Frequently Asked Coffee Questions

1. What are green beans, and how do I use them?

Green beans are raw, unroasted coffee beans.  They need to be roasted before brewing (don’t try to grind or brew them raw!  It is not an enjoyable experience!).  We have a number of different green bean varieties we sell if you are into home-roasting your own coffee.  Each origin has its own unique properties and flavors, and responds differently to various roast times and temps.  In our green coffee descriptions, we offer some guidance on how to best roast each of the green beans.  Or you can visit our new Home Roasters Guide.

If you are interested in beginning to roast your own beans, you can get started with something as simple and affordable as a popcorn maker!  We recommend the Whirley Pop at first, and once you’re ready to dive in, we also sell a great homeroaster called the FreshRoast SR-540

For questions about homeroasting, contact our Head Roaster directly here:

2. Do you sell green beans in bulk or through wholesale?

Unfortunately, we do not sell our green beans wholesale or offer larger-sized bags or bulk discounts.  We need to keep our precious supply of green beans for our own roasts, and we do not have a facility large enough to store beans to wholesale to the tons of roasters who are looking to purchase.  We only sell in small amounts to home roasters.  You can purchase them in 1 pound or 5 pound bags.

We also cannot sell you our proprietary blends in green bean form, silly! That would be giving away our big secrets.  And besides, experimenting with your own blends is the fun part, right?

3. How do I know which grind I should select?

It all depends on what brew method you use (see our Brewing Guide page for a complete breakdown). First, your coffee will be the freshest if you order whole bean. Once beans are ground, oxidation speeds up and eventually coffee staling - extreme loss of flavors and aroma - occurs. So, purchasing whole bean and grinding yourself will keep the beans fresh for a longer period of time.

It is best to grind your coffee just before you brew it. Don't have the time? Don't have a grinder? (wanna get one? Go here to purchases a coffee grinder!) For these reasons, we are happy to grind your coffee for you in one of three ways:

    • Normal Grind: best for all autodrip machines
    • Fine Grind: best for espresso
    • Coarse Grind: best for French Presses and percolators

4. What is the best way to store my coffee? 

Once coffee beans have been roasted and degassed (rested), they then go through what is called oxidation. This is essentially the gradual loss of aroma and flavors in the beans due to the introduction of oxygen to their chemical makeup. Oxidation is usually slowed down via proper packaging and storage.  Fresh roasted coffee should be kept in a cool, dry and dark place in an airtight container.  Unopened one-pound bags, however, are nitrogen-flushed and sealed, and will stay fresh for at least 3 months if left in stable temperatures.

To freeze or not to freeze…that is the question!  Although it is not ideal in terms of freshness, we recognize that many of our customers purchase in larger quantities to save money, and need to store coffee for a longer period of time.  This is where the freezer comes in.

If you want to freeze coffee, the trick is to break up the coffee into small increments that will last you two to three weeks. Put the coffee into a freezer safe bag or airtight container. Keep the first amount out on your counter for immediate use, and stash the rest of it in the freezer. Once you run out of the supply on your counter, just grab the next bag/container. What you DON’T want to do is take the coffee in and out of the freezer. The drastic changes in temperatures will cause it to stale much quicker. It should hold in the freezer in a freezer safe container/bag for up to 3 months.  

5. How do I brew the best cup of coffee?

A great question not easily answered!  People get their PhD in coffee brewing these days, spending their entire lives trying to answer this very question.  It all depends on what method you are using, and what kind of cup you are looking for.  Each method requires different grinds, water temperatures, times and other treatments.

Please visit our Brewing Guide page for a breakdown of all the factors that go into a great cup of coffee, and the recommendations for various brewing methods. 

Of course, it also depends on what you mean by "best."  To us, the "best" cups of coffee are the ones that have an impact on more than just your taste buds.

6. Do you have low acid coffee? 

Low acid coffee is an incredibly hot topic, and we get this question all the time! Before answering, a quick note about what we mean when we talk about acid in coffee. When we talk about the “acidity” in coffee, we’re talking about perceived acidity (meaning what you can taste) and not pH. All coffee, regardless of origin or roast level, has a pH of 5, meaning it is less acidic than soda (pH of 2.6) and orange juice (pH of 2.5).

So, does Dean’s Beans offer low acid coffee?? While we do not take any steps to make any of our coffees “low acid”, there are certain roasts and origins that have naturally lower perceived acidity. Dark roast coffees and beans from Central America will have the lowest perceived acidity, and two coffees to try in this category would be Mexican French Roast or Nicaraguan French Roast. Medium and light roasted coffees retain more of the acidity of the green beans, and will have more perceived acidity.

If you’re looking to lower the acid in your coffee, you can also try cold brewing! While this method takes longer, the cold water doesn’t release certain acidic compounds that are found in hot coffee, so it is worth the wait if you want a lower acid brew.

7. What does Natural Water-Processed Decaf mean?

Instead of using harsh chemicals to remove the caffeine from the coffee beans, the water decaffeination method uses water in a gentle eco-friendly process.  The beans are soaked in hot water for a designated period of time, and the caffeine leaches out. Then the solution is passed through a carbon filter that catches the caffeine particles, but leaves the water, oils, and flavors to be reabsorbed into the beans. You are left with a 99.9% caffeine free bean, without sacrificing great taste or adding unneeded chemicals to the environment and your body.

8. What is the difference between arabica and robusta?

It’s all coffee (and here it’s all organic and fair trade), but Arabica and Robusta are two totally different species of coffee.  Most of our coffees are Arabica (as most specialty coffees are), but we have a great source for high-altitude organic robusta beans that we add to some of our blends because of their caffeine punch.  Robusta beans contains more caffeine than Arabica, which is why you’ll see a bit of it in our Italian Espresso Roast, Roadhouse, Berkeley Shark Bite and, of course, Ahab’s Revenge.

Here is a link to the full botanical breakdown of coffee by the Specialty Coffee Association.

9. What are Bean Points?

Bean Points are our way to reward our loyal customers - hopefully, that includes you! Basically, when you place an order while logged in to our website (aka, you have a customer account), you earn 1 Bean Point for every $1.00 spent. When you reach 200 Bean Points, you automatically get a $5.00 off coupon. The Bean Points hit your account as soon as we ship your coffee, so you might not see them until the day or so after you place your order. Some other details include...

  • You must be logged in in order to earn or redeem your Bean Points.
  • You earn points on coffee only, not shipping costs.
  • You cannot earn or redeem Bean Points for any subscription orders, BUT,  we offer a 5% savings to subscription orders, which more than makes up for the Bean Point savings. 
  • You will automatically receive emails when there are changes to your Bean Point balance.
  • You can see your Bean Point balance at any point by logging into your account.
  • If you cancel your entire order, you will not earn Bean Points.
  • If you cancel part of your order, you will only earn Bean Points on what we actually ship to you.
  • You can only use one 200 point coupon at a time, for a maximum discount of $5.00.
  • You can redeem your Bean Points by clicking on the Green Button on the bottom right corner of your screen. If you have enough Bean Points, you will be walked through how to get the $5.00 off your order.
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