Like most people, I love coffee. I drink a cup almost every day, but some people require much more of it to stay satisfied. Coffee is a necessity for people from all walks of life and is something that preppers should consider storing for themselves or for trade.
Here are some ways that preppers can store coffee:
- Purchase long shelf life “survival coffee”
- Store and rotate canned coffee
- Purchase green coffee beans
- Grow their own (Not easy)
While storing coffee isn’t as easy as other essentials, it can be done with a little basic knowledge. Here are some ways that preppers can store coffee and some things they need to be aware of to make sure that their coffee stays fresh and ready for use.
Coffee Storage Method 1: Survival Coffee (Easiest Way)
The easiest way for preppers to store coffee is to buy “survival coffee”. Like many other popular survival foods, survival coffee is freeze-dried and made for long-term storage. While some may be skeptical of freeze-dried coffee with an extended shelf life, both of the examples below are very highly rated. Also, in an emergency, even coffee snobs will be glad to get their hands on any coffee they can.
Franklin’s Finest Survival Coffee
The first brand of freeze-dried survival coffee is Franklin’s Finest Survival Coffee. It boasts a 25-year shelf life and contains 100% Columbian coffee. Similar to common types of store-bought instant coffee, all you have to do is add hot water. The exact ratio is 1 rounded teaspoon of coffee per 6 ounces of water.
Each order includes 720 servings, which My Patriot Supply claims is enough for one person per year. This assumes that the average person will drink two 6-ounce cups per day. If you are a heavy coffee drinker or like your coffee strong, this figure may not be accurate. Franklin’s Survival Coffee is easy to store and transport thanks to its included plastic tote which holds 12 resealable packages.
- Regular price: $147.00 ($0.20 per cup)
- Sale Price $67.00 ($0.09 per cup)
Legacy Food Storage Ground Coffee
The second brand of freeze-dried coffee is Legacy Food Storage’s Ground Coffee. It has a shelf life of 10-15 years and contains Brazilian arabica beans. Each bucket contains 350 servings and includes a French Press.
- Regular Price: $225 ($0.64 per cup)
- Sale Price: $196.00 ($0.56 per cup)
Coffee Storage Method 2: Traditional Coffee
Another way that preppers can store coffee is by purchasing regular store-bought canned and instant coffee. This type of coffee will need to be stored and rotated similar to other types of food storage.
The first type of “normal” coffee that preppers can store is instant coffee. This is the coffee that you add hot water to and stir. While some varieties may not taste as good and be more expensive per cup than their “coffee pot” counterparts, they do have some advantages.
The first advantage of using instant coffee is that you don’t need any special equipment to prepare it. As long as you have a small container to heat some water, you are good to go. The second advantage is that instant coffee is very portable. Most containers of instant coffee can easily fit in a bug out bag. Instant coffee, since it is freeze-dried has a longer shelf life than canned coffee. Folgers instant coffee can last up to 720 days, which is nearly two years.
- Folgers Instant Coffee: $7.73 per 12 ounces ($0.04 per cup)
- Maxwell House Instant Coffee: $5.29 per 8 ounces ($0.04 per cup)
The second type of “normal” coffee that preppers can store is canned coffee, which is what most of us probably grew up on. Before Keurig changed how we prepare coffee, you would scoop coffee out of the can, dump it into a filter placed into the coffee maker, and pour hot water into the machine.
The main advantages of this type of coffee are its price and taste. Canned coffee is slightly cheaper than instant coffee, although it may cost a little more than if you grind your own. If left unopened, canned coffee (Folgers) has a shelf life of 450 days.
- Folgers Classic Roast: $9.96 per 48 ounces ($0.03 per cup)
- Maxwell House Original Roast: $8.76 per 42.5 ounces ($0.03 per cup)
Coffee Storage Method 3: Green Coffee Beans
The next way that preppers can store coffee is by storing green coffee beans. Not roasting and grinding the beans before storage will allow them to keep their freshness longer. To store green coffee beans, you can follow a similar approach to what you would use to store rice, flour, and other staples.
This process involves storing the coffee beans in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers which are housed in a food-grade bucket. The mylar bags help keep the beans fresh, while the food-grade bucket protects them from pests, such as rodents. Rather than placing all of your coffee in one big mylar bag, I recommend using several smaller bags. This is a little more work, but it will help keep your supply fresh for as long as possible.
To prepare green coffee beans for storage, you will need the following materials:
- 5 Gallon Bucket with Gamma Lid
- Mylar bags
- Oxygen absorbers (Larger bags will require larger oxygen absorbers)
- Bag Sealer
To prepare your green coffee beans for long term storage, do the following:
- Add an oxygen absorber to the bottom of the mylar bag
- Pour the coffee beans into the bag, leaving enough space at the top to seal the bag.
- Add another oxygen absorber on top of the coffee
- Use a bag sealer or iron to seal most of the top of the bag, leaving a small part unsealed.
- Squeeze the air out of the bag or use a vacuum to suck it out.
- Finish sealing the bag.
- Place the bag(s) in the bucket and tighten the lid.
The shelf life of coffee stored in this manner will depend on a number of factors. The first is the period of time between when it was harvested and when it was stored in bags. The second is the environmental conditions that it faced during these times. Under perfect conditions, green coffee beans stored in this matter may last up to 20 years. However, under other conditions, it may last as little as 3-4 years.
Green coffee beans stored in this manner will still need to be roasted and ground before use. If you choose to go this route, be sure that you have the ability to roast and grind your coffee before use.
Coffee Storage Method 4: Grow Your Own Coffee
The last way that preppers can store coffee is to grow their own, however, this isn’t as easy as it may sound. Although coffee plants can be grown in your home, you will need a lot of plants to meet your needs. In fact, the average American may need 33 full-grown and producing plants to keep up with their demand.
This means that a prepper who wants to grow their own coffee will need a lot of space, either in the form of a garden or a greenhouse. Since most coffee grows well only in specific areas, a greenhouse will probably be your best bet to replicate those conditions as close as possible.
You will need to take care to provide the correct amount of sunlight and protect the plants from things that will damage them, such as frost and insects. If you do manage to start enough plants and take care of them well, it will still take between 3 to 5 years before your coffee plants are ready to produce fruit. So if you plan on growing your own coffee during a prolonged emergency, you better start now.
Why is Storing Coffee Difficult?
Compared to other survival foods such as rice, storing coffee presents unique challenges to preppers. Coffee is very susceptible to moisture, air, heat, and even light. It also absorbs smells from its environment, which can ruin coffee that is stored next to smelly items such as onions.
Coffee beans should be stored in airtight containers to maintain freshness. These airtight containers should be stored in a cool, dark place.
If you are storing green coffee beans, even if you aren’t going to put them into mylar bags, do not roast them until you are ready to consume them. Roasting them will rapidly increase the rate in which the coffee loses its freshness. Grinding the roasted beans will accelerate this process even more.
How Do I Think Preppers Should Store Their Coffee?
My coffee storage will be a hybrid of storing “survival” coffee and store-bought canned or instant coffee. The main reason for this is the ease of preparation. During an emergency, especially a prolonged one, I will probably have a lot of things to do to keep me and my family fed and safe.
I’m not going to want to mess around with roasting and grinding my own coffee. Having instant and survival coffee in my food storage will allow me to have my coffee without having to devote more time to it than necessary. Although I like coffee, I’m not necessarily a “coffee snob”, so I don’t need anything fancy.