Long Term Coffee Storage: A Potential Trade Value Item In SHTF Event

Jacob Moore

Last updated July 2, 2021

It is hard to imagine a life without coffee, considering the amount of caffeine we consume daily. Coffee is a downright comfort drink that calms most of the drinkers’ nerves during the day.

When an abomination like an SHTF situation arises, people would like to cling to things that make them happy and help them be in a comforting cocoon.

To enjoy the taste and comfort of coffee in your shelter, you must store your stock of coffee in advance.

Reasons To Have Coffee Stored For SHTF Events


coffee storage

Coffee can be an excellent barter commodity during any SHTF situation. The main reason it will work best for the bartering community is the shortage of caffeine, and if you have a stock full of fresh coffee beans, people will exchange their priciest possession for a few grams of coffee.

In addition, every 3 out of 4 coffee drinkers are addicted to caffeine, and with these clear statistics, it is evident that using coffee as a barter commodity is the most prudent thing to do.

Increased water consumption

There is no guarantee that the water you drink will stay clean even after years. At some point in time, you will need to use water purification tablets.

But, the problem with these tablets is the solid chemical aftertaste which discourages people from drinking the water. Adding a little coffee can drastically improve the taste by making it more palatable and aid people in staying hydrated.

Shelf Life Of Different Coffee Stages

Now that you have set up your mind to store coffee for any SHTF situation, you must understand the shelf life of all the types of coffee.

Let us look at a few types of coffee that offer a different shelf life; you can choose the type according to the emergency you are going to prep for.

Ground coffee

how to store ground coffee

Ground coffee is the least favorable way that one can store their coffee for a long time. Since it is grounded, it has more surface area to get exposed to the atmosphere, which speeds up oxidization.

Once you open the pack, it becomes imperative to use it within a few months. The more you delay using the coffee, the greater chances it has to become less flavorful.

The ground coffee has a shelf life of five months when it is unopened and stays flavorful for one month when opened past its best-by date.

Whole roasted coffee beans

Whole roasted coffee beans would surely last longer than grounded coffee. But they aren’t very reliable since the roasters use a lot of heat to roast the beans.

The chemical composition changes, ultimately speeding up the process where the oil releases faster than it should. When unopened at room temperature, it can stay fine till 24 months past its best date.

You will drastically reduce the shelf life when the can gets opened.

Green coffee beans

raw beans

Green coffee beans have the most stable oil concentration because of their raw nature. Green beans are raw beans that you can store away for any SHTF situation.

They are the ideal type of coffee beans for your purpose. Indeed you would have to take the trouble of roasting the beans but considering its long life, it is a disadvantage you can quickly gulp.

The beans can stay in excellent condition for five-plus years past their best by date. It will also remain fresh for more than a year after you open your packet.

Instant coffee

Since instant coffee is made by freeze-drying, you can expect its shelf life to be more than ten years if the pack is sealed and unopened.

Of course, the shelf life highly depends on the quality and the packaging of the instant coffee. If the coffee is packed with many layers, including aluminum, you can be assured that it will stay fresh even for 20 years in your pantry.

One significant disadvantage of coffee is its quick moisture absorption quality. Because of this, the product can quickly go wrong and lump up once opened in a high humidity place.

Coffee Storing Methods


freeze coffee

Freezing is an easy and trusted method to store your coffee for any emergency. Since coffee has a low moisture content, it can stay put and fresh in the freezer for many years.

Before you put your coffee in the freezer, make sure you use non-permeable bags and air-tight containers that would not let the air seep inside. Sometimes your coffee would absorb strong smells like meat, spices if kept for a long time.

To prevent this, you need to store the packet in non-permeable bags. If your coffee already comes in a nicely sealed container, keep it as is.

Once you remove the bag for use, make sure to let the bag come to room temperature. If you directly use your coffee as soon as you remove it from the freezer, it will go bad by sucking all the moisture content.

Air-tight Containers

glass jars with coffee beans

Air-tight containers are just a level above, keeping the packet as-is on your pantry. If you have opened your coffee bag, we request you to store it in an air-tight container to help slow down the gassing-off and oxidation process.

This method would not make your coffee last for years as there would still be air inside the jar, but keeping the coffee air-tight is your best bet if you have opened the bag and wish to preserve it as long as you can.

You can also store them in large gamma lid buckets if you plan on keeping a lot more under room temperature.

Vacuum Sealing

vacuum sealed

If you wish to keep your coffee fresh and add another layer of security instead of air-tight containers, vacuum sealing can be a great opinion.

Vacuum sealing is excellent if your favorite coffee beans do not come in solid packaging. If you are planning to store for many years, this can be a very cost-efficient way as you can vacuum bulk-bought beans all at a single time.

We highly recommend vacuum sealing your coffee if you have a home vacuum sealing kit. Sometimes the coffee aromas can seep over a period, so using green coffee beans can be your best bet during such situations.

Nitrogen-Flushed Coffee

Nitrogen-flushed coffee is a coffee procedure of removing all the oxygen from the coffee packaging. You will find your coffee is nitrogen flushed if you buy an expensive variety of coffee.

This process is done as soon as the beans are roasted. Once beans get roasted, they start to pump out gas which eventually makes the beans less fresh. To tackle this, companies carry this method, but simply doing this will make these nitrogen-flushed bags explode. To tackle this, they use a one-way valve to keep the bag stabilized.

If you are looking for nitrogen-flushed coffee, make sure to check whether the bag has a valve or not; only proceed if it has one. The significant difference between nitrogen flushed coffee and vacuum-sealed coffee is the matter of freshness.

You can instantly taste and smell the fresher bean, and thus people who never compromise on the quality of the coffee should try to buy nitrogen flushed coffee for their stockpile.

Oxygen Absorbers

coffee with oxygen absorber

Oxygen absorbers are little packets of iron filings. The iron in the pack usually grabs the oxygen molecules to keep the product fresh. You can put this oxygen absorber in your air-tight container to suck up all the existing air.

Oxygen absorbers will drastically improve the shelf life of your coffee. You shall not need to store it in the freezer to keep it safer. The little packets would work just fine at room temperature.

Mylar Bags with Oxygen Absorbers

If you are looking for the most ultimate way to store your coffee, try this storage method of mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. The most vital step is finding a good stock of fresh, green coffee beans.

We do not recommend any other type of coffee for this method, as using green beans will help you make the coffee stay fresh for more than 20 years. The main thing that deteriorates the coffee’s quality is air, light, and moisture.

We create an excellent habitat for these beans by keeping them devoid of light, water, and air. Pour your beans into the mylar bags and add a couple of oxygen absorbers. We suggest adding one at the top and one at the bottom, depending on the size of the pack.

If you aren’t sure about the absorbers’ quantity, try to refer to their chart to understand better. We recommend adding one or two more packets than necessary as it is always better to stay safe than sorry. The tiny packets would slowly suck up all the moisture leaving your beans completely fresh.

Alternative Approaches

Purchase survival coffee

survival coffee

If you do not want to get into the hassle of carrying out all the practices mentioned above, you can order a big container of survival coffee.

This coffee is somewhat the same as instant coffee but goes through many more chemical processes and ultimately gets freeze-dried to keep the coffee from going bad. Purchasing survival coffee is the easiest way a prepper can add coffee into their prepping list if time is essential.

Many people feel the taste isn’t as deluxe, but this coffee can feel gold at the time of need. So while you are at it, consider packing a box of survival coffee for consumption or barter. This survival coffee company boasts of having a shelf life of 25 years and comes with resealable pouches.

Grow your own coffee

Growing your coffee can be a straightforward and feasible solution on paper, but going through the entire farming process can be overwhelming and, let’s not forget- time-consuming.

But you can do it with a bit of dedication and perseverance. To grow your coffee, you will surely need a huge plot to accommodate a decent-sized farm. You will especially need to undertake a comparatively big production if you wish to trade the coffee.

As coffee plants only thrive in certain places, you need to test your soil fertility and climate. If it seems unfit, you need to start making a greenhouse to facilitate their growth. Once you build a decent greenhouse, you can start thinking about keeping the plants safe from other insects and frost.

After fine-tuning, you can start your coffee production. Remember that it might take anywhere around three to five years before your plants start growing fruits. Suppose you are planning on producing your coffee in the future.

In that case, we urge you to begin the process as soon as possible so that you have an already working coffee garden that produces high-quality beans for the freshest coffee within a few years.

Purchase green coffee beans

green coffee beans

Green coffee beans are the perfect type of beans that you can use to store for years. Unfortunately, it can be genuinely challenging to find good quality green beans as they aren’t readily available as regular roasted beans.

Once you acquire them, please put them in mylar bags and top the bag with a few oxygen absorbers. Since these mylar bags are easy to close, you can run a hot press over the edges to seal the packet.

To consume the beans, you will have to be a bit more patient. You will need to roast these beans on top of a heat plate or roaster to turn them into a brown shade. You can then enjoy the coffee after cooling and grinding it.

This method might not be easy and quick, but you can try this method for fresher coffee. We highly recommend storing the green coffee bags in a large tub to keep them away from rodents, insects, and small animals. This way, the coffee can stay 100% safe.

Try using multiple small bags to store the green beans, as you can open just one, roast that batch, and use it for a month. This process will keep the rest of the beans safe and fresh for later consumption.

Roasting Green Coffee During SHTF Events

Step 1. Green bean roast to the “first crack.”

The first crack is the first step after opening the mylar sealed green beans you stored a few years back. Put the beans on a roaster and start roasting; within a few minutes, you will see a change in their color as they turn into a more light-yellow color.

The beans would also begin steaming heavily. After the water evaporates, you will hear the first crack, this is the starting process, and from that moment, your actual roasting process begins.

The sugars start to caramelize, water keeps releasing, and the oils begin breaking the structure. You can stop after a while during the first crack process if you enjoy lightly roasted coffee. It is because the beans have the most amount of caffeine during this stage of the roast.

Step 2. Bean roast to the “second crack.”

coffee beans roasting at home

When you continue to roast, the beans start to caramelize even more. As soon as you hear the crackling second crack, you will see the chaff blowing away.

It would help if you stopped at this stage to get a nice and deep roast. The sugars burn during the second crack, and the smoke gets pungent. The beans also take an oily appearance.

After you are done, let it cool and de-husk the seeds and grind for a strong cup of joe. If you want an ultra-dark roast, you can let the beans get a little heat for some time. If you store the beans in small packages, you can have the freedom to create various roasts from light to dark for variety.

Additional Tips

  • Avoid storing your coffee beans in a glass jar. Even if the pot is air-tight, we do not recommend transparent glass jars for storage as light permeates through the jar with ease. Transparent jars can damage the beans and make the coffee stale.
  • Pack in small sizes and keep all these mini packets in one mega-sized tub in the coolest and darkest place in your stockpile pantry. Do not open the tub constantly to access the pack. If you have opened one packet, roast the entire batch and use it.
  • If you wish to freeze the beans, keep the packet away from extra smelly and spicy food. Storing the coffee away will keep the beans fresh, and your coffee would not have a lingering smell of fish, meat, or spices.
  • Even if you have roasted your batch, avoid keeping the coffee on your window or near the light. A cupboard is your best friend if you wish to keep your coffee fresh, solid, and intense.


We hope our ultimate coffee guide gives you ample suggestions and ways to keep your coffee fresh and safe for future consumption.

If you aren’t planning on stockpiling the coffee in your SHTF stockpile, we highly recommend that you start collecting it to keep up your morale during tough times and use it as a barter commodity.

Jacob Moore

Jacob Moore is the founder of BasicFoodPrepper.com, and he has spent more time surviving in the wilderness than an average human being. A familiar face from the rural United States, Jacob has always wanted to live close to nature. Even after spending a few years in the buzzing world of cities and 9 to 5 jobs, he managed to get out to the outer world when he got a chance. Jacob would say that hiking is his passion, and he has spent up to several weeks in the wild.