Travel Through Flavor

Frequently Asked Questions


Question:  Why doesn’t Sustaining Elements of Coffee (SEOC) offer a larger selection of coffees at one time?

Answer:   We are a small family run business with a passion to provide freshly roasted coffee in whole bean form to those customers that have an interest in sustainably harvested single-origin specialty coffees.  We notify members of upcoming date(s) of limited roasts ahead of time so they can place orders and get their freshly roasted coffee in a timely fashion after roasting, bagging and packaging is completed.   Travel Through Flavor as you learn “sips” of information about the origins of the coffee ONE COUNTRY AT A TIME.


Question:  How long has SEOC been around?

Answer:  Our passion for specialty coffees has roots in a gourmet coffee club started in 2006.  After several years of evolving experience and brainstorming, a vision came about in 2012 to open our coffee selections to more specialty coffee drinkers and to immerse into those ELEMENTS THAT MAKE AN ENJOYABLE CUP OF COFFEE;  the solution was to form Sustaining Elements of Coffee in 2012.


Question:  Why does SEOC only sell coffee in whole bean form?

Answer:  Simply put, roasted coffee stores better and longer in whole bean form.  The industry standard for commercial grade coffees seems to be approximately 18 months while many in the specialty coffee business suggest obtaining coffee no more than 5 months after roasting.   SEOC encourages all of its members to purchase enough coffee to last 4 weeks at a time and to own a Burr type grinder and only grind the amount of beans to be consumed that same day at home.  For members looking to purchase a new grinder, there are several quality choices out there that provide value.  We personally own a Baratza Maestro and suggest you at least consider the Baratza line of Burr type grinders before making your final decision.


Question:  How should I store my coffee?

Answer:  Freshly roasted coffee beans will stay fresh for several months when kept in a heat sealed bag with a one-way valve on it.  However, after the heat seal has been broken, we suggest transferring the beans to another container.  After extensive research, we have found one product worth promoting and that is the Friis Coffee Vault.  The Coffee Vault was designed solely for the purpose of storing freshly roasted coffee beans.  We personally own several units.  Store the beans in a cool, dry place away from light.  Never store whole beans or ground coffee in a refrigerator.


Question:  What are some guidelines I can follow to obtain a better cup of coffee consistently?

Answer:  SEOC has spent years exploring coffee related topics from a variety of informed sources.  There are differences of opinion on several topics which is to be expected.  However, I can honestly state there appears to be a “general expert consensus” on the essential basics that can provide guidance to a novice coffee drinker on how to get a better cup of coffee at home.  I have simplified this process in our Top 10 Best Ways to Experience Specialty Coffees.   If you can’t easily locate it on this website, please email us at: customerservice@sustainingelementsofcoffee.com and we will be glad to send it to you.


Question:  How long does it take to expect delivery of an order?

Answer:  SEOC uses the US Postal Service as its carrier of choice.  When a customer chooses a coffee selection in stock, after the order is placed, the order will normally be shipped out within two business days.  The date for expected delivery will be based upon the customer’s chosen shipment method and geographic location.  When a customer orders an upcoming Selected Roast, we ask our customers to please wait until on or about the listed roast date.  After roasting, bagging, and packing is completed, the order should be sent to the carrier the next business day.


Question:  There are many coffee companies out there.  How does SEOC differentiate itself from most others?

Answer:   Many commercial operations keep a sizably stocked inventory of various coffees they carry.  These large scale practices promote the use of modernized farming methods including pesticides.  There are long term health related consequences to the people applying these pesticides and to the associated ground water over time.  These practices have provided high profit margins for marketers, yet low-wage situations for the majority of people that grow, pick, and process the coffee.

On the other hand, SEOC provides something refreshing to those looking to learn more about and take part in a SPECIALTY COFFEE EXPERIENCE WITH A SUSTAINABLE MISSION.  Our mission is to focus on FRESHNESS and to carry single-origin coffees that serve a sustainable purpose of some type.  By the 15th century, the majority of coffee produced had been at the expense of underpaid workers.  Now, as our knowledge continues to evolve and we become more informed consumers, we can have the opportunity to give something back to the growers, pickers, and processors that meet sustainable practices through vehicles such as Fair Trade, Organic, and Rainforest Alliance among other movements not yet matured.

So as we Travel Through Flavor, we can also learn a little “sip” of knowledge regarding the origins of the beans as we enjoy our cup.  We invite you to travel with us ONE COUNTRY AT A TIME and set aside just a few minutes to sit and see what flavors and aromas you sense.  Let the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel be your tour guide.


Question:  Is SEOC a roaster?

Answer:   SEOC is NOT a roaster.  We selectively work with specialty roasters that meet SEOC’s quality and sustainable standards.   All selected coffee beans will ONLY BE ROASTED IN SMALL BATCHES.  We will provide clear information on the packaging label listing the country of origin, weight, and the date of small-batch roasting.

Please support your local specialty coffee roasters wherever you live or travel to just as we do.


Question:  Suppose I am not satisfied with an order?

Answer:   SEOC wants every customer to be or become a repeat customer to fully experience Travel Through Flavor.  We promote our customers to learn more about the various flavors and aromas characteristic of each of the major growing regions.  From experience, we have learned some coffees may favor one brewing method over another to extract more or less of the taste qualities that suit a particular coffee drinker.  In addition, adjusting how much coffee to use for a given brewing method can make a difference in one’s overall  experience of the coffee.  If after adjusting the amount of coffee and brewing methods, a consumer is not satisfied, we ask you to email us at: customerservice@sustainingelementsofcoffee.com.





  1. Kristi DeBias
    Kristi DeBias02-13-2013

    What style of coffee maker would you recommend?

    • L P
      L P06-30-2013

      Thank you for your question.

      In response to your question “What style of coffee maker would you recommend?”, let me respond in this way:

      Choosing a coffee maker is one of the least important elements to enjoying a fantastic cup of coffee.

      1st element on list of importance – getting freshly roasted coffee in whole bean form.

      2nd element on list of importance – having a quality storage container for storing freshly roasted whole beans; we suggest the Fris Coffee Vault; only grind the amount of beans you plan to consume that same day; don’t store ground beans in the refrigerator (or freezer); simply store ground beans away from air and light.

      3rd element on list of importance – having a good grinder; Burr type grinders are recommended; I started with a $50 (retail) Cuisinart; its downside was that static electricity would build up in the ground bean holder; consider the Baratza line of Burr grinders; I own a Baratza Maestro (discontinued) which I use daily; their entire line of grinders are all quality.

      4th element on list of importance – using good water; bottled is nice, but will be pricey; I find using filtered tap water being the most sustainable method; it removes chlorine and other elements that could cause cloudiness and undesirable tastes. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions.

      5th element on list of importance – so now we are at the least important element on the list; let’s look at what you DON’T want or DON’T need; you DON’T want a perculator; you DON’T need a machine with a lot of features; you DON’T even need an autodrip machine to begin with; suggest you have ONE French Press – they run about $30-$50 and make a great cup of coffee and give you more control on the amount of time you would like hot water to contact the coffee; Bodum is a commonly known quality brand; I own one and use it frequently; I also have and enjoy the Aerobie AeroPress. It is a USA designed & manufactured unit which is worth looking at as an alternative to the French Press (plunger pot) method.

      Now that you have heard all this, if you are interested in getting an autodrip machine, there are a variety of types such as On demand, Grind & Brew, etc. There is one current Grind & Brew machine currently recommended by Consumer Reports and it is the Krups KM7000. I own Cusinart’s DGB-900BC Grind & Brew and can say it brews well and has held up very well over the years.

      If you are looking at regular auto drip machines, I can recommend the Cusinart SCC-1000 and DCC-2800. I purchased a Cusinart DCC-1200 and must say that the Cuisinart DCC line has consistently been rated highly by Consumer Reports. One important item Consumer Reports checks is to make sure a machine can keep the water temperature near the ideal brewing temperature which is between 195 – 205 degrees F. Whatever type you get, DON’T focus on unneeded features such as stop brewing or a hot plate. Look for Thermal carafe, it is better than glass. After coffee is brewed, you DON’T want to cook it anymore which a hot plate will do, you DO want to keep it hot (thermal carafes do this). If you get a unit you like with a hot plate, shut it off. In addition, on some machines, you can temporarily stop the brewing cycle so you can fill a quick cup. Don’t use this feature! Coffee comes out strong in the beginning and later becomes weak towards the end of a brewing cycle. Breaking up the cycle to fill a quick cup will mean some cups will be too strong and others too weak. It is always best to just let a brewing cycle complete. A water filter feature is nice to have on an autodrip machine. Look for a unit that can be cleaned easily and from a company that can provide spare parts in the future, if needed (and provides good customer service overall).

      If you are looking for the BEST AUTO DRIP MACHINE THAT CURRENTLY EXISTS for home use, one comes to mind. Note, the best usually comes with a higher price tag. There is only coffee maker that is currently (at the time I wrote this) recommended by the Specialty Coffee Association of America and it is called the Technivorm Moccamaster Coffee Brewer. It is the best designed machine out there for home use.

      See links below:






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