How long does Coffee last?
Ahhh coffee! Is there anything more satisfying and delicious? If only it could last forever! But, unfortunately like so many great and pleasurable things in life, coffee has a limited time to be enjoyed. But how long does coffee last exactly? And does coffee in its many different forms have different life spans? How long does cold brew last? How long does ground coffee last? How long does hot brewed coffee last? Just to list a few coffee lifespan questions we may have. In the wonderful world of coffee, there are some brews that last a bit longer than others. And for the brews that have ample longevity, there is still an expiration date!
How long does cold brew last?
Let’s begin with cold brew. Cold brew was originally developed and prepared by Dutch sailors so they could enjoy some java without it spoiling on long voyages. Which certainly paints a picture of a type of coffee with quite the extensive shelf life! The common wisdom is that cold brew can be kept for up to two weeks in the fridge, with some intrepid sources claiming to have continued to enjoy cold brew with no adverse consequences for up to a month!The first week for cold brew is optimal, with the flavor degrading as time marches on. Anytime much longer after two weeks can result in mold or bacteria forming in your cold brew concentrate. So do brew with caution! If you have diluted your cold brew concentrate with water, the shelf life shrinks a bit. So be aware before cutting your concentrate!
How long does hot brewed coffee last?
So, how long is hot brewed coffee good for? And does hot brewed coffee go bad? To answer the first question, hot brewed coffee is usually best when consumed as soon as possible after brewing or up to 12 hours after brewing.
“Hot brewed coffee is usually best when consumed as soon as possible after brewing or up to 12 hours after brewing.”
But is it a hazard to drink day old coffee? No, probably not, but the flavor will may be a bit off of course! Now any length of time after 24 hours may be pushing it with hot brewed coffee because it too can go bad. Bacteria can form and develop and the flavors and aromas will be weird tasting, which may be the more shocking of these two revelations. If you would like to enjoy hot brewed coffee at a much later time, the best option is to put it in the fridge or to freeze it.
A hot brewed coffee’s shelf life in the fridge is about 3-4 days, while in the freezer it can last a bit longer, at least up to a month. But many sources suggest once your hot brewed coffee goes in the fridge or in the freezer its better enjoyed as an iced coffee from then on. Which is actually a really great way to enjoy leftover coffee. You can freeze some of it as coffee ice cubes and keep the rest in the fridge.
How long do coffee grounds last?
The short answers? Not long. The more detailed answers, still yes but it all depends on how you store your grounds and how often you use them. Coffee beans, once ground, have a very short shelf life. When they get ground up their surface area shrinks and exposure to light, moisture and oxygen all take their toll on the grounds sapping them of their flavor, freshness and eventually making them stale.
There are two keen options to store your fresh grounds, in the pantry or, once again, in the freezer. The pantry option would see your grounds kept in an opaque and air-tight container and in a cool, dry place. If your grounds are stored like this then you can enjoy them in a time window spanning from 3 to nearly 5 months. The other option, the freezer, can sustain your grounds for even nearly 2 years! But again, these are grounds kept in an opaque, air tight container that can keep any excess moisture out, too. If you open your container often, like every day or multiple times a day for example, the life span of your grounds will decrease as they get exposed to light and oxygen. And before you ask, do not store your grounds in the fridge! It may sound like the best middle ground between the freezer and pantry. But every time you open the fridge, the light, moisture and temperature fluctuation that will result will result in some beat-up beans! Your grounds may also absorb flavors and aromas from other foods in your fridge, too.
Some possible variables
There are a few variables that may come into play that could potentially affect the life spans described above. For how long does cold brew coffee last? This is assuming one means the cold brew concentrate! Any dilution with water for example will decrease the life span by a couple of days. As for how long does hot brewed coffee last? That also depends on whether milk or cream are added into the mix. Any coffee mixes with milk or cream are (unfortunately) better thrown out. We understand how much of a sacrilege it is to waste coffee! But because milk and cream can result in some not too pleasant spoiling, it may be better to err on the side of caution!
If only coffee lasted forever...
Now that would be paradise, especially if cold brew, hot brew and grounds all retained their freshest flavors and aromas for as long as you wanted them to! But alas, they have shelf lives. Now, for the best results with your coffee always enjoy it as soon as it is brewed or within the time frames listed above! And when in doubt, always give your coffee a sniff test. If it smells rank, sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry. But for those reading this at home, we hope you know know the answer to the question how long does coffee last and wish you happy brewing!