Can You Refrigerate Coffee? Should You Even Consider?

crazy by Editorial Staff | Updated on April 23rd, 2023

If you’re a coffee enthusiast, you’ve likely faced the dilemma of how to store leftover coffee. The question of whether to refrigerate coffee or not is a common one, and the answer isn’t always straightforward.


As coffee aficionados and experienced baristas, we’re here to guide you through the best practices for coffee storage and dispel some common myths along the way.

refrigerating coffee

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll discuss the effects of refrigeration on coffee, safety concerns, optimal storage methods, and answers to frequently asked questions. Let’s get started on our journey to savoring every cup of coffee to the fullest.

Can you refrigerate coffee?

Is it possible to keep coffee in the refrigerator? Yes, coffee may be kept in the refrigerator. Coffee that has been refrigerated should keep its quality for up to a week, though the flavor will vary. All you need is an airtight container, ideally made of glass.

To help you understand how different types of coffee can be stored and for how long, here’s a quick reference table:

Type of CoffeeShelf Life in RefrigeratorAdditional Tips
Brewed Black Coffee3-4 daysUse an airtight glass container
Brewed Coffee with Milk/Creamer1-2 daysConsume quickly, check for spoilage
Cold Brew Concentrate7-10 daysDilute with water before serving
Cold Brew with Milk/Creamer1-2 daysCheck for spoilage before consuming

Storing coffee

  • Coffee is a natural substance that reacts to air and light in a highly sensitive way.
  • Coffee loses its scent and flavor if it is not stored properly.
  • Coffee is harmed by moisture, heat, oxygen, light, and other scents.
  • Coffee does go bad, as it absorbs other scents and loses its taste when exposed to light.

Is refrigerating coffee safe?

For years, this issue has been the topic of numerous disputes, with many advocates on each side. For us, the answer is a resounding yes, but it all depends on your own preferences and how well you store them.

Most people claim that you can or should refrigerate coffee since it takes so little time to make in the morning or whenever you need it. If your morning time is limited and you can’t start your day without your favorite cup of coffee, you may safely prepare a bigger batch of coffee and keep it in the fridge for several days.

round white ceramic mug near clear glass cup filled with black liquid on table

days.

How to refrigerate coffee

We’ve got you covered if you’re like us and can’t get through the day without a cup of coffee in the morning. While there are certain disadvantages to refrigerating coffee, we will show you how to make it effective in a few simple steps.

Later on, we’ll go through the disadvantages that most individuals who don’t refrigerate their coffee cite as justification. While there are drawbacks, it all comes down to personal opinion and taste.

For optimal results, keep black coffee refrigerated

In principle, any type of coffee may be refrigerated, but we recommend sticking to black coffee because it retains better than others and avoids certain storage concerns.

  • Coffee holds much better in the refrigerator since it is free of sugar and all sorts of dairy.
  • It also reheats more easily and effectively without losing flavor or other vital properties.

Use a glass container

Nothing is more vital than having a reliable airtight coffee storage container, regardless of the type of coffee you use. This is especially important when it comes to coffee. Keep in mind that while most containers appear to be airtight, they really allow air to enter without your knowledge.

  • Contrary to common perception, most plastic pitchers are exceedingly inappropriate.
  • Containers that have been in use for a long time are also not advised since they lose their airtightness.
  • Metal containers are likewise undesirable, especially if you’re planning on brewing coffee for several days. Because coffee is acidic, it will most likely react negatively with the metal.
  • Because it is easy to clean and does not retain flavors, we recommend using an airtight glass container.

Of course, you may use standard plastic cups, but set aside one that will be used just for coffee in the future. If you think the container isn’t completely sealed, cover it with plastic wrap to secure the opening and prevent air exposure.

This is quite useful for preserving your coffee from bad odors. If coffee is not stored properly, it will take on the fragrance of its surroundings, and you don’t want a coffee with a garlic or pork aftertaste, for example.

Coffee will keep in the fridge for about a week; however, we recommend consuming it as soon as possible, preferably within 3-4 days. While coffee is okay to consume after a week, it will lack the flavor and quality that you expect.

Maintain the cleanliness of your coffee container

After each batch, make sure to thoroughly clean your container. Even though it appears that it doesn’t matter, you don’t want any of the scents from the prior batch to stay. As previously said, it is best to use the same container for both coffee and tea.

Is it possible for brewed coffee to go bad in the refrigerator?

When coffee is chilled, why does it taste different? Oxidation is the process that causes the taste and smell of coffee to alter. This is a chemical reaction that, regrettably, starts the instant you open the coffee package and come into touch with air.

When you put coffee in the refrigerator, the oxidation process continues in a similar way. The key difference is that the low temperature slows the process significantly, especially if you use an airtight container that prevents air from entering.

We have said that if you want to get the most out of your brewed coffee, you should drink it within a week. You can notice how stale brewed coffee becomes if you leave it in the fridge for 10 days, for example, or if you do it as an experiment.

Aside from that, depending on the type of coffee, it may go bad faster, and you may notice a change in the oils as well as a poor odor. If this is the case, get rid of the coffee and wipe the container as soon as possible.

FAQs

What is the shelf life of vacuum-packed coffee?

It is entirely dependent on the packing. Depending on how the coffee beans are stored, they will either stay fresh for longer or develop a flat, lifeless flavor. Disposable foil packets with a small aperture flap are the ideal packaging for releasing gas outside while preventing it from penetrating.

Customers will be able to enjoy their coffee for a week or two before it loses its scent and takes on a bad flavor. If your coffee is in one of these packages, save it. If it was in a paper bag, however, try transferring it to a sealed plastic container and storing it at room temperature in a cabinet away from light.

What is the shelf life of freshly brewed hot coffee and espresso?

Many people think that brewed coffee should be consumed within 20–30 minutes in an open cup or one hour in a sealed container. Coffee, on the other hand, can be consumed several hours after it has been brewed.

Coffee that hasn’t been flavored with milk or creamer, such as a pot of black coffee resting on the stove, is generally safe to consume for up to four hours. Within a couple of hours, coffee with milk should be consumed.

The shelf life of brewed coffee has received minimal attention. The majority of advice for discarding brewed coffee originates from personal experience or testimonials. If you put brewed coffee in the fridge in a sealed container, it will last longer. When kept this way, it’s probably safe to eat for 3–4 days. However, it is unlikely to be very tasty.

If you add milk or creamer to your brewed coffee, it should be consumed within 2 hours after sitting at room temperature. You may store it in the fridge for a day or two in a sealed jar. However, before eating it, smell it and check for any signs of spoilage, as milk may go bad.

For the finest flavor, brewed espresso, like brewed coffee, should be enjoyed as soon as possible after brewing. It may be stored at room temperature for a few hours or in the fridge for a few days in a sealed container, but the flavor will deteriorate.

person pouring milk on mason jar

What is the shelf life of cold brew?

Cold brew coffee will survive considerably longer in the fridge than brewed hot coffee. Cold brew concentrate may be kept in the fridge for 7–10 days if kept in a sealed container. If you add water to the concentrate before storing it, or if you store cold brew from a coffee shop in the fridge, you should drink it within 3–4 days.

Cold brew with milk or creamer should be consumed within two hours, although it can be kept refrigerated in a sealed container. It will, however, only last for 1–2 days in the fridge. Before ingesting, look for signs of spoilage, such as mold or bad odors.

Finally, you can freeze both cold brew and brewed coffee, but not in the way you may think. Pour cold brew or cooled brewed coffee into an ice cube tray. Allow the cubes to solidify in the freezer for a few hours before transferring them to an airtight container or bag. Use within two weeks, either as a new cold brew additive or melted down.

Is it possible to refrigerate coffee and then reheat it?

The most common issue with reheated coffee is that it loses its taste. This is why people frequently differ on whether or not it is OK to reheat coffee. To us, it’s totally up to your personal tastes, as well as doing things correctly.

We prefer warming coffee on the stovetop over all other options. You must be able to manage the temperature if you want to avoid potential variations in taste. You may postpone the chemical processes that affect the flavor by reheating it at a low to medium temperature.

Last but not least, remember not to boil your coffee unless you want to taste a charred beverage. Reheat only until steam appears. If it reaches this point, it’s ready to serve.

Is it safe to reheat coffee that has been left out for a day?

If the coffee was kept in the refrigerator, it is fine to drink. However, if it has been left out for more than a day, it should be discarded since it may not only taste sour but also contain mold. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

How can you tell if your coffee has gone bad?

Follow your nose’s lead and rely on your sense of smell. If the smell of the coffee bothers you, don’t drink it. Stale coffee does not normally offer any health problems until the oils go rancid and mold forms in the cup.

More tips: coffee storage

Whether you favor espresso, latte, Americano, or drip coffee, there are a few minor details that may enhance or break your cup of joe. Here are a few helpful hints to guarantee that your coffee tastes great and that any leftovers in the carafe are put to good use.

  • When preparing drip coffee, most individuals make the error of leaving the brew too long over a heat source. As a result, make sure you take the pot off the gas fire as soon as the brewing is finished. If you leave it on the gas for too long, the brew will oxidize and become sour.
  • If you have any leftover coffee in the carafe that you want to consume later, move it to an insulated thermos to keep it warm. Because it is airtight, a top-quality thermos will keep the heat and maintain the flavor. You can keep your coffee warm and tasty all day with a thermos.
  • If keeping brewed coffee in the fridge or freezer does not appeal to you, consider cooking with the leftover coffee. Coffee’s strong flavor and scent pair well with meaty and savory foods. It’s frequently used in steak and hog marinades.
  • Another fantastic way to utilize coffee in gourmet cuisine is to bake with it. To improve the flavor of brownies and pastries, add the remaining cold coffee. Espresso Buttercream and Mocha Cupcakes are two of the greatest examples.

Final thoughts

Coffee’s shelf life is determined by the type and storage type. In unopened packets or sealed containers, dry coffee beans and ground coffee should be stored free from moisture, heat, light, and air. Drinking old coffee that has been properly preserved isn’t unhealthy in general, although it won’t taste as delicious as new coffee.

Coffee that has been brewed does not last as long as coffee that has been dried. It should be consumed as soon as possible after brewing for the finest flavor. However, it may be kept in the fridge for a variety of times. When determining how to keep specific varieties of coffee, see this list. Also, check for any indications of spoilage before drinking coffee, especially in cups with additional milk or creamer.

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Disclosure: No compensation or free products were received in exchange for writing this review.

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Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.