How Green Coffee Beans are Stored and Transported

box for storing coffee

On this page you’ll learn the impact that storage and transportation methods can have on coffee quality and taste as well as the specifics of how temperature and moisture can impact coffee’s integrity.

The reason green coffee beans are typically imported before being roasted is because receiving them in their unroasted state means less risk of deterioration.

Of course, it’s still possible that environmental factors or transportation methods can also impact the quality of the coffee beans before they are received.

By and large green coffee beans will retain their integrity when they are stored in a cool, dry, and stable environment. They can typically stay in good condition for at least 12 months when stored in the appropriate conditions.

Keeping Coffee at the Right Temperature and Moisture Levels

bags of coffee

The goal is to ensure the beans retain a moisture level of 10 to 12 per cent right up until they are ready to be roasted. This can sometimes be difficult to achieve in cases where the coffee beans have been exposed to lower temperatures or less than ideal humidity levels.

The ideal temperature to keep the green beans at when storing them can vary but the general consensus is to store them at no higher than 20 - 25 degrees.

The biggest risk of temperature fluctuations comes from shipping and transportation environments and processes. Condensation in particular poses a huge threat to retaining the quality and integrity of the coffee beans.

Condensation can encourage the development of mold and that in turn can destroy the coffee flavor. That damage can be hard to reverse, as even drying the beans after receiving them might not bring them to the required 12 per cent moisture level.

Roasted vs Green Coffee Beans

Roasted coffee beans are even more delicate. They can start developing stale aromas after just two weeks following the roasting process.

To ensure optimal flavor and quality, roasted coffee needs to be adequately protected from air and moisture (as well as heat and light), and consumed before the two week time frame.

Interestingly, green coffee beans can be brewed or otherwise consumed without roasting.

They happen to be one of the most significant dietary sources of chlorogenic acids (plant based antioxidants) and studies have shown that these acids are readily metabolized by the human body1.

It’s for this reason that you will find green coffee extract used in a variety of nutritional products and supplements.

Sourcing Green Coffee Beans

If you live outside of countries where coffee beans can be grown (Colombia, Brazil, and other places along the Equatorial zone) you can either import them yourself or you can partner with private roasters who will import and roast them for you. See our guide on selling private label coffee beans for more details.

These private label roasters will handle sourcing the coffee beans and ensuring they are appropriately handled during shipping and properly stored once they are received.

Did You Know?

It was recently announced that SailCargo’ “The Ceiba” - the World’s largest zero-emission sailing cargo ship - will be used to transport coffee beans from Canadian roaster Café William. The partnership between the coffee roaster and SailCargo was key to getting the investment required to build the ship.


How are green coffee beans shipped?

Coffee beans are typically shipped by sea or by air. Sea freight of course tends to be economical but takes much longer to deliver, which depending on the other logistics further down the supply chain can impact coffee freshness and taste.


How do you store green coffee beans?

To ensure freshness when storing, you want to look out for three spoilers: Light, Temperature, and Moisture. This means the coffee beans should be stoed in a dark area, and they should be kept at the same consistent room temperature as fluctuations can lead to condensation and that in turn leads to moisture and spoilage.