You’re running late for work and grabbing your morning coffee to go, but once you arrive at the office, you realize you’ve been so busy that you haven’t taken a sip of it yet. Hours have passed and you’re wondering, “How long can coffee sit out before it’s not safe to drink?”
This is a question many coffee drinkers may have, and it’s important to know the answer in order to ensure you’re not consuming expired or potentially harmful coffee.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the answer to this question and provide some tips on how to keep your coffee fresh for as long as possible.
Can Freshly Brewed Coffee Go Bad
Coffee spoilage is a result of oxidation, a chemical reaction in which the flavor-rich compounds in coffee interact with oxygen in the air and deteriorate over time. Brewing coffee involves a series of chemical reactions where hot water extracts and blends with the coffee grounds, and if any coffee is left behind in the coffee maker, mold can develop and form on the surface. This highlights the importance of taste in coffee, as the bold and rich flavors we love are derived from compounds that are susceptible to oxidation. Additionally, the oils within the coffee can also deteriorate over time, contributing to the decline in taste.
Store cold coffee in the refrigerator can help to preserve the flavor and quality. If you find yourself with leftover coffee that has milk or cream added to it, it’s recommended that you throw it away rather than risking any health issues.
How Long Can Coffee Sit out at Room Temperature?
The length of time that coffee can sit out at room temperature varies depending on the type of coffee. On average, coffee can remain safe to consume for 2-24 hours when left out at room temperature. This range is due to the different factors that influence the freshness and quality of the coffee, such as the type of beans used, the brewing process, and the conditions under which the coffee is stored. Here are some guidelines:
Hot Black Coffee
Black coffee is a staple beverage for many people and is made simply by brewing coffee beans in hot water. The actual time frame for how long black brewed coffee good is up to 30 minutes at room temperature. Beyond that, the flavors of the coffee start to deteriorate. After about 4 hours, the oils in the coffee can start to go rancid, which can affect the taste.
However, black coffee can still be consumed safely for up to 24 hours after it has been brewed.
Coffee with Milk
If your coffee contains milk or cream, it should be consumed within 2 hours of being brewed or stored in the refrigerator. Milk can spoil quickly when left out of the refrigerator, which can cause stomach issues if consumed.
Up to 24 hours is the maximum time that iced coffee can sit out. Iced coffee will not spoil as quickly as coffee with milk, but it’s still best to consume it within 24 hours of brewing.
Cold Brew Coffee
Cold brew coffee is a popular refreshing drink, but it has a shorter lifespan than hot coffee. It can sit out at room temperature for up to 12 hours. It is brewed in cold water and is generally considered more stable than regular coffee, but it’s still best to consume it within 12 hours of brewing.
Coffee with Creamer
If your coffee contains creamers, it should be consumed within 2 hours of being cursed. Creamers can spoil quickly when left out of the refrigerator, which can affect the taste of your coffee and potentially cause stomach issues if consumed. In addition to creamers, cold foam is another popular coffee additive that can be affected by temperature and time also.
It’s always best to consume coffee within the recommended time frame and to keep it in a cool and dry place to ensure it remains fresh and safe to drink.
How Long Can Coffee Sit out in the Refrigerator?
Coffee that has been brewed and cooled can be stored in the refrigerator for a longer period of time than coffee that is left out at room temperature. Brewed coffee can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, as long as it is properly sealed and stored in an airtight container.
It’s important to note that coffee stored in the refrigerator may lose some of its flavor and strength over time, so it’s best to consume it within the two weeks for optimal taste. Additionally, it’s always best to check the coffee for any signs of spoilage or off-odor before consuming it.
How Long Does Coffee Last in the Freezer?
Coffee can be stored in the freezer to extend its shelf life and preserve its flavor. It can last in the freezer for up to 1 month if stored properly. To ensure that your coffee stays fresh and doesn’t absorb any odors or flavors from other food items in the freezer, it’s best to store it in an airtight container or freezer bag.
When you’re ready to use your frozen coffee, it’s best to thaw it in the refrigerator to avoid any changes in taste or texture. It’s also important to note that freezing coffee can change its taste and texture, so it may not be as smooth or flavorful as fresh coffee.
How Long Coffee Can Sit out in an Airtight Container?
Coffee that is stored in an airtight container can last longer than coffee that is exposed to air. The airtight container helps to preserve the freshness and flavor of the coffee by preventing air, moisture, and light from reaching it.
The exact amount of time that coffee can sit out in an airtight container is 1-2 weeks as long as it is stored properly. The airtight container also helps to prevent the coffee from absorbing any unwanted odors or flavors from other food items.
What Happens to Coffee That’s Left Out
Coffee is a beloved morning ritual for many, but what happens to that cup of joe once it’s been left out for a while? We’ll take a look at what happens to coffee that’s been left out, and explore the best ways to preserve the flavor and quality of your coffee.
Impact of Oxidation on Coffee Taste
Oxidation is a natural process that occurs when coffee is exposed to air, and it can have a significant impact on the taste and quality of your brew. Over time, the flavors in the coffee may become less pronounced and “flatten out.” The coffee oils, which are responsible for much of the flavor and aroma of the coffee, may also begin to go rancid, which can give the coffee a sour or off taste.
Loss of Flavor Profile
Coffee’s flavor is a delicate balance of acidity, sweetness, and bitterness. As coffee sits out, the flavors start to condense and lose their complexity, making coffee less enjoyable to drink.
Rancidity in Coffee Oils
Coffee oils, also known as coffee lipids, are present in coffee beans and can impact the taste and quality of the coffee. They are responsible for the unique taste and smell of different types of coffee beans. However, as coffee sits out, these oils can start to go rancid over time, which can give the coffee a sour or off taste.
Rancidity occurs after 24 hours when the oils in the coffee are exposed to oxygen, heat, and light, causing them to break down and lose their flavor. To prevent rancidity, it’s important to store coffee in an airtight container in a cool, dry place to slow down the oxidation process.
Preservation of Caffeine in Coffee
Many people drink coffee for its caffeine content, which provides a quick energy boost to kickstart their day. As long as you leave your cold brew concentrate or black coffee to sit, the caffeine content in coffee will be preserved even if it sits out for a while. This means that even if the flavor and aroma of the coffee has deteriorated, it will still give you the caffeine kick you’re looking for. But remember to limit your caffeine intake!
Deterioration of Milk and Cream in Coffee
When it comes to coffee with milk or cream added, it’s important to be aware that these dairy products can quickly spoil if left out at room temperature. If you have leftover coffee with milk or cream, it’s best to store it in the refrigerator and consume it within 2 hours.
If the coffee has been sitting out for longer than this time frame, it’s best to discard it to avoid any potential health risks.
Possibility of Mold and Bacterial Contamination
Leaving coffee out for an extended period of time can also increase the possibility of mold and bacterial contamination. This can happen due to the presence of moisture and warmth, which can create a breeding ground for harmful microorganisms.
Certain types of mold, such as Aspergillus and fusarium, can grow on coffee beans and cause the coffee to have a musty or moldy flavor.
For brewed coffee, it’s best to consume it no longer than one full day and for brewed coffee, it’s safe to consume for 3-4 days.
How to Properly Store Brewed Coffee
Store in the Refrigerator
Storing brewed coffee in the refrigerator can help to prolong its life and keep it safe for consumption. Iced coffee has its own shelf life, which is generally longer than that of hot brewed coffee. This is because the ice in the coffee helps to slow down the oxidation process and keep the flavor fresh for longer.
Use an Airtight Container / Thermos
One of the best ways to prolong the life of your brewed coffee is by using a container that is designed to keep out oxygen. The oxidation process is one of the main reasons why brewed coffee can go bad quickly, so if you can limit the amount of oxygen that gets to your coffee, you can keep it fresh for longer.
Avoid putting your open mug into the fridge. This will prevent the coffee from absorbing any unwanted odors or flavors from your fridge.
Avoid Storing in Direct Sunlight or Near Heat Source
When storing leftover coffee, it is important to avoid exposing it to direct sunlight or placing it near heat sources. This is because light and heat can cause the coffee to spoil faster and affect its taste and quality. Direct sunlight can cause the coffee to become stale, while heat can cause it to become bitter and lose its aroma. To ensure the freshness and taste of your brewed coffee, it is best to store it in a cool, dark place, such as in a pantry or refrigerator.
Avoid Adding Dairy to Brewed coffee
Dairy products can affect the taste and consistency of the coffee, leading to a loss of flavor and freshness over time. By opting for a non-dairy alternative, your coffee will stay fresh and delicious for a longer period. This is particularly beneficial for iced coffee as dairy can cause it to spoil faster.
Best Ways to Reheat Cold Coffee
As you know cold coffee can be a disappointment after starting the day with a hot, freshly brewed cup. But fear not, there are several ways to reheat cold coffee and restore its warmth and flavor. Here are some of the best ways to reheat cold coffee:
If you have cold coffee leftover from the morning, don’t worry! You can easily reheat it in a coffee pot. However, keep in mind that the taste may be slightly darker and a little harsher than when it was first brewed. However, it is still a great way to enjoy your coffee and get a caffeine boost.
There is nothing wrong with reheating your coffee in the microwave. Simply pop it in for 15 seconds, give it a quick stir, and it should be nice and warm again. Be careful not to overcook it, as this can lead to the coffee being overheated and potentially burnt.
When reheating cold coffee, it can be a tricky task to get it back to the perfect temperature without burning it. One way to achieve this is by using a saucepan on low heat. This will slowly bring the coffee back to the desired temperature without overdoing it.
Be sure to keep an eye on it and stir occasionally to ensure that you don’t end up with a boiling hot cup of coffee that has lost its flavor.
Simply add the cold coffee to the French Press, and then press the plunger down. The coffee will be heated to the perfect temperature, and the French Press will keep it warm for a while. You have a warm cup of coffee without any burnt or bitter flavors.
How Long Do Coffee Beans Last at Room Temperature?
The shelf life of roasted coffee beans at room temperature is approximately 2 weeks before a change in taste may be noticeable, but the beans can still retain good taste for up to 3 months. It’s important to store the coffee beans in an airtight container to protect them from moisture, light, and air, which can all affect the quality and freshness of the beans. Storing coffee beans at room temperature in a well-sealed container is a great method for preserving their flavor and aroma, making them suitable for brewing and eating coffee beans for as long as possible.
The length of time that coffee can sit out depends on various factors, including the type of coffee, the brewing method, and the storage conditions. Generally, coffee should be consumed within 2 hours of brewing to ensure optimal flavor and freshness. However, if you need to store your coffee for a longer period, it’s best to use a sealed container and refrigerate it to prolong its life. By following these simple tips, you can enjoy a delicious cup of coffee every time.
Nicholas’ coffee journey started at a very young age, as it has always been a part of his family. His parents operated five coffee shops throughout upstate New York during his childhood. Nicholas brings with him over 15 years of experience in the beverage industry, where he has held various sales and marketing roles at both domestic and international companies.