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  1. Freeze-dried coffee last almost forever. Just keep direct sunlight away from it.

    I opened up freeze-dried coffee that was 11 years after the Best Before date. No weird or strange taste. Tasted just like coffee!

    1. Oh my. Say it ain’t so?

      My so-thoughtful sibling gave me a coffee roaster for Christmas a couple years ago. The first problem was that it uses 220v EU outlets, so I had to buy a voltage converter that would handle its 1800 watt draw. Then there was the slow roasting time and constant watching over it because the see-through glass lid immediately got covered with brown oils. And the smoke. Now I like the smell, to a point, but when it’s 5F outside that’s good enough for that roaster to go outside too. I can’t really hear that whole “first crack” and “second crack” so I am constantly lifting the lid for a bean to examine.
      Oh, did anyone tell you that if you roast the coffee beans too hot they can catch fire? A right bugger to put out, I’ve heard. 😉
      In the end I just vac-sealed the last few pounds of my green beans, started buying cans of the Café Busto Espresso Grind at Walmart for $4.34 each when I go there, and ordered a 5 lb bag of quality medium roast beans from Amazon for regular use. Will I have coffee forever? No, but it will be several months worth. Beyond that I’ll just have to pull up my Big Boy pants and get over the caffeine withdrawals.
      Then there is that lovely aroma. In a TEOTWAWKI situation I think the distinctive odor of coffee will draw zombies from miles away – so maybe that instant stuff ain’t such a bad idea after all.

      1. If there is an Aldi in your area, you can pick up the Cafe Bustelo much cheaper. I get two extra every time I go to the store and throw them into the preps pantry. They were $2.88 each yesterday.

        1. I wish. The W is the only discount option locally, and everything in my area carries a special 30% (min) “Thanks for living here” disincentive to shop locally. What’s your gas price these days? Aside from CA, NY and maybe AK we probably lead the way in price-gouging in that area also. Construction materials? About a 300% mark-up. Seriously.

          1. Wow! I’m sorry for all the high prices you’re experiencing. My state has some of the higher taxes in the country, but I haven’t seen any price gouging locally. I honestly don’t know what gas prices are here. I’ve left the house exactly twice in the last five weeks, both time to go to Aldis for groceries… haven’t had to get gas.

            Sure hope things go better for you and others dealing with these economic issues.

      2. Amazon carries some very good instant freeze dried coffee: Mount Hagen (offers regular and decaf, both in a jar and single serve packets for camping or your BOB) and Douwe Egberts (offers several roasts, all of which are very good). Neither of these will disappoint, and maybe you can find them from a more wholesome retailer. I haven’t looked.

      3. JJ, those are NORMAL overcharges for everything in my area! Amazon has, unfortunately, become a great alternative in my area for many items. The only things I depend on a grocery store for are refrigerated foods, like half-and-half for my coffee or cheese. “Fresh” produce is far from fresh here. And very expensive. This is not Alaska, either, I’m in the middle of WY. As for fuel, well, I still have to work my hospital shifts but that’s all I’ve had to go to town for for the last 2 1/2 months. Gas always increases first here and drops last (if at all). I still have to buy fuel, but once every 3 weeks keeps my tank topped off.
        On a different topic, I had some great single-serve freeze dried coffee when I was in Europe so that’s something I should look for for long-term storage.

    2. Just the other day I opened up a vacuum sealed pack of Folgers that was over 16 years old and it was perfect in taste to me and my wife it was delish! I was pleasently surprised

  2. I used to roast my own coffee — in the garage, due to the smoke problem. Got pretty good at it, and roasted small batches every few days. Would use a small roaster, and then put the beans in a steel mesh colander to cool down. Did that one Sunday morning, left the beans in the colander, and my wife and I went out for lunch. Well, the beans were pretty hot, and that one day they somehow flashed, caught fire, and burned down through the hardwood top of my workbench. Set stuff in the garage on fire. The structure was OK, but we lost everything in the garage due to smoke damage. We were lucky not to lose the house. I’m not roasting any more due to wifely looks that can be damaging. Moral of the story: there are special devices that cool beans after roasting. Get one or make one and use it. OBTW, Sweet Maria’s is a great online source for beanc. (I have no connection to them.)

  3. I agree with Johnny on the freeze dried and keep quite a bit for trading purposes if i ever need it.
    To be honest a better solution for your husband would be to get away from be a ” coffee addict ” as any kind of addiction ( and coffee can be an addiction ) would be a very bad thing in a SHTF situation. Not only would he go through withdrawals, and he would, ( I have been through it myself ) but the smell of roasting or brewing coffee can be smelled for a very long way so OPSEC would be bad.

    1. Gentle reply – I too am a caffeine freak. Bad. I loathe the day I might have to go through withdrawals. I have enough freeze dried (as above) for a while. A long while. But certainly not forever. And I am certainly no expert, no Jeremiah Johnson. And I’ve done my best to imitate the LDS way viz preparing. Maybe I’ve done an OK job of it, and maybe not.

      But – coffee brewing smells? Really? And what of onions? garlic? meat? bread? Cookies? Not trying to be confrontational. Truly. And I’m all for due diligence. But: forest/trees? Perspective.

      1. Didn’t take your response as confrontational at all Joe. I always love a different perspective. Since if we were in a true SHTF situation I would mostly be cooking with either a pressure cooker or a thermo pot I don’t really think about the smell. Now if I were barbecuing….. lol

  4. My son-in-law makes the best coffee ever. He’s one of those ‘all-in” individuals. Started buying beans and roasting in the skillet as you described in your story. He also didn’t like stirring then constantly; nor could he achieve a good eaten roast.
    So… he bought a steel rotisserie cage for his grill and rigged it up with a cordless drill for a nice even roast at a constant temperature. Now he can knock out pounds at a time of some of the best homemade coffee I’ve ever had.

  5. Great article!
    I worked for Starbucks for 16 years. As part of my training, I got to go to the Mothership in Seattle and see the roasting plant and participate in all of the classes learning all about beans, which part of the world they come from, the methods of processing, roasting times, Ect.
    I really loved learning all about the different nuances of coffee, regions of the world different beans come from, Ect
    The company in the earlier days REALLY focused on the coffee itself and put lots of time and money into making sure us “Baristas” could answer ANY questions a customer might have about coffee. We even held mini seminars or gatherings for customers.
    Sadly, the last 5-6 years I worked there they turned the focus more to the products that make them more money, like Frappuccino frozen drinks, Ect. The stores have reduced the selection of coffee beans for customers and unless your Barista has been working there from the old days, they won’t be able to educate you about your potential purchase. Really sad…
    Thank you for describing your coffee roasting journey, it brought back some great memories for me.

    Oh yeah, I also really miss getting my “markout “ which was a benefit they had for every partner. This is where you get either a 1lb bag of beans or a box of tea for FREE! Every Week!! Just for working there.

    Have a Rockin great day!

  6. I have some boxes of coffee (I forget the brand) filled with 50, 1 pot servings of coffee grounds, packaged in its factory single serve mylar bags for an office setting. This stuff is 8-9 years old now and has been stored in our garage in the heat and the cold, and we drink it all the time, no funky taste or smell or anything.

  7. My family has a coffee roasting business. We have several customers who store their green coffee beans and roast them at home. In fact, my great-grandmother did the same thing during the depression; hand roasting and grinding the beans each week. My 10 y/o son hand roasted some green coffee beans outside on a Coleman stove with a cast iron skillet & a wooden spoon for a science project. BTW, I’ve not noticed any flavors transferred to a well seasoned cast iron pan. IMHO, some of the best coffee I’ve ever had was hand roasted beans, coarse ground and cooked in an old-style percolator. Nothing fancy or gourmet.

    1. Your Great Grandmother was resourceful, hand roasting green coffee beans during the Depression! …and the story of your son roasting green coffee beans on the Coleman stove was delightful.

  8. Hey N.E.S., nice article on roasting yer own. Something I will definitely have to try my hand at. Does the bulk bean price fluctuate much throughout the year, is there a best time to stock up?

    I grow all my own teas plus drink a few wild ones. I had the same problem of trying to find the perfect system for brewing loose tea. Then the obvious hit me. Since I use a French press for coffee, why not use it for tea as well? Super quick and easy. And since I brew the same leaves twice, it makes the second batch a cinch. You can buy one at Walmart for around $10. I keep separate ones for coffee and tea and to minimize breakage, I rinse before use and only wash once a month.

    For baking, and those hot-afternoon chocolate-banana-coffee-mint smoothies, nothing beats instant coffee. 🙂


    1. Maybe one day I will grow my own teas. I really like the system I have for my loose tea and find it very convenient. Agreed, I do use instant for my fancy schmancy iced drinks every once in a while.

  9. Kick the habit! Several years ago I was cruising the Caribbean and Central America on my sailboat and I ran out of coffee at sea. That first day was excruciating. I was vomiting and had a intense 12 hour headache from withdrawals. On that day I decided I would not be locked to that chemical again. I’m retired Navy. I’ve drank a few, coffee, over the years. I started weaning myself off. First day, one decaf spoon full of grounds to 4 regular. Three days later 2 to 3 and so on. It’s been years on decaf. Very infrequently I’ll have a cup of regular and boy does it kick me in gear. But I’d rather not be slave to a liquid.

  10. Surprised I haven’t seen anyone else comment on this, but holly has caffeine (some species have a *lot* of caffeine). So sustainability-wise, you can always turn to holly for your caffeine needs.

        1. Hopefully this helps, according to Frank Tozers book “the uses of wild plants” it’s Iiex vomitoria / Yaupon that contains caffeine. And this was used in the south to make tea. I. Opaca- Holly does not contain caffeine.

          1. Honestly I’ve never brewed it, I just know about it from the Eat The Weeds guy, who is in FL.

            I recently relocated to the Southwest, so I’m reeling from having to adapt to an entirely different biome. Formerly I was deep in Appalachia, and had access to all kinds of goodies like paw paw, holly, mayapple, and spruce. At the moment the only forage I see is sand :-/

  11. NES! Fun and favorite subject… Coffee and tea!

    Question: do you have a favorite supplier of your loose leaf tea?

    Also a low-tech tool great for every prepper’s kitchen stash… We enjoy our stainless steel French presses. They’re sturdy and require no electricity. Ours were purchased via Amazon.

    1. I am blessed to have a local person I buy from in bulk. I do jot know their source but there are a few to choose from online. I know Mountain Rose herbs is a trusted source.

      1. Thanks so much! Will check in with Mountain Rose Herbs, and appreciate the resource suggestion! We raise quite a few herbs, but not all of them…

  12. I started drinking coffee with Grandad at the age of 9. He would fill my mug half full of milk, the rest with coffee, and we’d sip together at breakfast. Later, in the Navy, coffee became a real part of my life, and eventually I got to where I was drinking about 2 pots a day. Then I got an ulcer and had to cut back to 1 to 2 cups per day max. I worked for an outfitter for a while, and learned how to roast green beans over a campfire in a CI skillet without burning them too bad. Back then, I learned how much work it was to cook every meal for a crowd over an open fire. I could make a lot of noise in the morning and no one would stir, but once the aroma of roasting beans got in the air, people starting climbing out of the canvas. I could almost always count on handing off a grinder full of beans to someone in the group while I worked on the rest of breakfast. As for getting the coffee smell out of my skillet, I could just make some red eye gravy and the skillet never retained much of the coffee essence. I learned how to make a coffee boiler work well enough I never got complaints about the grounds in someone’s cup.

    I had friends who owned a roaster shop in eastern Washington back when I was drinking a lot of coffee, before the ulcer, and I drank so much of their freshly roasted brew I won a trip from them for me and the wife to Las Vegas and back. That was back in 94.

    The best cup of coffee I ever had was from a fresh opened bag of Blue Mountain Jamaican beans. It was the only time I ever remember coffee tasting as good as it smelled.

    After the novelty of roasting and grinding wore off me, I realized the purpose of coffee was the caffeine (for me anyways). I no longer care to work that hard, nor spend that much, when I can get my fix with folgers if need be. When I am out backpacking, I will usually grab some packs of Starbucks instant as it’s good enough to suit me. But for a little good variety and reasonable quality at home, I bought a Keurig and brew what I want a cup at a time. If I drink tea, it is usually some herbal thing before bed, or occasionally some sweetened instant over ice if I am out in the backyard and need to wet my whistle. It ain’t real tea to me, but it flavors the water and is a taste I grew up with.

  13. I doubt the caffeine addiction. I do drink coffee, drinking some right now. On those days when I’m traveling or camping and don’t have my morning coffee I notice it and never think of it again. Now, chocolate is a whole other thing. I actually have about 80 pounds of Ghirardelli chocolate tucked away and I eat some everyday. I doubt that chocolate is physically addictive either.

  14. I grow mint for tea, dry it in the attic, store it in glass jars in a dark pantry. Simple. I have some that’s six years old that will still knock you over with that lovely mint smell when you open a jar.

  15. Great article. Coincidentally, I pulled vacuum packed green beans from 2012 out of “storage” and roasted them in my SR500. Still the best espresso shots around. Steam a bit of cream from the neighbors Jersey cow and I have a truly amazing breve’ latte! Just the thing to start the day while waiting for the snow to melt.

  16. For the past year we have been drinking Cafe Du Monde , a coffee and chicory blend that a friend turned us on to. It isn’t cheap but we prefer it now over regular coffee. I will have to say though that I used to vacation in Jamaica back in the early 70’s and I remember how delicious that Blue Mountain coffee was with fresh goat cream and turbinato (raw) sugar .

  17. First off, I have been roasting my own coffee for more than 10 years. A cup of coffee in the morning is therapeutic. Keeps me regular and allows me to relax and read Survivalblog!

    Additionally, my wife cannot handle caffeine. A cup in the morning will keep her going to sometime the next day (if I was only so lucky). I have found that I can roast decaf coffee beans for her to get a better flavor that any store bought decaf. I like to roast to a full city+, which means the oil spots start appearing on the outside of the bean. I use a Behmor Drum roaster I purchased from Sweet Marias.

    This is one of those skills I constantly use.

  18. Whenever I stay in a motel I always purloin the little foil/mylar bags of coffee and beg a few more from the room attendant. They store indefinitely, also, if you are near a Trader Joe’s, they have the best instant coffee that if unopened can store for several years, I recently opened a jar that was 5 years old and it’s fine. I also buy Tetley British Blend teabags, they have no string or paper tag, you can sometimes find them on a buy one get one free sale. I also keep a supply of the little 5 ounce cans of Carnation Evaporated milk, again, if unopened they last forever and are just enough to lighten up 2 cups of coffee without needing refrigeration. I have several of the old fashioned “church key” bottle openers, with the pointed end and a magnet so they can be stuck on the fridge where you always have them ready. The little treats are what make life bearable. (cigarettes, ketchup, dill pickles, strawberry jam, toothpaste, deodorant, chapstick, bic ballpoint pens)

  19. For those wondering about caffeine addiction, here’s an interesting article.

    I began researching the topic a few years back after wondering why caffeine had no affect on me. I can drink it at bedtime and fall right to sleep. On the flip side though, it doesn’t help me stay away when driving. While visiting my mother one night at about 10 PM she asked, “Anybody up for some coffee?” and that lead me to my aha moment and my research. It’s basically genetic, based on two factors: how quickly we metabolize caffeine and a genetic variation that makes our central nervous system more or less sensitive to caffeine’s stimulating effects.


    1. St. Funogas,
      This is so interesting! When I worked at Starbucks all those years I basically lived on Espresso! I would drink 4-5 Quad shot espresso drinks EVERY DAY and it never made me jittery and I could go to sleep every night no problem. I even pretty much just drank these and wouldn’t even eat food…… Now I’m in my mid fifties and I have to stop after two cups or I feel crazy the rest of the day and I will try to go to sleep at night and just lay there while my mind just races through so many thoughts.
      Once in a while I treat myself to a quad latte but not often because I get so jacked up from it. Too bad to, I love espresso! I am Italian after all

  20. Sometimes it’s not about kicking the habit of a caffeine addiction. You also need to ask what health benefits you are losing when you nix coffee from your diet. I would rather keep the polyphenols and compounds present in coffee in my diet. Green tea is my preferred daily drink but mixing them up helps. Caffeine can also give a very substantial boost to your ability to remain alert and energized during stressful times. It depends on the person and their genes; some people don’t experience any sort of caffeine sensitivity. I mever used to drink coffee or green tea but since adding both to my diet (along with other changes) I haven’t been sick for a few years now. Not even a cold. At least no symptoms.

    Thanks for the article. I’d like to explore roasting but just don’t have the time. For now we have found that freeze dried seems to store well, and green tea stores exceptionally well and bulk purchases are not difficult to manage. The tip on the stainless steel strainer is very helpful! I have a friend that claims up to 5 years storage life on whole roasted beans if they are in the deep freezer. Can anyone confirm this?

  21. I loved this article!! I also love love love my coffee!! LOL
    I stock up on roasted whole beans and they usually come in a vacuum sealed foil type bags. I keep the bags in cool storage. If I can see that a seal has broken, I go ahead and use those bags first by emptying the contents into a canning jar with lid. I try to buy in 3-5 lb bags and I’m usually stocked up for 6 months at a time. I buy whatever dark French or Espresso type roasts are on sale, unless I dislike a particular brand, then I never buy it again. I always wanted to grow chicory and roast the roots as a coffee substitute, but you have to grow a lot of chicory. I also keep freeze dried coffee as an “emergency coffee”. I don’t think I would roast coffee beans unless the beans were half the cost of the roasted beans I buy on sale. I have thought about what it would be like to be without coffee, so I keep caffeinated tea on hand. But, I really appreciated this article. Thank you!

  22. From experience…Green beans in a plastic bucket with an addition of oxygen absorbents to kill off bugs will last at least 5 years even though the buckets are not 100% air tight.

    I am a coffee snob. I am on my last bucket of Peruvian. It is 5 years and four months old. Roasts up and tastes as good as it did when purchased. I compared it to a fresh batch, and could not tell any appreciable difference.

  23. Tea guy here. Great article! A suggestion: If you prefer to drink your tea hot (as I do), put loose leaf tea in one of the generic reusable “K-cups” that you can purchase at any big box store or online and then brew it in my Keurig. Simple, fast, and you don’t have to worry about straining the tea leaves out of your mug.

    1. Chris,

      Awesome, I just had that Duh! Moment. I have a few of those reusable pod things for my Keurig machine! I’m going to try loose leaf tea in it.
      (I also have an extra Keurig machine in case mine dies)!
      There are two things that my family know about me that are “my thing “
      1. Do not talk to me in the morning before I have had my first cup of coffee!!
      2. See #1
      (I’m REALLY cranky if I don’t have my coffee, so I have a huge supply)!

      Rock on

  24. For all you asthmatics out there, a strong cup of black coffee is a helpful first aid for asthma. It really helps pop open the airway. You really should have your rescue inhaler with you at all times, but if you forgot, at least grab a strong cup of coffee and chug it!

    I also gave coffee to my ADHD child, (just one cup each morning before school) with great effect. We never had to use prescription medications. A change in diet, and that single cup of coffee (along with some other changes in approach) worked beautifully.

    Finally, for new moms having horrific headaches following epidurals, or general postpartum headaches in the 6-8 weeks following delivery, and for many migraine sufferers, a cup of strong coffee can do wonders.

    I tend to keep coffee around more for its therapeutic purpose as “medicine”. I am definitely not a coffee snob. I’ll drink just about anything so long as it still pours into the cup. (I slipped to this abysmal and shameful lack of refinement after years working in critical care medical settings.) 🙂 But I will admit that a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is not bad first thing in the morning with a little cinnamon, dried coconut milk, coconut oil, and turmeric!

  25. Personally, I cannot stand the smell or taste of coffee and was lucky enough to meet and marry someone who feels the same way. (I used to hold my breath while walking past a Starbuck’s, just so I wouldn’t have to smell it.) We have a Keurig contraption in the house but only because we inherited it when a friend passed away. It had only been used a handful of times so we figured, why not keep it? So… it sits over in the corner of the kitchen counter, taking up space and gets used when we have guests who just have to have their cup of coffee. I usually make sure I am in another room while they are brewing it.

    However, I have found pods of teas, hot chocolate and hot cider on sale and have stocked up on them a bit. After reading William R. Forstchen’s books, though, I have also stocked up on several cases of coffee pods when I have found them on sale or clearance. They take up space on my prepping storage shelves. I am figuring they might come in pretty handy for barter after TEOTWAWKI. After all, as long as you can heat water, you should be able to use the contents of a pod to make a cup of your chosen poison.

    Now tea… well, that’s my addiction. I can drink green and white tea but prefer black tea. I found a Masala Chai tea at an Indian grocery store and bought a box to try. It turned out to be blended with Assam tea, one of my favorite varieties, but the real surprise was that it is blended in New Jersey (!) by the same company that makes Red Rose Tea. So, I ordered a dozen boxes (72 bags per box) of it. That should last me for the rest of the year – I hope. If not, I’ll just order more.

    As far as caffeine goes, from what I have read, tea actually contains a substance that is similar to caffeine but is not caffeine. It helps most people stay alert but works a little differently in the body. But it is similarly addictive, just like coffee/caffeine.

    And OneGuy, chocolate also has caffeine so is also addictive. If you don’t believe it, go without any caffeine for 2 or 3 days, cold turkey, nothing in the way of coffee, tea, chocolate or soda like cola, Mtn. Dew, some root beers, and then tell us about your headaches. Especially that “ice pick” pain right over your eye/under your eyebrow. If you don’t get any reaction, then you are not actually addicted or you won the genetic lottery, but for the rest of us, the addiction is very real.

    1. Well that’s the point I was making. I experience nothing from coffee or withdrawing from it. Ditto for chocolate. I used to drink a lot of soda but after getting a hiatal hernia I had to quit any carbonated beverages and didn’t notice anything from that either.

    2. Hi Sabel,

      Both Jim and I, do not like coffee. We are both hyper enough without it! I tried it in college and got the wickedest (I am a native New Englander) heartburn and palpitations imaginable. I tried it again in my late twenties. After two days of drinking it with those yummy flavored creamers, the same thing happened again: palpitations and heartburn. That was it. Never again have I drank it. We keep some around for guests and our sons seem to like it, but if we were to have a longterm TEOTWAWKI event with a coffee drinker here, unless they bring their own, we will run out of it within a few weeks.

      I also cannot eat much chocolate, because of the caffeine. A very small bite here and there, once a week is okay, but not everyday. If I were to eat a regular sized chocolate bar a few days in a row, and then not eat one for three days. I would get palpitations from the withdrawl sometime on the third day… It makes me grumpy, too. So we do have chocolate in the house for Jim and the kids, but not for me. I like to be happy and even keeled. So nothing with caffeine for me, including caffeinated teas.



  26. Weapons grade stagehand coffee. 100 cup urn, whole tub of Folger’s Black Silk. (200 servings). Have evening break, and unplug for the night. Next morning, add make-up water, and brew a second tub. Coffee is so black it doesn’t turn brown with creamer. The truck drivers LOVE it! Keeps stagehands working! Everyone loves it!

    And I don’t drink coffee! Dew is my poison, and my initials too!

  27. Recipe for Navy coffee: 1 lg pinch of salt, 3 or 4 drops of jet fuel, lube oil, diesel or your favorite petroleum product, 3 x the recommended coffee grounds; brew for three days, then serve in a mug that hasn’t been cleaned in at least 1 year. (it is a keel-hauling offense to wash a CPO’s cup!)

  28. Thank you for your article. I bought a case of green coffee beans and was very disappointed with my results roasting it in the oven and on the stove top. Great color but WAY too acidic. Given the comments from others, I conclude that I did not roast long enough – I just waited until a bunch of the beans started to pop. Thanks for the inspiration to give it another try. But the point about the beans catching fire – Yikes!

    Regarding tea – I, too, enjoy herbal teas from plants I harvest at home: mint is a favorite, with leaves from currants, cranberry, strawberry, fireweed. Cleavers add a vanilla-like flavor. Elderflower. Dried orange and lemon rinds. I make a gallon at a time using cheesecloth bags, which I can use over and over. I was surprised to read one comment that mint retained its flavor in a jar six years later. I have always used mine up too fast, but I would have thought the volatile oils would degrade sooner. Good to learn!

    Regarding tea bags being compostable: I have read that most companies use nylon bags. Not compostable.

    Thanks again for your informative article.

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