Even if you don’t normally drink coffee, it will come in handy during a crisis.

In the 1982 comedy film Airplane II: The Sequel, Peter Graves plays a flight captain who very calmly takes the news that two of his crew have perished after being sucked out of an airlock. But when a flight attendant tells him that they’ve run out of coffee, he goes ballistic, loudly reminding everyone how many times he’s asked for extra coffee to be stored onboard.

While humorous, that movie scene brings up a valid point. Do we really want to live in a world without coffee? If a disaster strikes, coffee will be one of the things many people will wish they had stockpiled, not just for the enjoyment of the taste, but also to help them stay alert in night watch situations and to use as a bartering tool.

A crisis in which supermarkets run out of food and other items quickly will make coffee a hot commodity because it’s often not included in personal stockpiles of food and water. Coffee may be considered a luxury item by some people, but others are convinced they need it to survive the day. Regardless, making it a part of your food stockpile is a great idea that will pay dividends.

Here are my top five reasons for including coffee in a survival stash:

1. Coffee will disappear quickly from store shelves in an emergency. Those who stockpile food and water for emergencies are in the minority, and even many of them do not include coffee in their stashes, so it’s likely to be swept up right away by people who thought of stockpiling everything else except a good cup of joe.

2. Stay alert in night watch situations. A disaster that causes power outages will also cause people to behave in ways they would not otherwise. Some families and groups may be forced to have one person stay awake at all times. Coffee not only keeps you awake, but also more alert and able to concentrate.

3. Use as a bartering tool. During the Civil War, Southern soldiers had plenty of tobacco but little coffee, while soldiers in the North had a lot of coffee but little tobacco, making for a perfect bartering situation. When stores run out of the necessities, there will be plenty of trading going on. Coffee will once again be a valuable bartering item following a disaster.

4. It’s good for you. Once considered harmful, coffee is now known to be rich in flavonoids, a group of antioxidant compounds. Some studies show that coffee can actually protect the heart, lower the risk of several forms of cancer and reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease. And it puts most people in a better mood, which can be helpful in a stressful situation.

5. Enjoyment. Smiles and laughs in a post-disaster society will be few and far between, so people will want to occasionally savor something simply for its taste. Coffee lovers will argue that their beverage choice is delicious. And if coffee is as addictive as they jokingly say it is, they’re going to need it as much as want it.
Do you include coffee in your emergency food supply? If so, why? If not, why not? I’d love to hear from you about this.

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