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Mar 9, 2012 06:28 AM

Chowfind: great resource for green coffee beans

Green Coffee Buying Club (Canadian Rep!)

I am pretty sure that I found this place through a link on Chowhound, but I can’t seem to find the thread.

I ordered 15lbs of beans (5lb each Costa Rican Santa Elena, Nicaraguan Rio Coco, and Mexican Chiapas) and they were at my door in under a week. I’ve only roasted off a pound of Nicaraguan so far. It is a very tasty bean.

Shipped to my door, the total all in was $82. That is a fantastic price. The prices are all per pound, so you can mix and match your order, and not have to worry about ordering a huge amount of one bean to secure better pricing.

The Canadian Rep running the show (his handle is smico) seems to be doing a very good job. Great communication. Very quick shipping. This is a non-profit gig for him.

You have to sign up to access the site. Make sure that if you are ordering, that you look at the “Canada only” threads. Link to vendor distribution here:

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  1. Thanks for some feedback on the seller. I was not sure if I should try him out, and just bought 30 lbs of beans last week but I may try him out and see how I like them.

    6 Replies
    1. re: foodyDudey

      I was hesitant, but he had some good feedback on GCBC. I also felt fine with buyer protection through VISA and PayPal though.

      I weighed out the bags, and they all came in just over 5lbs. I really can't find a fault. Good cut. Good price. Good delivery. Good service. I don't have to leave my house, fight traffic, pay for parking, park..... I am very happy to find this source.

      Are you the one who posted about them? I searched, but my results provided nothing.

      1. re: Derksen

        I think Jayt90 posted about them, but that post has vanished (I searched for it) . I don't have to leave my house when I order from Green Beanery. Last week I ordered online and the beans were here the same day, even though I ordered 4 hours after the 10:00 am cut-off for same day delivery.

        1. re: foodyDudey

          I'm too close to GB's King W location to bother having them deliver.

          Out of curiosity, what did you order? Cost for product and delivery?

          1. re: Derksen

            I have been ordering Espresso Choco. (a blend)

            1 x Espresso Choco 30 lb. (Esp-Ch-30) = $225.38
            delivery = $10

          2. re: foodyDudey

            Yeah I posted, and when I reposted on the other Canadian boards, all were removed. I'm not complaining, I should have stopped after the GTA post.

            I ordered 10 lb Costa Rica, and 5 lb each Nicaragua and Mexican, all delivered in about a week for $110, and packed in heavy duty Ziploc bags.
            I have compared the Nicaragua with a similar purchase from Greenbeanery, and they are very close. GB slightly costlier, and no cupping notes.
            For my next purchase, it will be a toss up between these two sellers, depending on selection and perceived QPR, where cupping notes may help.

            1. re: jayt90

              I thought it was pretty cool that he (smico @ GCBC) had a link with info on the grower of the Costa Rican

              I've been drinking a lot of GB's Guatemalan. The Nicaraguan is definitely at par with taste/quality. Looking forward to the other two.

      2. I've been using the Green Coffee Buying Club for a couple years now, but always had the beans shipped to friends in the US and picked them up when I was there (to avoid shipping charges to Canada, brokerage fees and whatever taxes might apply). So I was thrilled when 'smico' finally surfaced as a Canadian source of green beans on the GCBC website.

        I have purchased green beans in the past from Merchants of Green but their prices are very high and they charge the same price regardless of what bean variety you purchase - about $12! Ridiculous to charge that much for some of the varieties of green beans they sell and absurd to charge the same price regardless of the bean variety. Aside from this I find most of their staff never took Customer Service 101 and are arrogant and dismissive when I ask questions.

        I've also bought from Greenbeanery and like their vast selection, long hours of operation, convenient location (15 min by bike for me - now that's carbon neutral!) and reasonable prices. Also, they are a non-profit operation borne out of the old Pollution Probe at U of T and that gets points in my book.

        Anyway, back to GCBC. I ordered 5lb each of smico's offerings too. I had some problems with my Paypal but smico said no problem and actually shipped me the beans before I even paid! (after checking that I had been registered with GCBC for a while and had purchased beans before). The beans arrived at my doorstep in Toronto promptly 3 days later for a total price including shipping of $82.52. They were sealed in plastic bags, weighed slightly over 5lbs each and even had a sticker on the bag with a description and a qcode on it so I could simply scan it with my iPhone 'Redlaser' app and get all the info on the particular bean. Very cool. And very cool that he shipped to me without paying first. It took me 2 weeks to get my paypal working and he was extremely patient. A prince, especially as he is doing this for the love of coffee and no pecuniary gain (the 50c/lb that GCBC distributors charge extra over the cost of the bean barely covers gas, time and materials in bagging everything).

        I am almost through the 5lb bag of Costa Rica Tarrazú Santa Elena Estate coffee ( and it was superb. With prorated shipping and handling it was $5.40/lb. Now, coffee shrinks in weight when it is roasted (this one by 16%) and so it ended up costing $5.40/.84 = $6.43/lb which is a superb price for this quality of coffee (ok so you have to roast it yourself). I was just at Summerhill Market (ok maybe not the best comparison) but just a 1/2 lb of ostensibly freshly roasted coffee was about $10 and at the Big Carrot, Merchants of Green ostensibly freshly roasted coffee is about $14/lb. Ok, so I didn't factor in the 1 kWh of energy used (12 cents) by the Behmor roasting machine or the cost of the roaster ($275), but the thing has already paid for itself in the 18 months I have been using it. Plus I get the absolutely most freshly roasted coffee one could possibly have roasted exactly the way I want it - every time.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Flexitarian

          Thanks for doing the math, even the kwh!

        2. Thx for the heads up, and interesting looking site. I was expecting a website where you choose the beans, enter your address and pay online, but it's more of a forum.

          So how does one go about ordering beans from smico? I see his latest thread that he started is titled "Costa Rica Santa Elena - First Canada only distribution-NEW SHIPPING RATES" and guys are just posting a "I'll buy 5 lbs of such and such" to that post, and then does he contact you back for payment and delivery info?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Iron Buddha

            Smico will confirm your order and expect payment before it is sent. Payment is almost always by Paypal, as all the dealers are set up for it. Shipping from Montreal by post is very reasonable, compared to USPS rates for the US dealers. The best USPS rate to Canada is $29 for 15 lb., (no brokerage or GST on that service).

            1. re: Iron Buddha

              The reason it is not what you expected is that GCBC is really just a bunch of people selling green coffee beans to eachother and not a commercial operation or commercial website with a clearing house for payments. Having it set up as a commercial operation with someone running it and having VISA, etc payments accepted online would require real overhead and staff.

              And so, you are really just buying the beans person-to-person and from different peope all the time, not one entity. As such, having it set up as a website forum with people posting what they have for sale and others posting and emailing what they want to buy is the most efficient and least costly way for this club to operate. It's a bit confusing the first time but after you've bought once it's not.