Brewing just the right amount of coffee can be tough, so it’s not that uncommon to have a bit left over. And sometimes, you might even brew extra coffee to have for later. So, if you’re storing your brewed coffee in the fridge, how long will it last?
How long coffee lasts in the fridge depends on the type of coffee, how it’s stored, and whether you added milk. Most black brews will last up to two days, while cold brew can last up to two weeks. Coffee with milk should be refrigerated within two hours to prevent bacteria from growing.
That’s the general idea, but there’s a lot to know about storing coffee properly. Let’s take a closer look at how long coffee lasts in the fridge so that you can store and enjoy your coffee without worry.
How Long Does Black Coffee Last in the Fridge?
Understanding how long black coffee lasts in the fridge is essential so that you don’t waste any extra coffee that you’ve brewed.
The longevity of black coffee depends on the type of coffee and how watered down it is. Let’s go through each type of black coffee and how long you should expect it to last in the fridge.
Black iced coffee tastes great, especially if you enjoy strong coffee. That is, at least until the ice melts! Once the ice melts, the flavor of your coffee will change.
Although putting an iced coffee in the fridge will slow the ice’s melting time, it will still melt eventually. Therefore, consider a few hours as the maximum time to leave iced coffee in the fridge before you drink it.
Consider removing the ice if you want your iced coffee to last longer.
Cold brew differs from iced coffee in that the coffee is never actually exposed to a heat source. It brews for many hours to attain its distinct flavor. Plus, ice doesn’t necessarily need to be added to cold brew unless you want it extra cold.
Cold brew should last up to two weeks in the fridge before going bad. Store it in a specialized jar like this one (on Amazon).
Espressos are typically so small that there shouldn’t be much a need to store them in the fridge. However, if you do decide to store an espresso in the fridge, it should last up to two days.
What About Coffee With Milk?
Now that you know how long you can store various types of black coffee, let’s take a look at what happens when you add milk.
Milk is tricky since it needs to be stored at below 40 degrees Fahrenheit once it’s been opened. If its temperature exceeds this, bacteria can begin to spread. As a result, you should generally consume your coffee within two hours.
That said, if you put your milky coffee in the fridge before the two-hour window has elapsed, you can store it there for up to two days.
Other Options for Increasing the Longevity of Your Coffee
The fridge isn’t your only option for storing leftover coffee. The other options include the following:
- The freezer: It’s possible to store your coffee in the freezer and retain its flavor. However, you shouldn’t put a jug or mug of coffee straight into the freezer. It’s best to pour the coffee into an ice cube tray.
- Leave it on the side: Instead of refrigerating or freezing your coffee, you can simply leave it out. As long as there’s no milk in the coffee, it should be safe to drink for up to 24 hours. That said, it might not taste so great!
- A thermos: You can safely increase the longevity of your coffee by storing it in a thermos — like this one (on Amazon). Thermoses are popular for anyone who wants to take their coffee (or a similar drink) with them. You can store your coffee in a thermos for around 12 hours before the flavor starts to change.
The Best Way to Store Your Coffee to Keep It Fresh
If you want to keep your coffee as fresh as possible, storing it in air-tight containers is best.
Using an air-tight container — like one of these (on Amazon) — will keep the coffee fresh and reduce the risk of it coming into contact with bacteria.
Furthermore, it’s best to store coffee in the fridge rather than in a freezer, thermos, or out on the counter. It will likely last longer in the fridge, depending on the type of coffee.
Tips for Storing Your Coffee in the Fridge
In addition to storing your coffee in air-tight containers, you should also:
- Ensure it cools down: Letting your coffee cool down before you store it in the fridge is essential. This rule applies to anything you store in the fridge. Putting something warm in the fridge will increase the fridge’s temperature, which is bad for everything else.
You could experience unhealthy bacteria in your fridge and coffee if you store it without letting it cool down.
- Put the coffee beans in the fridge: You should consider putting coffee beans in the fridge to keep them fresh. You should avoid leaving them open or they could attract bacteria. Store coffee beans in an air-tight container to stay as fresh as possible.
Does Cold Brew Last Longer Than Regular Coffee?
Whether or not you’re a cold brew drinker, if you want to enjoy coffee over several days without having to brew a new cup, cold brew is the best answer.
Regular coffee can last a couple days in the fridge once it’s cooled, as we mentioned. However, cold brew can last up to two weeks.
Storing cold brew in the fridge slows its fermentation process, allowing the coffee to retain its flavor.
What About Espresso?
Cold brew also lasts longer than espresso. It lasts much longer than espresso because it’s brewed in cold temperatures.
The taste of espresso will typically change after two days stored in the fridge.
Can You Freeze Brewed Coffee?
It is safe to freeze brewed coffee. Letting it cool down before you star the freezing process is essential, however.
You can store coffee in the freezer for a few months, but expect it to taste somewhat different after it’s been defrosted. The flavor will change slightly when defrosted due to the extra water content.
The best way to store brewed coffee in the fridge is to put it into ice cube trays. This way, you can add the coffee ice cubes to a glass to melt or drop them in hot water to make a coffee.
Can You Freeze Coffee Grounds?
Ground coffee can turn bad quickly. Therefore, it’s best to look for ways to prolong their freshness.
You can freeze ground coffee to retain its flavor. You can grind the beans at the beginning of a week and then defrost the grounds each day, which shouldn’t take long, to make fresh coffee.
General Coffee Shelf-Life Information
In general, coffee that hasn’t been brewed will last a pretty long time on the shelf. As long as it’s stored in an air-tight container, coffee retains its flavor and shouldn’t develop bacteria.
The lifespan will decrease, however, as soon as you remove beans or ground coffee from the container and use them to brew coffee. They will last the longest time as cold brew and the shortest time as an iced coffee.