Chances are pretty high you start your day with at least one cup of coffee. And there are enough apocalypse books out there that show that coffee can be almost as hot a commodity as things like gardening seeds and personal protection equipment. So it is definitely something you want to keep in your prepper supplies, even if you don’t drink it yourself.
That said, coffee does not last a terribly long time – up to a year usually. If you drink coffee, the easiest thing to do can be to just use the specific type of coffee you use and rotate it in and out of your emergency supplies using the FIFO (first in, first out) method. And you really should consider grinding your own beans, since ground coffee has a much shorter shelf life than if you grind it yourself.
The shelf life of coffee beans can vary depending on several factors, including the type of bean, the roast level, and how they are stored. As a general rule, coffee beans are at their freshest within a few weeks of being roasted, and their quality can start to degrade over time.
However, if coffee beans are stored properly, they can still be used for several months, and sometimes up to a year or more, after the roast date. The key to long-term storage is to keep the beans in an airtight container, away from light, heat, and moisture.
Some experts recommend using coffee beans within 6 to 9 months of the roast date, while others suggest that high-quality beans can still be used for up to a year after roasting. Ultimately, the best way to determine if coffee beans are still good is to use your senses. If the beans have a strong, pleasant aroma and are free from any signs of mold or moisture, they are likely still good to use. However, if the beans have a dull or musty aroma or appear to be oily or sticky, they may have gone stale or rancid and should be discarded.
So what are ways you can store your beans to ensure the longest shelf life?
Storing coffee beans properly is important for maintaining their flavor and freshness over time. Here are some tips for long-term storage of coffee beans:
- Choose the right container: The ideal storage container for coffee beans is airtight, opaque, and made of materials that won’t impart any flavors or odors into the coffee. Glass, ceramic, or stainless steel containers with airtight seals are good choices. Avoid using clear containers, as light can cause coffee beans to degrade.
- Keep away from light, heat, and moisture: Store coffee beans in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight, heat sources, and moisture. Avoid storing coffee beans in the refrigerator or freezer, as they can absorb moisture and odors from other foods.
- Store in small batches: Instead of storing a large quantity of coffee beans in one container, it’s better to store them in smaller batches. This way, you can open one container at a time, reducing the amount of exposure to air and light. If you are following FIFO because your coffee stash is also for personal use, figure out what a 2-3 week supply of beans is, and seal that much. If you buy beans in bulk, it will keep them fresher longer if you split them into smaller batches instead, rather than having the entire bag opened and shortening the shelf life once it is opened.
- Don’t grind until ready to use: Whole coffee beans stay fresh longer than ground coffee. If possible, grind the beans just before brewing to maximize freshness.
- Consider using oxygen absorbers: Oxygen absorbers are small packets that can be added to coffee bean storage containers to absorb any remaining oxygen and reduce the risk of oxidation. This can help extend the shelf life of your coffee beans.
- Use a roast date label: It’s a good idea to label your coffee bean storage containers with the roast date, so you can keep track of when the beans were roasted. Coffee beans are at their freshest within a few weeks of roasting, so it’s best to use them within that time frame.
By following these tips, you can help ensure your coffee beans stay fresh and flavorful for as long as possible in your prep supplies.