We've explained before that coffee is actually the roasted seed of a coffee cherry, in fact we've explained the whole process from plant to cup. But there's a stage where not many people see the coffee, and that's in it's "green bean" phase. Where the bean has been processed and dried to around 11% moisture, bagged and ready to be shipped around the world from wherever origin the beans were grown.
What are green beans?
Green coffee beans are simply coffee beans that have not yet been roasted. They are the raw form of the coffee beans that we are used to seeing and drinking. Green coffee beans come from the coffee plant, most popularly the Coffea arabica, Coffea robusta genus, or even Coffea Eugenioides but you'll be very lucky to get any green beans of eugenioides as we discussed in that article they are extremely rare. Green coffee beans can be purchased in different grades, depending on the quality of the beans. Specialty grade coffee beans are considered to be of the highest quality, while commercial grade coffee beans are considered to be of lower quality.
How to determine the quality of green beans
Green coffee beans are evaluated on a number of criteria to determine their quality. Quality depends on a variety of factors, such as origin, growing conditions, processing, roasting and storage. Generally, three characteristics are used to evaluate green beans: appearance, moisture content and size
- Appearance: Coffee beans should be smooth, consistent in shape and free of damage. Colour can vary depending on the variety , origin and even from grower to grower, but the beans should be free of blemishes, discoloration or other damage.
- Moisture Content: The moisture content of green coffee beans should always be between 11% and 12%. Anything above or below this range can indicate a lack of freshness or poor storage.
- Size: Size can be an indication of the quality and grade of the coffee. Coffee beans should all be relatively similar in size, within 10-15% of one another. Small, broken or deformed beans indicate poor quality and are usually avoided at the level of coffee we like to deal with.
Overall even before the roasting process has begun, quality control is put in place to determine how good the coffee beans are. The quality of the beans determines sometimes how to roast them, lighter roasts will require a very consistent batch, whereas a darker roast can be a lot more forgiving of the quality at this level.
What is Green Coffee Extract?
Green coffee extract is a supplement made from unroasted, green coffee beans. It is high in chlorogenic acids, which are thought to have health benefits such as weight loss, blood sugar control and reduced blood pressure. However, more research is needed to confirm these potential benefits. Green coffee extract is available in supplement form, typically in capsules or tablets.
Are there any health benefits to Green Beans?
These beans contain higher levels of chlorogenic acid, a compound that is believed to have health benefits such as weight loss and reduced blood pressure. The roasting process reduces the chlorogenic acid content of the beans. Green coffee beans are commonly used to make green coffee extract, which is used in dietary supplements. There are a lot of studies around that determine the benefit of these, but as we like to roast the Chlorogenic acid out of our beans, we can't attest to it's benefits unlike the tinctures in coffee which we stand by.
How to Buy Green Coffee Beans
Green coffee beans can be purchased through a variety of methods. Many specialty and gourmet grocery stores will carry green beans, as well as some local roasteries. Online retailers and coffee suppliers are also excellent sources, offering a wide variety of origin, varieties and grades. Additionally, some coffee-producing countries offer direct buying options directly from the farms, allowing for direct trade and a more sustainable approach to sourcing if that's your vibe. Otherwise most people buying green beans will go through a reputable domestic importer that will work directly with the farm.