Best Survival Coffee of 2023

Not all coffee goes stale quickly in the pantry. Survival coffee is ground coffee that has been flash-frozen and freeze-dried to extend the shelf life to decades. If you are like us, and dependent on coffee to stay focused and functional, having an emergency stockpile of coffee is easier than ever. The bad news is that there are several brands and types to pick from.

This is where we come in. We’ve researched the best coffee for survival, tested them, and now the results are in: the overall best, a budget option, and an upgrade option. If you need some reliable caffeine in your pantry, one of our picks will perk you up.

Contents (Jump to a Section)

Readywise Coffee Bucket

The Best Survival Coffee

Readywise Coffee Bucket

Reliable, Versatile, and a Good Value

An entire bucket of freeze-dried coffee slammed full of caffeine that’ll taste fresh a decade from now.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Squirrel away a whole bucket of coffee from Readywise so you can have your caffeine fix ready in any situation. Any time within the next 12 years, you’ll just need 6 ounces of hot water to stir a teaspoon of instant coffee into and you’ll be good to go!

The mylar bag storage paired with the food storage bucket gives this freeze-dried coffee a huge shelf-life boost. It also makes it convenient to tote if you move your food storage to a bug out location or vehicle.

Here is everything you get with this bucket:

  • 360 servings in 12 resealable pouches
  • Resealable bucket with handle
  • 90 mg caffeine
  • 100% Columbian Arabica beans, ground and freeze-dried
  • 12-year shelf life

With great taste, good caffeine content, and a long shelf-life, it’s easy to see why the Readywise Coffee Bucket tops the rest.

Franklin's Finest Coffee

Budget Survival Coffee

Franklin’s Finest

Inexpensive, Long-Lasting, and Effective

Massive shelf life makes these good-tasting grounds worth stashing in your prepper pantry.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Ready Hour’s Franklin’s Finest coffee has been around for a while and is the best value you can get. With a massive 25-year shelf life, it just can’t be beat- plus it happens to be the cheapest option.

Ready Hour offers it in a wide variety of sizes so you can get exactly what you need. The only drawback is that other brands have a bit more gas to them as far as caffeine content, but with the price and shelf life that doesn’t deter us from stocking up on Franklin’s Finest.

Here is how this coffee measures up:

  • 60 servings
  • Resealable mylar pouch
  • 100% Columbian beans
  • 63 mg caffeine
  • 25-year shelf life

If you are looking for coffee with a massive shelf life that’ll fit your budget, Franklin’s Finest Coffee is the best option.

Nutrient Survival Vitamin Coffee

Upgrade Survival Coffee

Vitamin Coffee

Convenient, Nutritious, and High Caffeine

The best coffee for survival is chock full of nutrition to start the day right and is conveniently packaged for any kit.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Nutrient Survival has a few coffee types to pick from, but we like the Classic Roast Vitamin Coffee best. As with most of their drink mixes, they come in convenient and practical individual pouches which make them ideal for survival kits.

Campers and backpackers love this coffee too; it is packed with nutrition that really gets your day started on the right foot. Not to mention the whopping 125mg of caffeine coming out of the 8g packet!

Here are the specs:

  • 30 servings
  • Individual pouches
  • 13 vitamins, 125 mg caffeine
  • 100% Columbian Arabica beans
  • 2-year shelf life

With a nutritious and highly caffeinated blend, the Nutrient Survival Classic Roast Vitamin Coffee is by far the best pick for mobile kits like bug out bags.

Everything We Recommend

Readywise Coffee Bucket

Readywise Coffee Bucket

An entire bucket of freeze-dried coffee slammed full of caffeine that’ll taste fresh a decade from now.

Where to Buy

$90* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

Franklin's Finest Coffee

Franklin’s Finest

Massive shelf life makes these good-tasting grounds worth stashing in your prepper pantry.

Where to Buy

$17* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

Nutrient Survival Vitamin Coffee

Vitamin Coffee

The best coffee for survival is chock full of nutrition to start the day right and is conveniently packaged for any kit.

Where to Buy

$45* at Nutrient Survival

*at time of reviewing

The Coffee We Compared

Our research narrowed the field down to a few brands and types of coffee that we compared: Ready Hour, Readywise, Nutrient Survival, Saratoga Farms, Bear Essentials, Nescafe, Black Rifle, Folgers, Death Wish, and more.

You can see our full list of review criteria below in the What to Look For section, with an explanation for each.

We considered a wide range of coffee but focused on instant coffee and freeze-dried coffee for shelf life. Stale coffee may be tolerable in a survival situation for a caffeine fix, but it’s not ideal.

We’re always looking for new and better coffee, so if you have some that stores well in the pantry long-term, let us know in the comments. We review most of our tested supplies annually so we can try to get it in the next roundup round and see if it will beat out our top picks.

What to Look For

The best survival coffee has a few features to look for:

  1. Value
  2. Taste
  3. Caffeine Content
  4. Shelf Life
  5. Versatility

When you get the right blend of these, you can find the perfect coffee to perk you up after years on the pantry shelf. Below, we break down what each of these features means for the brands of coffee that truly set themselves apart.

Value: Cost vs. Benefit

The amount of money you spend on something like coffee shouldn’t blow out your entire budget. Despite what you may convince yourself, coffee and caffeine aren’t necessary for you to survive. If you find yourself addicted to coffee, the self-reliant choice would be to wean off caffeine to avoid headaches during withdrawal. But, everyone’s life is their own life to live, so a coffee stockpile may be the better choice!

You never want to spend too much money on one resource, even when it comes to caffeine and coffee. It’s better to diversify your spending to make sure you are covered for a wide range of scenarios.


We’re far from coffee snobs, but we do have taste buds. Bitter, stale, and funky-tasting coffee is not what you’re going for even in an emergency. It all starts with good beans, then the grind and the roast, and then (especially important for survival coffee), the preservation and packaging.

Each one of those steps contributes to the quality of the final product, and how it will perform in both taste and shelf-life performance.

Caffeine Content

Different types and brews of coffee can have a large range of caffeine. Most coffee ranges between 45mg per serving all the way up to 200mg. Certain ways of freeze-drying can change caffeine content, and it is often used to increase the potency of coffee extract.

Shelf Life

We’ve gone over food storage packaging countless times, and doing it yourself can teach you about what matters to extend food shelf life. Theoretically, you could do all the same things our top survival coffee picks do:

Unless we’ve just given you an idea to get started with your own survival coffee business, it’s cheaper to trust the pros and go the store-bought route. The steps above are how they get it done and put out quality products.


Some survival coffee is more than just coffee. Vitamins and minerals can sometimes be added, making the drink more versatile than just a caffeine fix. Speaking of caffeine, the amounts can vary between different brands and types of coffee.

Low caffeine can be useful for managing your intake if you are caffeine-sensitive. Caffeine can also be used for medical reasons and can address headaches in one of the most common applications.

What is Coffee’s Shelf Life?

Roasted coffee beans generally last up to a year in cool, dark storage rooms in their original sealed package. Ground coffee has a lower shelf life, usually topping out at 6 months.

So why are our picks touting up to 25-year shelf life? Because they are freeze-dried coffee, not simply coffee grounds. After they are freeze-dried, they are either nitrogen-sealed or have an oxygen absorber dropped into the mylar bag with the instant coffee.

Brian from Live Life Simple has some fun freeze-drying some popular coffee brews:

Who Needs Survival Coffee?

65% of Americans drink coffee at least once a week, and 20% depend on it every day. Coffee has a different reception around the world, with some countries preferring tea or another beverage. We’re big on coffee around here at TruePrepper, so we didn’t mind testing out all the different types of survival coffee.

While we love coffee, we don’t consider it essential for any survival kit. We do recommend getting some for long-term storage or your bug out bags if you are a regular drinker, so you can have some enjoyment and avoid any sort of withdrawal effects.

We list it to consider for:

Having extra coffee never hurt- many people figure they can use coffee for barter if things get tough.

How We Review Products: We research thoroughly before selecting the best products to review. We consult experts in the field for a better understanding of what makes the gear great. Hours on end are spent field testing gear in stressful conditions. We assign performance criteria and impartially rate each tested item. You can support us through our independently chosen links, which can earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. After our review process, some of the items reviewed end up in our giveaways.

Sources and References

All of our experience and the testing we do to determine the best survival coffee are useless without listing our research sources and references. We leaned on these for the book knowledge that we paired with our hands-on testing and practical survival experience:

Silva, A., et al. (2022). Intensification of freeze-drying rate of coffee extract by vacuum freezing. Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies. Volume 78. (Source)

Fissore, D., et al. (2014). Applying quality-by-design to develop a coffee freeze-drying process. Journal of Food Engineering. Volume 123. Pages 179 – 187. (Source)

Petersen, E., et al. (1973). Influence of freeze‐drying parameters on the retention of flavor compounds of coffee. Journal of Food Science. Volume 38. Issue 1. Page 119 – 122. (Source)

The Final Word

Coffee is an important part of my morning and a luxury I’ll be able to afford even in an emergency. Sifting through the grounds to find the best-tasting and longest-lasting on the shelf wasn’t a grind, but one of the more fun reviews we’ve done.

Here are a few other reviews and guides our subscribers have found helpful:

We presented quite a lot of information, but as always: if you have any questions let us know and we would be happy to help. Our testing found the Readywise Coffee Bucket to be the best option given its value, taste, caffeine content, shelf life, and versatility.

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.

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The Best Survival Coffee

Rusty Collins

I am an engineer, Air Force veteran, emergency manager, husband, dad, and experienced prepper. I developed emergency and disaster plans around the globe and responded to many attacks and accidents as a HAZMAT technician. I have been exposed to deadly chemical agents, responded to biological incidents, and dealt with natural disasters. Check out my full story here: Rusty's Story

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