Green Coffee: What are green coffee beans and where does it come from?

green coffee

Green coffee beans may not have the popularity (or flavor) of roasted coffee beans, but it's becoming increasingly popular as an alternative drink. Here's everything you should know about the green coffee bean. At Black Ink, we take great pride and joy in sourcing the world's best coffee which is why we are constantly testing new blends and origins.

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What Is Green Coffee?

Green coffee beans are raw, unroasted coffee. Most people take green coffee in one of two ways. The first option is as a green coffee extract added to a different drink, while other people make actual hot drinks.

Green coffee contains high amounts of chlorogenic acid, which some research suggests that it has health and weight loss benefits. Trials are ongoing, but they haven't conclusively proven things one way or the other. However, knowing what we know about caffeine, we tend to believe that they do offer these benefits.

(Note that these substances are not acids in the same way that most tend to think, like the substances that dissolve compounds or that power our batteries. Instead, these are biological acids, and they have many useful and beneficial properties.)

Coffee Plant

It is well known that coffee comes from a plant, but most don't understand the history behind these amazing plants and how they have evolved over time. Additionally, while the US does not have the right climate for growing a coffee plant, minus Hawaii it's Kona Coffee, it is actually possible to do so indoors. Unfortunately, each tree can only produce a pound a year, so you'll need a pretty large area just to supply your own ration of coffee! 

Green Coffee Importers

green coffee beans

Before we can get into more detail about green coffee and where it comes from, we wanted to quickly go into some of the more popular coffee importers that many coffee businesses go to for raw green coffee. Here are five popular green coffee importers.

Ally Coffee

Ally Coffee sells from warehouses in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Although they import world-wide, they tend to import the majority of their coffees from Central/South America and some regions in Asia. This gives them excellent global coverage. They sell boxes as small as 25 pounds, which is better than many of their competitors.

Balzac Brothers

Balzac Brothers imports from all around the globe, bringing in the best single origins that they can find. Although a bit smaller than most, they make up for it with their sound custom service and superb coffee offerings. If you are on the East Coast and want a personal experience, go with the Balzac crew!

Cafe Imports

Cafe Imports is a carbon-neutral coffee importing company that focuses on North America, Europe, and Australia. If we had to define Cafe Imports with one word, it would be "Amazon" or even "Walmart" as they are the largest facility in the area. With that amount of volume, it is no wonder why the quality mat sometimes lack. Lastly, they focus on bulk imports, so they're better for commercial use instead of home use.

Genuine Origin

Genuine Origin is a beginner-friendly, green coffee importer, that sells in 65-lb boxes. They also offer free shipping in the continental US, as well as future shipment dates with no interest or warehouse fees. While Genuine Origin may not carry the highest cupping coffee options, they still have some great selections.

Royal Coffee

Royal Coffee serves as one of the go-to wholesale importers along the west coast of the United States with most of their warehouses set in North America. They also have a Shanghai office, though, giving them some global reach. Notably, they show the locations where all of their coffee offerings come from and have quite a robust selection!

Where Does Green Coffee Come From?

what is green coffee

Green coffee comes from the same places as other coffee: everywhere! Well, everywhere that can actually grow it, anyway. That's a surprisingly large part of the world, especially in areas with higher elevation.

More seriously, green coffee shipments are significantly more common than many people realize. Most companies roast their coffee relatively close to the point of sale, and there's a reason for that: coffee is best within a few days of roasting. After that, it loses a lot of flavor.

In fact, many coffee shops order raw beans and roast them on-site, selling their roasts after they've had a few days to get rid of gases. That's how you get the freshest drinks. If you roast before shipping the beans around the world, chances are you'll miss the best-by dates.

Here are some of the places that produce the most green coffee beans, as well as green coffee extract and related products.


Brazil is the largest single producer of coffee in the world, operating literally hundreds of thousands of farms and producing more than a third of the world's entire supply of green coffee beans.

This massive supply of coffee supports various secondary coffee products, including using green coffee bean extract to produce weight loss supplement choices. That's usually more stable than the beans, so they can produce it on-site and ship around the world in bulk.


Although most people don't think of Vietnam when they consider coffee, this country is a powerhouse that focuses on robusta beans. These have significantly more caffeine than the more-popular Arabica beans, making them a useful alternative for companies producing some caffeine products.

Vietnam is the top producer in the world for these unroasted coffee beans, although they can't quite match Brazil's overall production volume of green coffee beans.


Colombia is perhaps the best-known country for producing coffee beans, and that's true even after farms took big hits from a disease known as coffee rust.

Colombia produces well-balanced coffee beans with mild flavors, which makes them a popular choice for products like green coffee extract where milder flavors are valuable.


Indonesia is another country that produces a lot of robusta beans, and they're the Asian producer that most people know about. This island country's climate is especially well-suited to producing coffee, with as well as coffee bean extract, other coffee extracts, and coffee supplements.

Indonesia focuses on small farms for coffee production, with each farm operating about two hectares. A hectare is about 2.5 acres, or 0.003 square miles. If you've ever tried Sumatran coffee, it was actually from Indonesia.


Ethiopia, in Africa, is uniquely well-suited to growing coffee. The reason is simple: it's the birthplace of coffee trees, and thus inherently excellent for growing them. Green coffee and green coffee extract from this area tends to have mild acidity and floral or tea-like scents.

Ethiopian coffee also has a wide variety of flavors, and more so than many other regions. Compounding this is the fact that most coffee from Ethiopia is consumed within the country, rather than being exported as a cash crop.

What Is Green Coffee Extract?

green coffee bean

Green coffee bean extract is a special product made from unroasted coffee beans. These help keep the chlorogenic acid and caffeine levels that people are looking for, without requiring people to eat the entire beans.

While production processes vary, most people ultimately follow some variant of this process. Creating coffee bean extract from a green coffee bean starts with soaking the beans in water, usually purified to help avoid contamination.

Once you have the caffeine-rich water, it's dried to remove the water while keeping the other chemicals as stable as possible. Creating a coffee bean extract is as simple as that, although companies may modify the process to stabilize it for commercial use.

It's possible to create a coffee bean extract at home. Remember, it won't taste or smell anything like regular coffee. Most of coffee's hallmark smell comes from the roasting process, but since these beans are never roasted, they never change that way.

Liquid Or Powder?

coffee extract

Green coffee extract is mainly available in liquid and powder forms.

Generally, liquid is milder than powder because it has a much lower concentration of the ingredients. This can be a minor problem if you want to add green coffee extract to your food instead of making a drink out of it, but it's ultimately better for most people.

Powdered green coffee is a much bigger concern for household use, and the reason for this is simple. Powdered coffee extract is concentrated, and far more so than regular ground coffee. As little as one teaspoon could be dangerous to consume at one time.

You can use powder if you weigh it accurately, and this may be the best route to get caffeine and the acids into some food. However, it's easy to overdo it and harm both your blood vessels and other parts of your body, so we recommend avoiding powders.

Note that powders are not necessarily concentrated. Some companies may produce green coffee powder products with lots of plant acids in them, but small amounts of caffeine. Always read the labels on packages to determine how much of each ingredient you're getting.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Green Coffee?

green coffee beans

As mentioned earlier, there's no conclusive evidence that coffee bean extract from green coffee is particularly healthy. However, that also means we haven't disproven the benefits that some people believe it has. In other words, scientists are still studying this issue.

Green Coffee Bean Extract For Weight Loss

Green coffee is often touted as a weight loss supplement. This is mainly for the presence of chlorogenic acid, which is present in far greater quantities before roasting the beans. The roasting process destroys most of these acids in a bean, which is one of the unfortunate side effects of making a great drink.

Chlorogenic acid and caffeine are the only two substances most people focus on for providing health effects, although this isn't strictly correct. Other molecules in green coffee bean extract also likely play a major role in its performance, even if they're only present in small amounts.

Tests on mice suggest it might have an effect on body weight, especially combined with good diet and exercise, but green coffee extract is not formally recognized as a weight loss aid.

In short: If you're trying to lose weight, feel free to take this, but don't treat it like a magic pill. Instead, treat green coffee bean extract as one part of a comprehensive weight-loss strategy. This is far more likely to succeed.

Green Coffee For Chronic Diseases

While green coffee bean extract is mostly recognized as an unproven weight loss aid, it may also help reduce the likelihood of certain chronic diseases.

Early results have shown that people with multiple risk factors saw significant improvements in controlling blood sugar and blood pressure compared to the control group.

In other words, green coffee bean extract in the right dosage could reduce the risk of problems like type 2 diabetes or heart disease. However, while these results are promising, they are not yet conclusive.

Chlorogenic acid is probably healthy here, but it could have negative side effects alongside its impact on things like blood pressure. The current lack of health information makes it hard to justify offering these as a treatment, despite the optimism on green coffee for product development.

What Is The Recommended Dose For Green Coffee?

Unfortunately, there is no recommended dose for green coffee or green coffee extract if you're taking it for medical reasons. Even if there were, factors like the quality of the beans could impact these coffee supplements and the recommendations for using them during product development.

One study had people take 400 mg of green coffee extract two times per day, and didn't report side effects. However, that wasn't a particularly large study, and more human research is necessary to determine the safe and correct dose for green coffee, if any exists.

Are There Any Risks Associated With Green Coffee?

coffee plant

There are two known risks associated with green coffee, so consider these before you take it for weight loss or any other purpose.

Excess Caffeine

The Mayo Clinic reports that most adults are fine consuming up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day. This is roughly four cups of coffee.

Green coffee may have the same amount of caffeine as a regular cup of brewed coffee, although the actual amount you get will depend on the extraction process. The same is true for any amount of chlorogenic acid in your drink.

If you take too much of it, green coffee may cause increased blood pressure, problems with sleep, anxiety, or other symptoms.

Once in the body, caffeine has a half-life ranging from 1.5 to 9.5 hours. This means it can take more than a third of a day for half of the caffeine in your body to get used up, so it's hard to estimate how quickly you can have more caffeine safely.

If you think you're overdosing on caffeine, call your local Poison Control center immediately. They will tell you whether you should go to the hospital or not.

Potential treatments include consuming activate charcoal, using a laxative, and drinking lots of water to help get the caffeine out of your body.

Bone Health

Daily use of green coffee may also affect bone health by depleting calcium deposits. This is the primary reason to be cautious about taking green coffee, regardless of whether you're in it for the caffeine consumption or simply getting a different experience than roasted coffee provides.

Safety is important here, especially among women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. An occasional cup of green coffee probably doesn't have any negative effects, but drinking four cups every day could harm you even if you're not changing the caffeine content.

Make sure to talk to your doctor if you're worried about your bone health. They may have information on recent human studies, and they can also help research and review the latest information for you.

Green Coffee And Other Medicines

Green coffee faces the same issue that regular coffee does when it comes to drug interactions: there's a lot of caffeine here.

Caffeine has numerous drug interactions, including four major issues and several dozen less-severe cases. It also has numerous disease interactions, especially for things regarding the heart, the liver, and overall blood pressure.

In short, green coffee may be problematic even in smaller doses if you have certain conditions. This is another reason why you should talk to your doctor before you start taking any substances that contain caffeine.

Even seemingly-small issues like changes in your blood pressure could have lasting impacts on your body, and only doctors are qualified to assess your personal experience with caffeine and estimate the likely effects of coffee extract supplementation on your health.

Verdict: Try it at Home

raw coffee beans

In many cases, the safest way to take green coffee is by making it yourself, at home. Doing this correctly almost totally eliminates most of the effects of taking too much, by virtue of the fact that homemade versions tend to be mild overall.

Finally, If you live in the right area, you can grow your own coffee plant and get green coffee beans from that.

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Parker Russell is a coffee professional and the founder of Black Ink Coffee. As an expert in the field of coffee roasting, cupping (professional Q-Grader) and brewing, Parker has established Black Ink as brand that fuels the grind of dreamers.