What is Specialty Coffee?

Only 10% of all coffee produced globally is specialty-grade: coffees that score 80 or higher on a 100-point scale by professional coffee graders on criteria such as aroma, flavor, body and aftertaste. Most coffee sold and served commercially doesn’t make the cut.

Why should I buy Specialty Coffee?

First and foremost, superior taste. Simply put, higher-quality beans make better coffee. Better quality starts with better farming practices but also depends on careful selection and artisanal roasting techniques. When high-quality coffee is roasted to bring out its best flavors, that’s where the magic happens! 

Here’s another important benefit: buying specialty coffee raises the standard of living for coffee producers. Coffee production provides income for an estimated 25 million people around the world, most of whom live in poverty in developing countries. Specialty coffee, however, provides substantially higher income to farms and better pay to farm laborers.

Why should I buy Index Coffee®?

First and foremost, superior taste. Our founders’ decades-long journey in coffee has made us extremely picky about the coffees we purchase and our standards for artisanal roasting. We sought expertise from some of the world’s most highly-regarded coffee professionals for evaluating & buying green coffee, developing sensory skills, roasting techniques, and packaging to maximize freshness. We then spent thousands of hours honing our craft. All these skills, knowledge and expertise go into our coffee and our advice to customers.

Second, value for money. We keep our costs low, so you get more coffee for your dollar. We’re dedicated to helping you brew your best coffee, with tips on buying, brewing, grinding, and storing. We also offer unbiased equipment recommendations.

Third, commitment to sustainability. For customers, that means caring customer service and treating each customer as though they’ve been with us for years. For coffee producers, we pay Fair Trade or higher prices to support fair wages and eco-friendly growing practices.

What is a Coffee Consultation?

Index Coffee® offers free, no-obligation consultations to first-time customers. We share tips for brewing your best cup, selecting coffees, questions to ask any roaster (not just us), and ways you can take your coffee game to the next level.

Consultations take place with our senior staff and typically run 15 minutes. Whatever questions you have about specialty coffee, we're here to assist.

What’s your approach to roasting?

We seek to bring out the natural flavors in each coffee, from the variety of coffee plant to the soil & growing climate.

We like to showcase beans with delicate or complex flavors with light or light-medium roasts. We roast to medium for coffees wanting more of a caramelized finish. Darker roasts are either for espresso, coffee drinks with milk or plant-based milks, or folks who simply love deep, strong roast flavors.

How do I know what a coffee will taste like?

We use tasting notes to describe the distinct, natural flavors we perceive when evaluating our roasts. They help coffee fans to find flavor profiles they prefer. Not everyone perceives taste the same way, so please keep in mind these are only one guideline.

We also use descriptors such as body, acidity, and aftertaste, as well as recommended brewing and coffee drinks which work well with each coffee.

In addition to these notes, we also encourage you to contact us with questions or to talk through your preferences so we can help you choose.

How should I brew my coffee for the best results?

For drip coffee, we recommend 55 grams of coffee to one liter of water. It’s easily divisible into 200ml (7 oz) increments, so you can adjust for the number of people and cups of coffee.

For other brewing methods, such as Aeropress, French Press, etc., check out "Tips" in our main navigation.

How long will my coffee stay fresh?

We roast in small batches to maximize freshness. Stored properly, our coffee should remain fresh for 4-5 weeks after receiving it. Peak flavor starts on the third day after roasting, once coffee releases much of its CO2 and stabilizes.

Coffee often stays fresh even longer, however after 4-5 weeks some flavor compounds will have started to fade.

How should I store my coffee?

The best way is to buy whole bean coffee and keep it in the original packaging, grinding fresh every time you brew. The coffee bean itself is a great storage vessel for retaining freshness and flavor. If you order ground coffee, we recommend ordering in 12 ounce bags to maximize freshness.

When buying our 2 lb. or 5 lb. bags, we recommend pouring off into a separate 12 oz. bag to minimize the number of times you open the larger bag. This reduces oxygen exposure for coffee in the larger bag.

Are your coffees certified Organic?

Some of our coffees are certified organic at the farm level. Many of our non-certified coffees are sourced from smallholder farms (5 acres or less), who employ sustainable / organic practices but can’t always afford formal certification. We list all certifications in the details for each coffee on our online store.

Are your coffees Fair Trade certified?

Some are Fair Trade certified; others aren’t. As a rule, we pay Fair Trade prices or higher for all the coffees we source, whether through direct trade or through green coffee importers. Our commitment to sustainable farming and labor practices requires it.

Can I re-use my coffee bag?

Absolutely! Our coffee bags are great for bringing coffee to work or for travel. We also recommend re-using our bags for storing seeds, grains, dry pet food, or bulk bin purchases at your local grocery store. They also make excellent planters for seed starts, flowers and microgreens. They’re also handy for storing nuts, bolts or nails when doing house projects.

Can I compost or recycle my coffee bag?

Not currently. We have extensively researched eco-friendly options. Unfortunately, we have not found a recyclable bag that keeps coffee fresh enough. There are semi-compostable bags, but these still contain plastics which don’t immediately break down. We very much want to offer an environmentally-friendly option that keeps coffee fresh. Bag suppliers know this is important to coffee companies, so we’re confident in better solutions in the near future.

What is your return policy?

Please click here for our return policy.

When will my order ship?

Please click here for our shipping policy.