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Trading and Feeding the Vices: How to Store Alcohol, Tobacco and Coffee Long Term

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May 5th, 2013
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Everybody has their vices and addictions. I personally love soda. The next person might love cigarettes or coffee. So the question is what do you do to keep those available for as long as possible. We are going to discuss how to preserve them in a few, however I want to first cover a few insights about this items that should make everyone want to store them not just those who want them.

About these Apocalyptic Barter items.

Many people will be forced in a SHTF scenario to quit cold turkey as the items won’t be available. Can you imagine a riot where everyone there is nicing? I’d rather face king kong doped up on cocaine, amphetamines and adrenaline! But as a result these items will be precious to those are truly addicted. Or even the casual smoker or drinker. It will be a piece of the world they remember. So these types of items are considered barter items. In TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) you will need universal currency things a lot of people will want that you can use to barter. That’s why even if you are not going to use these items you should have some.

Also Alcohol gets a special exception, for instance if you stockpile Jim Beam it is of medicinal value. Namely as an antiseptic. As well with a high enough proof you can burn the alcohol. Specifically the alcohol must be 100 proof  which is the same as 50% alcohol per vol. Now if you are thinking Molotov with these, don’t, gasoline is better for that anyway.

With many of these items there is a limit to how long you can store the items before it changes the taste or goes stale. But in an apocalypse people won’t care about a stale cigarette or coffee that doesn’t taste like that freshly brewed and roasted cup they were use to. So the question is will it be safe more then anything.

 

Alcohol Long Term Storage

Type of Alcohol — The key types you can store are high alcohol content like Wiskey, Vodka, gin, etc. However you can also store wines if you store them correctly, but these are far more temperamental. Since hard liqour is a antiseptic it means bacteria and fungus can’t grown in them (note wine is not an antiseptic) your biggest concern would be the sugars inside them and the taste going south.

Long term Storage of Alcohol — You want to store unopened, out of the sunlight in a cool place. For wine you will see cellars with tons of wine and the bottle will be on it’s side or at an angle. This is because the wine needs to touch the cork to keep from drying up and allowing air in and destroying the contents. However for hard liquor you do not want the liquor touching the seal so stand it straight up. Realistically you can store an unopened bottle indefinitely if stored right. Online you will see people saying an open bottle is only good for a 6 months. I will agree with that for wine, however for liquor I don’t. My liquor cabinet has some open bottle over a 2-3 years old that still taste the same.

Making your own Alcohol — There is some question as to how legal it is to make your still and own alcohol, hence why you have famous moonshiners in the south. However it knowing how can be very valuable. For instance Whiskey is made from fermented grains like Corn that is distilled then aged in a oak cask. Being able to make your own gives you a renewable trade item in TEOTWAWKI. So it might be worth learning about the process, but check local laws before attempting anything.

Other Notes– If you are going to stockpile keep in mind the size you are stockpiling. It’s cheaper to buy big bulk containers however unless you are going to start a doomsday bar on the other side, it’s not the best option. You should consider either pint  or travel bottles of alcohol for trade purposes. The big bottle can be good for your personal stock, however the travel bottles are the best so you can keep them sealed when you trade and not have to part them out.

 

Tobacco Long Term Storage

Types of tobacco  – Tobacco as a whole  the biggest problem is it drying out and getting stale. You have both Crewing tobacco and Smoking Tobacco to consider as barter items. The chewing tobacco long term looks like it will stay fresh longer if unopened. As well that tobacco will store indefinitely is keep in a dark place with a 70% humidity. Think humidors like they have for cigars.

long term Storage of cigarettes — So the important thing is going to be keeping the air and moisture in. Some people like to buy bulk pipe tobacco and a cigarette rolling machine and paper tubes. Then they will either vacuum seal or store in a mason jar. Personally I plan to buy some Copenhagen and vacuum seal the tins. Then Buy some cartons of cigarettes and vacuum seal them. In theory this should work if it maintains the seal. However there isn’t a lot of data out there as most people trying vacuum sealing still haven’t opened their experiment.

Make your own cigarettes — Luckily tobacco is a crop you can easily grow and turn into cigarettes. Consider growing your own and stockpiling tubes or rolling paper and filters as an option.

Other Notes — In many cases putting stockpiled items in the freezer helps it last longer. For tobacco this will hurt it as the freezer will draw out more of the moisture from the tobacco, ie freezer burn. So I would advise against it. Your best bet if you really want to make it last is some sort of a large humidor and taking tips from the cigar smokers of the world on how to preserve the. Keep in mind that in an apocalypse a stale cigarette is still a welcome one if you have none. Remember to think in terms of trade quantity.

 

Coffee Long Term Storage

Preface –Unfortunately unlike tobacco and alcohol it’s a lot harder to store coffee long term especially if you are someone who can really taste the difference of fresh brewed. After the roasting process coffee begins to release CO2, a vacuum sealed can will help preserve it for about 1 year. So for a prepper the question of “how long does coffee last and store for?” is a disappointing answer.

Type of Coffee Storage — There are a few different type of coffee to look at, favored coffees do not store well as the sugars and other items added to the coffee breakdown faster and alter the flavor in a bad way, whole bean vs Grounded coffee, it seems you will get better storage of of whole bean compared to ground coffee. Green Coffee Beans versus roasted beans.  Your best option though a real hassle is to store green coffee beans and roast them yourself.

Long term Storage of Coffee — Unfortunately at best you can hope to retain the original flavor is 1 maybe 2 years. So this is an item you will want to practice rotation on. You can vacuum seal it and put it in the freezer for the best results, however It seems if you have a can of coffee that is sealed best to leave it that way. That will last longer then the bulk beans you can buy out of a bin at a store.

Grow your own Coffee — Another bummer that coffee cannot grow in the United states other then Hawaii. The closest place to grow it would be mexico or peru due to climate. So when you think about this a barter item, a cup of coffee will be very difficult to find. Even if it’s “off flavor” when stored it will still be welcome. It will take a while before international trade routes would open up again and the goods make their way through out the USA.

Other notes —  You will want to buy a
French Press and lots of coffee filters as part of your prep. Keep in mind Coffee Filters have a lot of uses, including filtering water.

 

 Take Aways

When you think about New World Currency or An Apocalyptic Economy you want items that EVERYONE wants. That will help you get what you need.  These are every day use items in a survival world like food, ammo, gas, medical supplies, good boots, etc. As well items that satisfy vices such as coffee, Alcohol, Tobacco, etc. Finally precious or extravagant items like Gold, Silver, Comfort items, etc. Keep in mind extravagances won’t be off significant value until people re-stabilize their lives and have their basic needs set. If you have very little food and trade good and someone wants to trade gold for something of yours you are probably less inclined until you have the food you need.

 

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