Most prepping advice comes from professional preppers. And when it comes to coffee, they don't know squat. Well, you're in luck. In this article, you may not be getting advice from a professional prepper, but what you are getting is advice from a professional coffee expert, who's also an amateur prepper. I've developed a fool-proof way to preserve the right coffee. The operative word here is "right". Bad coffee doesn't cut it when you're living on beans and rice. This "Prepper's guide to Coffee" will cover everything you need to know about how coffee could save your life.
What is a Prepper
Just in case we have a non-prepper reading this article, let's define, what is a Prepper? For the purpose of this article a Prepper prepares for an interruption in services. Those services may be water, electricity, natural gas, food, gasoline, police, fire, ambulance, healthcare, etc. The interruption may range from a minor inconvenience all the way up to a major disaster, i.e. SHTF (when the shit hits the fan).
Food Variety and Quality May Save Your Life
When people get bored they make stupid decisions. This is a fact of life. Just talk to any Sargent in the Army or Marines. He'll back up this truth.
A great example of this comes from a recent reality TV show called "Hunted". In the show a couple tries to hide from an expert team of modern day bounty hunters. If after 28 days, they haven't been caught, they win $250,000.
One couple went camping in a swamp. On day 25, they couldn't take it any more and they snuck into town for a hamburger and fries. You know what happened. They got caught. A hamburger and fries cost them $250,000.
Bored people make stupid decisions. And where do people get the most bored? Often stupidity is proceeded by the same lousy boring food day after day. Your life, may just come down to food variety and quality.
What Beans Should You Buy?
If you don't care about good quality coffee, then save yourself some money and just buy caffeine pills. They're cheap. Look, when SHTF happens, you're really going to appreciate an "ahhhhh" moment. I mean a moment like, "OMG that's good coffee". "That's really good coffee". With a moment like that every morning, you can put up with a lot of adversity.
Don't buy crappy beans. Buy the best beans with a big Quality Per Price Ratio (QPR). In my long experience with coffee, the very best beans at a very reasonable price come from the Tarrazu Region of Costa Rica. 100% of our beans come from this region. I have many customers with hundreds of pounds of these beans. Why? Because these beans are awesome.
Preserving Roasted Beans vs Raw Green Beans
Back in you great-grandmother's day, there was no such thing as buying "roasted" beans. Everyone from downtown New York to the cowboys on the pains purchased green beans. Then they roasted those beans themselves. Why? Because raw green beans last darn near forever, where roasted beans generally will last at best 30 days. Yet, 99% of the roasted beans that you buy in a store or a coffee shop have been sitting in warehouses or store shelves for months if not years.
Sealing roasted beans or raw green beans in an air-tight container along with the appropriate size oxygen absorber will prolong the fresh taste of the beans for a very long time. I highly recommend buying your oxygen absorbers from PackFreshUSA.com. They too are a small mom-n-pop business with an awesome product and great support. I use one 100cc packet for each pound of coffee.
Roasted beans preserved in this way, a full year later will taste 90% as good as day old beans. Raw green beans preserved this way, 10 years later, will taste 90% as good as fresh beans. I don't know this as fact, but I'd be willing to bet that 20 years later, they'll taste 80% as good as fresh beans.
For detailed descriptions on my coffee bean preservation methods, read these two articles:
How To Roast Your Own Beans
Not only is roasting your own beans easy, but it's also fun. Just like great-grandma used to do, just grab a cast-iron skillet and a wooden spoon.
- Toss a couple of cups of your raw green beans into a cast-iron skillet
- Put that skillet on your stove, or fire pit grate
- You're looking for a medium heat source, i.e. not too hot
- Stir the beans once or twice a minute
- Keep cooking until you like the color (I recommend medium brown to a dark brown, never black)
- Remove your skillet from your heat source
- Pour the roasted beans into a bowl or sieve to cool
- Once cool, put your beans into an air-tight container
- If you have oxygen absorbers, add one of those
That's pretty much it. If you have good quality beans, you're in for a big surprise. Your fresh roasted coffee is going taste better and unlike than any coffee you've ever had.
How To Grind SHTF Coffee Beans
Hey, if you're stuck without electricity, how do you grind your coffee beans? Well the obvious choice is to use a manual coffee grinder. I do it every day and I'm not without electricity. You could also use two rocks, a hammer, rolling-pin, etc. For a full list of non-electrical grinding options see my article How To Grind Coffee Without a Grinder.
Here is one very important point. Never buy pre-ground coffee. Why? Because pre-ground coffee spoils 10 times faster than whole bean coffee. Besides, you wouldn't want to show up to a zombie apocalypse meeting with pre-ground coffee. Your hosts would immediately know that you don't know what you're doing and you'd probably become the main course for dinner.
How To Brew SHTF Coffee
Yes I know you all love your espresso or drip coffee machine, but I'm telling you when you don't have electricity, what are you going to do? If you can heat water, then you can easily make a pot or single cup of great coffee. See my Brewing Equipment Page for detailed descriptions and videos of my top three brewing choices for SHTF Coffee.
- Percolator - Yes, I know you're face is all screwed up at the moment, but give me a moment and I'll tell you how to use a percolator that's as good as most brewing methods. Back in the 60's and 70's your mother or grand-mother used a percolator and the coffee was nasty. I'm sorry to break it to you, but it wasn't the percolator's fault. Their mistake was percolating the coffee for 5-10 minutes. Here's the trick. Once you see the coffee gurgle in the clear bulb on top, let it keep percolating for only 2-3 minutes. Like me, you'll be amazed at how good the coffee can be.
- French Press - You can make 1-4 cups of coffee with a French Press. All you need is hot water. This is one of my top 3 methods of brewing coffee.
- AeroPress - The AeroPress is also one of my go-to brewing methods. They're cheap, easy to use, and all you need is hot water.
Lake City Coffee
Most of my life, I hated coffee. Then in 2013, I tasted coffee that was roasted the day before. "Holy Cow Batman!" Was that coffee awesome. From that point on, I've been on the search for the single best coffee bean on the planet that I could afford. Alisha and I settled on coffee from the Tarrazu Region of Costa Rica.
As you might guess, I roast for Alisha and myself and you guys get what's left over. That's why Lake City Coffee offers only one bean and 3 roasts. Period. Can you find great coffee that's not from the Tarrazu Region of Costa Rica, sure you can, but you'll pay three to five times as much money. Our coffee is the best bang for the buck that you'll find. Besides, who else do you know that puts the roast date on the bag? Who else do you know that ships the beans when their still warm? That's why we say, "From our roaster to your table in 24-72 hours."