I'm in the US. He's in Germany. How can I send him black beans?
September 28, 2010 7:21 PM   Subscribe

How do I give the gift of black beans to my German friend while I'm In the US?

I'm in the US. He's in Munich, and loved black beans while he was visiting me. I want to have some dry or canned black beans sent to him (let's say a couple pounds at least). Amazon.co.uk doesn't ship groceries outside the UK. Amazon.de is just perplexing. Help me fill his plate with delicious black beans.
posted by Mercaptan to Shopping (20 answers total)
Best answer: Maybe this is too simple, but can you just box up a sack of beans and mail them?
posted by padraigin at 7:25 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

Dry beans are the way to go. They taste better and weigh less. Don't send canned.
posted by kdar at 7:38 PM on September 28, 2010

The USPS list of prohibited items for Germany doesn't include beans, except for "pulverized coca beans" (I assume they mean cocoa beans). Sounds like a box o' beans in the mail may be your simplest option. Include some recipes!

Which reminds me: are you sure he'll be able to get all the spices etc he needs? If he can't get black beans, he may be desperately deprived of deliciousness in other ways too.
posted by Quietgal at 7:38 PM on September 28, 2010

Best answer: Quietgal: I think they're probably referring to bans on this kind of coca.

When you send your buddy dry beans through the mail (which is, I agree, probably the best/cheapest way to do it), you should include a small surprise in the box. Dry beans are a great styrofoam substitute!
posted by phunniemee at 7:45 PM on September 28, 2010

Response by poster: Good points, all of you. Germany won't have any issues with food being shipped in?
posted by Mercaptan at 7:49 PM on September 28, 2010

Make sure to send a recipe of how to prepare the dry beans along with them - and you probably ought to try it once yourself first as well.

(on Quietgal's not - I don't know for certain, of course, but I'll bet German supermarkets don't sell cumin.)
posted by maryr at 7:51 PM on September 28, 2010

That kind of coca comes in leaves - I've never heard of cocaine beans, especially pulverized. I'm guessing this is a typo, just another casualty of the War on Drugs. Although why the Germans are worried about pulverized cocoa beans, but not intact, is another matter. Time for a plate of beans!
posted by Quietgal at 7:52 PM on September 28, 2010

I'll bet German supermarkets don't sell cumin

I think they will.

(The USPS flat-rate boxes for international delivery are likely to be pretty useful here.)
posted by holgate at 8:24 PM on September 28, 2010

My parents mailed canned black beans to my sister in Dresden. No problemo. Delicioso!
posted by unknowncommand at 9:19 PM on September 28, 2010

Order from Rancho Gordo for the most amazingly delicious heirloom beans ever. I don't think they ship outside the US, but you could have them shipped to you and then send them yourself. They are so far & above the sort of beans you could buy in a supermarket that it's totally worth the extra step.
posted by judith at 10:38 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

Or! Perhaps they don't cook very many dishes that use cumin in Germany, which is what I thought might be the case. We can certainly import, say, sumac, to the US, but most grocery stores don't carry it.

Personally, I had never used cumin until I made chili from scratch - growing up we used McCormick's envelopes for chili and tacos. The websites I linked made it sound uncommon, but I may have misinterpreted the American/English confusion over the wording. I would have thought Germany could import black beans too.
posted by maryr at 10:39 PM on September 28, 2010

Best answer: Both black beans and cumin are readily available at German supermarkets. We also have electricity and running water.

Froogle Germany lists various German shops where you can order black beans, ordering there would probably be easier than shipping them from the US.
posted by snownoid at 12:42 AM on September 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

While black beans might be less popular in Europe than in the U.S., I'd be surprised if they were really that hard to find in Germany.
posted by HFSH at 12:58 AM on September 29, 2010

Given that Germany has a significant Turkish population, I would be shocked if they don't stock cumin in a city as big as Munich.
posted by bardophile at 1:24 AM on September 29, 2010

Yeah, it's definitely possibly to buy any spices he needs in Munich, and I'm sure that black beans are available. I definitely had to go out of my way to find pinto beans, but I'm pretty sure that dried black beans are available. Many years ago I ended up at the Hertie's at Hauptbahnhof (Central Train Station) to track down dried pinto beans - your friend could probably find dried black beans there, if they weren't at a local supermarket, which they very probably will be.

Anyway, if you would really like to send him the beans rather than just telling him to buy them (understandable!), I'd recommend following snownoid's advice to buy them from an online German shop.
posted by mandanza at 2:13 AM on September 29, 2010

Best answer: Google for Schwarze Bohnen. Use a German online foodstore. Here is one random shop that has them:

What's perplexing about amazon.de? If you put in Schwarze Bohnen on food (Lebensmittel und Getränke), dried black beans are your first hit.
But seriously, probably the next Indian, Turkish or health store just carries them.

As to other ingredients, you might run into difficulties with the more specialized kinds of peppers, but there's always workarounds; Asian food markets should have fresh cilantro; Cumin is sold in Turkish, Indian and Asian stores and in large supermarkets. Everything else should be at home.

What your friend really needs is a good recipe.
posted by Namlit at 2:22 AM on September 29, 2010

Second thought, off topic but re: cumin.

The German word for cumin is, fancy enough, Kreuzkümmel. The optically similar (but otherwise very different) caraway seeds go under the term Kümmel, which might lead to a confusion.

[à propos nothing, the confusion gets complete when you move to Sweden, where caraway is kummin and cumin is spiskummin].
posted by Namlit at 3:45 AM on September 29, 2010

huh...to continue the derail...

in Urdu, cumin and caraway are sufaid (white) zeera and kala (black) zeera.
posted by bardophile at 3:48 AM on September 29, 2010

Get some really nice beans and make a spice pack and nice recipe card for your friend. I never had much problems finding any food I wanted when I was in Germany. Tins of jalepenos, chipotles, etc. might be nice to throw in as well. I remember seeing a few Mexican restaurants in my travels, so it's not really all the foreign these days, but what is eh?
posted by glip at 8:46 AM on September 29, 2010

Alternatively, you could just send your friend to one of these places it might just be easier if you're looking for that kind of solution. I don't know how recent that list is though.
posted by glip at 8:48 AM on September 29, 2010

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