You probably would not order an eggplant or soup online (that would be weird), but coffee, well, we think that's something you should consider.
Let us take a quick look at the advantages and disadvantages of buying coffee online compared to what a grocery store usually does. We will cover things like...
Why Most Supermarkets Don't Sell Great Coffee Beans
- The ways giant coffee companies trick us into buying old, stale beans.
- Whether or not the store is better in terms of freshness, selection, convenience, and price.
By the end of this blog, you will be an expert on where to buy your beans if you want a high-quality taste; your palate will thank you.
Why best supermarket coffee bean struggle to carry good coffee.
Most stores tend to focus their energy on the fresh produce section and ignore another aisle that relies heavily on freshness: the café aisle.
And here is the thing ...
Coffee beans are at their highest freshness for 3-4 weeks after roasting. After this period, the flavors begin to slowly decay. A few weeks later, the coffee is just a shadow of what it was before (sad).
Most grocery stores do not have the systems (or sales) in place to exchange coffee beans every 3-4 weeks for fresh bags. And that's why the big coffee companies started putting expiration dates on their bags that are ... months in the future. We believe this is simply misleading.
Very few grocery stores have adapted to keep their coffee beans fresh (thank our friends at Tim & Tom's and Whole Foods who are doing a great job in this area!), So most of those beans in the Shelves are at least somewhat stale at the time of purchase.
But what if you have a large quality-focused grocery store around you that sells fresh beans? Are those beans worth buying there? Yes and no, let us take a deeper look.
A Bean Battle: Online Grocery Store vs. Fresh Produce
Let us compare online stores and high-quality grocery stores for a moment. You can buy fresh beans in both places, but which one should you buy?
Well, honestly, that will entirely depend on your lifestyle and preferences, so we will break down the differences so you can decide which one is best for you.
Freshness and Flavour
When it comes to the average grocery store, we have already established that they generally ignore the freshness of coffee entirely, which means that buying online is basically 100% guaranteed to taste better.
But what about those supermarkets that are organized and intentional enough to keep fresh beans on the shelves? Well, the answers are not so clear now.
- High-quality supermarkets keep coffee fresh, but it is not always super fresh. By the time, a bag of coffee is on the shelf, it may have been 10 days since the roast date. Buying beans within 2-3 weeks of roasting will still give you amazing coffee, but it may mean that the "maximum freshness window" is shorter as the beans are a bit older.
- Coffee bought online is usually roasted and shipped in less than 48 hours (at least, that is how we do it). This means you get the beans only 3-4 days after they are roasted, giving you a slightly longer "peak freshness window". Those extra fresh beans will be at their best for a few days longer than the beans you bought from the store.
If you have a large grocery store nearby, you are sure to find some fresh beans there, but shopping online tends to give you a few extra days of maximum freshness and flavor.
Some grocery stores have giant coffee aisles with lots of roasters, but rarely are all those bean bags freshly roasted. A great selection is not always a good selection.
Even in stores focused on freshness, you have to accept what they have in stock. If they do not have your favorite bean, you can try a new one (whether you like it or not). When you buy coffee online, you usually have access to the full range of coffees available.
Of course, coffee comes in and out of season several times a year, so even a roaster's online store will not be fully stocked all the time. That being said, a roaster's online store is still the best place to check out the full range of seasonal coffees.
Everyone's idea of convenience is slightly different, so this one is not very clear cut either.
- Would you rather buy coffee while shopping for other foods? If you go to the store often enough, it may be more convenient to buy the beans there than to order online and wait a couple of days.
- Do you like to have things shipped so you don't have to go to the store so much? Especially if you are a particularly busy person, you may prefer to have a few things mailed to you so you don't have to worry about going to the store as often.
If you find yourself at the grocery store frequently, shopping online may not be more convenient. But if you enjoy having things shipped your way because it shortens your physical shopping list, shopping online will be another small burden to take off.
When you buy coffee beans from a supermarket, you don't have to pay anything extra for shipping because the store bears that cost (sometimes in exchange for adding a few pennies to the final price). But for the purposes of this comparison, we'll just say that beans from grocery stores are generally the same price as beans from online stores.
However, many online stores charge a shipping fee for coffee, usually a flat fee of $ 5. This additional fee is often the breaking point (because why pay more for something you can get at the store near you??).
That's why we ship all of our coffee orders online for free. So while it may be more profitable to buy in person compared to some roasters, the additional cost is exactly the same for us.
Experience freshly roasted coffee at home
To experience the freshness, full selection, convenience, and free shipping of buying coffee beans online for yourself, check out our line of coffee beans.
Alternatively, if you are a grocery retailer or coffee shop owner and would like to offer freshly roasted artisan coffee to your shoppers or coffee shop, please drop us a note via our contact page or visit our wholesale coffee beans for beans of coffee at a cafeteria price.