Franklin’s Freeze-Dried Coffee Taste Test

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Freeze-dried coffee disclosure: I’m a bit of a coffee snob. I’m particular about the type of coffee I have and how it’s made. I have read books on coffee making. I have gone out of my way to tour artisanal Puerto Rican coffee farms. I rise in the morning. I make coffee. I know I’m not alone.

bad ass coffee sign
One of the coffee shops I visited in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

I’m also a prepper. I prep for what might come, things like economic depressions, social collapse, and… coffee shortages!

by Derrick James, SHTF Blog founder and coffee addict

The idea of going without coffee is distasteful at best. The idea of going without coffee after the apocalypse? Worse.

I have researched long-term coffee storage methods and written about them. I have multiple methods to make coffee when the grid goes down. I have always thought of myself as coffee ready!

Then I heard about Franklin’s Finest freeze-dried coffee from My Patriot Food Supply, saw people were buying it, so curiosity got the best of me and I had to give it a try.

Green Coffee Beans Versus Freeze Dried Coffee

The idea of buying (and stocking) freeze-dried coffee flies in the face of my preferred method: taking a bag of green coffee beans and vacuum sealing them with a desiccant tossed in. I plan to roast them off the mushroom clouds that will someday rise high into the sky.

Buying freeze-dried coffee instead of going through that sealed coffee bean process? That is a subject I could probably write a small book on, but I will try to boil that down into a future article at some point. Watch for it. I’ll call it Green Beans Versus Freeze-Dried.

How Good Can Freeze-Dried Coffee Be?

Buying and stocking freeze-dried foods is a known food storage strategy. The foods cost a bit more, but their shelf-life is insane, and you are paying for the “set it and forget it” convenience. Buy it, stock in, done for decades. Foods of this type should only be a supplement to other stored foods, of course, but they are great at what they do. The only problem is the taste can vary…

Taste was my biggest concern going into this. I would rather eat gross food than drink nasty coffee. Properly roasting the coffee beans is the biggest hurdle to good taste with my stocking beans strategy. But if you can master that, and you have perfected your post-apocalyptic brew process, you are will have the best coffee to be found in the wasteland.

Freeze-dried coffee can’t compete with that. After all, freeze-dried coffee is just instant coffee… right?

Is Freeze-Dried Coffee the Same as Instant Coffee?

Yes… generally speaking. There are actually two ways coffee makers produce instant coffee:

  1. Make liquid coffee and spray it through very hot, dry air. By the time it lands, it is a fine powder. Poof – instant coffee.
  2. Freeze-dry it through the chemical sublimation process.

Knowing this, my first suspicion was – marketing gimmick! They’re just making cheap instant coffee and marketing it as something more.

After a bit of online research, however, I don’t think that’s the case. The proof is in the numbers. See below (all prices are as of August 2020):

Coffee Price Price per Cup
8oz Folgers Classic Roast Instant Coffee Crystals $5.32 $0.04
4oz bag (60 servings) of Franklin’s Finest $7.95 $0.13
Pack of 80 Nescafe Instant Coffee Packets $13.34 $0.16
1 box of 50 instant packets of Starbucks French Roast $32.68 $.65
The numbers don’t lie – not a marketing gimmick.

I was not expecting Franklin’s freeze-dried to beat out Starbucks on taste (I don’t find Starbucks worth the price anyway), but I was surprised to find it even beat out the individual packets of not-so-good Nescafe. Folgers, at the bottom of the barrel, I wouldn’t even consider to be coffee. Gross.

So the marketing gimmick argument didn’t hold. Instead, I began to see it as marketing genius. Here is My Patriot Supply, cranking out verifiable freeze-dried coffee, adding a desiccant (that you don’t get in other instant coffees), and extending the shelf-life.

oxygen absorber
Oxygen absorber inside the packet of Franklin’s Finest.
coffee shelf life
“Regular” instant coffee is given a shelf-life of “2 to 20 years” (wide, I know). Here is Franklin’s shelf-life.

The Franklin’s Finest Freeze-Dried Coffee Taste Test

Opening the bag was the first test. I love the smell of a freshly opened bag of coffee. I pulled the oxygen absorber out and inhaled deeply… not much… but… it is freeze dried. Freeze-dried apples don’t smell like fresh apples, either.

I decided to give it a pass, put some water on to heat up (never use boiling water on coffee), and grabbed my favorite hiking/bug out bag utensils, MSR’s Titanium Ultra-Lightweight Fork and Spoon.

MSR utensils
MSR Titanium utensils – better than a spork!

I walked past these utensils at Eastern Mountain Sports many times debating whether I should drop the money on them, particularly because it was during my ultra-poor college days. A few decades later, they’re still going strong. They are indestructible and weigh under one ounce – combined! Bug out bag winning.

The water was ready. I poured it, and scooped a heaping teaspoon of coffee (and a smidgen extra) into my Prepper Press mug (available at Prepper Shirts) and stirred. It smelled more like coffee now. Not amazing, but like coffee.

I held the mug in my hands, blew on the coffee, closed my eyes, and sipped…

Better than diner coffee!
Better than Nescafe!
Not artisanal coffee.

Franklin’s Finest isn’t going to knock your coffee socks off, but I’ll tell you what, it is significantly better than I expected, particularly for the price. I would be happy to store this in my long-term food storage. I would even take it on multi-day hikes.

I don’t put coffee in my bug out bag, opting for caffeine pills instead, but if you do, Franklin’s Finest would be just fine there, too.

bucket of coffee
Bucket-o-Joe

Add Coffee to Your Preps

If you want to add coffee to your long-term preps and you want to cut the per-cup cost even further, you can buy 720-serving buckets of the coffee for $83.40 (August 2020 price). This drops the per-cup cost to $0.115 – a bargain.

Bigger coffee snob than I am? Try their sample size pouch (like I did) first.

Need Cream and Sugar?

I like my coffee black. If you don’t, you can supplement your coffee storage with freeze-dried Ready Hour Coffee Creamer (575 servings) and freeze-dried Granulated White Sugar.

Have you tried Franklin’s Finest? What’s your coffee storage plan?

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