You can normally buy green beans from a
local roaster. Look in your yellow pages or equivalent. There
are also numerous companies selling green coffee on the web.
Some roasters find it a novelty and will be helpful. Some will
be offended at the idea that you think that you can produce good
coffee in your home. Once you find a roaster that is willing to
sell you green beans expect to pay around 15% less than for
their equivalent roasted beans (which is about the amount of
weight loss in roasting). If you go through a provider that
specialized in green coffee you may save substantially more.
Some beans are harder to roast than others but with a little
practice you will be getting results that will thrill you and
your friends in no time. The freshness alone will overshadow
most imperfections in roast process when comparing home roast to
a coffee purchased at the grocery store.
When you get the green beans, store them in cloth bags in a
cool, dry and dark place allowing air to circulate. Leaving them
in the plastic wrapping for months can make them sweat and go
The vast bulk of the world’s beans are of
mediocre quality. The difference in price between the top
quality green and merely average is small.
Your local roaster may have different priorities from you in
choosing greens and may be less concerned with quality than
price. How do you tell? A list of "standard" beans (eg
Colombian, Kenyan, Sumatra Mandhelling) is a bad sign; more
specific descriptions (Colombian Huila San Augustin, Kenya AA
Kathangariri Estate) are much more encouraging. This in not to
say that you can’t get bad coffee with an impressive name so
find a green merchant you trust.