I know a lot of preppers that attempt to preserve roasted coffee. Bad idea. At best, roasted coffee will last a year. On the other hand, if you want to Preserve Green Coffee Beans for 10+ years, that’s an entirely different story. Let’s explore green coffee beans, where to find the right beans, how to preserve them, and how to roast them.
Why Roasted Coffee Doesn’t Last
Few people know that once coffee is roasted, it starts going stale immediately. By “stale”, I mean bitter. Within a few weeks, you can taste the difference. Yet, a vast majority of coffee sold in the U.S. was roasted months, if not years, ago. No wonder most coffee in the U.S. isn’t worth feeding to pigs.
Here’s why. Oil. Yep, the oils within the coffee bean contain all the good stuff that God put into those beans; the bioflavonoids, antioxidants, caffeine, and yes flavor. Without the oils, you have nothing. Unfortunately, most industrial coffee companies (Maxwell House, Yuban, Kirkland, and Starbucks, to name a few) burn the living snot out of their beans, thus boiling off almost all of the oils. That’s why you end up with coffee that’s little more than charcoal, in which case, you might as well be drinking Kingsford Charcoal.
If by chance, you do end up with roasted coffee beans that haven’t been burnt beyond recognition, then those oils within the roasted beans will start to evaporate, dissipate, and cease to exist over time. The rule of thumb is that roasted coffee is no longer fresh after 30 days. The taste difference between 2-day old roasted coffee and 2-month old roasted coffee is like the difference between night and day. It’s painfully obvious.
How To Preserve Roasted Coffee?
At Lake City Coffee, when one of my customers orders 3 bags of coffee, we include free shipping. In fact, the coffee is so fresh that the coffee is still warm when I put the bags into the shipping box.
That first bag of coffee is so fresh, that people feel like they’ve died and gone to heaven. The real rub is that 2nd and 3rd bag. By the time you get to those bags, they’re going to be a few weeks old and that’s just not going to cut it for me or my customers.
I spent weeks researching and experimenting to find a “hack” that would preserve that 3rd bag to taste “almost” as good as the first. By almost, I mean tasting at least 90% as good as the 1st bag. The results of this research are detailed in an article that I wrote “How to Keep Roasted Coffee Fresh for Months”.
How Long Do Green Coffee Beans Normally Last?
Coffee is grown on a bush with what looks like cherries. The cherries are picked, typically washed, and dried. The result is a pit that looks like a bean, hence the term “coffee bean”. Remember those “oils” that we spoke of? Preserving coffee beans, whether green or roasted, is all about preserving those oils.
As a coffee roaster, we receive bags of coffee beans that weigh 69Kg or roughly 152 pounds. The bags are either burlap, thus breathable and susceptible to moisture, or the burlap bags which also include inside a very thick and sealed plastic bag. These “GreenPro” plastic bags keep the beans dry.
If we did nothing with the 69Kg bag of green beans, and if the beans remained dry, not too cool, or not too hot, then they’ll last pretty well, all by themselves, for several years.
How To Roast Green Coffee Beans
Roasting your own coffee kind of freaks people out. Trust me, this isn’t rocket science and actually, it’s kind of fun. After all, everyone, and I mean everyone, roasted their own coffee prior to WWI. AND they roasted only enough to be used over the next week or two.
If we’re talking about a SHTF environment, then let’s keep it simple. First, you can simply use a cast iron skillet on a stove and stir with a wooden spoon. The second method is use a cookie sheet in the oven. Both methods take about 10 minutes, depending on your heat source. What you’re looking for is the right color; medium brown for medium roast and dark brown for dark roast. And for God’s sake don’t burn the beans! If they’re black, then toss them out. The only idiot that would drink burnt coffee are the folks dumb enough to walk into Charbucks. Sorry, to go off on you, this is a touchy subject to coffee roaster.
What Beans Should You Buy?
Drink what you like. If you don’t like my coffee or my recommendations, then go with what you do like. It’s my opinion, that most people, having never had great coffee, haven’t a clue what they do like.
I personally like coffee that’s smooth as silk, i.e. zero bitterness, with strong notes of chocolate. Since that’s what I like, that’s what I buy and it’s the only thing I sell.
In my opinion, the best coffee, meeting those two requirements, comes from the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica. So, 100% of the beans that I source come from there.
Lake City Coffee
Alisha and I started Lake City Coffee back in 2015. Although we’ve doubled sales each year, we’re till a small Mom-n-Pop business. We roast and ship every Tuesday. The roasted beans are so fresh, that they’re still warm when I put them into the shipping box. With coffee that fresh, you’ll definitely notice the difference.
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