Green Coffee Basics

What is Green Coffee? 

Green coffee is the dried seed of the coffee cherry, which is the fruit of the coffee plant. Coffee plants grow between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, so transporting coffee around the world requires navigating the complex world of international laws, restrictions, and regulations governing the import and export of agricultural products. Green coffee then, in simplest terms, is a dry food product that needs to be roasted before it can be consumed by customers. 

Is All Green Coffee The Same?

Not in the least! Coffee varies greatly depending on where and how it was grown. Differences in environmental conditions--climate, soil, elevation, surrounding ecosystems--and agricultural practices produce coffees that are notably different from each other both physically in the shape, size, color, and density of the beans and in how they taste when roasted and brewed.

The term “terroir” is used by vintners (winemakers) and has been adopted by coffee professionals to refer to the location-specific characteristics of a place that make a crop taste different from the same crop grown elsewhere. Terroir means that coffees from Colombia will taste different from coffees from Ethiopia, and that coffees from one part of Ethiopia will also be different from each other because the land and climate are unique from one mountain to the next. The term “microclimate” is often used to describe the different conditions from farm to farm.

Production conditions also generate different kinds of green coffee. Coffee trees can be grown on smallholder farms, where just a few hundred trees surround the farmer’s home and are tended by hand. Coffee can also be grown on large, mechanized estates and agribusiness farms, similar to how corn and soy are grown in the United States. The steps for growing, harvesting, and processing coffee differ based on the scale and style of each farm. Different coffees are available from small farms, which are agile and capture the hyper-specific terroir of their properties, and from large farms, which offer consistency and efficiency. The more coffees you try, the more you’ll experience the differences between them and find the ones that are right for your roasting operation.

Coffee can also be processed in different ways, which ultimately affects how coffee roasts and tastes when prepared. The main processing styles range from fully Washed to full Naturals. Washed coffees are separated from the pulp of the coffee cherry and scrubbed of mucilage, while Natural coffees are dried with the seed inside the cherry. In between those two poles are Pulped Natural, Honey, and Wet-Hulled processing methods, which separate the seed from the cherry but leave some of the mucilage in contact with the drying coffee seed. To learn more about coffee processing, explore other Origin posts, including Processing Innovation and Expertise in Colombia, Coffee Processing at Monteblanco, Harvesting and Processing in Cerrado Mineiro, Brazil.

How Can I Purchase Green Coffee?

Through Ally Open, you can purchase green coffees in small 25 or 50 pound boxes that ship from our Greenville, SC location making transit times anywhere from 1-7 days depending on your location. With tracking information sent upon order processing, you know exactly where your shipment is and its arrival date.

Ally Open helps you access the coffee you want when you want it. Our small boxes allow you to try several coffees to see which is the best fit for your business. By rotating our Microlot and Reserve offerings seasonally, we provide a variety of options throughout the year. Our Core Coffees are available year round to offer dependable consistency. By shipping via UPS, we help you receive green coffee quickly and cost-effectively.

We know you want to roast the best coffee that you can find, and we’re happy to make finding those great coffees the easy part of your business.

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