Last Updated on June 28, 2023 by brewthatcoffee
Can’t finish your cup of joe and wonder how long does coffee last in the fridge? Here’s everything you need to know.
Many coffee enthusiasts enjoy the craft and culture when roasting and brewing various coffee concoctions. Some may create the perfect roast or brew and have plenty left over. If this is the case knowing how long coffee will remain fresh or drinkable in the fridge is essential to their craft.
The primary concern when storing coffee in the fridge is the milk-sugar content and air exposure. Generally, a freshly brewed cup is best drunk immediately. Black coffee can remain in the fridge for one and a half weeks. Milk ferments and curdles- sugar and oxygen fasten the process- two days max.
This article details the fridge life of various coffee drinks. It’s essential to note that the quality of coffee is considered when determining the maximum period. Black coffee, especially cold brew isn’t unhealthy when refrigerated, so the stay can be a bit longer if required. Yet, it really isn’t worth it.
How Long Does Coffee Last in the Fridge?
To avoid wasting precious coffee brews and various concoctions, refrigerating is a practical means to preserve your drink. Coffee can be left in the fridge and stay fresh for only a few days, lasting about a week. One of the key factors of the expiry period of coffee is the milk content. Dairy milk is perishable. Yet, there are plant-based milk substitutes that have extended shelf lives.
Dairy milk sours after seven days in the fridge. Refrigerating your coffee brew prevents bacteria fostering in your drink. Milk curdles as microbes and bacteria, naturally ferment milk molecules and multiply. The fridge temperature must remain at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Milk microbes spawn and ferment rapidly. The fridge successfully keeps the fermenting process at bay, yet only for a limited time. Milk sold at local stores has undergone pasteurization, eliminating most pathogens. Yet, even with these vigorous proceedings, the remaining microbes multiply at an extraordinary rate.
Therefore, it’s essential to know that spoilt milk is unhealthy and will result in severe stomach ailments. It’s awful to waste, especially if you’re a coffee fanatic who enjoys creating and serving excellent, innovative brews. So, it’s crucial to be aware of the health implications.
Oxidation quickens the stagnation of both coffee and milk. The difference in oxidization between hot and cold brew is discussed below- as cold brew lasts longer because it isn’t exposed to direct heat and the resulting oxidization.
Coffee consists of various oil, flavonoids, and complex chemical compounds- known as solubles. The moment coffee beans are exposed to air, they begin to deteriorate. This is through oxidization and molecular breakdown. Therefore, black coffee will perish after one-and-a-half to two weeks.
Another consideration is the taste and overall quality of the coffee bean. The coffee bean’s essence and flavor diminish the longer a brewed cup is left to stand, even if it’s chilled. All the appealing characteristics of an excellent brew decline by the hour.
Keep in mind that after you reheat the brew, it alters the consistency and taste on a molecular level. The results of the extreme temperature changes are a subpar cup of coffee. Of course, coffee is best enjoyed as a premium product, as culture, heritage, and lifestyle engage consumers and buyers internationally. So, it’s better to enjoy each brew fresh.
Iced coffee, if left standing, is good until the ice melts. After that, your watered-down beverage isn’t appealing on any level. However, some circumstances won’t allow you to enjoy your drink immediately, and it’s a shame to waste.
Generally, iced coffee can last about a week and a half in the fridge. The expiry time is depended on the milk and sugar content. Also, if the air is restricted from entering the iced coffee container, it lengthens the drink’s longevity.
Iced coffee made with milk and sugar can only last a couple of days in the fridge. Sugar is abundant in natural acids, which assist in the formation of bacteria growth. So, it’ll be responsible for the milk turning sour quicker. The drink mustn’t be exposed to oxygen, which will promptly spur milk fermentation and souring.
It’s essential to reheat the drink back to room temperature before consuming it as it removes bacteria. As mentioned above, the constant temperature change exposure deteriorates the overall structure of the drink. So, its quality and taste will be below average.
How long iced coffee can stay in the fridge:
- Black iced coffee with no sugar can stay in the fridge for a week and a half.
- Iced coffee with milk and sugar for one to two days, provided it’s in an air-tight container.
Regular Hot Coffee
A cup of regular hot coffee remains fresh for only 20 to 30 minutes after it’s been poured. If it’s in an air-restricting sealed container, it’ll say fresh for an hour. The freshness of the brew doesn’t mean drinkability. You can still drink a regular cup of joe within an extended period.
Freshly brewed black coffee remains drinkable for about four hours if left standing. Again, milk is the primary reason why stagnant coffee spoils. Milk mustn’t be left out of the fridge for over a couple of hours at the most. Coffee containing milk or creamer must be preserved in a sealed container and will last one to two days in the fridge.
Black coffee in an air-tight container can stay in the fridge for three to four days. However, keep in mind that the quality will diminish. Freshly brewed coffee beans embody each cup with full aromatic, and flavor sensations deteriorate after a delayed time in the fridge.
How long a regular cup of coffee can last in the fridge:
- Remains fresh for 20 to 30 minutes if left standing
- In an air-tight container, it’ll stay fresh for one hour
- Black coffee will stay fresh for four hours if left standing.
- Black coffee is drinkable in the fridge in a sealed container for three to four days
- Coffee with creamer or milk can only last one to two days in the fridge if the air is restricted.
Cold brew will hold up against spoiling in the fridge for about seven to ten days. Cold brew entails soaking coffee beans in cool or room-temperature water for 12 to 18 hours. The process of gently coaxing the flavor and nutrients from the bean results in a smooth full-spectrum coffee profile.
Due to its sophisticated brewing process, cold brew lasts considerably longer than coffee brewed in the traditional heated style. Also, the difference in the brewing process determines oxidation. Hot brew causes the coffee’s chemistry to break down and oxidize. The oxygen is responsible for the coffee quickly becoming stale. This is in sharp contrast to cold brew.
A cold brew with milk or creamer must be consumed within a few hours. If it’s stored in the fridge in an air-tight container, it’ll last for one to two days. Overall, cold brew is more agreeable within three days in the refrigerator.
An exciting way to experiment with cold brew is to fill an ice tray with coffee and allow the liquid to freeze. Then, place the ice cubes in an air-tight plastic bag or sealable dish. These summer coffee treats can be enjoyed in fun, imaginative ways within two weeks.
How long cold brew can last in the fridge:
- Cold brew can last from seven to ten days in the fridge.
- Finish cold brew that contains milk or creamer within a couple of hours. Yet, if stored in an air-tight container, it can last 48 hours in the fridge.
- It’s better to consume cold brew after it’s been in the fridge for three days.
- Try icing cold brew to vary your coffee beverages. Iced cold brew can remain in the freezer for two weeks.
Espresso, by its very definition, should be drunk immediately. However, the black brew does have a long fridge life due to the drink’s inherent qualities- seven to ten days. Again, if you’ve concocted an Espresso con Panna with heavy cream, preserve it in an air-tight container that will last two days max.
How long espresso can stay in the fridge:
- Black espresso with no sugar or milk can last seven to ten days.
- Espresso with milk, cream, creamer, or sugar will be okay after two days in the fridge in an air-tight container.
Tips For Storing Your Coffee In The Fridge
Here are several helpful tips for storing coffee in the fridge:
- Check for any indications of spoiling by smelling the drink and observing the consistency.
- Always use a sealed, air-tight container. Sealing your beverage will also prevent other food smells and aroma particles from contaminating your drink.
- It’s a good idea to label the date of the coffee brewed, the expiry date of the milk, and the expected date of souring.
- Allow freshly boiled or roasted coffee to cool down entirely before refrigerating it.
- Some people recommend first freezing the drink for 24 hours and then moving it to the fridge. Yet, others disagree and recommend trying not to expose the drink to too many fluctuating temperatures. This is about personal preference and is up to you.
- Store the coffee in the back of the fridge where it’s coolest. Don’t store milk or coffee in the fridge’s door as the constant exposure will sour the drinks.
- If you brew your coffee, store whole coffee beans at room temperature in a sealed package, away from direct light.
- Try not to make a habit of refrigerating coffee only if necessary.
Can You Store Coffee Beans In The Fridge?
Ideally, don’t store your coffee beans in a fridge or freezer. Knowing how to keep coffee beans is essential as it can be the difference between lasting a couple of weeks, months, or even years. As the product doesn’t contain moisture, it won’t grow mold or water-born bacteria in a dry, cool area.
Only store coffee beans in a fridge or freezer if in a water-tight, air-tight container. Coffee will deteriorate if exposed to air, direct light/sunlight, and moisture. The wet fridge environment may seep into your beans. So, it’s best not to risk the chance of exposure. If your coffee beans are in a cool (room temperature), dry, airy place, it’s okay.
Tips For Keeping Your Coffee Hot Outside The Fridge
Here are a few tips to keep your coffee heated for longer:
- Store your coffee in a thermos. This ideal short-term solution is also convenient as it’s portable.
- Invest in a thermos insulator. Thermos insulators are easy to find both online and in-store. The extra layer will maintain your piping-hot drink.
- Heat your thermos beforehand. To preheat your thermos, fill it with boiling water (not to the top). Secure the lid and let it sit for several minutes. Empty your thermos and fill it with your delectable coffee drink. This extra step significantly lengthens the time of heated coffee.
- Swathe your coffee pot, french press, or mug in a coozie or a huggie. Again, a coozie is easy to acquire online and in local stores.
- Purchase an affordable cup heater for the car. A digital cup warmer is a nifty solution to maintain your drink’s heat. These appliances are well-suited to your vehicle and are spill and leak resistant. Inquire online.
- Invest in various online gadgets like an immersion heater or a mini hot plate. Amazon sells numerous heating gismos. Find which suits your needs best.
What To Do With Leftover Coffee
For creative minds and recipe innovators, leftover coffee is an excellent and unexpected ingredient for various dishes. This includes baking, salad dressing, ice cubes, smoothies, sauces, and various coffee-inspired cocktail drinks.
Don’t pour your leftover coffee down the drain. Whip up a fun new recipe.
Coffee, as with all food categories, eventually goes bad. Mainly, this is due to the levels of exposed oxygen. So, always seal your coffee in an air-tight container. Milk and sugar rapidly ferment and sour from the dairy-dwelling bacteria. Black coffee lasts just over a week in the fridge, and coffee with milk and sugar only a couple of days.