!"D.L.Clark

The "find your coffee" selector is interesting.
Larry's Coffees
I've had good experiences with Sweet Maria's and Happy Mug, and mostly good experiences with Bodhi Leaf and Green Coffee Buying Club.
I've spent the past 6 months sampling beans from many different vendors and here on my thoughts:

The start of your selection process should be to understand what type of bean you are looking for and from what region. Different vendors seem to specialize in different regions.

Burman: Goto for Hawaiian coffee. Normally have a Kona and several other less expensive Hawaiians in stock.

Bodhi Leaf: I picked up a fairly large selection from them, but the only bean that stood out was their Panama Finca Lerida. Exceptional moderately priced Panama bean. I will likely continue to look to Bodhi Leaf for Panama beans.

Happy Mug: I bought 5-6 different types of beans in a sampler from them. While they were all ok, non stood out as exceptional. And it was a bit frustrating that their cupping/descriptions did not seem very accurate. I haven't bought from them since this.

Green Coffee Buyers Club: As a rule, you have to buy in 5# lots on this site and my family is in the 40-50 pounds per year category. So that's a lot to drink of one coffee. However, I've found their cupping notes to be very accurate and I've gotten some really exceptional coffee here. I've bought 4 different types of coffee from here and only 1 was a dud. Truly a hidden gem among the online vendors.

Sweet Maria's: They are the goto vendor for me. The amount of information on their message boards and in their past articles is really helpful. I feel they specialize in African coffee and Gesha. While I have purchased some of their Central and Asia based coffees, those seemed pretty average. They get great African coffees and their cupping notes and ratings are my most trusted sources. If they rate a coffee 90+, I have no doubts that it will be a tremendous cup.

Frankly, I think every roaster wanting to learn about how to approach green beans should read this article that Sweet Maria's has posted: http://sweetmaria...-bags.html

Anyone reading this will likely have their own tastes and ideas of what a good cup of coffee should taste like. FWIW I tend to favor medium roasts, balanced with good body.
Edited by JackH on 08/18/2015 6:45 PM


mitchulskus wrote:

I've spent the past 6 months sampling beans from many different vendors and here on my thoughts:

I am now starting out on the journey you've been on over the past six months, and I appreciate your post very much! Notwithstanding the inherent subjectivity of this endeavor, sharing your experience will be a huge benefit to me and folks like me who are just starting out. I've already have had some of the "dud" experiences and certainly want to maximize the likelihood of success. Thanks for these reviews.
So many beans; so little time....


mitchulskus wrote:

Green Coffee Buyers Club: As a rule, you have to buy in 5# lots on this site and my family is in the 40-50 pounds per year category. So that's a lot to drink of one coffee. However, I've found their cupping notes to be very accurate and I've gotten some really exceptional coffee here. I've bought 4 different types of coffee from here and only 1 was a dud. Truly a hidden gem among the online vendors.

Postscript, can you provide any guidance as to some you liked best from Green Coffee Buyers Club?

I did read the article on Sweet Maria's you cited although the link apparently changed. A real eye-opener for me. Their calculation of cents per cup was an epiphany; as much time and energy as I'm spending roasting and brewing, why worry about a few cents per cup one way or the other? I want to have the best raw materials I can have.

Thanks again for your post, it was very helpful to a newbie like me.
So many beans; so little time....
Interesting that the link didn't work for you John. I copied and pasted it into my browser and it just worked fine. Glad you were still able to find it.

GCBC (Green Coffee Buyers Club): I don't know much about the group, but it appears to have a few people who have relationships with distributors/importers and get access to 1-2 bags of unique beans.

I've focused most of my efforts on GCBC in African beans with specific fruit tones: Strawberry, Berry, Blueberries. While these coffees tend to be a bit more acidic and have less body, they have amazing brightness and I really enjoy the fruited notes. There are times that I even mix them with a bit fuller bodied African that fills in the gaps. I might roast a half pound of each and then try different ratio's between the two. It seems like many of the people on the site really enjoy those beans, they are quite unique.

Again, hope this helps.
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