Coffee is considered a vice by many but when it comes to coffee, it’s going to be highly sought after in any emergency, disaster, off grid situation. Coffee has been a staple of many households for…it’s existence, basically.
There’s some conflicting information online about how to best store coffee beans, whether green (raw) or roasted. I’m going to offer my advice based on my own personal experience and advice given from actual coffee roasters and aficionados.
I’ll also be talking about how to roast raw coffee beans off grid.
First, let’s talk about how to store roasted coffee.
There are some hardcore coffee drinkers out there that will tell you roasted coffee is only good for 6 months after packaged and/or opening. Roasted coffee can be stored for years and it’ll still have that nice caffeinated effect. I have never found any evidence that coffee will go “bad”, as in unable to drink.
I’ve even heard people say that ground coffee will only last a few hours after being ground! Maybe as far as the freshest taste goes, sure, but coffee will still be plenty potent for years to come after it’s been ground, or even as roasted coffee beans, just as long as it’s stored properly.
Will the same taste quality be there? Probably not. But it’s still coffee.
The best ways to store roasted coffee would be in an opaque container, meaning something that isn’t clear. Notice the type of packaging that coffee comes in. Just as long as light can’t directly shine in, it’s a good package.
A mylar bag with an oxygen absorber works great. You can also just store it in a mylar bag without an oxygen absorber, though the oxygen absorber will greatly help the longevity of taste.
You’ll also want to keep the coffee stored away from heat and moisture. Keep it out of the fridge and freezer, too.
I’ve drank ground coffee from a container that has sat there for years and brewed it up and it’s tasted fine and also did the job that coffee is supposed to do; give me that sweet, sweet caffeinated feel.
Next, let’s talk about storing green (raw) coffee beans.
I like to store raw coffee beans in addition to regular coffee because…why not! Raw coffee beans store for a significant amount of time, years, just like roasted coffee. I like the satisfaction of roasting my own coffee.
There are a few different ways to store green coffee beans.
But first, just like with roasted coffee, you want to store your green coffee beans in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.
The first way is to vacuum seal it and then place the vacuum sealed bag (which is usually clear) inside of a burlap bag or some other opaque bag.
You could also store in a mylar bag with an oxygen absorber.
You could also store in a burlap bag.
Lastly, let’s talk about how to roast raw beans.
The video above shows how I roast my coffee with propane. There are several different ways to roast coffee at home in small batches like shown in the video above, but this is just one of the easiest.
- Popcorn popper
- Aluminum foil
- Propane stove
- If you don’t have a propane camp stove, you can use a fire
Cover up most of the holes of the popcorn popper with aluminum foil. You want to roast the coffee so closing the holes allows the coffee beans to roast.
Prepare your fire or propane stove setup outside in a well ventilated area.
Put the green coffee beans inside of the popcorn popper, close lid.
Keep the heat on the propane fairly low, but not too low, you’ll want to experiment so that you’re not roasting the beans too slowly or too fast and not burning them. I’d suggest starting out with just a handful of beans to get the hang of the process first.
Place the popcorn popper over the heat source and rotate very slowly, sometimes letting it sit for a few minutes at a time without rotating, just be sure to keep a very close eye on it. It may take 5-10 minutes for it to ‘heat up’.
The popping noises you’ll start to hear are completely normal. Once you hear the first ‘pops’, that’s when it’s just about ready. The popping will continue, even when it’s at a medium roast.
When it comes to how long you should do it, this comes with experience. Once you hear the first cracks, they should be medium brown, or you could continue to roast to make them a darker coffee bean. It’s up to your personal preference.
As an FYI, you don’t need a popcorn popper or propane, it’s just one of the easiest ways to do it as you have full control over the process.
If you’re doing it exclusively over the fire and don’t have all that new-fangled gear, you can just put the coffee beans in a pot or pan with a lid. You’ll want to stir frequently, while at the same time keeping the lid on so that it roasts. Lift the lid, stir, close for a minute, lift the lid, stir, close for a minute, etc. until you hear that first ‘popping’ then try to stir while keeping lid fairly closed. You want it to roast, but you also don’t want it to burn, so the beans need to be moving about.
Then, grind and enjoy! You can buy a manual coffee grinder. You can grind them with a rock. Or a mortar and pestle. Or you can place them in a bag and hammer them.
Of course, you can always store instant coffee, as well.
Coffee is a staple in the prepper community and has a great shelf life. As far as I’m concerned, coffee doesn’t go bad. I’ve never heard of an instance that coffee has gone bad.
Conquer tomorrow, by preparing today!