Long-Term Coffee Storage: How to Store Ground Coffee and Coffee Beans Long-Term

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By Bryan Lynch •  10 min read
long term coffee storage tips and tricks covered by 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 may not be in the ranks of coffee connoisseurs, but 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 two reasons listed below for having a long-term coffee storage plan, even if you are not among coffee drinkers.

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 or other caffeine sources.

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

Additionally, if you need a way to stay awake, well coffee.


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

Franklins Finest freeze dried coffee

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.

Whole beans, when stored properly can last for several months in a cabinet to a year or more with frozen beans. You can choose between storing whole roasted beans or whole green beans which are unroasted beans.

Whole Beans

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.

whole bean coffee

If the bag the beans come in does not have an airtight seal, then transfer them into an airtight container, a specific coffee container, or a glass container. It is best if the glass is dark so that the beans are not affected as much by light.

To store coffee beans, you want to keep them 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, coffee beans should have a shelf life of a few months. 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 coffee, only take out the number of coffee beans you need and grind them up.

Green Beans

grow your own coffee

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. Roasting coffee beans 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. Also, coffee absorbs moisture. That means your next cup of coffee could taste like onions or a mixture of whatever you have in your refrigerator.

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 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 beans it would be best to do so in an airtight container such as a vacuum-sealed bag. Place portion-sized amounts of coffee into these bags to limit unused coffee to unfreezing, air, and moisture

Ground Coffee

Shelf life: one year or two years frozen

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

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 six months and even a few months past the expiration date, especially when it is frozen. When freezing it is best to put the coffee in a vacuum-sealed bag before freezing.

A vacuum sealed bag will drastically increase the shelf life of ground coffee, ground coffee beans

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 tasted less fresh than 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.

Franklin's Finest Survival Coffee
  • Packed in a rugged, water resistant bucket for easy storage
  • Freeze-dried fresh, straight from the tree to our air-tight packaging
  • 100% Pure. 100% Colombian
Check Price on

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 that you can purchase at most food stores can last up to twenty years.

Below are a few pictures of me getting ready to make a fresh cup of coffee outside.

It comes in a resealable pouch with 60 servings.

As far as I can tell it is basically ground coffee that has been freeze-dried and it resembles and acts very much like instant coffee.

During one of my work breaks, I decided to take it out back and make a cup of fresh coffee.

Using my Camp Stove 2 by Biolite, I boiled up a cup of water and added a spoonful of the orange, rocky-looking ground coffee.

After stirring the ground coffee, it completely dissolved and turned into a hot black liquid that didn’t taste too bad.

This by no means had anything on fresh coffee, but when fresh is not an option and you need your caffeine fix, Franklins Finest will do the trick!

The great thing about this type of coffee is that when it is sealed in the bag, it can be stored at room temperature. Also, since the “instant coffee” dissolves readily in water, it can be used to cold brew coffee

simple coffee maker
Franklin's Finest Survival Coffee
  • Packed in a rugged, water resistant bucket for easy storage
  • Freeze-dried fresh, straight from the tree to our air-tight packaging
  • 100% Pure. 100% Colombian
Check Price on

Best Coffee Storage Containers

Mylar bags

If you’ve gotten this far then you have probably noticed a theme when it comes to storing coffee. The best way to store coffee long-term, whether it be green coffee beans, pre-ground coffee, freshly ground coffee beans, or instant coffee, is to keep coffee stored in airtight containers, out of direct sunlight, and in a cool location.

To get the longest shelf life possible, mylar bags and vacuum-sealed bags are among the best containers for long-term storage. Canning jars are another good option. Investing in good containers is key, otherwise, you will just end up with stale coffee.


Can coffee get freezer burn?

Like most foods, ground coffee and coffee beans can get freezer burn when you store coffee in the freezer. This will result in stale coffee that doesn’t taste good.

Since air and moisture are the cause of freezer burn, green coffee beans, roasted coffee beans, and ground coffee beans should all be stored in airtight containers when freezing coffee.

How many coffee beans do I need for one cup of coffee?

Well, I guess that depends on your definition of a cup of coffee. For most, that is the size of an average kitchen mug but for others, it’s the size of a small bucket.

Generally speaking, it takes roughly 0.5 ounces of coffee beans to equal two tablespoons of ground coffee. Which is the amount recommended for a 6-ounce cup of fresh coffee.

How do you keep coffee fresh after opening?

Once coffee has been opened it will slowly start to lose its freshness. The best way to keep coffee fresh after opening is to store coffee in airtight containers.

Should you store ground coffee that you use daily in the freezer?

This seems to be a personal preference but constantly exposing coffee to different air temperatures and moisture levels doesn’t seem to be a great idea.

Should I only have one type of coffee in my coffee supply?

As the old saying goes, “you shouldn’t keep all of your eggs in one basket.”

If you are a prepper or you just don’t know what to expect, then it would be a good idea to have a variety. Store coffee as green coffee beans (unroasted beans), roasted whole beans, pre ground coffee, and instant coffee or freeze-dried coffee.

Is roasting coffee beans difficult?

The roasting process is not all that difficult but there is a fine line between not roasting them enough or roasting them too much. Good quality coffee really depends on the roasting. If the roasting process is something that you are interested in doing, I would suggest practicing before you have to do it.

What’s the best way to make coffee?

The best-tasting coffee is subjective and a personal preference. Therefore making coffee in the “best” way is really up to you.

What is the best coffee storage container for the long term?

The best containers, especially if you plan on freezing coffee, are mylar bags and vacuum-sealed bags.

Wrapping it up

coffee beans

Even if you are not a frequent coffee drinker it would be a good idea of having a small amount of it stored away. Given that it is one of the most popular drinks in the world, you never know when a cup of coffee could come in handy or make someone’s day a little better.

Now if you will excuse me, all this talk about coffee has made me a little thirsty. Thanks for reading and stay prepared!

Are you are coffee drinker? If so, in what ways do you like to store it? Sound off in the comment section below and let us know!

Bryan Lynch

Bryan grew up in the Midwest and spent every waking moment outdoors. Learning how to hunt, fish, read the land, and be self-reliant was part of everyday life. Eventually, he combined his passions for the outdoors, emergency preparedness, and writing. His goal was to spread positive information about this field. In 2019, Bryan authored the book Swiss Army Knife Camping and Outdoor Survival Guide. His second book, Paracord Projects For Camping and Outdoor Survival, is scheduled to be released on March 2, 2021.