Just because your favorite coffee is out of stock, doesn’t mean you’re out of options.
As an agricultural product, coffee is subject to seasonality. Unfortunately, this means keeping any specific Single Origin refers to coffee from one location, in contrast to blended coffee. This term is particularly useful in discussing espresso, since most commercial espressos are made from blends. This is what the term "SO coffee in stock year round is nearly impossible without compromising freshness. No matter how hard we try, the day will come where we will sell out of your favorite coffee.
It can be difficult to predict if and when a specific coffee will be back in stock because, as a seasonal plant, there are a number of factors beyond our control that influence the crop cycle. Some coffees we buy once, and never see them again. And even if we purchase a subsequent lot from the same farm or cooperative, the flavor characteristics of the coffee can change from one season to the next.
This can be frustrating, especially if you were hoping to reorder a coffee you’ve bought in the past. But the good news is, we usually have a fresh alternative with similar cup characteristics. It may not be from the same farm, or even In coffee talk, it refers to a coffee-producing region or country; such as, "I was just at origin." Of course "Origin" for most product we use is not a beautiful farm in a temperate climate, for that matter. But through the years we’ve developed our own list of coffee stand-ins for those we crave from out of stock origins.
Here’s a list of factors we consider when searching for a comparable coffee:
These are are just a few aspects to keep in mind when looking for a good replacement. They’re meant to be used as a jumping off point, no one category on its own. Try using them as a path toward finding a suitable replacement with similar cup flavors.
- Origin – Looking for a bean from the same region, or one nearby, is a good place to start. Coffee flavors can be regional to some extent, as neighbors often grow the same cultivars, and share similar The removal of the cherry and parchment from the coffee seed.: Coffee is either wet-processed (also called washed or wet-milled) or dry-processed (also called wild, natural or natural dry, and we abbreviate it DP sometimes). techniques.
- Processing – How a coffee is processed can have a big impact on the Flavor Profile implies a graphical impression of a particular coffee, whether it be an artistic portrait or data graph of the perception of flavor compounds. In the case of our spider graph charts in each. This is particularly true for dry and "Red honey" process gesha at a coffee farm in Costa Rica's Central Valley growing region. The honey process has nothing to do with honey other than the fact that they're both sticky! It's a term coffees. For example, dry processed coffees are likely to be fruit forward whether from Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee: it is in the forests of the Kaffa region that coffee arabica grew wild. Coffee is "Bun" or "Buna" in Ethiopia, so Coffee Bean is quite possibly a poor, or Burundi coffee bears resemblance to neighboring Rwanda, in both cup character, but also the culture surrounding coffee. Burundi is a small landlocked country at the crossroads of East and Central Africa, straddling the crest of, or Guatemalan coffee is considered a top quality coffee producer in Central America. Due to our proximity to Guatemala, some of the nicest coffees from this origin come to the United States. : Guatemalan growing regions for that matter! That doesn’t mean every Dry process coffee is a method for taking the fruit from the tree to an exportable green bean. The whole intact coffee cherry is dried in the sun with the green bean inside. Later it coffee tastes the same. But if you’re trying to replace a dry process coffee, Coffee is sorted by size, density, and color in its preparation for export.: Sorting refers to several steps performed in the preparation of coffee for export. Coffee is sorted by size on a grader or our list by that specific process type will help narrow your focus.
- Flavor Attributes – This carries the most weight when looking for a replacement. Use our “Flavor and Profile” filters in the Green coffee refers to the processed seed of the coffee tree fruit. Coffee is a flowering shrub that produces fruit. The seeds of the fruit are processed, roasted, ground and prepared as an infusion.: Coffee menu to view coffees with specific core flavor characteristics (see below). Within each coffee review the short descriptions, and Cupping is a method of tasting coffee by steeping grounds in separate cups for discrete amounts of ground coffee, to reveal good flavors and defects to their fullest. It has formal elements and methodology in and flavor graphs, provide valuable information on how the coffee tastes. Try to keep in mind that numbers and scores only tell us so much. There’s no substitution for the full cupping notes in the reviews.
Of these three criteria, flavor is the most important factor to consider. Just because we have coffee from the same origin as the coffee you’re trying to replace, doesn’t mean they will taste the same. Conversely, you just might find that the coffee bearing the closest resemblance comes from the opposite side of the world!
Our go-to replacements for out of stock origins
Here’s our list of origins we look to for replacements when customer favorites sell out. You might be surprised where we find flavor correlates!
- Guatemala – There are several origins that work well as replacement to the balanced Wet-processing starts by removing the outer skin of the coffee cherry with a machine called a pulper, then fermenting the remaining fruit (with green bean inside) in water for 8-36 hours. The fermentation breaks down Guatemalan coffees of Antigua and Huehuetenango. Looking to other Central American origins like Nicaraguan coffees from the Segovia, Jinotega, Ocotal and Matagalpa regions are nice balanced cups. They often possess interesting cup character along with body and balance, outperforming many other balanced Central American and South American high-grown and El Salvador coffee had an undeservingly poor reputation for years, marred mostly by the inability to deliver coffee of high quality in an unstable political climate. Unfortunately, agriculture is the first to suffer in revolution, is a great starting point. But farmers in Rwandan coffee was, at one time, rarely seen in the United States as either a Specialty grade or low-end commercial coffee. There simply was not that much coffee produced in Rwanda that went anywhere besides and Burundi grow A coffee cultivar; a cross between Typica and Bourbon, originally grown in Brazil: Mundo Novo is a commercial coffee cultivar; a natural hybrid between "Sumatra" and Red Bourbon, originally grown in Brazil. It was developed coffee (also widely cultivated in Guatemala), a USDA is (obviously) the United States Department of Agriculture. USDA also had coffee plant breeding programs in the past and one variety they distributed to Indonesia and was widely planted is called USDA (sounds like known for producing syrupy Sweetness is an important positive quality in fine coffees, and is one of five basic tastes: Sour, Sweet, Salty, Bitter, Savory (Umami). In coffee, sweetness is a highly desirable quality, and the green bean has and articulated Acidity is a positive flavor attribute in coffee, also referred to as brightness or liveliness. It adds a brilliance to the cup, whereas low acid coffees can seem flat. Acidity can sound unattractive. People may when grown at high altitudes and can express similar flavors as Guatemala. Wet process coffees from Flores is an Indonesian island, and as a coffee bears more resemblance to the coffees of Timor-Leste, New Guinea and Java than to the wet-hulled coffees of Sumatra and Sulawesi. It is sweet, with good and There are several types of Abyssinia, but they are not from Ethiopia but rather Indonesia. Abyssinia 3 = AB3. PJS Cramer, a Dutch plant researcher, introduced this variety in 1928, supposedly from Ethiopia seed stock. It was also tend to yield a crowd-pleasing cup, showing Suggests a harmony and proportion of qualities, and implies mildness since no one quality dominates.: Balance is both an obvious and slippery taste term. It implies a harmony and proportion of qualities, and perhaps a of sweet and bittering coffee flavors, and thick Associated with and sensed by mouthfeel, body is sense of weight and thickness of the brew, caused by the percentage of soluble solids in the cup, including all organic compounds that are extracted from brewing as well. Stick with wet process coffees. On the Cupping and Flavor graphs, look for coffees that score at or above 8.5 in Sweetness category, at or below 8.6 A euphemistic term we use often to describe acidity in coffee. A bright coffee has more high, acidic notes. : A euphemistic term to describe acidity in coffee. A bright coffee has more high, acidic, and 8.5 or above for Clean cup refers to a coffee free of taints and defects. It does not imply sanitary cleanliness, or that coffees that are not clean (which are dirty) are unsanitary. It refers to the flavors, specifically.
- Colombian coffee is highly marketed and widely available in the US. They have been largely successful at equating the name Colombian Coffee with "Good" Coffee. This is half-true. Colombian can be very balanced, with good – An issue with all replacements is that no coffee origin produces a monolith of flavor, so to replace a “Colombia” can mean a lot of different things! I look to neighbor Peruvian coffees have Central American brightness but in a South American coffee flavor package overall. The good organic lots do have more of a "rustic" coffee character.: Organic Peru ... you can get it anywhere for some of the flavor variance, offering both balanced coffees and some more fruit forward wet process lots that come from longer A key part of the wet process of coffee fruit is overnight fermentation, to break down the fruit (mucilage) layer that tenaciously clings to the coffee seed, so it can be washed off. Fermentation must times, similar to Colombia. Guatemala is another origin to explore, especially some of the more nuanced coffees from our Proyecto Xinabajul.
- Washed Ethiopia and Kenya is the East African powerhouse of the coffee world. Both in the cup, and the way they run their trade, everything is topnotch.: Kenya is the East African powerhouse of the coffee world. Both – Trying to replace the singular cup profile of wet process coffees from these two origins may prove to be difficult because they’re so unique. Though perhaps not so Floral notes in coffee exemplify the connection between taste and smell. Describing the taste of a specific flower is near impossible...we always default to “it tastes like it smells” which, admittedly, isn’t the most helpful. , some Burundis will tick off boxes for ‘delicate’ and ‘elegant’ – flavor aspects I enjoy in washed Ethiopian and Kenyan coffees – as does the occasional coffee from Kivu is the general name for East Congo (Kinshasa), covering a very broad geographical area, and the lake of the same name that divides them. It borders on Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Lake Tanganyika on and In terms of the Tanzania coffee character, it belongs to the Central/East African family of washed (wet-processed) coffees, bright (acidy), and mostly aggressively flavorful of which Kenya is certainly the dominant coffee. Peaberries are often. Latin American Gesha is a long-bean Ethiopia selection with unique cup character.: Gesha (often wishfully misspelled as Geisha) is a long-bean Ethiopia cultivar selection with unique cup character. It is most famously grown on the Jaramillo plot coffees will certainly scratch your itch for A very positive and intensely floral quality in coffee, usually with a strong aromatic component, reminiscent of jasmine flower or tea. There are many forms of jasmine; the common flowering vines, teas, potpourri, etc. Jasmine florals, but at a cost of 2-3x the amount of our average washed Ethiopia.
- Dry Process (“DP”) Ethiopia – Simply choosing another dry process, isn’t good enough. Dry Process Brazil is a coffee giant . As Frank Sinatra sang, "they grow an awful lot of coffee in Brazil".: Brazil is a coffee giant . As Frank Sinatra sang, "they grow an awful lot of, for example, do not make a good replacement option. My first choice would be another African dry process, like Burundi or Rwanda. If we’re out of options in those two origins, try looking over our Guatemala and Nicaragua lists. The DP’s from these two countries tend to taste a little funkier in flavor, but we’re seeing improvements out of both origins every year.
- Indonesians are available as a unique wet-hulled or dry-hulled (washed) coffees. Giling Basah is the name for the wet-hulling process in Bahasa language, and will have more body and often more of the "character" that – If you’re looking for a Sumatra replacement, chances are, you’re looking for a Wet Hulled coffee. Lucky for you, Sumatra isn’t the only Indonesian origin producing them! Java is another source for us, often with a much lower In coffee, a defect refers to specific preparation problems with the green coffee, or a flavor problem found in the cupping process. Bad seeds in the green coffee sample are termed defects, and scored against count than Sumatra.
- Yemen has a coffee culture like no other place, and perhaps some of what we enjoy in this cup is due to their old style of trade...: Technically, Yemen is on the Asian continent (on – These are also very difficult to replace since there aren’t many origins producing coffees with a similar flavor profile to Yemen. Some of the Dry Process coffees from Ethiopia find flavor parity, but tend to be a little more fruit forward and clean. Still, they’re likely your best bet. Look for terms like “Rustic”, “Earthy” and different types of wood in the Cupping Notes and Short Descriptions. Check the graphs as well, looking for “Rustic” and “Fruits” scores of 3 or more in the Flavor graph, and a “Brightness” score of less than 8.5 in the Cupping Graph.
With so many coffees on the website, where should you start?
With 40+ single origin coffees on our list, this can mean a lot of scrolling! Using our green coffee filters in the sidebar will narrow the search by only showing coffees with certain core cup characteristics. The spider graph and flavor wheel are also helpful tools in finding a coffee that has certain attributes you like, such as Fruits, Body, Complexity, and Brightness (acidity).
It’s important to note that a coffee can have more than one flavor filter tag. A dry process coffee might be tagged as both “Fruited” and “A general flavor or aroma term reminiscent of chocolate. But what type? Usually described with more specifics.: Chocolate is a broad, general flavor or aroma term reminiscent of chocolate. But what type? There are so Bittersweets” for example. If you’re looking for a replacement for your favorite Bittersweet is from the language of chocolate, and describes the co-presence of positive bittering compounds balanced by sweetness. It is directly related to caramelization, but has inputs from other roast reactions, as well as bittering washed Nicaraguan coffee, for example, a dry process is NOT the way to go.
All this is to say that filters and graphs help you thin the herd, but the Cupping Notes complete the flavor portrait needed to settle on a substitute for a coffee we don’t have.
Should you need help finding a replacement for your favorite coffee, you can always reach out to us directly for our recommendations – [email protected]
Learn more about our coffee descriptions in Understanding Our Coffee Reviews
Check out and green coffee overview and valuable basics in our Green Coffee FAQ’s
Here’s a primer on understanding our coffee reviews
In this video, Tom discusses how to go about choosing what green coffee to roast, both for folks just beginning to home roast and for those who love a certain coffee that is now unavailable.
Check out this article on Porch.com for more tips and the benefits of roasting your own coffee.