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 originSingle 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... ...more 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 originIn 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... ...more 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 processingThe 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... ...more techniques.
- Processing – How a coffee is processed can have a big impact on the flavor profileFlavor 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... ...more. This is particularly true for dry and honey process"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... ...more coffees. For example, dry processed coffees are likely to be fruit forward whether from EthiopiaEthiopia 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... ...more, or BurundiBurundi 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... ...more, or GuatemalaGuatemalan 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... ...more for that matter! That doesn’t mean every dry processDry 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... ...more coffee tastes the same. But if you’re trying to replace a dry process coffee, sortingCoffee 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... ...more 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 coffeeGreen 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,... ...more menu to view coffees with specific core flavor characteristics (see below). Within each coffee review the short descriptions, and cuppingCupping 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.... ...more 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 processWet-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... ...more Guatemalan coffees of Antigua and Huehuetenango. Looking to other Central American origins like NicaraguaNicaraguan 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... ...more and El SalvadorEl 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... ...more is a great starting point. But farmers in RwandaRwandan 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... ...more and Burundi grow BourbonA 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,... ...more coffee (also widely cultivated in Guatemala), a cultivarUSDA 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... ...more known for producing syrupy sweetnessSweetness 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... ...more and articulated acidityAcidity 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... ...more when grown at high altitudes and can express similar flavors as Guatemala. Wet process coffees from FloresFlores 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... ...more and JavaThere 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,... ...more also tend to yield a crowd-pleasing cup, showing balanceSuggests 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... ...more of sweet and bittering coffee flavors, and thick bodyAssociated 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... ...more 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 BrightnessA 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.... ...more, and 8.5 or above for Clean CupClean 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... ...more.
- ColombiaColombian 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.... ...more – 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 PeruPeruvian 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... ...more for some of the flavor variance, offering both balanced coffees and some more fruit forward wet process lots that come from longer fermentationA 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... ...more times, similar to Colombia. Guatemala is another origin to explore, especially some of the more nuanced coffees from our Proyecto Xinabajul.
- Washed Ethiopia and KenyaKenya 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... ...more – 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 floralFloral 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... ...more, 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 CongoKivu 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... ...more and TanzaniaIn 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... ...more. Latin American GeshaGesha 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... ...more coffees will certainly scratch your itch for jasmineA 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... ...more 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 BrazilBrazil 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... ...more, 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.
- SumatraIndonesians 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... ...more – 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 defectIn 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... ...more count than Sumatra.
- YemenYemen 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,... ...more – 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 “ChocolateA 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... ...more Bittersweets” for example. If you’re looking for a replacement for your favorite bittersweetBittersweet 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... ...more 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.
Looking for low acid coffee blends what do you recomm
Hi Sam, you mentioned “blends” in your question, and I’d recommend either our French Roast blend at the moment, or Liquid Amber when it’s back in stock.
when I think “low acid”, I think of the coffees from Sumatra and Brazil. But both of these origins also carries a distinctive flavor profile that are important to be aware of when considering the full flavor picture. They are bittersweet when roasted dark, and the muted acidity really allows that characteristic to be quite intense!
We have other single origin coffees that are milder in acidity too, and you can tell which ones by looking at the cupping graphs in the reviews. In general, an acidity score of 8.0 or lower should be mild. We also have a flavor tag you can sort the list by called “Less Bright More Body”. You’ll have to be in the full green coffee list to access those filters.
You can access that list (filter selected) here.
Here’s a short video that shows how to use those tags.
And here’s more info on using our charts and graphs in our reviews.
Hope this helps!
I have been purchasing my green coffee from you for about 15 years. I keep strict reviews on roast level, roast method,etc.etc. I then give a numerical score for my Aero press and for my DeLonghi fully automatic espresso machine. I recently issued my highest rating. I should mention that I am very partial toward the Kenya coffees. And the winner is: Murang’a Gatua AA. Would love to see it on the menu again. Just thought you might want to know.