Long Term Coffee Storage: Methods, How To, Tips from Preppers

Did you know that coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world?

You may have noticed this simply by the sheer amount of coffee joints on every street or the large variety of coffee available at the store.

I am definitely in the fold of the vast amount of coffee drinkers in the world as I consume on average a pot of the black gold daily.

That means for people like me, having a plan for coffee when the SHTF is a good idea.

I know, if the world goes wonky it may seem like coffee would be low on the list of priorities and ultimately it is.

However, consider these two reasons for having a long-term coffee storage plan.

Why Store Coffee Long-Term?


Drinking small amounts of coffee does have some overall health benefits. But it is also important to remember the effects of caffeine withdrawal from heavy coffee drinkers.

These can include blinding headaches and extreme irritability. Not a good combination in an already stressful situation. 


Coffee is one of those comfort, social drinks. You ask a friend out for a cup of coffee or when family comes to visit you may offer them the same. During times of hardship, coffee will be difficult to come by.

Having some coffee stockpiled away could help in trading for something you need or in offering someone a nicety.

How To Store Coffee For Long-Term Storage

There are three basic types of coffee that can be stored. They are:

  1. Whole beans
  2. Ground
  3. Freeze-dried

Just like with many other types of food, the enemies of coffee are moisture, air, light, and temperature. When exposed to these elements coffee begins to lose that fresh taste and starts to go bad. I will hit on some of the ways to deal with these in the following methods for storing coffee.

Whole and Green Beans

Shelf life: Several months or up to two years frozen

If you are primarily concerned with the freshness of your coffee, then storing whole beans is the best way to go. Once beans have been ground, they begin losing that fresh taste much faster. But whole beans when stored properly can last for several months in a cabinet to a year or more when frozen. You can choose between storing whole roasted beans or whole green (unroasted) beans.

Whole Beans

whole beans are great for long term coffee storage

You can buy whole beans at most local stores that sell coffee. However, most store-bought food packaging is not conducive for long term storage.

If the bag the beans come in does not have an airtight seal, then transfer them over to a glass or other natural container with a tight light. It is best if the glass is dark so that the beans are not affected as much by light.

The beans should then be stored in a cool, dry, dark place. This means unless you intend on using them soon, they should not be sitting on your kitchen counter but instead inside of a cabinet or pantry.

Stored in this manner beans should last a few months. But when stored in an airtight container and frozen they can last up to two years or more.

Once you are ready for a cup of Joe, only take out the number of beans you need and grind them up.

Green Beans

Green coffee beans will need to be bought online or at a specialty store.

The process of storing them is the same as whole beans.

But there is an extra step to using this type of bean. When you are ready for a cup the beans will need to be roasted first before they are used in a grinder. This can be done in a skillet on the stove or in a roasting machine that can be bought online.

Most people agree that coffee should not be stored in a refrigerator because it is particularly good at absorbing nearby food smells. That means your next cup of coffee could taste like onions or a mixture of whatever you have in your refrigerator.

But when it comes to storing coffee in the freezer, I have read varying opinions on it. Some say that the best temperature for storing coffee is at room temperature. While on the other hand, I have read reports of people who think their coffee tastes simply fine after freezing.

I think freezing coffee will make it last longer but could diminish its taste over time.

If you choose to freeze your coffee it would be best to do so in an airtight container such as a vacuumed sealed bag. Place portion sized amounts of coffee into these bags to limit unused coffee to unfreezing and air.

Ground Coffee

Shelf life: one year or two years frozen

ground coffee storage

Buying prepackaged ground coffee at the store is going to be the most cost-effective.

While it will last longer than whole beans you should go by the expiration date on the package. Most prepackaged ground coffee is good for up to a and even a few months past the expiration date, especially when it is frozen. When freezing it is best to vacuum seal the coffee before freezing.

In my experience, coffee opened shortly after its expiration date still tastes alright.

I had several cans of coffee stored away in my pantry that had gone past their expiration date to different degrees. At one point I decided to do a taste test of all three of them.

The first can was one-month past expiration and it tasted relatively fine.

The second can was three months past expiration and it taste less fresh then the first can but was tolerable.

The last can was six months past expiration and it tasted awful.

Keep in mind that these timeframes and freshness can vary between brands and the type of containers they are stored in.

Freeze Dried Coffee

Shelf life: thirty years unopened

When you are looking for an exceptionally long shelf life look no further than freeze-dried coffee. While the previous methods of storing coffee were in the range of months to a year, this type of coffee will last decades.

Best Coffee for Long Term Storage: Franklin’s Finest Coffee

I recently had the opportunity to try out some freeze-dried coffee. It was Franklins Finest Coffee offered by My Patriot Supply.

When stockpiling coffee for the long haul you are not going to do much better than this as unopened package lasts up to thirty years! Though comparatively, instant coffee can last up to twenty years.


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