Thursday, April 18, 2013

Small Things & My Thoughts on Coffee, Shelf life, and the SHTF.

The people that regularly read my blog know that I enjoy doing the grocery shopping for our home. It gives me the chance to be on the lookout for any new foods that might prove useful for backpacking, or prepping.  

A person can have the very basic food stuffs to survive a snowstorm, electrical outage, or even a long term emergency situation and be fine. I'm thinking that I'd like to have at least some small luxuries while "surviving" the situation.

I'm positive that my boys would like chocolate powder for their milk and butter [ghee] for their homemade bread in a crisis event.

Heck, sugar for some sweet tea would go a long way in brightening up a long day. It will be the small luxuries that can change an intolerable situation to a little better one. A book to read by the candlelight when the power goes out....I could give numerous examples of the "small things".


I noticed at the store that various packaging of coffee lasts longer than others. Not a big deal in itself nor groundbreaking research, but an observation none the less. I visited three stores an averaged the shelf life of various packaging techniques of coffee. I only looked at ground coffee, since grinding the beans might be an issue if there wasn't any power.

The expiration dates on coffee only represents the date in which the company will stand behind it for taste and quality. In my experience, I have had coffee that "expired" over a year ago, and it was still good.

Ground coffee

Non-vacuum packed bags about 2-8 months out

Plastic/paper containers about  8-14 months on average

Metal rounds, vacuum packed mylar brick bags about 18-26 months out. Note: A chicory blend was included that shortened the mean average. I don't know if the blend is a poor seller or if the blend doesn't store well. Either way, expect close to 2 years with non-blends.

Keep Right On Prepping - K

What "small things" do you stock to make bad situations a little better? Comments are welcomed.


  1. I was stocking coffee for the Mrs. then I noticed she had used most of it lol from running out herself.

    My wife is the worst at stocking up I swear.

    1. "Borrowing" and not replacing an item is probably the biggest loss for a SHTF pantry!

  2. I've been experimenting with making some very random non-essentials at home. The sourdough project is going well enough that I have extra bread at the end of the week, so its homemade sourdough croutons and gourmet bread crumbs, plus I started playing with vinegar- it might not be very sustainable, but I've turned out some tasty homemade vinaigrette. Subsistance fare will get you through, but being able to jazz up the flavors and textures makes a big difference between surviving and thriving.

  3. Hadn't really thought about it before. I like your ideas.
    I think I should look into this Ghee, too. Thanks for a good post!

    1. Ghee or clarified butter is readily available at the organic grocery stores or high-end food boutiques. While a little bit more expensive than butter, it is ready for storage. A few jars in the back of the frig will last quite a while. (Plus, you don't have to pay for shipping)

    2. That's good to know! Thanks, K!

  4. I keep five bars of Cadbury's chocolate together, wrapped in tin foil and kept in a cookie tin in a cool locked cabinet. This little joy can be a treasure during a winter storm or three and will last 1-2 years. I rotate them at the 18 month part by shaving the chocolate for the tops of cup cakes, cakes or chocolate chip bread. It's more expensive, but it is one of my few luxuries.

    1. A world without chocolate just isn't right. We need to add more chocolate to our stash, and some tootsie rolls too. The boys love those.

  5. Coffee is on the essential