Does your coffee taste unusually off today?
Well, maybe it’s the creamer.
You see, a creamer goes bad after some time. More often than not, it’s before you reach the bottom of the bottle.
But how long does coffee creamer last exactly? And how does one knows it has gone bad?
These are all the questions we’re addressing today.
How Long Does Coffee Creamer Last?
First things first, let’s talk about how long can a coffee creamer last.
There’s no single answer to this question, as there are different types of creamers available. Let’s talk about each of them individually.
With liquid creamers, the exact shelf life depends on the brand. But every packaging comes with a best before date printed on it, which will give you a rough estimate of how long it’s good for.
You see, a best before date indicates a timeframe within which the product will keep its optimal quality. After that time, the product will slowly start degrading, but can still be used for a while without going bad.
In the case of liquid dairy based coffee creamer, you can get about 1 or 2 more weeks before it’s time to throw it out. Of course, that’s given it was stored properly.
Dairy creamers are sold refrigerated and should be kept in a fridge at all times. Perishable food can go bad within just two hours of being left at room temperature. In summer, you can even half that time due to the extreme heat that bacteria love growing in.
Once opened, you should finish up a dairy coffee creamer before it hits the 1-week mark. After that time, it will most definitely go bad.
Mini Creamer Cups
Things are slightly different with mini cups. Even when made with dairy, mini cups have a very long shelf life of more than half a year. Unopened, they might even last a month or 2 after the printed date.
Why is that, you might ask?
Well, because these little cups are canned. What that means is they’re treated with heat to kill the bacteria, then air-sealed to remain that way unopened. Because of this procedure, mini creamers have quite a long shelf life.
Powder creamer can last quite some time. In fact, it doesn’t go bad in the literal sense of the word.
In most cases, the best before date is 1 to 2 years from production. But after about 6 months or so, they do start degrading in quality.
So while you can still add them to your coffee, don’t expect them to taste as good as they used to.
Non dairy coffee creamer, such as almond milk creamer, has a longer shelf life than dairy creamer. Again, the best before date printed on the label is your best guide here.
Unopened, you can expect a liquid non dairy creamer to last at least a month longer than the date stated.
But once you open the packaging, its shelf life is just like with dairy creamers – 1 to 2 weeks.
Powdered non dairy creamer can last much longer, up to 6 months.
5 Ways to Detect the Spoiled Creamer
Now the real question is, how does one know the coffee creamer has spoiled – aside from the date on the packaging?
Well, there are several tell-tale signs to pay attention to.
Obviously, it’s best to rely on your senses. The first and the most reliable one is taste.
Grab a spoon and try a bit of coffee creamer. It should taste fresh and slightly sweet. If it’s sour or in any way unpleasant, that’s a clear sign it has gone bad.
In that case, you should get rid of the expired creamer right away. Drinking it could even cause food poisoning.
Often, a bad coffee creamer will develop a bad smell as well. In a way, that’s great because you don’t actually have to try it out, right? Personally, I prefer relying on my sense of smell instead of trying something that potentially tastes disgusting.
When gone bad, a coffee creamer should start smelling acidic or sour. When that happens, it’s well beyond its expiration date.
Naturally, you should always check the date printed on the label.
As I’ve already stated, the best before date is just an indicator of quality, not freshness. After that date passes, the product will lose some of its nutrients, flavors, and aroma.
But even the expired coffee creamer can still be consumed for some time.
Therefore, the date on the label is your rough estimate of how long the coffee creamer is good for. But, you should rely solely on it. There are other factors that affect the actual condition of the coffee creamer.
The first and most important one is how it was stored. If you keep a dairy creamer at room temperature after it was opened, it will go bad within a couple of hours, regardless of the date on the label.
Liquid coffee creamer should appear smooth and silky when it’s fresh, kind of like heavy cream. If you notice any changes in texture, then it’s clearly gone bad.
As we already stated, powder creamers can last a pretty long time. But if you don’t store them properly, there’s always a risk of moisture getting inside the packaging, causing the coffee creamer to go moldy.
Dairy products naturally curdle in time. When the pH level of the milk drops, the proteins in milk start sticking one to another, creating curdle floating on the surface of the liquid.
The thing with curdling is that it can happen before the creamer actually goes bad. But in most cases, it’s just one of the characteristics of a dairy product gone bad. It’s much safer to simply throw it away as soon as you see lumps in your coffee creamer.
Here’s How to Store Your Coffee Creamer Properly
Considering the relatively short shelf life of coffee creamers, you surely want to make the best use of them before they go bad. To do that, you need to store them properly.
When it comes to liquid creamers, you want to store them in the fridge at all times. This is true for both dairy and non dairy liquid creamer.
A liquid coffee creamer contains different ingredients that can be affected by temperatures, such as oils and sugar. For that reason, you want to keep it in a place that’s chilled at a stable temperature, such as a fridge.
With powdered creamers, you don’t have to be that careful. They’re shelf stable, so you don’t have to keep them refrigerated. Instead, they’ll do just fine in your pantry or inside the kitchen cabinet that’s away from the heat source.
One thing you should pay attention to is the container. Most powdered creamers come in flimsy, plastic packaging that isn’t exactly airtight. The problem here is that moisture can get inside, causing the powdered creamer to clump and form mold.
Once you open the powdered coffee creamer packaging, you should transfer the content into an airtight container. That way, you can keep it safe from environmental changes, so it stays fresh for a long time.
Mini Creamer Cups
Mini creamers are, hands down, the most convenient ones. Since they come in a single-serving packaging, you don’t open them until you’re ready to use them.
And since they’ve gone through the canning process, they can be stored at room temperature. Still, make sure they’re kept away from the stove or the window, as high temperatures can affect the content of the cups.
There you have it, different types of coffee creamers and how long each of them lasts.
Powdered creamer has the longest shelf life and isn’t affected much by temperature. You can store it inside the cupboard for more than 6 months, and it will still be usable.
With liquid creamers, shelf life is much shorter, and they should be kept in the fridge at all times.
So which one is the best? Well, that depends solely on your needs and preferences.
Need recommendation? Here’s our list of the best coffee creamers on the market today.
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