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Coffee has quickly become the most popular drink in the world with perhaps a billion coffee drinkers around the world. It is rich in flavour and gives that extra boost in focus and energy which makes it the perfect drink for many. The trick to good coffee is having it as fresh as possible, so how long does brewed coffee stay fresh?
Brewed coffee generally stays fresh for about 20 minutes to 2 hours after it has been brewed. The fresher it is the better it will taste so it’s best consumed after brewing. Brewed coffee continues to oxidize due to contact with air. This oxidation process causes it to lose flavour and become stale.
Making the perfect cup of coffee can be a tricky process, but definitely well worth the effort. There are a few important things to know about keeping brewed coffee fresh and those points are discussed below.
Brewed coffee can definitely go bad if it stands for too long after brewing. It will gradually lose its flavour from the moment of brewing. After 20 minutes there is already a noticeable deterioration and after 2 hours the flavour has gone down significantly.
After the coffee has been brewed it comes in contact with the oxygen in the air. This contact allows for the process of oxidation to take place which deteriorates the quality and flavour of the coffee. There are ways in which you can preserve the brewed coffee to keep it fresh for longer and we will look at some of these ways below.
If the flavours of coffee is not a big concern to you and you are only interested in caffeine then this 2 hour period is not that important. Even 24 hours after brewing the coffee will still have some flavours but after 24 hours coffee is considered undrinkable by most experts. Once the brew oxidizes it will taste stale. Again, if the flavours are not your concern, you can still drink coffee after 24 hours, but be careful of bacterial growth.
Don’t get confused with bad coffee and brewing it too fast, learn more on Why Does My Coffee Taste watery in the link!
The freshness of a coffee brew can be extended by storing it in the fridge. The two biggest concerns are the coffee becoming stale from oxidation and bacterial growth. To keep these things from happening coffee needs to be stored in an airtight container
When coffee is stored properly in the fridge it will stay good for a couple of days. After a few days, you are at risk of unwanted things happening to the brew, so rather make it fresh again.
There are also other factors that will influence how long brewed coffee stays fresh in the fridge, for example, the roast level, the grind size, the dosage and if it was a cold or hot brew.
I wrote a whole article on can you refrigerate coffee, check it out here.
As briefly mentioned above, the biggest concern with storing brewed coffee is its contact with oxygen. To stop the contact with oxygen, simply store the coffee in an airtight container. It is similar to storing any other food or fresh product. The oxygen creates an environment for bacteria and fungi to grow, which is a big no-no. It also creates evaporation which will make coffee stale.
Coffee can also be kept as a concentrate and this will also extend the lifespan. When you want to enjoy your stored brew you can just add water or milk to get it to the right dilution.
The best way to store coffee is to store it in an airtight glass bottle. Plastic bottles can also mess with the coffee flavours so they are not the most ideal choice, but they will also do the job if needs be.
Freshly brewed coffee cannot sit out for very long, 2 hours should be the maximum amount of time if you are a real coffee lover. After 2 hours there will already be a considerable deterioration to the flavours and strength of the coffee.
For those who are not as concerned about the quality of coffee, you can still drink coffee that has been sitting out for up to 24 hours. After this, it is advised to avoid drinking it by most people as the coffee will already be stale and might taste like old dishwashing water.
Drinking old coffee won’t necessarily make you sick, but the taste won’t be great. Dinking old coffee will cause you to get sick for a few reasons, such as – how old is the old coffee, how it has been left out, moisture and bacterial growth.
The biggest health danger with coffee that has been sitting out is bacterial growth. If coffee is not stored in a proper container and also not put in the fridge it can definitely make you sick if it is too old. As with any food or fresh produce, if it is left out for too long you could see some growth on it that can make you seriously sick.
To learn more on what happens If you drink expired coffee, you can check that article out for loads of information!
A coffee connoisseur may tell you to never reheat your coffee, but many people do, including me.
The reason they say that is because once coffee gets cold it already loses a lot of flavours and then when it is reheated it loses even more flavour.
A microwave is especially bad because the radiation destroys a lot of the taste and a lot of the beneficial properties of the coffee.
For the average coffee drinker, this is not such a big concern, for them, it is perfectly okay to reheat coffee in the microwave. There are no health dangers involved, it is simply up to how much flavour you want to preserve in the coffee.
So, how long does brewed coffee stay fresh? A pot of brewed coffee should stay fresh a delicious for about 2 hours after it’s been brewed. After that time you can still consume it but the taste may have declined. The longer you leave it the staler it will taste.