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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a box of green coffee?

    We sell green coffee in 65-lb, rectangular cardboard boxes with handles, to make green coffee easier to move, store and stack. Inside the boxes, the coffee is sealed in food-grade plastic bags that in nearly all cases are sealed in their origin country. Once they’re stateside, they’re stored in our temperature controlled, food-grade warehouse in Pennsylvania. Soon, when you order by the pallet, some coffees will ship in GO Green Bags — recyclable polypropylene bags that are likewise lined with food-grade-plastic. They stand as straight as the boxes, have long handles that can be looped onto a forklift, and additional loops on their bottoms make them easy to lift vertically. We hope you’ll find a thousand new uses for them, but we’re also developing a program to collect them back and re-use them, if you’d prefer to return them for credit. (Try doing that with jute!)

  • What’s a GO Green Bag

    GO Green Bags are recyclable polypropylene bags that are lined with food-grade-plastic. We’re starting to use them in place of our cardboard boxes. They stand as straight as the boxes and can be stacked, plus they have long handles that can be looped onto a forklift, as well as additional loops on their bottoms that make them easy to lift vertically.

  • What’s GO?

    GO is short for Genuine Origin. We started out as The Genuine Origin Coffee Project, then shortened our name to Genuine Origin, and when we’re feeling nickname-y we just go by GO. (Fwiw, we pronounce it go, like go get ‘em, rather than G-O.)

  • How large are your samples?

    Samples are 300 grams — or, 0.66 lbs. of green coffee. In general, we limit samples to six (6) per order and reserve the right to deny requests for free samples.

  • What do you charge for samples?

    Currently, our samples are free and ship for free. In general, we limit samples to six (6) per order between box purchases. We reserve the right to deny requests for free samples.

  • How does shipping work?

    All of our shipments are via UPS Ground, and you will receive a tracking number after your order ships.
    Orders of 10 or more boxes SHIP FREE when you select LTL (less than load) shipping. They will arrive on a pallet (which can fit 10-24 boxes). They do not have to be all the same coffee; any mixture of boxes that totals 10 or more qualifies for free shipping. When you order 10+ boxes, LTL is the default shipment setting.
    Orders of 10 or more boxes, for which you do not select LTL, will ship at a rate of $10/box. (Your boxes will arrive as separate packages, not on a pallet.)
    Orders of 9 or fewer boxes ship at a rate of $10/box.
    Samples ship free.

  • Why hasn’t my order shipped?

    When a new customer requests free samples, we send an email with a short list of questions to better understand how our businesses can work together. Once you respond to our email, we'll be able to get your samples out to you! If we don’t hear from you, the process gets stuck. You can also reach out to us before you place your sample request — at info@genuineorigin.com — and tell us about yourself, to move the process along. We’d love to hear from you!

  • Can I place an order for the future?

    The short answer is: Yes! During checkout, you can choose a shipping date up to 90 days in the future. If you do, your credit card will be automatically authorized for that amount, but this will be cancelled the same day, and we will not charge your card until your coffee has left our warehouse. Selecting a delivery date 90 days out is a great way to hold coffee that you know you will want in the future, without having to pay for it up front and without accruing holding fees. The longer explanation (if you’re still reading) is to emphasize that we don’t “contract and release” coffees; we’re more like Amazon than the old-school green-coffee model. You buy something, and we send it to you. You can choose, however, to not have it sent immediately. Want 10 boxes “released” April 1, May 1 and June 1? Just place 3 orders and select those respective shipping dates.

  • Can I contract coffee?

    No. We operate on a standard retail model: You want something, you go online, you buy it and we ship it to you. (Versus the traditional model, where you contract coffee, ask for it to be sent to you in portions — i.e., released — and get charged for “storing” it in a warehouse.) With Genuine Origin, every order has one shipping date, and that’s when we send it to you. Want 10 boxes “released” every month? Just create as many orders as you’d like deliveries. That said, you can select a shipping date up to 90 days from the day you place the order, and you don’t pay for the coffee until the day it leaves our warehouse. So, if you want coffee delivered once a month, you can set up 3 orders (3 deliveries) in one sitting.

  • But if I don’t contract coffee, will it become unavailable?

    If there’s a microlot that you love, and we have a limited number of boxes, you could set up multiple orders with multiple delivery dates, if you know you want that coffee but don’t want to buy it all (and pay for it all) at once. Another option is to select a community lot. While microlots are one-time offers, our community lots represent a flavor profile from a specific region or community of producers — maybe chocolate and cherry or floral and acidic. We bring together beans that we’re confident will create a profile our customers will love and want to consistently sell year-round, year after year. You can count on a fresh crop of each community lot arriving each year.

  • How do I know if a coffee is a community lot or a microlot?

    In the navigation bar, if you hover over SHOP COFFEE, you can choose to view Community Lots or Microlots. But the quickest way to know is that microlot logos are circles with the country name and flag and the tag: microlot. Community lots have unique logos, created in the origin country.

  • What if I need to change the ship date?

    No problem! Just contact customer service at least 48 business hours before the original ship date, and we can change it.

  • What is an authorization?

    An authorization is when a retailer checks to see if a credit card or other payment method has the funds available for the requested transaction. It will usually freeze those funds, guaranteeing they will be available when the card is actually charged. If you place an order more than 72 business hours in the future, we will reverse the authorization, unfreezing those funds. Every bank and lending institution is different, and yours may retain an authorization after Genuine Origin has reversed it, in which case it’s best to contact them. We will re-authorize your card 48 business hours before your shipment date, and charge your card only when your coffee leaves our warehouse.

  • Do you offer terms?

    Our coffee is sold On Demand and all transactions require a credit, debit card or PayPal account. Your card will not be charged until your coffee leaves our warehouse. And remember, credit cards offer terms; so, if you place an order the day after your credit card closes, you have up to 45 days until payment is due. Plus, credit cards offer great perks like miles (for trips with Genuine Origin to places like Peru and Tanzania)!

  • What other fees apply?

    If you require a lift gate for delivery, a $25 charge applies. Otherwise, zip-o. There are no storage fees, no loading or palletizing fees, no warehousing fees and no taxes. Your price is exactly what you see on the website (a static price that won’t change with the C market) combined with the flat-rate cost of shipping (if shipping even applies to your order; shipping is free on LTL orders of 10 or more boxes).

  • Can I return coffee?

    Unopened boxes of coffee can be returned within 10 business days of delivery for store credit. Please contact customer service, at 646.828.8585 or info@genuineorigin.com, to begin a return.

  • How do discounts work?

    Our discount of 5 and 15 cents per pound kick in on orders of 5 and 24 boxes, respectively, and are automatically applied in your cart. This discount doesn’t just apply to one kind of coffee — you can mix and match different coffees; any combination that gets you to 5 and 24 boxes will get you the discount. Free LTL shipping kicks in when you order any 10 boxes. If you received a promotional code, there will be a field to enter that code during checkout.

  • Why don’t you sell certified FTO coffees?

    We usually have one or two certified Fair Trade or certified Organic coffees among our offerings, but we focus more on an internal set of standards called the Volcafe Way. The majority of Genuine Origin coffees are sourced by teams at origin that work with producers to implement the Volcafe Way. It’s a system designed to maximize farmer prosperity while ensuring environmental and social integrity (because when farmers aren’t earning enough money to feed their families, it’s hard to talk to them about properly recycling water, for example). For our Volcafe Way program, we hired local people from coffee communities around the world and trained them in things like agronomy and small business planning. Today, they provide classes, individual attention and technical field assistance to interested producers in their communities, at no cost or obligation to the producers. The goal is win-win: Producers achieve higher-quality coffees and increased farm yields, which improve their bottom lines — and more high-quality coffees exist for us to deliver to roasters. Plus, more than a certification that customers can feel good about, it’s a philosophy that can be verified by third parties and that, while still just a few years old, is already showing real, data-backed results on the lives of producers and communities.

  • Do you ever bring roasters to visit your operations in coffee producing countries?

    Absolutely! We’re really excited about the work we’re doing and we want everyone to see it. Most years we take multiple trips with groups of roasters (though our 2018 schedule will be more limited). While we require roasters to pay their own airfare, we cover the cost of lodging, food and ground transport during the trip. If you’d like to visit one of our teams on your own, during a time when we don’t have a formal trip arranged, we’d be delighted to help you arrange it. Please email us at info@genuineorigin.com.

  • Have other questions? Think there’s something more we should include here? Please let us know! Email info@genuineorigin.com.