Frequently asked questions
Orders and shipping
We currently ship throughout the US, including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. If you’re wondering about placing an order to other locations, please email us at email@example.com and we'll explore the options with you.
Orders are processed Monday through Friday (excluding holidays). Orders received by 12:00 pm CST typically ship the same busines day. Once we’ve shipped your beans, you’ll receive an email with tracking information.
If, by chance, you received the incorrect product or a damaged product, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll gladly replace it. Otherwise, because our products are food items, we do not accept returns or exchanges.
If you need to make any changes to your order please email us as soon as you can at email@example.com, referencing your order confirmation number. We will do our best to make order changes while the order is still processing. Once it ships out, we can no longer adjust order items or re-route shipments.
Please double check your shipping address before placing your order. Once shipped, we are not responsible for lost packages due to an incorrect address entered. You can try contacting the carrier directly to intercept the package.
Of course! Feel free to enter a note in the area provided in your cart and it will be printed on the packing slip. We do not include price information on the packing slip. Looking for gift cards? We have Primary Beans digital gift cards too.
We’d be happy to help you plan a bulk bean order! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to elaborate on your bean needs and we’ll get back to you ASAP.
We’re sorry – mistakes do happen! Please email us at email@example.com with your order number and a photo for reference (if relevant) and we will make it right.
Bean People membership
Each quarterly box includes 3 1-lb beans + a pantry item from a like-minded brand + shipping, all curated to match the seasons. Each box is also paired with tons of special content that helps you dive deep into the world of beans – from sourcing and impact to cooking tips and recipe libraries.
The annual program starts when the newest crop of our beans is ready – typically February or March. Subsequent boxes are shipped every 3 months.
The surprise pantry item complements the varieties in the box and takes your bean cooking to the next level (think: vinegars, sauces, and spices).
Simply enter the recipient's address and email in the shipping address and email fields (you can also send us a follow up note with the recipient's email if you don't want to ruin the surprise!).
We include harvest information (e.g., Fall 2023) so you can keep track and keep those beans rotating! Beans are harvested once a year during different months depending on the growing region and that particular season’s climatic conditions.
*In commodity supply chains, beans from different sources are mixed together, packed, stored and shipped to brokers, wholesalers, and retailers. The origin is lost and so is the timing of harvest – beans on supermarket shelves can be years old :( We choose to do things differently!
Our farms and facilities do not grow, store, or process nuts, soy, or peanuts, so there is very little risk of cross-contamination. However, if you have a severe sensitivity, please use caution – none of our beans are certified by a third-party as being free from these allergens. Our co-packer does handle products containing milk and eggs, but the machine used to handle our beans does not come into contact with these allergens.
In the case of gluten sensitivity, beans are often grown in rotation with wheat and other grains, which is the case with a handful of our farms. However, these crops are not grown in the same field at once and in the rare case that wheat kernels get mixed in, they would be removed during the cleaning process. Our warehouse partners do not process wheat and quality procedures are designed to ensure there is no cross contamination.
We work with, and value, growers who have an organic farming mindset, and the majority of our supply is certified organic. If certification is important to you, we’ve indicated which beans are certified organic on our product pages and packaging.
Don’t get us wrong, we think pinto beans are delicious. But, as the most widely eaten bean in the US (by a huge margin), we’re here to focus on other lesser known, but equally fantastic beans. Try our Not-a-pinto set to sample new varieties, flavors, and textures.
Our boxes are 100% recyclable. For recycling the inner plastic bag, please check with your local department of public works before adding it to your recycle bin – flexible packaging can be difficult for facilities to handle without the proper set up.
The weedkiller glyphosate (aka Roundup) is not used for the production of any of our beans.
We could spend all day talking about all the reasons to love dried beans:
1. They have tender skins, interesting textures, and complex flavors.
2. There are so many varieties to choose from.
3. You get the bonus of a pot full of magical bean broth.
4. They soak up liquid as they cook– which means any aromatics, herbs, and spices you add will infuse your beans.
We’re not here to tell you to never use canned beans again– after all, they’re an ultra-convenient source of protein– but it’s worth it to make your own beans from scratch, and doesn’t require as much time and effort as you may think (we’ve got it all laid out in our cooking guide).
Like most pantry items, beans are sensitive to temperature, oxygen and light. Store your beans in a sealed container, out of direct sunlight, and ideally at room temperature (50-70 degrees F).
If properly stored, beans can last up to 2 years from harvest, without too much of a difference in cooking time or flavor. After 2 years, beans lose enough moisture to affect the way they cook – not as quickly or evenly. Plus, they can experience some flavor loss.
After 2 years, beans are still perfectly safe to eat, just know that they may not provide the exact experience we intended. For more information on how to cook beans that are greater than 2 years old, see "What do I do if my beans are over 2 years old?"
As beans sit, they lose moisture and flavor, so old beans will take longer to cook and won’t taste as flavorful. They may even stay tough no matter how long they cook!
Your old beans may be a lost cause, but here’s one way you can course correct: soaking the beans in salted water (aka a brine). The sodium ions help water penetrate the tough skins. To try, soak beans in a solution of 1 tbsp salt per quart of water for 6-8 hours. The beans will look very wrinkly at first – this is normal. Before using, drain and rinse the beans. Decrease the amount of salt you use to cook by about one-third.
The endless debate that we’re here to put an end to. Some bean cooks swear by pre-soaking – but through various tests we’ve found that it’s often an unnecessary step that makes bean cooking less accessible without any extra reward. Plus, thin-skinned varieties like black beans can actually taste waterlogged when soaked.
Electric pressure cookers (e.g., the Instant Pot) may have been one of the best things to happen to dried beans. They bring the cooking time down to about one-third compared to the time it takes on the stove. Plus, the sauté mode is particularly handy – you can finish your beans with a simmer to thicken the broth.
You can absolutely stick with the OG method of cooking beans. We love using the stovetop method when we have the time – there's nothing cozier than a pot simmering on the stove in the fall and winter months. Plus, it gives the greatest control over bean tenderness and liquid levels. With that said, we’re admittedly “set-and-forget” pressure cooker fans, which brings the cook time down to about one-third (or less!) of the time it takes on the stove, and doesn’t require any nurturing as the beans cook.
Soaking water contains valuable nutrients, flavor, and color so we wouldn't. However, if you're soaking beans to reduce gassy side effects, you may want to discard the water since some of the oligosaccharides present in beans leach into it while they soak (see "Does soaking reduce the amount of gas-producing compounds in beans?").
Acidic ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice, wine, and tomatoes can toughen beans and make for long cooking times. The acid binds to the beans' outer coat and makes it more impervious to water. The more acidic the ingredient, the more of an effect it will have (tomatoes are less acidic, so you may not run into any trouble). As a general rule, add these ingredients once your beans are fully tender.
Bean broth is the luscious liquid left after cooking beans. Like other kinds of broth, it adds complexity to soups and dips, so definitely don’t toss it! The broth is rich in starch and nutrients that leach from the beans, amplified by any aromatics and seasonings added during the cooking process. Different beans leach varying levels of starch, nutrients, and flavors into the cooking liquid, so no one bean broth is the same.
At a minimum, we recommend adding salt and fat (like EVOO) to every batch of beans. Otherwise, your beans will taste under-seasoned – like the case with the vegetables you cook. Adding aromatics is entirely optional, but it’s really where the fun begins and it's a chance to use up the veggies in your fridge. Check out our aromatics chart and choose your own adventure to evoke a certain cuisine, or dream up something brand new.
1-2 tbsp per lb of beans. Incorporating a healthy dose of fat early will create the depth of flavor you are looking for.
Bacon, pancetta, and other fatty meats contain flavorful fat that is just begging to be paired with beans. We like to keep slices/pieces whole, and use the same pot we'll eventually cook the beans in. To render, lay the meat in an even layer and cook over very low heat for 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally. A low and slow render will give you lots of fat to work with and lean, crispy pieces of meat. Set the meat aside for serving, or chop it up and add it to the pot for cooking.
Conventional wisdom dictating that salt draws moisture from and hardens beans is simply not true! In fact, the exact opposite is true: salt helps beans soften and cook more quickly, not to mention the huge flavor boost. If you don’t salt early you risk ending up with salty broth and under-seasoned beans.
If your beans are a little undercooked, don't fret. There are many factors that influence cooking times like bean size, bean age, elevation, water hardness, and other ingredients added. Here’s how to troubleshoot:
• If beans are slightly firm in the center, but mostly tender: Simmer on low until completely cooked through, usually 10-15 minutes. Watch the liquid levels to make sure beans are submerged.
• If beans have significant hard spots and are partially tender: Bring your device back to high pressure and cook for another 5 minutes. Then, manually release the pressure (aka rapid release).
This button defaults to a high pressure for 30 minutes. Feel free to use it if your target cooking time is 30 minutes. Otherwise, adjust the time manually.
Pressure cookers have two methods for releasing their pressure: natural and rapid. Natural release means that the device releases its pressure naturally over time. Food continues to cook during this process, which is well suited for beans. Rapid release is when you manually open the pressure valve and quickly release the pressure. This method is good when you're pressed for time, or when you don't want the contents to cook any longer.
As the seeds of a plant, beans are jam-packed with nutrients, containing all the protein, vitamins, and minerals needed for a healthy plant to grow. Because they are so high in fiber and protein, beans are the perfect food to keep you full and energized. Regularly eating your beans keeps your bones, heart, muscles, gut and brain happy and healthy. You can find additional information over at our blog, Pantry Talk.
Okay, okay we all know that beans can occasionally have an unwelcome side effect. We think this blip is worth the trade-off for one of the most delicious, satisfying and nutritious foods out there. Plus, one study shows that concerns about gassy side effects from eating beans may be exaggerated.
Here’s what’s going on: beans contain certain carbohydrates that play an important role in our digestive system. Oligosaccharides, in particular, can be difficult to digest. Once they reach the colon they feed our healthy gut bacteria and can cause...er, a little trouble. If you're particularly sensitive and are looking for some tips to help, see "Some beans make me gassy. What are some tips for reducing this side effect?"
We can't be a bean brand without being able to talk about this unwanted side effect! For those who are particularly sensitive, here are some tips:
1. Stick with it and you may notice a positive outcome. Your body may just need some time to get used to your bean-forward lifestyle and the influx of fiber.
2. Always make sure your beans are fully cooked. Undercooked beans create extra work for the digestive system.
3. Try a variety of beans and focus on the varieties that work best for you – people respond differently to different types of beans.
4. Try soaking your beans. Some studies show that soaking beans for 3 hours or longer before cooking can reduce the gas-producing oligosaccharides. (You’ll want to discard the soaking water, so the catch is that you’d lose nutrients, flavor, and color in the process.)
5. Cook your beans with kombu (edible kelp) or the herb epazote. Kombu contains the enzyme alpha-galactosidase, the same enzyme that’s in commercial products like Beano, which can help break down the oligosaccharides. Epazote, the medicinal and culinary herb popular in southern Mexico and Guatemala, is also known to help – although the science remains unknown. Either method gives you the added benefit of flavoring your beans!
Lectins are proteins that are found in all plants, and raw legumes and whole grains contain higher levels than found in most other edible plants. In their active state, lectins can present problems like vomiting and diarrhea. But the good news is that lectins can be deactivated by cooking at high temperatures.
Raw red kidney beans, in particular, contain a lectin called phytohaemagglutinin that should be deactivated by first boiling beans for at least 10 minutes, or by using a pressure cooker. We do not recommend cooking raw red kidney beans in a slow cooker as a precautionary measure. Other bean varieties contain much lower amounts that rarely pose any risk.