Coffee Is Great Prep Item


Coffee, most of us can’t live without it, or think that we can’t…

While considering food types to add to your survival food storage, don’t forget the coffee! If it ever comes to the point of having to dig deep into your food storage, finding pounds of stored coffee will be a welcome sight (assuming you drink coffee). The traditional morning start to the day for most people begins with the aroma, taste, and caffeine kick of a cup of coffee. Just think how many people would be cranky without that morning cup or two… In fact, I can hardly think of a better barter item than coffee, if and after TSHTF.

So, what kind of coffee should you buy and how should you store the coffee to retain it’s flavor and freshness over time?

We have bought a variety of coffee over the years. Some have been just the beans, most of it has been the ‘ground’ variety, and there is even a use-case for freeze-dried; all in in a variety of different packaging.

Beans require that you grind them (a possible problem post-SHTF unless you have a hand grinder or alternative energy to power your electric grinder), but will result in the best coffee flavor and will store the longest.

Pre-ground coffee is the majority use-case for most people, and does require drip-brewing-percolating as well as filters or a screen for the grind (same goes for starting with whole beans).

Freeze-dried coffee is the simplest, quickest and easiest, although most will agree not quite as good tasting. Having said that, in my opinion freeze dried coffee should not be overlooked due to the fact that it requires less fuel/energy (just add warm/hot water) than other methods… especially favorable for consumption under living/environmental/societal conditions that are less than favorable (post-SHTF or on-the-road/trail).

You may also consider GREEN coffee beans. Green coffee beans are coffee beans that are not yet roasted. I personally have not tried roasting my own beans yet, but I plan to give it a try one day. Some quick online checking indicates that it’s pretty easy to do (beware that it is a ‘smoky’ process) and there looks to be a wide variety of roasting methods out there. Apparently freshly roasted coffee beans make for a very good cup of coffee (makes sense). Also, the shelf life of green coffee beans is apparently much longer than roasted or ground coffee since once the bean has been roasted-the volatile oils will begin to evaporate and tend to create a “stale” flavor over time if exposed to oxygen/air. Green coffee beans can be purchased and then sealed in containers with an oxygen absorber for even longer shelf life (unless they come sealed already from the mfgr.).

Regarding coffee storage, one thing that you should already be doing is rotating your survival food storage inventory, which will keep the food from getting too old. That in itself could be enough of a solution depending on the size of your inventory and how long it takes to go through your rotation.

The best storage condition for long term freshness retention is to buy sealed air-tight packaging. Don’t expect coffee that is packaged in bags to stand the test of time… if you can smell the coffee through the bag, then it is venting to the air outside and is not air-tight. Obviously, coffee that is sealed in cans or jars are air-tight and probably your best bet for long term storage.

A valuable barter item, to be sure…

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  1. I too had plans on buying green coffee beans, however the smoke and smell might attract attention as I would opt to roast these outdoors, so I decided to play it safe and stock regular ground and whole bean coffee. Brewing coffee gives off wonderful aroma but at least indoors it would be contained. I tried giving up coffee, I lasted a whole 3 days. So if I don’t stock it I would be one of the hoard looking to trade for it. It’s my one and only vise.

  2. I buy small jars of freeze-dried coffee at the dollar store, mainly for barter because I also stock my favorite ground coffee in my preps. I think the method for making freeze-dried coffee must have been improved in the last 30 or 40 years, because those cheap little jars make a pretty tasty cup of coffee. Yeah, I was curious how it tasted when it occurred to me that I may wind up drinking those myself. So I tried it. Nothing at all like it used to be. Now I’ve added a lot more small jars. It’s cheap, it’s tasty, AND you can’t smell it a mile away as it doesn’t perk or drip. And like you said, Ken, it needs very little fuel to make a cup.
    People may not realize this, but caffeine is physically addictive. You may not get sick like from a drug addiction, but headaches, anxiety and exhaustion are some of the things you can suffer if you suddenly stop drinking coffee.

  3. Get a French Press.

    Coarse ground coffee, easier to do by hand, is preferred by the machines(less clogging).

    Add hot water. Wait five minutes. Press & pour.

    Not much is easier than that!

    1. I’ve heard that the french press makes a great cup of coffee too. Your comment is going to inspire me to buy one and try it out…

      To date, I use the tried and true drip method, most often with fresh ground beans from the grinder.

    2. I have a press and you are right it works great. I also keep an old style peculator for power outages and have an old porcelain style one to boil cowboy coffee.

    3. French press is great. I drink it at work. AND, best of all, one of the camping companies (Stanley?) makes a metal, double-walled one with two cups (about $50 at REI), so you don’t have to worry about knocking glass around (my one at work is glass). Another note: you can try most kinds of coffee at Starbucks by requesting a ‘pourover’, where they just put the coffee into a filter over a container, pour the hot water over it, and it is incredibly fresh. Requesting the ‘clover’ machine makes it even more intense. That’s just a final bit of info, while we still have the ability to go to Starbucks. But a pourover is another option in SHTF. You can watch them do it in the store.

  4. We store a year supply of coffee; about a can a month. It is used in an electric drip coffee maker. For no power we have a camp peculator. I did some tests and came up with this plan. I put the brief instructions on a card and put it inside the perc and keep it on our hearth as decoration. Once a month, I’ll wash it inside and out and update the card:

    Fill to the bottom of the basket with water.
    Pinch and tear a hole in a filter to fit over the stem.
    Put four scoops of coffee in the basket.
    Set on the camp stove to boil.
    Let it perc for 12 minutes.

    Four scoops is our personal preference. If I’m out of town, it is ready to go for my wife. for what it’s worth this information and how to set up the camp stove in a 3 ring binder in the prep closet, too.

  5. Percolators can do double duty as efficient water purifiers too. You can boil water in one with less fuel consumption than using an open pan. I think it has something to do with the shape, most percolators are more tall and slender compared to cook pots. On a small flame like a camp stove, water boils in about half the time a pan would take. I’ve tried this just to see for myself.
    So after the water is made drinkable, just add the stem, basket and coffee and put it back on the flame for about 5 minutes since you’re starting with hot water.

  6. Green coffee beans are the way to go and the best cup of joe you will ever have. I’ve roasted them in a popcorn popper, no smoke, you basically listen to the sound of the beans as they crack under the heat to tell when they’re done. It takes about 15 minutes or so.

  7. How about you kick your addiction to caffeine then you will have one less thing to worry about. Seriously… the decadence displayed here is appalling.

    Plus caffeine clouds your mind and shuts down your situational awareness. This results in a reduced capability to respond to novel situations.

    1. It doesn’t have to be an ADDICTION,a hot cup of coffee can be a comfort on a cold day, a way to relax and have a social moment with others and as others said used for barter. You can get over coffee,spices in food ect but this is not about JUST surviving it is also about trying to live as normal of a life after TSHTF as you can. Some creature comforts help its just that simple.

      1. There isn’t a soul alive who drinks coffee that isn’t addicted. And if you can’t survive in the absence of all creature comforts without psychologically breaking down well then you’re just made of weak stock and will die anyway.

  8. For folks finicky about the grounds in the cowboy coffee they can always us a coffee filter over their cup to take care of that. Doesn’t really bother me.

  9. We all will kick our addiction to caffeine at some point, because in a collapse, since trade is disrupted, then at some point even the green coffee beans will be gone.

    But hold that thought. Caffeine is a potentiator of many pharmaceuticals. In other words it alters the metabolism of other medications. It stimulates smooth muscle contraction, which is why the bowels move. It sharpens the mind for brief periods.

    As such, our morning and afternoon ritual of drinking coffee might be replaced with using it as needed for those on rought patches of watch for many nights. It might be utilized by the healing them to accelerate the loading of a pharmaceutical into the bloodstream. It might be needed to move the bowels under certain conditions. Think outside the box.

    Those green coffee beans might be a reward for some member of the tribe for doing something extraordinary for everyone.

    Finally as Ken’s article discusses, green coffee beans and or roasting equipment might be trading with another tribe to solve some deficits. It isn’t that it’s a luxury necessarily.

    For example, I don’t smoke. As such, I am not going to use tobacco post-collapse. Should I still have tobacco and tobacco seed? Yes! I should certainly as a trade item.

    1. I wouldn’t need trade items nor would i use them. I can survive in any environment with virtually nothing in my pockets. If you aren’t intimately prepared with all forms of local knowledge about every type of survival situation in all environments and landscapes then you’re never going to make it anyway.

  10. How about just don’t drink coffee or caffeinated beverages to begin with? Ever think of that? Why make yourself a slave to something that will only cause you to have to pack more crap, and be subject to unpleasant health issues if you can’t obtain it. Not having a vice or an addiction to begin with would be my survival advice tip number 1. Seems like the smart thing would be to ditch coffee altogether no matter what whether surviving or not.

    1. Wow. I cannot believe the bitterness that oozes out of your comments. You’re not even trying to be helpful, just critical. I’m glad you’ve got things worked out to the “T” in your life. It would be good to allow others to do the same. Perhaps it doesn’t meet your criteria…so what? If you’re really concerned, then please give tips that would make us thrive better in a survival situation. I drink coffee every day, mostly decaf, so no caffeine addiction here. I too am stocking up on coffee and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Who knows how things will go when SHTF, but at least I have the things I want in my food storage. I do not intend to eat beans and rice for the rest of my life unless I am forced to. Therefore I am stocking up on the things I enjoy. More power to you for being so disciplined.

      1. I think it is great to stock up on things you enjoy, whenever you can find them at a great price/can afford to. You may have to stretch them out, if things get tight, but, I am thinking it will be nice to have a little reward to “look forward to”.

        We seldom buy Hot Chocolate mix, as I feel it is an extravagance, can be done without, has lots of sugar in it, etc etc… However, recently found large cans of it on heck of a deal. Bought several. If it should go on bigger sale, plan to buy more.

    2. You need to stop telling others how they are not going to survive. A good survivalist does not repremand others. In my opinion I would not want someone in my tribe who is so down on others. Who do you think you are? These folks all have good comments good luck to you when shit does hit the fan man

  11. I like to store cocoa powder. That way I can make hot choclate anytime shtf. Dry milk and sugar which is also a commodity! And all this is very shelf stable. This is a awesome survival blog! So much info. Saving seed is a must and you can keep them up to five years if stored in a tote in a cold place as well as dry… So much can be learned from many of you bloggers.

  12. I’m finding that green coffee is expensive especially if you want 30 40 lbs. has anyone found it at a reasonable price? I’m seeing $7.00-$12.00 a pound

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