sieken Senior Member Joined: 23 Jan 2008 Posts: 34 Location: Atlanta, GA Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Brugnetti MC-1 Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Mon Apr 12, 2010, 12:07pm Subject: What do we look for in an online coffee roaster?
What does everyone look for in a good online coffee roaster? Some of us aren't fortunate enough to live in the Portland, Seattle, or SF areas where world class roasters are available within walking distance and have to go online to find good beans. Living in Atlanta, I have to drive across town to find the only good coffee roaster in town (in my opinion of course) and it would at times take me an hour to get there and back. Because of this, I began ordering from Stumptown, Intelligentsia, Klatch, and other roasters online even though I'm now paying upwards of $25 per pound when you include shipping. I feel like I'm not getting the same experience out of clicking a button online as I do walking into my roaster's shop and buying a bag of beans.
I'm curious, what are we getting out of online roasters, and what could make them better?
Posted Mon Apr 12, 2010, 12:33pm Subject: Re: What do we look for in an online coffee roaster?
My number one issue ordering coffee is the shipping cost.
I would suggest that you go to roaste.com and check out the roasters that are part of their service. Right now they are offering free shipping on a two pound order from the roasters that are part of the program.
My favorite espresso is Vivace Dolce and their shipping costs were extremely high until I started ordering through Roaste. There is no difference in delivery times from ordering from roaste or directly from the roaster. The difference is that you will pay less.
Posted Mon Apr 12, 2010, 1:10pm Subject: Re: What do we look for in an online coffee roaster?
I'm not sure how much the shipping will be, but it seems to be that you earn rewards towards future purchases as you purchase through them, maybe as much as a few $/lb. I just ordered a pound of Vivace Dolce through them and am VERY happy with the way the order was filled and shipped. I ordered on Sunday and had beans roasted on monday in WA by wednesday, here in RI! I will probably plan to use them most chances I get in the near future!
Posted Mon Apr 12, 2010, 2:31pm Subject: Re: What do we look for in an online coffee roaster?
Shipping does seem to be the greatest hurdle in online ordering. It costs a lot for a roaster to ship pounds of coffee in a timely manner (i.e. days after roasting) I bought a 1/2 pound of Black Cat from Intelly a while back, which turned out to be $19 after shipping (to Western NY). It got to me in two days, but I paid more for shipping than the beans. ROASTe, however, has been great in that, in addition to the free shipping they've been offering, they reward purchases and reviews with points. I bought a pound of Dolce a few weeks ago, and then gave a review, and the combination earned me $6.30 in rewards. It appears that each of their "eBeans" are equivalent to $0.10 of store credit. I'm not sure what their shipping scheme is, but to pay nothing and have coffee arrive two days after it was roasted is a valuable service. If they can maintain even a discount on shipping, they will have my business for a long time. Hopefully, other roasters will join in, or figure out how to provide lower shipping charges.
Posted Tue Apr 13, 2010, 3:52pm Subject: Re: What do we look for in an online coffee roaster?
I have come to appreciate the esspresso blends from the likes of Intelligentsia, Terrior, and more recently, Vivace. Now that I've become spoiled, I won't settle for anything less. I am resigned to pay $9 to ship from Intelligentsia and Terrior for my usual orders of 1 1/2 to 2 pounds. I've just factored that in to the cost of enjoying good espresso. Plus, I have a list of other roasters to try, Counter Culture, Coffee Klatch, etc...
I did recently stumble across ROASTe.com and tried the Vivace Dolce and am enjoying this coffee immensely. Dolce won't replace Terrior Daterra North Italian Style blend as my absolute favorite, and Black Cat will probably always be in my top two, but I give loads of creds to Vivace regarding the shear volume of crema I get from the Dolce blend, and since I can buy Dolce from ROASTe, with free shipping, or a nice discount using points from a previous purchace, I have plenty of incentive to buy more. I earned over $7 to apply to my next purchase, just by buying 2 pounds with my first purchase. Sure they charge a couple more bucks for the coffee, but the credit and/or free shipping still makes it cheaper.
I think ROASTe's concept is very cool. It's a great way to save a dime or two, try something from a roaster you've never tried, and expand your coffee horizon. Kudos to the founder(s) of ROASTe, and thank you. I was wanting to find Intelligentsia or Terrior there, and kind of happy it's not. I will have to do some homework there and make up my wish list and see what other espresso gems they can introduce me too. I've been saving labels and or part of the packaging from all the coffees I've purchased, thinking this might be kind of a cool scrap book down the road.
JasonBrandtLewis Senior Member Joined: 9 Dec 2005 Posts: 6,368 Location: Berkeley, CA Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -... Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -... Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup Drip: CCD, Chemex Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Thu Apr 15, 2010, 4:44pm Subject: Re: What do we look for in an online coffee roaster?
What does everyone look for in a good online coffee roaster? Some of us aren't fortunate enough to live in the Portland, Seattle, or SF areas where world class roasters are available within walking distance and have to go online to find good beans.
FWIW, I live in the SF Bay Area and order beans from all over the country.
Living in Atlanta, I have to drive across town to find the only good coffee roaster in town (in my opinion of course) and it would at times take me an hour to get there and back. Because of this, I began ordering from Stumptown, Intelligentsia, Klatch, and other roasters online even though I'm now paying upwards of $25 per pound when you include shipping. I feel like I'm not getting the same experience out of clicking a button online as I do walking into my roaster's shop and buying a bag of beans.
What are we getting out of online roasters is a very different question than What do we look for in an online coffee roaster, isn't it?
What I look for in a roaster -- any roaster -- is top-quality beans, freshly roasted, with a "Roasted On _________" date (rather than a "Best By ______" date). What I would prefer is USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate Shipping: coast-to-coast, it's less expensive and faster than FedEx and UPS on smaller (two pounds) shipments.
What we are getting out of online roasters varies with the roaster. Let's not forget that you can order beans from *$ online, too.
spaz2 Senior Member Joined: 5 Mar 2010 Posts: 8 Location: SF Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: La Spaziale S1 v2 Grinder: Nino, Mazzer Mini B Drip: Hario
Posted Thu Apr 15, 2010, 8:41pm Subject: Re: What do we look for in an online coffee roaster?
I would like to see all the roasters post clearly on their site, what they feel are the starting brew temps for their espresso beans. Why the assumption that we all automatically know what the starting brew temp is for a particular bean. Why should we have to research it? Granted I always learn from the search but how many potential buyers stick to what they buy and where they buy just because the information to easily try something new isn't given by the person hoping to sell you the product.
I'm in agreement that any roaster charging more than considered costs for shipping is looking for a job in the shipping business and may well find one.
I live where there are several good roasters but I see few of them actually trying to make the extra effort to keep the customer feeling like they are a valued customer. The more common attitude is indifference I'm sorry to say. When my customers have questions and problems they expect answers or they move on, as they should. So I just expect roasters to do what they do well and if they change the blend just let us know.
How about useful descriptions of the bean as it probably tastes after a particular roaster does the roasting his way. What does "pulls a fantastic shot" really tell me?
Finally I want to receive beans that were roasted and shipped the next day in a quality bag and have that bag size be 2lb if possible.
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