Episode 250 S7-12
Hope on the Horizon Ch 12
Coffee is the favorite morning drink of over fifty percent of Americans. In the Hope on the Horizon adventure, the evil character Swenson starts his day off with a cup as well. In a fictional story, it is a stroke of a pen that keeps coffee in supply, but in reality, coffee has a long and fragile supply chain. Today on the podcast, Chin and I take a look at the possibilities of long-term storage, growing the beans yourself, and coffee alternatives.
Americans love coffee. An estimated fifty-four percent of Americans drink coffee daily. Thirty-five percent enjoy it black, and sixty percent of Americans claim they need a cup just to start the day. World wide an estimated eighteen billion dollars is spent yearly on coffee in the US. On average, an American spends one hundred and sixty-four dollars on coffee every year.
Coffee is a fragile commodity in the wake of a global disaster. Coffee is typically grown on small farms. Most coffee farmers grow on one or two hector parcels, and few have the equipment to hull the beans they have produced. The farmers with equipment often help other local farmers with their hulling processes. Alternatively, the farmers may form a co-op or sell their un-hulled product directly to an intermediary.
There are a lot of intermediaries in the coffee bean’s journey from field to cup. These intermediaries buy and sell at different times in the life of a coffee bean. This passing of hands leaves little profits for the farmers and increases the potential for supply chain breakdown. Also, some countries have given the government control of the processing and auction sales, adding government agents to the process.
After the hulling process, exporters with knowledge of coffee bean quality purchase from co-ops and auctions. Suppliers and brokers step in next to buy from the exporters, adding even more go-betweens and potential collapse points.
After all this buying and selling, the coffee is ready to be roasted. This process involves toasting the coffee bean and turning it into the black bean that gets crushed for the warm morning drink, so many Americans cherish. After the bean is roasted and maybe ground, the retailers sell the final product.
This elongated process from field to cup leads to the belief that if you want to have coffee, if the supply chain breaks down, you should stock it. A great place to stock up on seeds is DisasterCoffee.com. Over at the site, they are selling green coffee beans packaged to last up to twenty years in the proper conditions! The one thing I worry about roasting beans after the collapse is the potential for other folks to want to share in your beverage. Be careful when roasting. The beans give off toxic smoke, and this process should take place outside.
Growing coffee plants is not an easy task. It typically takes about eight years from the plant to go from seed to a producing plant. Gurney’s has a supply of four-year-old coffee plants to help cut that time down. However, you will need to ensure your coffee plant has the correct amount of humidity, mist, and filtered sunlight. Gurney’s states that it is best to keep your plant in a room with a window that allows four to five hours of daylight. Alternatively, you could produce this light artificially.
The plant’s temperature should stay between sixty to eighty degrees, and the temperature should never go below forty-five degrees. A coffee plant can grow up to ten feet, but a proper prune will maintain indoor height. The plant should get watered daily and be kept moist in well-drained soil. Gurney’s also recommends that a water-soluble fertilizer be administered every two weeks from May to October and once a month from November to February for maximum production. When the berries turn red, they are ready to harvest. There will be two beans in each berry.
Coffee substitutes are available as well. A product called Postum was developed during World War II when there was a coffee shortage. It is a mix of 1 quart of fine ground wheat, 1 pint of course ground meal, and one-half cup of molasses-dark syrup. When brewed, it is supposed to produce a robust morning drink.
There are also many types of dandelion root blends. Often dandelion roots are mixed with barley, rye, and chicory to produce a tea that is dank in place of coffee. Chicory has gained popularity in the states as a coffee addition or replacement drink. The plant is native to Europe, and drinkers make a warm morning tea from the root. A fig beverage made from figs is another replacement beverage.
Acorn tea is my go-to replacement drink when I am on the trail. The meat of acorns once harvested is placed into a pan and toasted over a fire source. The acorn meat should be crushed and toasted repeatedly until only a fine powder of toasted brown nut remains. Mix this powder into hot water in a cup. It produces a delicious tea with a kick. The nut contains a chemical much like caffeine that helps you go the extra mile on your hike.
Be prepared for the day when coffee may be in short supply. Have beans in reserve, to give yourself that much needed moment of comfort when disaster strikes. Having your plant may not yield the quantities you crave but could also supply that crucial moment of normalcy in a mixed-up world. When all else fails, you need to have choices. Experiment with options now, so you already have a favorite recipe when needed.
The Changing Earth Series
Chin Gibson is the mystery prepper. Friend to all and known to none. His real identity hidden from the public, Chin is well known to the online prepper community as the go to resource for finding a community member to solve your problem. He is an awesome people connector and does his best to unite the voices educating the masses about being ready for a unforeseen life challenge. Chin will be joining Sara to co-host The Changing Earth Podcast.