Brewed coffee is a great drink to enjoy in the morning or at any time of day. Its rich flavor and aroma make it a popular choice for many people. But how long can you leave that hot liquid sitting out before it spoils?
The length of time brewed coffee remains safe to consume depends on several factors, such as temperature, exposure to air, and how you keep it.
We all know that the coffee won’t taste good forever, but when exactly will it start to taste bad? Can you drink day old coffee? How to prolong the freshness and flavor of the brewed coffee? We will answer all these frequently asked questions for coffee lovers. Let’s get started.
How Long Is Brewed Coffee Good For?
How long is coffee good for? In short, brewed coffee can only last up to 30 minutes before the flavor begins to degrade.
If you are leaving the coffee to sit out for more than a few hours, apart from losing its pleasant fragrance and tasting rancid, it will also develop an unpleasant bitterness or sour taste.
Generally speaking, plain black coffee can stay fresh longer. If you let the untouched plain black coffee sit out for 24 hours after brewing at room temperature, it is still safe to drink, though it doesn’t taste as good as it was.
However, hot coffee with milk added is only safe to drink for about an hour or two at room temperature. Milk is perishable and can go bad quickly. If you leave it out too long, the milk will curdle and turn sour, you’d better dump the coffee in the sink instead of letting them into your body. This applies to all milk-based drinks, including latte, mocha, frappuccino, and other popular coffee beverages you got from the coffee shop.
Why does coffee taste stale after sitting out for a while?
Oxidization is the main reason coffee tastes stale. The coffee’s distinctive flavors are made up of highly volatile aromatic compounds that oxidize easily when they come in contact with oxygen.
The process of brewing coffee is the beginning step in a long chain of chemical reactions. When the hot water infuses into your ground coffee, those molecules immediately release their intense fragrance, the oils and flavors of the coffee start to lose. That’s why we use water at 195-205 F. Boiling water will over-extract the coffee and result in a bitter brew. The aroma and flavor will also lose very quickly at such a high temperature.
The oxidation won’t stop after brewing. Your cup of joe is exposed to oxygen that continues to break down and react with some of its compounds. Even though it’s not going bad and still safe to drink, the flavor profile and aroma will fade.
This oxidization process occurs more quickly at higher temperatures, that’s why the flavor of cold brew coffee lasts longer while a pot of coffee sitting on the hot plate of your coffee maker becomes more bitter.
How long is brewed coffee good for in the fridge
Storing the brewed coffee in the refrigerator can slow the oxidation process and make coffee last longer. Remember to keep the coffee in a tightly sealed container, and you don’t want your coffee to absorb the flavors of other foods in the fridge.
Black coffee can last more than 24 hours in the fridge. Some people believe you can store the black coffee in the fridge for a week, but why would you do that? Even if your coffee maker is able to make a 12-cup size carafe of coffee, you don’t want to make more coffee than you can drink within a day.
Drink it as soon as possible. Unless you make the cold brew concentrate, you can store it in an air-tight jar in the fridge for no more than 2 weeks. Many cold brew coffee lovers do this; they make a jar of cold brew concentrate and dilute it with water or milk whenever they want to enjoy the coffee. As we mentioned earlier, brewing the coffee and storing it at a lower temperature tends to extend your coffee’s flavor and life.
Can you drink day old leftover coffee?
We know you don’t want to waste your yesterday’s coffee. We don’t recommend drinking day-old coffee, especially if it has gone rancid and has accumulated an unpleasant smell and taste. Even if not, it won’t be a pleasant cup of coffee as it was just brewed. Treat yourself better, make another cup.
Brewing coffee may become susceptible to mold if not refrigerated and consumed quickly. That may cause some problems in your stomach.
As FDA suggested, milk won’t stay fresh at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Don’t drink the day-old milk-based coffee even if you put them into the fridge for your good.
How Long Does The Caffeine Stay In Brewed Coffee?
Unlike other volatile flavor components, caffeine is stable and does not evaporate or otherwise disappear after brewing. You may sense the lack of aroma and flavor, but not the caffeine.
The caffeine content would remain the same in your cup of coffee after a few hours as it was just brewed. So if you the person who just needs the caffeine kick without worrying about the good coffee flavor, you can still make it from the coffee sitting for a day.
We suggest you drink the coffee as fresh as possible – Sure, you’ll need to wait for it to cool down, don’t burn your tongue.
Sometimes you may need to brew more coffee and keep you caffeinated for a whole day on the go. If you are in a situation that you have to make more coffee than you can consume at once, consider a high-quality thermos mug. It can keep the coffee hot and relatively fresh for a few more hours longer since it doesn’t allow the air to contact the coffee and slow down the oxidization.
If you have leftover coffee, transfer them to a sealed container and keep the coffee in the fridge as soon as possible. Don’t just let the coffee ist at your kitchen counter at room temp. By doing so, you can still enjoy your morning coffee at night.
Also, keep in mind that freshly ground beans ensure the freshness of your coffee. Besides consuming brewed coffee quicker and store them well, you also need to keep your whole bean coffee or coffee grounds properly. They also have a shelf life and only stay fresh for just a period of time.