back to article The silicon supply chain crunch is worrying. Now comes a critical concern: A coffee shortage

Between a certain virus, the recession it caused, political turmoil in the USA, and the usual round of strife, the last twelve months have been distinctly sub-optimal. And now The Register brings you news of a terrifying new crisis: a coffee shortage. Bloomberg’s Indian outpost Quint details the disaster: droughts in Brazil …

  1. Alpine Hermit


    “It’s the end of the world as we know it...”

    1. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: REM

      Don't the British prefer tea?

      1. jotheberlock

        Re: REM

        It's not 1950 any more, lot of us prefer coffee these days (especially coders)

        1. nautica Silver badge

          Re: REM

          Yes, perhaps; but what do computer programmers refer?

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: REM

            Yes, perhaps; but what do computer programmers refer?


            1. MaxNZ

              Re: REM

              Suggest you try some Goya or Toraja coffee - better than Java

          2. karlkarl Silver badge

            Re: REM

            A non license encumbered JVM?

          3. Old Used Programmer

            Re: REM

            Well....this retired programmer has always been a tea drinker.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: REM

        The British do indeed prefer tea.

        Unfortunately these days we have a huge number of benighted heathens present in the British isles who eschew identifying as being British and abstain from traditional signs of Britishness such as drinking tea, real ale, wearing tweed and the like.

        Distressingly, many people thus afflicted drink cans of industrial chemicals and sweeteners which they call "energy drinks", coffee (which is an acquired taste, typically acquired after it has obliterated your taste buds...) or or some form of canned piss imported from abroad instead of proper ale. It is suspected that the latter problem is a consequence of the wholesale destruction of taste buds caused by drinking coffee or industrial waste.

        It's awfully distressing. Still, some of us won't be worried by the spectre of a shortage of coffee, other than by the possibility of watching the death throes of our poor colleagues suffering from the pangs of caffeine deprivation. The ones who proclaim that sleep is a clinical complication of caffeine deprivation can reasonably be expected to suffer the most from the withdrawal symptoms.

        1. Sgt_Oddball

          Re: REM

          There are those that actually like the taste of high quality, local roasters (so it doesn't taste like locking an ashtray like a certain instant coffee)...

          As for beer, not all beers from a tap taste like it came directly from the toilets. There's a number of good local breweries where I am (currently 30 and counting) that make some really hoppy numbers.

          As for the withdrawal?.... Fine, you got me on that one.

          1. hoola Silver badge

            Re: REM

            When I lived in Streatham Hill in the late 1980s there was a small coffee shop that had one of those roasting machines in the window. Wonderful smells when you walked past. This was before the days of Talyors and such like mass-producing "artisan" or "connoisseur" coffee .

            You could buy it in beans and ground, selecting the amount of grinding you wanted.

            I have not seen a place like that for years.

            1. Jan 0 Silver badge

              Re: REM

              They were all over our our high streets in the 50s and 60s. I used to love the blue smoke and the aroma as a kid. Sadly they all the modern roasters seem to be fitted with filters and above roof exhausts nowadays. I miss the smell of boiling wort from the breweries and molten chocolate from the chocolate factory. Nowadays all I can smell is the sewage works when the wind is from the east.

              Mine's the one with the Mediterranean dark roast in the pockets.

            2. Sgt_Oddball

              Re: REM

              You live in the wrong town. I've got at least 4 in the area (admittedly only 2 have the roasting machine right by the window,but they all have a machine in house)

        2. PhilipN Silver badge

          Re: REM

          "benighted heathens" such as Holmes and Watson (who, if memory serves, drank only coffee, not tea)? Long before the 1950's too.

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: REM

        They never did. Tea was foisted on them over fears of rebellion (which is ironic, considreing Boston harbour)

      4. onemark03

        Don't the British prefer tea?

        I'm a Brit - among other things - and while I'll never turn my nose up at a decent cup of coffee, I vastly prefer tea.

        1. PhilipN Silver badge

          Re: Don't the British prefer tea?

          Me too except where, on the planet, do you get a decent cup of tea otherwise than at home?

          1. seven of five

            Re: Don't the British prefer tea?


            1. PhilipN Silver badge

              Re: Friesland

              Thanks for that.

              Learn something new ....


      5. Franco

        Re: REM

        "Don't the British prefer tea?"

        Not this Brit. I agree with James Bond, it's mud.

        1. Blackjack Silver badge

          Re: REM

          James Bond is an alcoholic and definitely not the best example.

          1. Franco

            Re: REM

            Seems relevant to whether or not he prefers coffee or tea.

    2. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

      Re: REM

      ". . . and I feel <snooooooore>"

  2. seven of five

    Earl Grey, hot.

    Do as the Captain does.

    1. zuckzuckgo Silver badge

      Re: Earl Grey, hot.

      Bloody French.

  3. Potemkine! Silver badge


    Let's stockpile! Without coffee life is not worth living!

    1. Peter2 Silver badge


      Just saying, but if you go to a trade distributor (ie; cash and carry) then you can buy by kilogram sized containers, and there are often price promotions for buying multiple packs which will work out a lot cheaper (and easier to store) than a pile of retail packets. And you'll get a lot more for your money.

      Savings are of course greater the further you get up the trade chain.

    2. Snake Silver badge


      So us non-caffeinated beverage drinkers only need to stand aside whilst society collapses around us, the we take over the world?!


    3. martinusher Silver badge


      You can get caffine pills for next to nothing (try Amazon). 220mg tablets should do; think of it as four double expressos.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        As long as I can buy them by the pound and use them in my French press.

    4. Jan 0 Silver badge


      That's why I have a second freezer.

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    So long as tea isn't affected, no problem.

  5. KittenHuffer Silver badge

    A year on from the great bog roll hoarding ....

    .... comes the great coffee hoarding!!!!!

    I shall be clearing the shelf at my local supermarket on Saturday morning!

    1. Screwed

      Re: A year on from the great bog roll hoarding ....

      There won't be any left by then!

      Funny how in "normal" circumstances, the range of coffees on the shelves includes everything from undrinkable to really good. When there is a shortage, anything reaching "acceptable" on the scale disappears almost immediately.

      Rather suggests that the hoarders have some taste.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: A year on from the great bog roll hoarding ....

      Friends don't let friends purchase supermarket coffee.

      I get my coffee in 50lb bags for about a hundred bucks (up from about 75 a year ago). The beans are still green, so they last for a long time in a cool, dark, dry place. Maybe I have to roast 'em myself ... but at least we can survive the next earthquake (or coffee shortage) without worrying about it too much.

      For those of you with less storage space, you can get 5 or 20 pound bags for around three or four bucks a pound, plus shipping. Yes, modified air-pop popcorn poppers work to roast the beans. One can probably find videos of how to go about it via your favorite search engine.

      1. Pen-y-gors

        Re: A year on from the great bog roll hoarding ....

        $2 per pound? I assume we're not talking high quality, organic, fair-trade stuff here? How much are the producers getting of that?

        1. CrackedNoggin Bronze badge

          Re: A year on from the great bog roll hoarding ....

          How much are the producers getting in the case of "high quality, organic, fair-trade"?

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: A year on from the great bog roll hoarding ....

          This feels like a setup, roughly akin to "have you stopped beating your wife?", but I'll bite anyway ...

          I get it pretty much at cost from a wholesaler that I do computer work for. It's pretty damn good, or I wouldn't buy it. Life's too short to drink crap coffee.

          I have no idea what percentage of the price the producers get, any more than I know what percentage the producers of my rice, beans, flour, sugar and other dry goods get. Life's too short to trace everything I eat back to the individual producer. Yourself?

          On the other hand, I grow most of my own fruit&veggies and meat (milk, eggs), so I know EXACTLY how much the producer receives ... and I almost never buy food (except some cheeses), I only buy ingredients. Yourself?

        3. Brian Miller

          Re: A year on from the great bog roll hoarding ....

          It depends on the coffee, doesn't it? I recently bought 65 pounds of Ethiopian at $3.80/lb, and the batch before that was Tanzanian at $ So it depends. Yes, I could get Vietnamese robusta at $0.75/lb. And I've bought Hawaiian Kona-grown coffee at appx $25/lb.

          Sure, it's green coffee, roast it yourself. But it does last a very long time when it's green. And freshly roasted coffee tastes soooooo good. Just ask James Hoffmann, who drank coffee from the 1950s for his channel audience.

          1. herman

            Re: A year on from the great bog roll hoarding ....

            Hmmm... If it is not Arabica, then it is not coffee.

        4. eldel

          Re: A year on from the great bog roll hoarding ....

          FTO is about 3x that price nowadays (was about 2x a year ago)

          For me anyway ...

      2. nobody1111

        Re: A year on from the great bog roll hoarding ....

        "Friends don't let friends purchase supermarket coffee."

        That's the truth. But even buying the higher end products involve navigating quite a bit of lying, ah, I mean marketing.

        "100% XYZ coffee" can often mean grade Z rejects.

        "Grade A XYX coffee" in big letters with "blend" in small letters means if you are lucky the bag contains a single Grade 1 bean.


        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: A year on from the great bog roll hoarding ....

          "But even buying the higher end products involve navigating quite a bit of lying, ah, I mean marketing."

          Well, yes. But that's true of pretty much everything in our modern world[0], alas. That's why the Romans had the saying "Caveat emptor, quia ignorare non debuit quod jus alienum emit" ...

          [0] "Modern World" defined here as "since the invention of money".

      3. Jan 0 Silver badge

        Re: A year on from the great bog roll hoarding ....


        I have have green beans up to 20 years old in my freezer. I find that a heavy aluminium pan, a wooden spoon and a gas hob or camping stove (no not gasoline:) are all you need to roast to perfection. Do it outdoors or invest in a good extraction system;)

    3. Daedalus

      Re: A year on from the great bog roll hoarding ....

      It's no joke. It happened in 1974. For a while all you could get was some awful instant brew that was 50% chicory and 50% used Gauloise. Then there was a sugar panic, and a salt panic...... All that EOW stuff in the early 70's convinced people that any glitch in supply was a sign of doom.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: A year on from the great bog roll hoarding ....

        The "gas crisis" of the 1970s taught Big Business that creating fake shortages was a good way to boost profits. They passed laws against it here in the US, not that it did any good.

        For example, the price of gas (petrol) here in the San Francisco Bay Area is higher than anywhere else in the Nation. After the Great Freeze in Texas shut down oil production and refineries in that state that weren't already closed due to Covid, the price here in SFBA skyrocketed. Because of oil and gas (petrol) shortages coming out of Texas, or so they told us. Only problem is that California gets absolutely none (that's none, zero, zilch, nada) of its oil and gas (petrol) from Texas. Nor do we export any of it to anywhere that Texas supplies. The Venn diagrams of Texas Oil and California Oil do not meet in any meaningful way.

        It's collusion between the big oil companies to drive up oil prices, pure and simple. It happens every time there is a big fire at a refinery in Texas. Anyone who looks into it can see it. But will the legislature look into it? Will they fuck ... Too much money in the oil lobby.

        And so here we are today ... Other industries are learning to get around it. Probably by bribing elected officials applying lobby dollars correctly.

      2. hoola Silver badge

        Re: A year on from the great bog roll hoarding ....

        Camp Coffee.....

        Now that was (is??) an abomination on so many counts.

        1. Daedalus

          Re: A year on from the great bog roll hoarding ....

          As a young lad I was quite fond of Camp Coffee. Made with hot milk and lots of sugar, mind. This was well before the White Heat of Technology was able to supply the industrial NE with a passable instant powder version.

  6. Binraider Silver badge

    Programming output to fall by at least 66% in the absence of coffee. And vanilla working environment output also to fall by about 75%

    1. vtcodger Silver badge

      I suppose your programmers can drink the stuff from the vending machines in the hall. Whatever it is, it is black, bitter, and quite possibly contains a stimulant. I don't know what it is made from. I don't think anyone does. I'm pretty sure that no one wants to know what's in it. But I'm pretty sure that it contains little or no actual coffee and therefore should continue to be available.

      1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

        A substance almost, but not quite, entirely unlike coffee, perchance?

      2. martinusher Silver badge

        The days of the generic coffe maker (or - horror - the drinks vending machine) are over. These days you install Keurig machines. Less messy. Sure, an eco-disaster but then most business places are anyway.

        1. jake Silver badge

          "These days you install Keurig machines."

          You might. I will not. That swill is revolting.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            I hate to think what the inside of those machines looks like after a year or so of use, too. At least an auto-drip machine can be properly cleaned out.

            Though frankly my main objection to them is that making a cup at a time seems like the coffee-drinking equivalent of driving a mile in my car, stopping it, getting out, getting back in, starting it, and driving another mile.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      I suppose this depends on the individual.

      I've been drinking coffee daily for more than 30 years. I typically drink between 1500 and 2300 ml a day, if my conversion (using units(1), naturally) is right. I often drink it late into the evening; even a few cups before bedtime doesn't keep me from sleeping, though I do get up more times in the night to, er, answer the call of nature. (Nature, couldn't you email instead?)

      But about a year ago I was staying at my daughter's house and we ran out of coffee. Lockdown had started and I wasn't going to run out to the grocery, or ask anyone else to, just for coffee. So I went a few days without it until we did the big weekly grocery run.

      I don't care for other caffeinated beverages, so I just drank water.

      I found I really missed having a hot beverage to sip, but other than that ... pretty much as normal. I guess I'm just less sensitive to it than most.

  7. lglethal Silver badge

    But won't someone think of the hipsters!! How will they ever survive without their caramel soy latte, with extra foam and chocolate sprinkles!!

    Only joking. This is terrible news, just wait for the increase in the murder rate, as wives murder husbands, husbands murder wives, and flatmates kill each other for the last cup of morning coffee! It'll be a massacre, I tell you!!!

  8. James Anderson

    Off to the Shops

    Panic Buying? Who? Me?

    Give me caffeine of give me death.

    1. seven of five

      Re: Off to the Shops

      Actually, it will be: Give me caffeine or I'll give you death. (and a rather slow one, that is.).

    2. Anonymous Coward

      ...or give me death...

      Or learn to drink tea.

      There's about the same amount of caffeine in the average cup of tea as there is in the average cup of coffee. Around 90mg, I believe.

      Someone did the calculation. Apparently, tea leaves have a fair bit more caffeine than coffee beans gram for gram (or pound for pound), but since you use more coffee and hotter water to get a cup, more of the caffeine is extracted. But the average cup of either is about the same, give or take.

      1. Jan 0 Silver badge

        Re: ...or give me death...

        No! I want highly flavoured caffeine not compost drenched theobromine. When I want theobromine I want it surrounded by chocolate. Fermented leaves can tickle my taste buds as sauerkraut and kimchee.

      2. Old Used Programmer

        Re: ...or give me death...

        Coffee is made with water *above* the boiling point of water....? (Bring kettle to a boil. Immediately use it to make tea.)

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: ...or give me death...

          No, coffee is (should be) made with water just under the boiling point, between 195 and 205F (91-96C). Any hotter and you release the bitter acidic components that some (most?) people find narsty, any less and you miss out on some of the best aromatics (and in fact, the closer you can hold it at 205F while it brews without going over, the better your coffee will be).

          Black, fermented tea (which most of you Brits drink) works best with boiling water. Other teas work best at progressively cooler brewing temperatures. The kettle in my kitchen has 6 different temperature settings, 5 for various teas, one for coffee.

          IOW, you are quite correct, the OP had it bassackwards.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Anonymous Coward

            Re: ...or give me death...

            Actually, I looked it up first. Neither drink should be made using boiling water.

            The best temperature for water for fine or delicate tea is between 70-85C. Black tea is best brewed with water at 90-98C.

            The best temperature for water for coffee is 96C.

            Therefore, if you're brewing either properly, you'd generally use slightly hotter water for coffee. You shouldn't use boiling water for either of them, although most people do.

            The point was, though, that both tea and coffee (and I enjoy drinking both) carry about the same amount of caffeine per cup - give or take how they are made. Dried tea contains more caffeine than coffee beans for the same weight, but you use twice as much coffee as tea to make a cup. And if made properly, the water for coffee is generally very slightly hotter than for tea.

            Although I do, as already stated, enjoy both, tea is by far the one I drink most of. I never use boiling water - always slightly off the boil - because it does affect the taste.

            A cup of tea and a cup of coffee still have similar levels of caffeine per cup, and if someone's sole purpose for drinking either was a caffeine fix, if coffee became difficult to get hold of, tea would provide said fix. Hence my original light-hearted quip.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: ...or give me death...

              Everything I've ever read about brewing strong, black tea in the British way (which is what we are discussing here) suggests using boiling water (212F or 100C). A quick glance at TehIntraWebTubes suggests that some folks say 208F (98C) works as well as boiling. Regardless, British style tea is properly brewed at a temperature high enough to wreck coffee.

              I suspect if you asked most of the Brits reading here if they would like a cup of tea, and then presented them one of your fine or delicate teas, you would be mocked derisively in perpetuity for the faux pas.

  9. Oh Homer

    And so it ends

    Whoda thunk that the Extinction Level Event that ends humanity will not be a deep impact of stupidly large space boulders, an invasion of morbidly curious aliens armed with suspiciously familiar looking plumbing and kitchen utensils, or the comparatively banal option of nuclear war, but it will in fact be a deficit of coffee running through our increasingly pulsating veins?

    The movie "I am Legend" suddenly makes a lot more sense.

  10. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sorry, but I can't help giggle a little...

    ... when somebody writes about his "daily large skim milk milk"...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hope we don't end up drinking coffee substitutes based on things like chicory. My grandfather once told me about the "ersatz coffee" he drank during winters in WWII, so I tried the nearest thing that's still available. It's a foul concoction sold under the brand name "Camp". Yuck.

    1. Chris G

      Around here to we have a lot of Holm oak the acorns of which are sweet enough to eat without the usual leaching rigmarole.

      Roasted and ground apparently produces an acceptable drink (allegedly).

      I may have to try it as we have acres of the stuff around here, ersatz anyone?

      1. Anonymous Coward


        I can see it now "genuine ersatz X" will join "genuine ersatz X" as a marketing term.

        But not for coffee. Ersatz is already a registered trademark for fake coffee.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Ersatz

          Insufficient coffee yesterday. I meant "will join 'genuine faux X'"

          BTW, the second comment is true and the ingredients are disgusting, not to mention there's no caffeine.

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: Ersatz

          "Ersatz is already a registered trademark for fake coffee."

          This way to the egress ...

    2. Jim Mitchell

      "Scotch coffee" (has no Scotch) was burnt bread crumbs and hot water. Chicory might be an upgrade.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Roast dandelion roots?

        Don't look at me - I'm a confirmed tea drinker.

    3. Graham Cobb Silver badge

      My parents, in the '60s, drank Camp as instant coffee -- they had indeed acquired a taste for the chicory during the war.

      But post-war living as expats in the Far East and South America had taught them to like real coffee as well. They even had an electric percolator! I remember that the local Sainsburys tea & coffee counter would grind coffee beans to order (of course, there was no concept of self-service in Sainsburys in those days - my mother had to queue at half a dozen different counters to buy all the things on her list).

    4. jake Silver badge

      Live near a birch forest?

      You could try Chaga (inonotus obliquus). Some folks prefer it to coffee, and it's free for the harvesting.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      'Camp' coffee is still a thing. Amazon, for one place, sells it.

      One of my grandmas used to drink it back in the day when I hated coffee anyway, and Camp didn't do anything to change that.

    6. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      I don't want to drink coffee substitutes, but my wife and I occasionally enjoy a pot of Café du Monde coffee, which has chicory added to it. It's not quite the same experience without a couple beignets, but it's still evocative of New Orleans. Again, though, it's very much an acquired taste, and I wouldn't want to drink it exclusively (at least not without the beignet).

  13. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Nuts come from other places too

    Panic not.

    Brazil is by far not the only place good coffee comes from. Some of the very best is grown in Kenya, Cost Rica and Columbia.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nuts come from other places too

      The point is that it's a big producer, and if they produce less, other places won't be able to compensate instantly to meet the global demand.

      1. Mike 137 Silver badge

        Re: Nuts come from other places too

        Oh and, of course, Java

      2. Graham Cobb Silver badge

        Re: Nuts come from other places too

        There is a lot of Robusta in the world. This may mean we see some more innovative blending (and the quiet dropping of "100% Arabica" labels).

        1. CrackedNoggin Bronze badge

          Re: Nuts come from other places too

          Already fairly widespread. I've seen news stories about growers success with hybrids and I assume that's what I'm drinking every time it's not labelled "Arabica". Some are very good. Not too strong.

    2. Denarius

      Re: Nuts come from other places too

      dont you mean Ethiopia and East Timor ? PNG used to do a tolerable brew as does Vanuatu. In meantime, the only hitech coffee operations in world on the Atherton Tablelands will benefit immensely. I'll get my bulk order in this week

      1. Chillihead666

        Re: Nuts come from other places too

        You can get PNG ground coffee in Sainsburys. Not as intense as I remember from when my folks lived there (PNG, not Sainsburys) but still acceptable.

    3. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Nuts come from other places too

      And places like Uganda and Ethiopia . This may see them get a better return on their product.

  14. frankvw

    Meh. I have been roasting my own coffee beans (which is ridiculously easy) for years. Buying green beans in bulk (10-15kg or so) means you end up paying about 1/3 of the going retail price, and the latter is for bog standard coffee, not single origin gourmet quality, which is essentially what fresh home roasted coffee is. Green beans, when properly packaged and stored, have a shelf life of at least 2 years. So I've got the better part of 25 kg in stock and I'm ready for Armageddon. (And I'm not even mentioning home brewed beer and home distilled hooch here.)

    Time to become more self-sufficient, people!

    1. Robert Grant

      This sounds good! Is there a guide you could post a link to?

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Time to become more self-sufficient, people!"

      Surely self-sufficiency would mean that you grew your own beans.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Surely self-sufficiency would mean that you grew your own beans.

        And keep your own civets for the really expensive stuff?

        1. jake Silver badge


          Life's to short to drink shitty coffee ...but I suppose it might go well with your favorite Catshit ElRopo cigar, as long as you're killing your sense of taste anyway ...

          Besides, some reports suggest that over 99% of all the coffee sold as kopi luwak is fake. You pays your money and you takes your chances. Caveat emptor.

      2. jake Silver badge

        I know a guy who is working on doing that very thing. Has several hothouses dedicated to the job. He seems to think he can make it a profitable long-term business. The results I've tasted to date have been mixed ... mostly soil issues, he thinks.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      > I've got the better part of 25 kg in stock and I'm ready for Armageddon.

      At the rate I drink coffee, that would have to be a one-week only, special-offer Armageddon.

  15. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

    Green Beans

    For those who buy in bulk and roast their own: TFA seems to say there's a shortage of beans.'re up against the big boys and girls for your sack of green beans. I suspect that sack will be a bit harder to get (and much pricier) in the near future

    1. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: Green Beans

      Roasting coffee is a very delicate expert process.

      Buying roasted beans in bulk direct from a roaster, the day it's roasted and sealed up, and storing in a freezer also works. Under these conditions coffee can easily last a year in perfect condition.

      The beans you get at the "supermarket" are ancient by the time they're sold and badly stored, so don't bother with them.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Green Beans

        Yep. We get ours from a small, ethical, importer/roaster called Coffee Story (in the UK).

        Though we''ll use Taylors beans as emergency backup - they are pretty decent.

        1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

          Re: Green Beans

          I'll go along with the taylors beans number six hot java roast....mmm even smells like decent coffee rather than the muck everyone at work gets from starbucks 1/2 mile down the road (or the instant 'coffee' beloved by other engineers bleerggghhh)

          But on the other hand, I used to survive on god awful vending machine coffee. the stuff made by grinding up dried leafs and twigs from a long dead coffee plant .... you know the sort I mean... the ones that taste better after you drop the cigarette end in it...

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: Green Beans

        "Roasting coffee is a very delicate expert process."

        My Grandfather used to do it with a pair of cast iron skillets over a camp fire. One to toast the beans according to eye, nose and ear, and the second one to cool them quickly when done. Best coffee I've ever had. (Waking up in the great outdoors, many miles from civilization, no doubt improved the flavo(u)r.)

        Concur about supermarket beans. Get them from a professional. Green or roasted.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Green Beans

      It's not really all that bad at the wholesale level. Look up the New York C Market for more info than you ever wanted to know about coffee pricing.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shelves cleared of coffee...

    ...and still the 'coffee alternatives' like Caro would remain untouched.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Shelves cleared of coffee...

      Or Postum. ::shudder::

  17. Dave 126

    Last year it was reported that researchers had used genetic engineering to get brewer's yeast to create THC and cannaboids... perhaps they can do the same for caffeine?

  18. An0n C0w4rd

    Out of coffee??

  19. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Does this mean you'll no longer be able to smell Banbury from 10 miles away up the M40?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You mean the Kraft factory?

      We have a coffee roasting company in the building next to my office. When they arrived about two years ago, they invited all the neighbours in to try the coffee. It tasted great, but the smell from the roasting process is foul.

  20. IGotOut Silver badge

    Is this the same as the... shortage of 2011. You remember that?

    Similar to the one in 2014? Nope? How about the 2017 one?

    So roll your eyes and just remember its the stock market doing its usual bullshit while those at the bottom of the rung get no benefit at all from the inflated prices.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    These stories

    about the droughts / floods/ weevils/ death rays from Mars affecting the Brazilian coffee harvest come round with such frequency it is surprising there is a single coffee plant left in that country. Or a touch of market manipulation perhaps. Follow the money.

  22. Dr_N

    I predict a riot...

    ... in the Waitrose coffee aisle.

  23. Anonymous South African Coward Bronze badge

    Ersatz Kawfeh

    In WWII there was ersatz coffee.

    Just spike it with a wee bit of caffeine and add some artificial taste. Nobody will be able to tell the difference.

    It will smell like the real thing, taste like the real thing, and kick like the real thing.

    Pfffft. Hot jolt for me, thanks.

    1. MacroRodent

      Re: Ersatz Kawfeh

      Old folks who remember the wartime in Finland say they made ersatz coffee from dandelion roots. At least it is a readily available raw material: dandelion typically grows here wherever you really try to grow something else.

      When the first ship from Brazil carrying real coffee arrived after the war, it was a cause for national celebration.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ersatz Kawfeh

        That's where my grandfather drank ersatz coffee. Wasn't much of a pick me up I imagine, but they had Pervitin for that - German supplied methamphetamine tablets.

  24. vincent himpe

    switch to chocolate milk

    chocolate is good .

    1. Jan 0 Silver badge

      Re: switch to chocolate milk

      Not when you add milk to it! Drink chocolate like the Aztecs.

  25. harmjschoonhoven


    These stories about tea and (Ersatz)coffee reminds me: I have a long forgotten store of Ilex Paraguariensis. Traditionally you drink Maté as a very strong hot tea through a silver straw which you share with your friends.

  26. HelpfulJohn

    The article states that 30 plants may be needed for the average user to satisfy his addiction.

    At present, growing 30 or more coffee plants may be entirely lawful and allowed but one wonders how long this will obtain? When coffee is so rare as to command prices in the hundreds of dollars per cup, will the Authorities ban growing it as a personal crop? Will it become less lawful, more illegal than that other famous weed? Might the laws be amended to treat home-brew coffee as harshly as home-brew likkers?

    Big Coffee, after all, will not wish to lose any profits to Mummy&Daddy micro-breweries any more than the Excise men did to moonshiners.

    Ah, yes, I can see the day [sometime in 2023, perhaps?] when the jails are stuffed full of nasty, asocial hippy-types who want to legalise home production of "harmless" drugs like coffee and whose houses are raided on a regular basis.

    Fun, yes?

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