Sometimes I wonder where the things I eat or drink come from. One day, while drinking a cup of decaf coffee, I wondered: how is
How long can i keep coffee in the fridge?
During hot summer days, there is a good chance you like your coffee iced. For this and for all your other favorite cold coffee drinks, it is nice to have some brewed coffee on hand.
So, you brew a pot, let it cool and put it in the fridge.
Then a question pops up: How long can you keep coffee in the fridge?
The best answer: you can keep brewed coffee in the fridge for up to 4 days. Beyond that, the flavor starts to degrade, and you run the risk of it going bad. This goes for drip coffee or French Press coffee. Cold brew coffee (the concentrate) can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Seriously, don’t drink it after it has been stored for more than 4 days. There might be bacteria growing in there that can make you sick. I am not a doctor and not a food scientist, I just want you to be safe.
Now you know for how long you can store coffee in your fridge. But there are a few more things that need to be discussed.
How to store brewed coffee in the fridge
There are a few things to keep in mind before deciding to store a pot of freshly brewed coffee in your fridge. First, don’t put it in the refrigerator as soon as your coffee maker is done brewing. Placing the coffee in the fridge right from the hot plate is a BAD idea.
Let the coffee cool to room temperature first
First of all, it will increase the temperature in your fridge significantly. Your refrigerator will have to work hard to bring the temperature inside back to a normal level. It also needs to cool a pot of hot liquid. You can imagine that this will cost a lot of energy. But it will also put all the other perishable foods in your fridge at risk.
Depending on how powerful your fridge is and the ambient temperature, it can take up to several hours before the refrigerator’s temperature is back to normal.
You should allow the coffee to come to room temperature first. You can do this simply by taking it off the hot plate and letting it sit for about an hour.
But it is better to pour the coffee in the container you plan on storing it in. It should have a lid. Besides keeping out bugs and other bad guys, the lid allows you to put the container in the sink filled with cold water. This speeds up the cooling process tremendously.
Use a clean airtight container to store the coffee
The other thing you need to keep in mind before storing coffee in your refrigerator is the type of container you use. Best is to use a container with a lid you can close like a big mason jar. A carafe with the top wrapped in plastic wrap also works. In any case, make sure the container is CLEAN. You don’t want any residue of whatever was in there before to remain. My advice is to clean it thoroughly with hot water and soap right before you use it. Or put it in the dishwasher beforehand.
Finally, try putting it at the bottom of the fridge near the back. I know it is tempting to put it in the door. But that is probably the warmest spot in the whole refrigerator. If you plan on using the coffee in the next 1 or 2 days, putting it in the door is fine. But when you plan on storing the coffee for the full 4 days, I would put it at the coldest possible spot in the fridge. Just to be safe. Remember that when you make cold coffee drinks, it is probably warm. And a warm environment speed of the process of spoiling.
To be completely clear, we are talking about brewed coffee here. That is coffee made with either a drip coffee maker (or alike) or a French Press (or alike). Actual cold brew coffee can be stored for longer than brewed coffee. Storing cold brew coffee (concentrate) is practically the same as the process described above, except for the cooling to room temperature, of course.
If you are interested, we also have an article on making cold brew coffee (concentrate) with a Chemex coffee maker. Click here to read.
Downsides of storing coffee in the fridge
Having a batch of cooled down coffee in the fridge to use for cold coffee drinks is very convenient. But there are some downsides you need to take into account.
It can pick up aromas from other things
Your refrigerator is full of things that give of smells. Have you ever put something very garlicky in your fridge? Or a piece of stinky French cheese? Then you know what I am talking about. The whole thing smells. The problem with coffee (and this goes for coffee beans, ground coffee, and brewed coffee) is that it takes on the aroma of other things pretty quickly.
And you don’t have to have things in your fridge that give off really strong smells. Everything gives off a bit of aroma, which is all picked up by the coffee. Soon, the coffee will start to taste weird. The best way to combat this is to use a good airtight container to store your brewed coffee. A mason jar with a good rubber seal or a thermos bottle that you don’t use is excellent for this.
Be aware, though, that this doesn’t always help. Smells have a nasty tendency to creep in, no matter how good you protect your coffee.
SIDENOTE: How to use coffee to remove funky odors from your fridge
This whole thing about coffee picking up the aroma of other things fast can also be used to our advantage. If, for instance, you have a weird smell lingering in your refrigerator, coffee can help. All you have to do is put a cup of ground coffee (unused off course) in your fridge. The funkiness will disappear like magic!
The flavor degrades
Another thing to keep in mind is that the longer you store brewed coffee, the more the taste will degrade. Iced coffee made with your cooled down brew on day 1 will taste very different from and iced coffee on day 4. It will have a less pronounced coffee flavor, and maybe a bit bland. Again, an airtight container to store it in helps, but only up to a point.
My advice would be to make enough coffee for 1 or 2 days only. Yes, it is more work, but your cold coffee drinks will taste better. And that is worth something, right?
Can you reheat Cold coffee?
Finally, a word about reheating: this whole article presumed that you want to store brewed coffee in the fridge because you want to make cold coffee drinks. But that might not be the case at all!
Do you drink only a cup a day? And you want to make a whole pot every couple of days, take what you need every day and reheat it? That will work too!
Follow the same guidelines. After you brew a pot of coffee, take what you need, and let the rest come to room temperature. Put it in a clean, airtight container once it has cooled down, and keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Flavor degradation is a problem when you store coffee for longer than a day, but it becomes worse when you reheat it. Reheating, in a pan or in the microwave, negatively impacts flavor. At least, that is my experience. If you want to try this, please do.
If to you reheated coffee tastes fine, the more power to you!
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