How to prepare your family to survive and thrive in todays uncertain world

How To Store Coffee For The Long Term

coffee cup jannik@flickr 300x300 How To Store Coffee For The Long TermBased on the number of questions I’ve gotten about this, you’d think that about 90% of my readership is addicted to coffee. And, well, I can’t say that I am much different.

So in the best interests of all of us, I want to share with you everything I know about storing coffee for mid to long time periods.

But before I do, I need to tell you that I am by no means a coffee aficionado, and I’m not one of those people who freaks out if things aren’t perfectly brewed and perfectly fresh.

While I don’t really like drinking instant coffee like Folgers, I’m not one of those folks that says that coffee is no good a few days after it’s been roasted!

Storing Coffee For Less Than One Year

Your options for storing coffee for under a year are actually pretty wide open.  You can use ground or whole bean coffee, stored in the original packaging.

As long as you don’t open the original packaging, you’re good for a year or so with nothing other than storing it in a cool place with minimal temperature fluctuation.

I recommend that you stock up enough of your daily brew to last you that year, and rotate it throughout the year.  You’ll always have a good amount of coffee on hand, you can pick and choose when to buy it, and what to buy.

Storing Coffee For Longer Than One Year

green coffee beans shootina710is@flickr 300x441 How To Store Coffee For The Long TermThis is where it starts to get interesting.  See, when you grind coffee and expose it to air, it starts to lose quality.  Even if you don’t grind it, it still slowly loses quality.

So for longer term storage, you should think about storing green coffee beans.  Green beans are coffee beans that have not been roasted.

For proper storage, you want to portion the beans into smaller portions.  Shoot for portions you’ll use weekly or monthly.

Once these are portioned out, put them in your mylar bags with an oxygen absorber and seal as usual.

Put the mylar bags into your four gallon square bucket and store for several years.

I’ve heard conflicting reports that green coffee beans can store for up to ten years if stored with no exposure to air and in mostly constant temperature.

I should note that in my personal opinion, even if your coffee loses quality, if it’s not available at all, you’re not going to be all that picky!  I know that I won’t!

Using Green Coffee Beans

Obviously you can’t just grind and brew green coffee beans.  You have to roast them.  But before you can do that, you need to have the right equipment and know what you’re doing.

I’ll have a separate post soon talking about how to roast green coffee beans!

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16 Responses to How To Store Coffee For The Long Term

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  2. RSA Now says:

    Huh I have never thought about storing them green! Can’t wait to see your roasting post :) (Yes I’m obviously part of the addicted 90%)

  3. Greg says:

    Having a good supply of coffee has other advantages besides staying awake. At one of our emergency preparedness classes, one person who escaped from the communists in eastern Europe said that while gold and jewelry were OK for trading, they could trade coffee for nearly anything. It got them to freedom in the west.

    My question, then, is if I vacuum seal 1 lb packets of ground coffee, how long will it keep? Same question, but for whole beans also. We have a grinder, so we can make any quantity, but for our bug-out bags, ground is far more accessible.

    • Rudy Kearney says:

      From what I can tell, you can store ground coffee for a year or two if you don’t care too much about the actual quality of the coffee.

      I am not much of a ‘coffee snob’ so I wouldn’t really care in a EOTW situation how good it tastes as long as I have it :)

      I think putting vacuum packed coffee grounds in a BOB is a good idea, though I’d probably use a food sealer and pre-portion it into small bags so opening one pouch doesn’t affect your entire coffee stash.

  4. Dinah says:

    I am a coffee aficionado. Green beans can be purchased at http://www.sweetmarias.com They avg. $6.00/lb They get fresh shipments in almost weekly from around the world. They have great information on types of coffee and storage. Green beans are best stored in mylar with oxygen absorbers or glass mason jars with air removed from a food saver. Keep dark, keep cool. One guy used an old refrigerator filled with mason jars. ROASTING bottom line I can roast coffee on a BBQ grill in a frying pan. It’s that simple. Do not roast coffee inside your house because your fire alarms will go off. I have a special fan in the window that exits the fumes. Bottom line is you do not need a fancy roaster that runs on electricity but if you want one research them and check their warranties.

  5. Jimi Mac says:

    This is a question regarding instant coffee. What are the possibilities/probabilities of long term storage of instant coffee, while still in the original, unopened (seal not broken) container, enclosed in a Mylar bag? In other words, take a jar (or two, or three), of instant coffee, place in Mylar bag, toss in the oxygen absorber, seal. How long would you think it would store?

    • Rudy Kearney says:

      Indefinitely. Instant coffee is freeze dried, so you’re a leg up there anyways. The jar is pretty much completely vacuum sealed already, so the mylar is just a side benefit. I might even skip the mylar bag and just store the jar unless it’s plastic, which is permeable. Then again, I haven’t bought instant coffee for a long time and don’t know if it’s still in glass or not!

      In any case, your only concern will be quality, but it should hold up pretty well, and if you DO end up in an emergency circumstance, even the worst coffee will probably taste like it’s from heaven.

  6. Bigfeet says:

    We are addicted to coffee and were concerned that we may be forced to drink cheap canned coffee since good beans are generally packed for short term storage. Started reading about how to store beans for the long term. Preserving coffee is not just vacuum packing, throwing in the freezer.

    Coffee is one of the best barter items. In times of trouble, we will need all the barter items that we can get. Barter may be the only way to get the items you need but don’t have. I have spent a small fortune on preserved foods for my family and am now buying the foods that go beyond “Surviving” and aid in “living”.

  7. Dinah Miller says:

    Hi Rudy. Have the coffee aficionado check out http://www.sweetmarias.com It’s an Oakland, CA based company that sells green beans from around the world, and they sell roast equipment and a whole pot of information on coffee, coffee storage, etc.

    • Rudy Kearney says:

      I’ve heard good things about them… I’m thinking about buying some roasting equipment from them and giving it a try. know anyone over there?

      • Dinah says:

        Update. Just go to their homepage. There are getting in some really great coffees this last month. I’m drinking one from Java with nutting tones, yum yum. I use my food saver and store the coffee beans in mason jars and mylar bags, and store them in the dark in the cellar. I recently opened a mylar bag that was over two years old and it tasted totally fresh. Green beans way to go. $170 roaster. $20 grinder (I have a hand mill too!)

  8. elaine says:

    folgers has started- at least i have not seen them before- single serving “tubes” of coffee- they ar enot that expensive for use in a BOB- i think i got 4 of them for $4- i also have single servings of tea and of course cocoa- i have bought an enameled coffee pot with a peculator for cowboy coffee for hubby- and some instant coffee does still come in glass while others come in plastic- depends on the brand

    • Rudy Kearney says:

      I have used some of the Starbucks tubes that you describe. They’re not great, but when you’re out camping and you just want a cup, they work great. And at that point, who cares what it tastes like? :)

  9. TongaTebah says:

    Coffee-Reserves has coffee already packed for long term storage.

    I did a little math and found that after I have bought the coffee, bought the buckets, bought the o2 absorber, I would have more into it than if I have bough it already packed. Not only that, I just don’t have the time to invest in finding all the stuff need to pack it.
    I bought all my food packed the long term, why would I stop there with my coffee?

    Hello Kristi, looking forward to you and Matt coming home to the good ‘ol USA

  10. Anne Ollamha says:

    For truly long term self-reliance (for those who have the climate for it), growing your own patch of coffee shrubs seems like a grand idea.

  11. young homesteader says:

    I roast green beans in my stainless popcorn popper on the BBQ side burner. been roasting my own for 10 years. now going back, I never have any bitterness