Cold brewed coffee can generally last much longer than regular coffee. It can last from 7 to 10 days!
However, it can vary greatly depending on how you store it and a few other factors, like temperature, oxidation, and even the quality of the container in which you store your cold brew.
In this article, I’ll tell you how long does cold brew last and how to extend its shelf life.
So, let’s begin!
How long does cold brew last?
The cool thing about cold brew is that it lasts longer than regular hot brewed coffee. If you store it properly, it can stay fresh between 7 and 10 days.
However, I like to drink it in the first 5 days. This is because the cold brew coffee concentrate starts to stale around day 3, and starts to taste stale around day 7.
Since cold brew won’t get spoilt fast, it is safe to drink for up to 2 weeks or even a month. But, quality is degrading over time. So, keep in mind, the fresher – the better!
Still, if you plan ahead, you can prepare more than enough and always have your cuppa in no time!
Signs that cold brew has gone bad
If you have found a lost jug of cold brew concentrate at the back of your fridge, maybe you don’t need to toss it. If it’s still fine you can save it and use it for coffee ice cubes, salad dressing, etc.
But, there are a few clear signs that your old coffee is definitely off and you should throw it away:
- odd, unusual taste
- less aromatic
- the regular caffeine kick is missing
- strong acidic taste, and finally, the most distinctive
- mold and/or rancid smell
If you notice any of these signs, I don’t recommend you drink it.
Extending cold brew shelf life
You can extend your cold brew freshness by storing it properly. Several factors affect it, but oxygen and temperature are the most important.
Temperature is the key factor. Cold brew needs to be stored in a refrigerator. You can also freeze it, but it will affect the taste. Freezing changes certain chemical components and tastes, but it will last up to two months this way.
Don’t store it at room temperature, this will make it go stale much quicker. Freshly brewed, left at room temperature, cold brew will go bad in a matter of hours.
Because of oxidation, anything will last longer in an airtight container. Also, less exposure to oxygen will stop cross-contamination and the loss of nutrients. The same goes for cold-brewed, if you want a fresh coffee, keep it in an airtight container.
Glass, or even ceramics, is a much better option than plastic. Plastic is porous, so it could contaminate your brew giving it a plastic aroma and flavor. (Yuck!) Also, it can absorb some of the chemicals from the coffee and change its taste much faster.
If you made your cold brew in a mason jar with a coffee filter and ground coffee beans, you can just remove the filter after the steep time is finished, and leave it as it is.
In a case you made it with a cold brew coffee maker or Aeropress, you can pour your cold brew coffee concentrate into a glass container such as a mason jar or glass bottle after steeping.
Since cold brew is highly concentrated, the flavor is very intense. So, to drink it, it should be diluted with cold water, milk, cream, or something else. You can also dilute it with hot water or warm it up if you prefer hot coffee.
It is better to dilute it right before drinking, and only the amount you need. Diluted cold brew can last for just a couple of days, even in perfect conditions. If you dilute your brew, I suggest you split the amount into smaller containers.
Of course, the type of water is also playing a part! For example, some tap water has a distinctive flavor and it will affect the coffee taste, especially with cold brewing because the water will not boil. You will get the best flavor by using filtered water.
If you are still confused about cold brew coffee, I will answer some of the common concerns.
Can old cold brew make you sick?
If it isn’t molded, old cold brew won’t make you really sick. But, it won’t be a nice experience for your taste buds. The taste will be odd, without flavor and aroma. Although you won’t get food poisoning, it still won’t be pleasant, so it’s best to avoid it.
How long does Starbucks cold brew last in the fridge?
You can keep Starbucks cold brew in the fridge for a couple of days. But, when you open the bottle, you can keep it in the fridge for about 4 to 8 hours, or even 12 hours. But, the taste is definitely better in the first few hours because of oxidation.
How long is iced coffee good for in the fridge?
If you haven’t opened it, you can keep iced coffee in the fridge until it expires. But, if opened it lasts shorter than cold brew. It is because of the milk, but also sugar, cream, water, etc. Once opened you can keep iced coffee in the fridge for about a day and a half.
To sum it up, cold brew lasts way longer than hot brew.
A concentrated cold brew will be good for up to 10 days if you keep it in an air-tight container in a refrigerator. But, it tastes the best in the first 5 days.
Although, if it has an odd, acidic taste and it’s less aromatic, better prepare a new jug.
Having a big, mason jar full of cold coffee waiting for you in a fridge is very convenient for long, hot summer days. So, make sure you are storing cold brew properly if you want to enjoy it for a longer time.
And if you want to elevate your coffee experience, try a bubbly specialty cold brew variation – nitro cold brew!
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