The Ultimate Guide To Ordering Coffee Beans Online

Why buy coffee beans online? It’s simple. Consumers across Canada want to support businesses here at home. Our mission is to educate you on how to best do just that.
Green background with Lethbridge's Finest roasted coffee webpage on it
Cupper’s commits to bringing our customers the highest quality, fresh roasted coffees. We have over 30 years experience in roasting artisan coffees. We know the importance of getting the best roasted coffee beans in Canada to our customers. That’s part of the reason they’re ordering coffee beans online. We also educate – giving knowledge and resources for smart decisions on buying coffee.
Buying Canadian coffee doesn’t mean we’re growing the beans here in Canada. It means using Canadian coffee roasters who import high quality, fair trade coffee. These beans come from around the world. Once we receive our high quality coffee beans, we use great care, and roast them to perfection. Then we ship them across the country within days of the roast date.
When ordering premium coffee online, there are important points to consider. These include the benefits of ordering from independent roasteries. There’s also the differences between specific roasts. 
In this article, we’ll discuss the difference between independent and big brand roasters. We’ll also review why going for independent roasteries is the better option. Plus, we will cover the importance of freshness when it comes to roasted coffee beans. 
Keep reading to learn more about our products and programs here at Cupper’s as well. Click on any of the links below to jump to a section.

Independent vs. Big Brand Coffee Roasters

The staff of Cupper's Coffee & Tea at Christmas, 2023
When ordering coffee beans online, the first important decision is often overlooked. It’s whether to buy from big brand coffee roasters or from an independent coffee roastery.
The advantage of a big brands is they have more online traffic to their store. This is because they have greater name recognition in general.
But there are reasons buying from a smaller, independent roastery is better than a big brand. For big brands, think of companies like Tim Horton’s or Starbucks.

One of the biggest reasons for using independents is the freshness and quality of the roast. 

In fact, the roast date of coffee beans should be a major factor when choosing a coffee to buy. Coffee beans reach their peak flavours 4-16 days after roasting. The problem with buying from bigger brands is that the roast date is not always clear or evident. This affects the flavour and aroma of the beans if they have gone outside of the ideal range. 

The best way to get to fresh roasted coffee is to visit your local independent coffee roaster. Do this either in-person or online! You also have a greater selection of roast types and flavours of coffee from a local roaster.

Choose Beans That Are Roasted To Order

As covered earlier, the roast date is a major factor when buying coffee beans online. Avoid mass-produced brands that lack clear roast dates or relevant roasting information. 
The best possible beans to buy from online sellers are beans roasted to order. That way, the beans that you receive will have been recently roasted to fulfill your order. They aren’t mass produced, where they lose flavour and quality while waiting on a shelf on sale. 
Here at Cupper’s, we understand the importance of freshness when it comes to roasted coffee beans. We roast all our coffee as it’s sells, not months in advance. This means the beans you receive from your online order ship within day or two after roasting. We guarantee that the beans you receive are at their peak flavour, aroma, and quality. 

Degree of Roast

There is more to selecting a great coffee than paying attention only to when the beans roasted. When you buy Canadian coffee, independent roasters offer a wide variety. Roasters also have an even wider knowledge base to share with their customers. This info sharing is one of the best reasons to choose an independent roaster over larger brands. 
Roast type, for instance, is a major consideration to keep in mind when choosing coffee beans. The longer a coffee roasts, the more the natural sugars caramelize. This influences the brew’s flavour, body and aroma.
According to the Coffee Association of Canada, there are three main styles of roast:
  • Light: These coffees roast for the shortest time. They finish lighter in color, more acidic, more fruity and floral. Finally, they tend to maintain the flavours of the region they’re grown in.
  • Medium: Medium roast coffees have a mid-range brown color and intensity of flavour. Medium is generally the most common purchased roast of coffee. They are less acidic with increased sweetness and deeper aromas. 
  • Dark: The most intense flavour and color, dark roasted beans are sometimes oily on the surface. They have pronounced caramelization with flavours of cola, molasses and bittersweet chocolate. 
Besides to the degree of roast, the location where the coffee grows is very important. Coffee beans are from regions between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. The source location affects the flavour and quality as well. For more information on how the different regions affect our coffees, read The Beginner’s Guide to Coffee Beans.

Benefits of Small-Batch Coffee Roasters in Canada

small batch coffee roaster
We’ve have covered the advantages of buying from independent, small-batch coffee roasteries. But there are extra benefits in buying coffee beans online from an independent. These extra benefits are what set local, independent businesses apart from commercial coffee.
  1. First, they have more detailed precision used in roasting small batches.
  2. Second, they have greater involvement in the community.
  3. Third, they reflect strong company values. They know the importance of connecting and inclusion. This is true in both the business and social environment. 

Buying Ethical Canadian Coffee

Coffee grower with nets overhead and young coffee plants
Knowing where your coffee grows and gets harvested is important. It’s as important as knowing who roasts and packages them for you. This can be a problem when buying coffee beans online. Unfortunately, not every major coffee bean buyer prioritizes the farmers who grow coffee. This leads to unethical coffee production
At Cupper’s, we recognize the importance in ethical sourcing. We are diligent about the best sources possible around the world. This includes from Asia and Indonesia, Central and South America, and Africa. Having confidence in the source of your coffee beans is essential. It contributes to a more wholesome and ethical retail market as a whole.
We at Cupper’s commit to ethical sourcing. One example is Cupper’s continuing relationship with Café Femenino. Café Femenino commits to ending the cycle of poverty for women farmers in the coffee industry. 
Another issue often raised is buying coffee direct from the grower. This is often touted as the best way to get green beans. But the reality is not as simple. Most smaller roasters simply can not buy the volume of coffee the grower needs to sell to make a living. Growers often work in co-ops that produce many pallets of 60 kg bags of coffee. 

The companies we buy our green beans from have had a long relationship with their growers and co-ops. Often these aren’t for years, but for decades! It’s important to us and the growers they get a fair value for their coffee. These long-term, ongoing relationships help support that.

Buy Canadian Coffee That's Organic

certified organic coffee beans ethically sourced coffee in a roasting sampler

Another consideration when buying beans online is if the coffee has organic certification. A second part of the question is can they be organic, but not certified?

First, certified organic coffee. Fertilizers and synthetic chemicals can have a bad effect on the coffee bean quality. This makes an organic growing method ideal for coffee production. It reduces the reliance on synthetic chemicals or other substances. Also organic farming methods are less detrimental to the environment. This makes organic-grown coffee better for humans and the planet.
Second, organic certification is often expensive for small growers. They often have to pay for the certification. But they don’t always see an increase in the price of their coffee to balance the cost. This is why we support growers who use green growing practices but are not certified.
Last, growers can buy certification… but this doesn’t mean the coffee is of good quality. Getting a low-quality coffee that’s certified only to try to raise the coffee price is not okay by us.
At Cupper’s, we work hard to source our coffee. All our coffee is ethical-sourced. It’s either certified organic, or grown with green growing practices, and fair-trade. 

Guaranteed Freshness

Mickey pouring coffee into a bag
One of the biggest advantages of independent roasters is more choice and control. You can check how fresh your beans are. This is because smaller coffee roasters are much more likely to roast-to-order. They’ll also roast in small batches according to their own average daily sales. Cupper’s roasters are masters at their craft. We roast in small batches on demand to ensure the utmost freshness and flavour. 
When you buy coffee beans online from us, we package and ship the coffee within a day of it roasting. It arrives at your doorstep while the coffee’s flavour is at its highest quality. We guarantee to send your order within the peak flavour period. 

Community Building and Service

Fundraising Signature coffee bag with the new look
Community members give back to their local businesses by shopping local and independent. In return, independent coffee roasters are responsible to help improve their community. This relationship between independent businesses and consumers makes small-batch roasters so special. 
The most obvious way a local roaster helps the community is in employing local people. But there are other, less recognized ways roasters help. Independent roasters show their commitment to community in their charity or fundraising efforts. A recognizable name and brand can be a powerful tool. Finding a company whose values reflect those of the community is key. And just because you order coffee beans online doesn’t mean you can’t look for these qualities.
This kind of community-oriented mindset is a quality that conscientious consumers look for. This is true of foods, clothing, goods… and in coffee. It’s exactly the kind of value that Cupper’s strives to achieve. 

Fresh Roasted Coffee Beans

Side photo of Peruvian Femenino coffee jar at Cupper's
Roasting coffee is a complex process. It takes a long training, concentration, and practice to become a master of. Each batch of coffee bean is different from the next. Also, each batch of coffee beans roasted must get the same level of care and attention. This is how you ensure the best flavour and roast level. 
The basics of roasting coffee applies heat to green coffee. This application is incremental and timely. Applying heat creates natural chemical reactions. These reactions cause the sugars, proteins, and acids inside the beans to transform. This, in turn, releases ideal flavours and aromas and brings out the inner oils and aromas.
Coffee flavours and aromas are incredible and diverse. There is notes of chocolate and nuts. Some coffees have sweet, savoury and/or spicy elements. Floral and fruity flavours… are all found within coffee. In fact, there are over 850 flavour and aroma compounds documented in different beans. A masterful small-batch roaster knows how to identify and bring out these compounds.
Flavours and aromas also depend on what part of the world the coffee comes from. Coffee can also carry the flavours of other natural products grown in the region. Think of nuts, flowers, berries and chocolate.
When you order coffee beans online, seek out roasters who give good info and descriptions. They should be able to give more knowledge on what each of their different roasts are like. Being able to describe a coffee’s flavour is an amazing skill. Finding a master roaster who can give those details shows they know their craft.

Understanding the Coffee Roasting Process

coffee roaster cooling tray in action

Roasting coffee is both a science and an art. This is a skill that doesn’t come easy to all and takes time to learn. It’s a constant honing of the craft that shows a mediocre roaster vs. a master roaster. To learn more about the roasting process, read Our Ultimate Guide To Coffee Roasting.

There’s a whole process to roasting coffee that starts even before turning on the roaster. And the process isn’t complete until a day or two has passed after the roasting! These are important considerations when buying coffee beans online. If you can’t talk to someone who can tell you more about the process… how do you know it’s fresh?

How Coffee Loses Its Flavour and Goes Stale

A home spread for cupping coffee
After a batch of coffee beans roast, they go through a process known as “degassing.”
Carbon dioxide builds up inside the bean during the roasting process. Degassing happens after the roast cools. For the next 12-36 hours, the CO2 is escapes from within the bean. Degassing helps develop and finish the flavour and aroma of a batch of coffee beans. This is part of the reason coffees are at peak quality several days after the actual roasting. 
Having said that, there is a balance between waiting too little vs. too long after roasting. As the carbon dioxide leaves the coffee beans, oxygen replaces it. Oxygen causes oxidation, which leads to stale coffee. To prevent oxidation, large commercial coffee manufacturers package their coffee in air-tight bags. Some also use nitrogen flushing or infusion to replace the oxygen in the packaging. Nitrogen is a neutral, harmless gas present as the majority of our atmosphere.
Yet, even an airtight bag is still not enough to preserve and maintain the beans’ flavour for long. Purchasing fresh roasted beans provides the true essence of the coffee.

Cupper's Custom Innovation in Roasting

Josh roasting coffee behind burlap sacks
At Cupper’s, our coffee masters are passionate about the art of roasting coffee beans. That passion reflects in the tools and innovation used in our roastery.
Cupper’s created its own custom built coffee roaster. This was after partnering with a PhD in thermal dynamics!. The final outcome is a slight bit different from traditional roasters. A major improvement is our roaster gives greater control over heat and airflow in the drum. This allows for much more precise heating of the beans and refinement of flavour.
This customization of the roaster is what helps Cupper’s to stand apart from our competition. Our equipment creates more flavourful and balanced roasts compared to other roasters’ small-batches. The unique specifications for the roaster let us fine-tune our flavours to perfection. You can taste this in every sip when buying coffee beans online from us. 

Our Coffee Bean Roasts

The cooling tray of the coffee roaster full of beans

Here at Cupper’s, you can find the full variety of coffee bean roasts for your purchasing delight. We offer everything from light, medium, and dark roasts, to decaffeinated coffees and specialty blends.

Plus, by purchasing any of our many roasts, you get the Cupper’s guarantee that your coffee beans are ethically sourced and certified organic or grown using green growing practices. There’s a lot of good options when buying coffee beans online from us!

Light Roasts

Lightly roasted coffee beans

Light roasts are a great choice for both coffee fanatics and newbies alike. The shorter roasting time allows the beans to keep more of the flavours of the region they’re grown in. They keep more of their caffeine content as well. The flavours are often described as being refreshing and brighter than darker roasts. 

At Cupper’s, we offer two light roast coffee beans:

Medium Roasts

Medium roast coffee beans

Medium roasts are often the most consumed varieties of coffee roasts. This is why our selection of medium roasts is our largest range of coffee products. The flavours have a huge range between different medium roasts. 

At Cupper’s, we offer 18 total varieties of medium roast coffees, including:

Dark Roasts

dark roast coffee beans

While our medium roasts are our biggest selection to choose from, our dark roasts are not far behind.

The dark roasts made here at Cupper’s have a range of flavour profiles to match any palette’s desires. They range from nut and clove flavours to sweeter hints of caramel and chocolate. We offer 17 different dark roasts to choose from:

Coffee Blends

Bad Coffee label on coffee beans

On top of having light, medium, and dark roasts, Cupper’s also offers a large selection blended coffees. These separate into three categories:

Many of the above listed coffee products fit within these coffee blend categories.
At Cupper’s, we understand the importance of innovation and experimentation. Hence our array of blends for you to pick and choose your new favorites from. The benefit of blended coffees is that you get the best of both worlds. There’s notes of both lighter and darker roast flavours.
To learn more about blending coffee and coffee blends, read Don’t Buy a Coffee Blend Until You Read This.

Decaf Coffees

Decaf coffee label on beans

At Cupper’s, we use decaffeinated green coffee beans. They’re processed using Swiss and mountain water processes. This ensures decaffeination without the use of chemicals. It also preserves the quality and health of the coffee beans. Best of all, they’re also roasted fresh to order in house, so the decaf coffee is always fresh. This is rare, even for independent coffee roasters, so we take great pride in our decaf options.

As a note, because of the water processing these coffees look MUCH darker when they’re roasted. The green beans themselves are a darker green than regular green beans. This carries through in the roasted coffee. So while these decafs look like dark roasts, they are actually medium roast coffees.

We offer four varieties, each with distinctive flavour notes:

Our Programs

Here at Cupper’s, we do more than roast and sell coffee. We offer wholesale coffee to both big and small wholesale consumers. We also provide opportunities for organizations to partner with us for their fundraisers. 

Here is a quick rundown of what Cupper’s has to offer besides roasted coffee beans:

Fundraising with Coffee

Fundraising coffee bags
Cupper’s offers a unique fundraising partnership program. This program helps community organizations and non-profits raise funds for their programs. We offer them branded coffee they can sell at a regular price, earning 25% back for their fundraising.
Our team helps create your own blend of coffee that is unique to your fundraiser. We want to help organizations maximize their profits with our fundraising program. As a result, we don’t have a start-up fee or a minimum order.

Wholesale Coffee

café that sells wholesale coffee
For cafes looking to start up or switch coffee brands, Cupper’s has wholesale solutions. We serve many cafes, restaurants, offices, and businesses around Alberta. We also supply wholesale teas, Monin flavour syrups, and other food supplies products.
Plus, Cupper’s offers extra benefits for wholesale coffee accounts including:

Supporting Women Coffee Farmers with Cafe Femenino

ethically sourced coffee beans
As said earlier, Cupper’s works with Café Femenino to get fair trade, ethical sourced coffee beans. We also help improve employment conditions for women in remote, rural coffee communities. This is especially true in communities where societal barriers and cycles of poverty persist. These barriers prevent female farmers from prospering off their hard work. 
The coffee production industry relies on female labor. Café Femenino works to ensure those women have fair treatment and pay.
Café Femenino farms and cooperatives must provide a variety of benefits, including:
  • Legal rights to their farmland
  • Leadership positions
  • Financial decision making power
  • Direct payment for their coffee products
The decision to partner with Café Femenino was not a hard one to make for Cupper’s. Inclusivity and leadership by example are two of the core values of our company as a whole. To learn more, read up on Café Femenino – Great Ethically Sourced Coffee, Great Coffee Practices.

Office Coffee Solutions

woman sipping a cup of coffee and looking down
Office coffee machines are on the decline. Staff are looking for a customized way to drink coffee within the work place.
If you work in an office and don’t want the blandness coming from your outdated office coffee maker, we can help. Check out our post all about improving the office coffee experience.
Cupper’s commits to helping all improve their coffee drinking experience. That goes for the workplace too. We offer coffee products wholesale to many clients, including offices and businesses.
Swap out bad brewed office coffee that you don’t know the sale date of. Get fresh roasted coffee instead. It has a positive impact on your work environment and attitudes of your staff.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to buying coffee beans online in Canada, there really is no beating a fresh batch of roasted beans from an independent roastery.

At Cupper’s, we have the vast selection of all types of roasts to meet the needs of everyone’s palettes. For the coffee experts, you know how essential it is to know where your coffee is coming from and when it was roasted. For any newbies, it’s key to always look for coffee suppliers who show commitment to both their craft and their community. Of the 33 varieties of roasted coffee beans we have to offer at Cupper’s, we are certain you will find the perfect roast or blend to tickle your fancy.

If you are looking to source coffee for a business, office space, or restaurant, don’t forget to checkout out all of our products, including brewers and brewing accessories. 

All of our bean varieties are available for purchase online, so get started finding your perfect coffee today!

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