While there may be no such thing as the “best online coffee store”, there is no doubt that some are better than others.
Some stores do their own roasting, others buy from wholesale roasters. Some buy direct from small farmers, others don’t. Some offer a huge range of beans, others specialize in just a few, or in organic beans only. And so on.
But one thing is for sure...regardless of which online store you decide is the best, finding good gourmet coffee online certainly broadens our choices.
Just a few years ago there wasn't even one online coffee store, and we were lucky if we had a decent source of gourmet coffee beans within a reasonable drive from home.
How do you find coffee stores online? That’s easy. Just go to Google or some other search engine and type in “gourmet coffee”. You’ll get a ton of results.
But before you do that, here are a few of our own tips and pointers.
Buy from a well-known source, at least to begin with
As your expertise grows, you can try buying from smaller, specialty sites. But to start with, we’d recommend you stick with some of the better established online stores.
Here are a few we can comfortably recommend.
CoffeeForLess.com offers a wide selection of coffees at a good price and ships both within the US and to Canada.
Flavorbean Coffee offers wide range of beans, but is best known for its flavored coffees. How come? Because they flavor their coffees naturally, without the use of scary chemicals like propylene glycol. (Believe it or not, that's the chemical most coffee companies use to get the flavor into their beans.)
Peet's Coffee has been online since 1995, and their first store and coffee shop opened long before that, in 1966. Peet's played a huge role in popularizing gourmet coffee in North America...long before Starbucks even opened its first store.
Green Mountain Coffee offers a good selection of coffees, including a strong organic and fair trade selection. They also offer what is probably the largest selection of coffees in the K-cup format.
You could also consider signing up for a coffee club. These are online coffee services that deliver coffee to your home on a regular basis. I have written more about coffee clubs here.
Watch for deals on shipping costs
A downside of buying from online coffee stores is that you can end up finding a good price on a pound of coffee, only to find that you are going to pay the same again in shipping costs.
However, some stores will offer reduced or even free shipping if you order a certain quantity. So keep an eye out for those offers. You may find it worth your while buying more than one pound at a time.
About the author: Nick Usborne, aka Coffee Detective, is a writer and long-time coffee enthusiast. Read more…