1. What is greencoffee.coop?
We are a group of homeroasters gone wild who have banded together to obtain coffee in bulk which we share for our own personal roasting use....a co-operative buying club.
2. What ISN'T greencoffee.coop?
We are not a low cost retail alternative for green coffee. We each must volunteer our own time and talent so that all may benefit. If you are unwilling to volunteer your own time or skills or you expect "customer service" this is not the place for you.
3. Do I need to be a member to buy coffee?
Yes. There is no fee to join. But, you must be a homeroaster who will be using the coffee for your personal use. You must be comfortable with our greencoffee.coop policies. Click here to review
4. Why should I give you my phone number and e-mail address?
We will use your private info to ship your coffee. Fed-ex requires a phone number for delivery. (For when they can't find your house). Your tracking number will be sent to you by e-mail automatically by fed-ex and USPS if we have your e-mail address. We will also notify you by e-mail about important events like votes, in case you haven't logged in. We do not sell/rent e-mail addresses.
5. What coffee can I buy?
Any available offering. Even if you live in the east, you can place a "west" order. Although it may save you shipping if you wait for an offering close to you. You may not combine orders from different distributors, you must place a seperate order with each distributor. In general, you can combine shipping on all offerings in the cart from the same distributor. Sometimes this is not possible because the coffee is available in different time periods. Some offerings may have additional specific requirements, such as the Josuma coffees.
6. What is the easiest way to buy coffee?
The easiest way to buy coffee is to place an order using the shopping cart. These are coffees where the distributor has truncated the original bidding process, and the coffee has been purchased ahead of time at the distributors personal expense so that it is available to you. The price of the coffee, a "co-op fee" that covers the distributor's expenses and shipping charges will automatically appear when you place your order. You may read below how the prices are determined etc. Unfortunately the cart is so professional (Thank you Hedges!) That it makes it difficult to remember that the distributors and everyone else here is a volunteer and they are shipping your coffee and responding to questions in their spare time. Payment is expected at the time the order goes into the cart. Click on the details button. It will give you much more detail about shipping, availibility and a full cupping report. The distributors also communicate about the shipments in the forums. Remember the distributor is pre-buying and placing it in the cart as a courtesy at their own financial risk, if there is consistently alot of leftover coffee...we will no doubt have to revert to buying the coffee only after people bid and pre-pay.
7. How much should I buy?
You will maximize your buying power if you pay attention to the co-op fee and maximum shipping weight. USPS flat rate boxes hold 15# of most coffees (malabar and malabar blends are the most common exception because of the large bean size.) You will pay $8.10 for shipping 5 pounds or 15 pounds so the most cost effective way is to get 15#. Fedex will do up to 30#, then we break over to 2 boxes.
Also remember that coffee is a seasonal crop. For example, in August, the colombian has sold out. It gets less likely that we will find a great lot hanging around on the spot market the further into the season we get, because the best lots get snapped up immediately. New crop will not be in until January, so you would have done best by buying whatever colombian you needed until January this summer when it was available. Likewise, we identified the 2 best harrar lots for this year and bought a bunch. You should buy however much you need until next summer while it is available. Even if we get another spot bag in April, it will not be the quality of these 2 harrars. A good retailer will anticipate the needs of its customers and warehouse enough coffee to go thru the year. A volunteer distributor does not have the storage or capital to provide that for our members.
8. How do I know what coffee is available?
You will know what coffees are coming in the future by watching the forums. Some of the more popular offerings move quickly so visiting the forums frequently can help keep you abreast of what coffees may become available. The distributors publish there first what coffees are coming, when they will go into the cart etc. The most accurate way to know what coffees are currently available is to check the shopping cart. Look at the menu just to the left of this and you will see the east, west and midwest offerings. Click on east etc. until you see the individual coffees listed. All current offerings are also supposed to be listed on the homepage as well, but to be honest, if you rely on that alone you could miss offerings since it is not always up to date. Clicking on the name of a coffee on the homepage will take you to the shipping details, cupping notes and pricing for that offering. It is also useful to keep an eye on the "Cupping Notes" forum as the cupping results for potential new offerings are posted there. We also periodically send out a newsletter with offerings listed in it, but many offerings are sold out long before the newsletter goes out.
9. What if I want a coffee that is not available?
a) If the offering you wanted is sold out, you have the option to click on a notify me if this becomes available again. This happens quite often. I may put 100# of coffee in the cart because that is all I want to bag that weekend, and when I bag the other 50#, I will put that into the cart. If you clicked on notify me you will get e-mail notification.
b) Some of the distributors work very hard to make sure that we have a broad range of origins. As we have grown, we have been able to branch out to offer more origins because we have a broader base. We literally had more than 30 countries represented this past year. So if you come often, you will likely get to try almost everything.
c) The most common reason we do not have your bean, is that it is the wrong time of year for that bean. For example the centrals like panama and peru arrive in late spring. By november, the good lots of panama have sold out, and we may not get anymore until the new crop is in.
d) Sometimes a certain region has a bad year (drought etc.) and we can not locate a good lot to purchase. In that case we will forgo the bad lots and hope for a better yemen next year!
e) On occasion we have tried to purchase coffee from a specific vendor that does not wish to sell to the co-op. It is our long-term goal to be well regarded in the coffee community, and we honor those requests.
f) This covers about 95% of all coffees. Occasionally someone falls in love with a less well known origin. If there is enough interest and logistics fall into place we can offer a bag. Typically to do this, the bag would need to be pre-bought or fully bid out before the distributor purchases the bag. We did this with Indian mysore nuggets EB on the first bag at the request of gindell98 and now "Grindell's nuggets" are a staple. Contact Dolbearg for more info on how to request a coffee.
A comment on mindset for those of you who see us trying to offer a new coffee...... I figure I go thru 5# of decaf a week and I'm saving about $3/lb....that's $60 a month...So now is the time to help out, try a new bean, and help fill a bag you may not have normally ordered. You already saved 25-50% on your other coffees, you can always give it away at work or bribe the mailman with it even if you hate it, and overall you are still ahead on what you would have spent compared to retail.
10. How much will I pay? The price is composed of three components. Shipping, the co-op fee, and the wholesale price of the coffee without mark-up. Alot of effort has gone into double checking the software in the shopping cart, and the distributors do their best, but IT IS RECOMMENDED YOU DOUBLE CHECK THE COST OF ALL YOUR ORDERS.
a) Shipping Price. What it costs the distributor is what you pay. To double check shipping charges, you go to http://www.fedex.com/ratefinder/, www.usps.com, and www.ups.com. Because the box itself, ziplock bags etc add about a pound of weight to the package, the shipping fee for 15# of coffee will actually be based on the cost of shipping 16#. Not all methods of shipping are offered by all distributors. The cart will give you several different shipping options.
b) The co-op fee is $3.50 (U.S. Dollars) for the first pound, and $0.30 per pound thereafter. (note: If ordering two or more origins from one distributor, the fee only applies once.) ie: 10# Colombian has a co-op fee of $3.50 + 9x(0.30)= $6.20. Also 5# Colombian and 5# Harrar from the same distributor, in the same order will still be 6.20 co-op fee. If an additional product is offered (like coffee bags) the fees for that transaction will be specified in the offering.
c) The wholesale cost of the coffee.
1. How is the bid price determined?
The co-op representative that is purchasing the coffee gets a quote from the vendor. If there is no volunteer near the vendor, a volunteer hours away may agree to have the coffee shipped to them by freight, often on a pallet, and then distribute it. In this case there will be a freight quote included in the bid price. There is no mark-up, this is the actual quoted cost of the coffee.
2. How is the final price determined?
The same way. It is the actual cost of the coffee from the vendor to the distributor without any mark-up. This may include the actual cost of the freight involved in getting the coffee pallet to the distributor.
3. Why do they usually differ?
Coffee is a commodity. We buy on "spot". That means the price can fluctuate. Often this is by a "minimal" amount (ie: measured in pennies). It may go up, it may go down. In this case, we would expect the bidder to honor their bid. Occasionally the price changes dramatically. If it doubles, the offering will likely be cancelled all together. If less pronounced, (ie: measured in quarters) The distributor will likely ask the buyers if they wish to sustain their bids. In this case, no one would fault the bidder for revoking their bid. We have yet to define precisely where these cut offs are. (So far, it has been obvious what to do). Gas prices also fluctuate without reason. Therefore freight charges often vary dramatically. Of late, only increasing. This may soon make it prohibitive to distribute the coffee without a nearby volunteer.
4. Are they always different?
No. Sometimes a distributor will "front" the order. This means the distributor speculates on the need for the coffee. They have entered a binding contract with the vendor and shipper. Since the coffee has already been purchased the exact price is known. The most common reasons this is done is to save on shipping, speed up the whole distribution process or to secure a special lot of coffee that might otherwise be sold out from under us. It is never done to create a profit. THIS PUTS THE DISTRIBUTOR AT GREAT RISK. THIS IS NOT RECOMMENDED. IF THE COFFEE IS NOT BID ON, IT WILL REMAIN THE PERSONAL PROPERTY OF THE DISTRIBUTOR WHO ORDERED THE COFFEE. THERE WILL BE NO RE-IMBURSEMENT.
11. Did the total come to more than $100?
Although the cart will not force it on you, full insurance is highly recommended. For fed-ex and UPS, the price in the cart reflects the base line insurance of $100. You can insure a $150 order for the full value but it will cost more than the price in the cart. Usually about 1-2 dollars more. There probably isn't a quick and easy solution within the cart. If your order is more than $100 and going by fed-ex, put in the customer note section whether you want to insure for just the $100 of insurance or if you want to insure for the full value of the coffee and pay a little more. We will then PM you with how much more to paypal us.
12. Do I need to do anything after my coffee arrives?
Once you receive your coffee and get a chance to try it, don't forget to come back to the cart to post your review. This is an invaluble service to your fellow purchasers. We are in a unique position in that we are all roasting and brewing the exact same coffees to help each other. Help other newbies decide what to purchase. But you're not a professional cupper you say? No worries! You don't need to be. Just tell us what you found to be the best roast level, rest period, or brew method. What roast profile did you use on your I-roast? Or simply whether you thought it was good or bad. It's all about what YOU like. Describing the coffee in your own words can also help you to discern the various profiles and nuances and get more from your coffee than just another cuppa joe.
13. What do I do if my order doesn't come in what I feel is a reasonable period of time?
Step1 - Take a deep breath and remember this is a group of volunteers that does this because they are willing to take time out of their lives to do help their fellow homeroasters. Just like everyone else, sometimes they aren't able to get things done as fast as they thought they would.
Step 2 - Check the home page. There is a spot on the homepage where the distributors will update messages. If we are on vacation, have emergency gallbladder surgery or get wiped out by Katrina, we will post it there. We will try to update there with the lastest info on the orders.
Step 3-PM the distributer. When you do this, remember that you aren't the only one they are in communication with so they may take a little time to get back to you. When a coffee like the cup of excellence goes out, the distributor may literally be sending out 100 orders and get 30 PM's a day. You can also check the sent status of your message. If it isn't showing up in your sent folder, that may mean their PM box is full. Try emailing them using the email in their profile.
Step 3 - What! Still no response? Getting a little hot under the collar? Repeat step 1. Then send a message to one of the Admins. There may be something seriously wrong and they often know what it is. They are helpful folks and if they don't know, they can find an answer.
Step 4 - Things are getting serious if you haven't gotten a satisfactory response by now. Time to refer back to step 1. After that you can post a message in one of the public forums asking for help. If you are careful to keep your tone positive, you are likely to find people scrambling to help you because we ALL want this to work. Otherwise I hope you are wearing asbestos underwear.
FYI, usps tracking is essentially worthless. By the time they update your package, you are already roasting.
13. Are there other ways I can help?
14. What is Karma?
Karma is a left over from the software platform Hedges used to build the site. It doesn't mean anything more than someone has done something someone considered noteworthy enough to reward. High karma indicates an active appreciated member! To give karma you click on the desired persons yin yang symbol.
15. What does status mean?
Again, part of the pre-packed software. The more you post, the more roasted you are! Green bean, yellow bean, full city etc. Distributors, and members of the administrative group are also identified there.
16. Why can't I post retailers names and links?
In the past and just recently, we have been requested by companies in the coffee industry not to mention them in our forums by name or link to their sites. These have not been unfriendly messages but rather polite, professional requests. We have agreed to honor these requests in order to maintain friendly, mutually respectful relationships with them.