How To Store Coffee Plus a Giveaway *closed*!

I love helping to support small family businesses and I love coffee so when a friend told me about Brown & Jenkins, a small, family owned coffee roaster in Vermont I was more than intrigued. The more I learned about how their process is organic and they have an eye towards sustainability I became a fan. And then I found out that they are fans of the prepper movement, I thought we were a marriage made in heaven! Given their expertise I asked them to help us learn the best way to store coffee for our preps!

Coffee Beans Brown & Jenkins Coffee is an important part of my short term prep plans but storing coffee as part of long term storage is much trickier. Brown & Jenkins has the following advice:

What is the best way to store coffee?

If you need to extend the shelf life beyond 3 weeks, you should store your coffee in the freezer. Whole beans can be kept fresh in the freezer for up to six months.

They suggest keeping the coffee beans in the poly-lined bag it came in and placing that in a heavy duty freezer bag (ziplock) and storing the beans in the freezer.

Once out of the freezer keep your whole bean coffee in a cool, dry cupboard. Or place in the storage chamber of your mill wheel grinder.

Why should I grind my own coffee?

The truth of the matter is, that ground coffee goes stale much more quickly. Coffee will begin to loose its flavor immediately after grinding. The purchase of a grinder and grinding your own coffee beans just prior to brewing is one of the most important steps you can take to improve the flavor and aroma of your coffee.

Manual Coffee Grinder

This manual coffee grinder (think no electricity) is consistently rated as one of the best by Amazon reviewers

 

How should I grind my coffee?

The simple fact is that the finer the grind, the easier it is for the water to extract the flavor, and the more flavor you will get from a given amount of coffee. So it would seem as though we should grind all our coffee as fine as possible, however two other factors come into play…the brewing method and the clarity we personally desire in the cup.

How fine should I grind my coffee?

This leads us to the brewing method. Basically, you should grind your coffee as finely as your brewing method will allow. You don’t want to slow down the brewing process with a grind too fine for your machine or some unwanted flavor characteristics would begin to be extracted.

Brown & Jenkins suggests grinding coffee you are using in a french press to the same consistency you would for your drip pot. So practice what you would grind your beans to when you have the luxury of an electrical coffee maker and you will be all ready to go when your only option is to use this:

Thermos Nissan 34-Ounce Vacuum Insulated Stainless-Steel Gourmet Coffee Press

More durable than the glass french press and will keep your coffee hotter.

This is all wonderful advice for staying sanely caffeinated in an emergency situation but what if I want to have long term storage of coffee?

The recommend way by most preppers is three things:

  1. Store instant coffee. I wrote a post on my love for Via by Starbucks not too long ago as a short term prepping item.
  2. Store whole green coffee beans, learn how to roast them yourself as needed. You need to store the whole green beans in mylar bags with o2 absorbers like you would most other long term storage items (tutorial coming on mylar soon)
  3. Deal with the degraded taste and store 10# cans of brands like Folgers.

Brown & Jenkins was kind enough to offer two bags of coffee to one lucky reader. You can even visit their site and pick out any of the 10 oz bags you want if you win. After looking through all their flavors, I think I am going to put an order in for the coffee club and look at it as a way to force me to store more coffee with the adage of rotating it out so I am constantly “drinking what I store and storing what I drink”.

 

And in case anyone is wondering on my relationship with them, there really is none except that a good friend works with them and I really admire their commitment to their business and love of coffee. I wasn’t compensated in anyway to tell you about them (I didn’t even get free coffee out of it like the winner will 🙂 )

 

Faraday Cage Fail

This week I tried to build a Faraday Cage. I failed. So instead of this post being about how to build a safe place to keep your electronics, it is now about how I failed at it.

For those of you wondering what the heck I am talking about…A Faraday Cage is a shield that blocks external electric fields. Regardless of its name, it has nothing to do with a LOST character. Why would one need to build a Faraday Cage you ask? The theory is that if an EMP (ElectroMagnetic Pulse) were to occur, all electronic equipment in its area would be destroyed. Placing electronics inside a Faraday Cage protects them from the damage of the pulse. It’s the same reason your cell phone often doesn’t work in an elevator. Pulses can be caused by several things but the prevailing thoughts are that an EMP would come in the form of either a terrorist attack or a solar flare.

EMP bags can be purchased to protect your equipment or you can follow one of the hundreds of youtube videos that claim to help you DIY your own.

I was under the impression all you needed was a steel or other metal container, foam, and cloth to wrap the items in. So I started with my supplies gathered. I was attempting to store away one NOAA radio, an old cell phone, batteries and some AA universal battery chargers for the phone and radio.

Items gathered for DIY Faraday Cage Project

Items gathered for DIY Faraday Cage Project

I had this cute tin I had purchased awhile back from Home Goods. Bonus, no one would realize it right?

Decorative aluminum tin for Faraday Cage

Home Goods- $6. Pretty cage material, huh?

green craft foam to act as insulator in faraday cage

You need to insulate the electronics inside from coming in contact with the metal container. I used 1/2 crafters foam I had around in the garage from an old project.

foam liner for faraday cage

Next I lined the entire tin with the foam and shaped it to fit inside.

electronics wrapped for faraday cage

I wrapped each electronic separately with an old towel and put 3 packs of 4 AA batteries in with them and a few battery chargers that fit the electronics.

Finished Faraday Project

I finished it all up and was quite proud of myself. Who said prepping couldn’t be fashionable?

And then I go the bright idea to test it. I opened it back up and put my cell phone and called it. I was pretty embarrassed to find that I could hear my cell phone ringing. Yikes. It clearly wasn’t blocking the signal. So ,what went wrong? I have a couple theories.

  1. The tin I was using may not be aluminum, steel or thick enough.
  2. I may need to duct tape the lid completely which would ruin my decorator look.
  3. The foam inside wasn’t thick enough.

I will be continuing to test different ways to do this and would love to hear your theories (besides me just being an idiot) as to what I did wrong in the comments. I will post the results so that you can also build one when I get it right. Until then, I think I will investgate the ready made ones and see if that just maybe a prep worth paying for!

 

 

 

 

Adding Coffee To Your Prepping Supplies

Without my coffee I will be a zombie pretty quick! Are you used to grabbing your morning cup of Joe? You may want to include a way to have your morning coffee then!

The other day I was walking through Target when the lure of Starbucks pulled me closer. After buying my iced coffee I eyed these Starbucks Via Iced Caramel packages sitting on the counter. I’ve seen the Via coffee’s before and to be honest they reminded me a lot of the old Folger’s ground coffee my grandfather drank. I started thinking about when he passed away the old barn he had was stocked with many odd things, one being a wall (literally) of coffee! During the Depression, coffee was very hard to come by and so many people of that generation had large stocks of it “Just In Case”.

Thinking of my own preps, I realized I didn’t have any coffee! SILLY, I know. But really, if the end of the world comes I am going to need my Venti caffeine fix! I bought a pack of these Via Iced Caramels to try and Oh MY,they were GOOD! I went back and grabbed enough to get me through my 10 day no electricity plan.


Thinking about coffee made me remember that we do own a French Press. It’s not fancy like this stainless steel model, just the old fashioned glass one but in a pinch it will certainly work. You just need coffee grounds and boiling water. We do have whole beans on hand but I need to purchase a hand grinder so it could be used without electricity. So, when my Via’s are long gone I can still have my caffeine fix, which will keep me from becoming a zombie just a little bit longer I guess!