(This is probably an opinion question.)

With the coronavirus I've been stocking up on foods that last, and that I like to eat. Example, I love figs and dried fruit and eat them daily so I've bought three months worth. I don't like canned sardines so I didn't stock up on that as I would never eat them unless I was under duress.

So the thought went to coffee. I buy my coffee from a local roaster with a store a few blocks from where I live. As a result I don't buy a lot of coffee at one time. In my experience coffee beans are at their best for about two weeks after roasting and start losing their flavor after about a month.

So - and this is an opinion question: How best to provide for a three to six month shortage.

  1. Buy beans and have them get stale OR
  2. Buy packaged coffee: Cafe Bustello or illy?

Yeah. I know. People are dying and hurting and I'm concerned about sitting around in my apartment without any coffee. Chances are this will not be the Zombie Apocalypse; nor will it be a major pandemic outside of China.

But the question remains - how best to stock up for 3-6 months AND not "waste" ones money buying things that one would not use under normal conditions?

TL/DR - After 6 months storage which would be superior - buying cans of illy or freshly roasted beans stored in a bail lid jars?

  • 1
    This question is perfectly titled for Hot Network Questions; if only this site got enough traffic so that it'd end up there! =)
    – Rob
    Feb 20, 2020 at 7:14

2 Answers 2


Freshly roasted beans start degrading after a week or so. Maybe buying cans of beans - ground or not - would be your best choice for drinking not so great coffee during the end days. Check that they "vacuum pack". Maybe that helps.

I would make another choice: properly stored green coffee beans can last for year. Then I would roast it (your going to have filled propane tanks, right?). You can roast a lot of coffee from one 5 gal propane tank.

That is my selected choice and I am prepared.

  • 1
    No. In my city apartment I don't have propane. The rational is that should NYC ever get to the point where electricity, gas, water and garbage pick-up stops happening we're truly in a SHTF scenario. At that point I will be with my family far away from NYC And, if I'm not, I've got far more serious problems then being without coffee.
    – Mayo
    Feb 18, 2020 at 23:12
  • 1
    The green coffee solution is very interesting. I've been thinking about home roasting coffee for a while now. ... This is a very interesting idea. Thx.
    – Mayo
    Feb 18, 2020 at 23:13
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    Vacuum sealing it yourself is a great way to preserve coffee beans. Once you invest in the vacuum sealer (I got a used one on Craig's List), you can vacuum seal a lot of things for your disaster prep.
    – Arlo
    Feb 19, 2020 at 18:15

This may be a controversial opinion, but i believe freezing coffee beans is a perfectly valid preservation technique, if you only take care to avoid any contact with humid air.

That means freezing in air-tight, evacuated bags, and bringing up to room temperature completely before opening the bag again.

Edit: There's a new video by coffe guru James Hoffmann out, where he basically says the same things as i did here. I feel vindicated :)

  • Interesting. I'll have to ask my roaster what he thinks about that. This could solve the 3-6 month problem. :)
    – Mayo
    Feb 19, 2020 at 15:16
  • I spoke to my roaster. She was opposed to freezing already roasted beans (in general) and didn't know about air-tight, evacuated bags.
    – Mayo
    Feb 24, 2020 at 14:01
  • 2
    I tested sealed bags of beans in the freezer vs. cabinet using the triangle test. Opening bags to test after a couple days and more bags after 4 weeks, nobody could distinguish frozen vs. cabinet beans. After 12 weeks, everyone could easily tell. The frozen beans lasted quite well. In informal testing, frozen beans do degrade by 6 months.
    – Jerry101
    Mar 1, 2020 at 7:15
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    @Jerry101 - thx. That's really good information.
    – Mayo
    Mar 2, 2020 at 15:01
  • 1
    from what I recall in reading is that as long as frozen beans are kept sealed until use, this freezing should work fine. Where it goes wrong is using frozen beans daily. It's the action of opening the frozen beans in a warm environment, using some and then putting them back into the freezer is where it all goes wrong. Something about moisture and condensation.
    – Jim
    Mar 4, 2020 at 15:46

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