If you are anything like me, there’s nothing like that first sip of piping hot coffee in the crisp, cool, and silent morning mountain air, then you’ll understand the importance of making sure you’ve got your ‘cup of joe’ covered, even if the SHTF. Here are some tips and tricks to prepare for the worst, while still making sure you continue to enjoy the simple things in life – like your morning coffee.
Did you know that coffee restores mental alertness just seconds after you drink it? Although we’re primarily concerned here with it as a drink, caffeine, as well as ground coffee, is available in other forms, such as tablets and as an ingredient in a mixture. It takes a lot to overdose, and the lethal dose for an adult is 150 to 200 mg of caffeine per kg of body weight. To place this into perspective, if you weighed about 120 lbs., you would have to drink about 75 cups of coffee before you checked into the big Starbuck’s in the sky.
Coffee beans will last up to three years, but without electricity, or your handy Keurig, how will you prepare it? Well, plan for coffee after the apocalypse today so that should the worst-case scenario indeed come to pass (or even a far-from-worst-case-but-totally-normal hurricane, snowstorm, or blackout) you’ll be able to move into an electricity-free world with ease; at least when it comes to your coffee. There are many “off the grid” coffee makers, and those who often camp know a percolator can be invaluable. A percolator allows coffee to be made right over the campfire. The Yosemite percolator is an excellent choice, and it’s a bit heftier than the granite-colored ones we tend to think of from years past. Steer clear of vintage glass percolators simply because they just aren’t as practical and all that glass can be a tad nerve-wracking to deal with.
If you don’t have a certain nostalgic attachment to a percolator, a French press could be another excellent cord-free option. In fact, this one has three stainless steel screens as its filter, using food-grade stainless steel. That helps make the double-wall french press eliminate the risk of cracking and reduce the effects of acid. The French coffee press has some really great things going for it for us “preppers” that are difficult to ignore. For example, there’s no moving parts or gaskets to wear out over the long term, thus ensuring coffee for as long as you have beans. The French press also doesn’t ever have to touch fire directly, so you don’t have to worry about messing it up over a campfire. All you need to heat up is just some plain water and since the ground beans you would use are more coarse, so they are much easier to crank out by hand. You could even pummel some beans with a rock if you wanted to get them smashed up.
Another option would be “cold brewed coffee.” Caribou Coffee, for example, makes their iced coffee this way, and it is pretty good because there’s less acid in cold-brewed coffee, which makes it super smooth and easy to down. And have no fear! You don’t have to drink it cold. You can simply heat it up and have a nice cup of hot, low-acid coffee. A great way to make cold-brewed coffee is using The Toddy. Because you brew 12 – 16 ounces of coffee beans all at once, you make a coffee concentrate that will last for 3 weeks at a time. This could be a huge plus for us in the post-apocalyptic world.
If comfort in smashing beans is essential, consider purchasing a handheld spice grinder. It’ll work great on your coffee beans, and some are small enough that adding them to your prepper gear or bug-out-bag makes sense – especially if you love your coffee!
Now that we’ve got the hard part (making coffee without electricity) out of the way, what about coffee beans and the storage of those beans? As mentioned earlier, unground whole roasted coffee beans can last up to three years. But if stored correctly, you can get many more years out of a coffee bean. Your beans’ greatest enemies are air, moisture, heat, and light. Keep your coffee beans in a dark and cool location. To preserve your coffee beans’ fresh roasted flavor for as long as possible, store them in an opaque, air-tight container. You’ll want to avoid clear canisters which will allow light to compromise the taste of your coffee.
Another tip you might want to consider is stocking up on some green coffee beans. These beans are unroasted and will keep for a very long time by comparison. This allows you to roast only the beans you’ll need for the upcoming weeks to prevent the coffee beans from deteriorating – which begins about six weeks after roasting. And the roasting is a rather simple process too. You’ll also get to roast the beans to your liking. Just put the beans in a frying pan or soup pot that you’ve heated up over a fire. This can be difficult to master, as the beans should be roasted evenly, but practice now before the SHTF so you can be prepared and caffeinated.
Other preppers detail how to use an old-fashioned popcorn popper, such as the Whirley-Pop on a good, heavy-duty cook stove. If you don’t have a good multi-fueled cook stove yet, you could consider the Volcano stove. This often requires the purchase of more items, which is why the “pan over the fire” method may appeal more to preppers on the go or those with limited space. But if you’d like to try using a popcorn popper to roast green coffee beans, here’s a helpful guide that will walk you through each step.
If there’s nothing like that hot cup of coffee in the morning to get you going, these tips and tricks should help you prepare to keep that relaxing routine alive and well even if the SHTF!