How Long Can You Keep Coffee in the Refrigerator?

by Kieran | As of the 4th of June, 2021 Among the many affiliate programs this site supports is Amazon's. There is no additional cost to you, but we may earn a commission on purchases made after clicking on our links. Just so we're clear, once coffee has cooled, I don't recommend

cropped-Unknown-Animal-Latte-Art-1-40x40.jpeg by Kieran | As of the 4th of June, 2021

Among the many affiliate programs this site supports is Amazon's. There is no additional cost to you, but we may earn a commission on purchases made after clicking on our links.

Just so we're clear, once coffee has cooled, I don't recommend putting it in the fridge. Reheating coffee can drastically alter its flavor, leaving you with an unsatisfactory cup.

And that's not what this place is all about; we demand Above Average Coffee, and that necessitates the availability of freshly brewed beans at any time.

But real life happens, and sometimes there's more coffee left in the pot than you anticipated; perhaps you invited a large group of people over and they all passed on coffee.

Not making good use of it would be a shame.

If kept in an airtight container, black coffee can be refrigerated for up to two weeks without losing any of its quality. While the flavor is at its peak after 2–3 days, the food is still safe to eat for much longer. Coffee with milk or creamer added can be stored in the fridge for up to two days.

Bringing it back up to temperature ensures that all the bacteria gets killed, leaving you with a clean cup of coffee, and this is especially true if you plan on heating it up after taking it out of the fridge.

I won't guarantee that this coffee will taste good, but I can guarantee that it won't hurt you.

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How Long Does Coffee Last in the Fridge

In the refrigerator, how long does coffee last?

Cold Brew

Because cold brew coffee is commonly stored in the fridge for 2 weeks and, if stored properly, can still taste great after being brewed, I've said that brewed coffee can last up to 2 weeks instead of the 3 days that others talk about.

As it cools to room temperature, no oxidation takes place like it does in hot coffee. This is what makes your coffee taste stale, so by week two it won't have the same refreshing flavor as fresh cold brew.

However, you can safely consume it as long as you removed it from the coffee pot and placed it in an airtight container.

Espresso with Ice

An Iced Coffee with ice cubes falling

This is intriguing because, in my opinion, iced coffee is good for only as long as the ice stays solid.

It's still good to drink after that, and I've mentioned before that coffee can sit out overnight without going bad before being reheated and enjoyed the next morning.

Watered-down coffee, however, is not enjoyable in any form.

While it's fine to use coffee from the fridge to make iced coffee, you shouldn't keep iced coffee there unless the ice has been removed first.

Espresso

Another no-no is storing espresso in the fridge; there's never a good reason to have leftover coffee, so be careful to only make as much as you need the next time you brew.

Coffee beverages that are made with espresso can be stored safely in the refrigerator.

I've drank cold leftover Starbucks from the fridge before, and while it was fine, this time I decided to reheat it in a saucepan for a warmer experience.

Because espresso drinks typically contain milk, they only have a two-day shelf life in the fridge before the milk goes rancid and makes you sick.

Just what does Milk contribute to the equation?

Pouring milk into an iced coffee

The addition of milk not only alters coffee's flavor, but also renders its storage obsolete.

In my readings for this post, I came across a man who claimed to be drinking coffee from a gallon jug that had been sitting there for six months and was still perfectly drinkable.

I have my doubts about his claim that it tasted good, but the idea is intriguing nonetheless.

What you'd get if you did that to coffee with milk in it is coffee that doesn't need to be re-chilled before drinking.

It stands to reason that milk wouldn't keep as long, but if you reheat it after a day or two, you can still enjoy it.

Even though it won't spoil if left at room temperature, the food will be much more appetizing if it's rewarmed before consumption.

I'll elaborate below, but here's the gist: if you want to keep coffee fresh in the fridge, make it black and add milk right before serving.

What To Do If You Don't Want To Put Your Brew In The Refrigerator

If you'd rather not put your coffee in the fridge, you have two other options.

First, omit it.

A cup of black coffee left sitting out

Black coffee, whether left in a carafe or a coffee pot on the counter, will be perfectly drinkable the following morning.

If I make too much coffee, I can simply leave it in the coffee machine and it won't go to waste in the fridge.

Some baristas might be offended, but I don't think it affects the taste too much.

2. Put it in the freezer and use it as ice

Another option is to freeze the brewed coffee, though I won't sugarcoat the fact that this won't improve the flavor.

But you can make coffee-flavored ice cubes by freezing coffee in an ice cube tray. Which are delicious on their own on a hot day, or you can use iced coffee cubes to give your iced coffee an extra kick when you add them to your coffee.

Certainly not the most practical answer, but worth a shot if you're bored.

However, I wouldn't bother storing it at all if it were instant coffee. You can just dump the few cents' worth of coffee in the trash when you're done.

Thermoses, Thirdly:

There's no better way to store your leftover coffee than in a thermos, and some of them can keep their contents hot for up to 12 hours, so you can still drink it hot even if you make too much.

Not as good as freshly made, but better than if you put it in the fridge and reheated it as quickly as possible.

A jar of ground coffee with a scoop in it

Just how long can used coffee grounds be stored in the fridge?

Coffee grounds aren't the best to keep in the fridge because they can absorb other odors if they aren't properly sealed in a container. So, before you find out (gross) that our coffee contains a hint of onion...

Coffee grounds and beans both benefit from being kept in a cool, dry place to extend their shelf life. Keep your coffee in an airtight container, but a bag with a peg on the top will do in a pinch.

Does Cold Brew Coffee Go Bad?

Coffee tastes like cheap diner coffee after being stored in the fridge for even just two weeks, and that includes cold brew that has been made and stored there.

Will it spoil, as in develop mold? If you cleaned and possibly sterilized all of your coffee gear, your coffee should be fine for quite some time in the fridge before any mold develops.

However, the shelf life will be much shorter if the coffee was made in a French Press and rinsed after each use rather than deep cleaned. That is, in all honesty, how I clean my French Press, and it works great.

A Few Words on Refrigerator Coffee Storage

Firstly, make sure you're using an airtight container

A jar of coffee beans

Coffee beans are very porous and can act as a sponge, absorbing any lingering odors in your refrigerator. Furthermore, if you leave your brewed coffee sitting out for a while in an uncovered mug, you may notice an odor or taste similar to onion when you go to drink it later.

Yuck

In addition, exposing coffee to constant circulating air will hasten the oxidation process, which will accelerate the coffee's degradation and lead to an inferior cup of coffee much more quickly.

2. Let it cool completely.

Not only is it unsafe for the coffee to be refrigerated at such a high temperature, but it's also inefficient and violates basic food safety standards.

Refrigerators use more energy to maintain their desired temperature after being warmed by the addition of hot food or drink. Aside from that, though, the temperature of everything in the fridge will rise, allowing bacteria to begin to grow.

This is why you shouldn't even consider putting a jug of hot water from the kettle in the fridge.

Thirdly, Beans Should Be Kept Intact

Some Coffee Beans In A Bowl

Coffee beans should be stored in the fridge either whole or ground, but only if stored in an airtight container. This is because ground coffee has a much larger surface area than whole bean coffee, which drastically shortens the shelf life by exposing the coffee to more oxidation.

Discrepancies and Conclusions

Whether you prefer your coffee prepared with a drip machine, French press, pour over, or espresso machine, fresh coffee always tastes best.

The whole point of visiting a cafe is to have a freshly brewed cup of coffee ground to order by a trained barista using an expensive-sounding machine.

But if you're like me and have accidentally brewed more coffee than you can possibly drink, I hope this article has been helpful.

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