Before we get into this, I just want to say that I’m not a fan of storing coffee in the fridge once it’s cooled. I think when you reheat it you can really change the flavor and leave yourself with a below-average cup of coffee.
And that’s just not what we’re about here, we want Above Average Coffee and to do that you want to be making fresh coffee any time you want some.
But this is real life and sometimes you get left with more coffee in the pot than you expected, maybe you’ve invited a load of people around and none of them had a cup of coffee like you thought they would.
It’d be a shame to let it go to waste.
Black coffee can last in the fridge for 1-2 weeks and still be completely safe to drink if it’s stored in an airtight container. 2-3 days is optimal for the best taste but it will stay safe longer than that. Coffee with milk or creamer will last 2 days in the fridge.
Especially so if you’re going to heat it up once it’s out of the fridge, bringing it back up to temperature ensures that all the bacteria gets killed leaving you with a clean cup of coffee.
I can’t promise it will be a tasty cup of coffee, but it will be a safe cup of coffee!
How Long Does Coffee Last In The Fridge
The reason that I’ve said brewed coffee can last up to 2 weeks instead of the 3 days that others talk about, is that cold brew coffee is often kept in the fridge for 2 weeks and if stored properly can still taste great.
It’s slightly different as no oxidation happens like that which happens with a hot coffee as you leave it come down to room temperature. This is what causes your coffee to start tasting stale, so after 2 weeks it won’t be nearly as tasty as cold brew at 2 weeks.
But in terms of safety as long as you’ve stored it in an airtight container rather than the coffee pot you’ll be absolutely fine to drink it.
This is an interesting one because, to me, the shelf life of an iced coffee is up until the ice melts.
After that, it will still be fine to drink, and I’ve talked before about how coffee is safe to leave overnight and still reheat and drink the next day.
But watered-down coffee doesn’t taste good any which way you slice it.
Using coffee out of the fridge to make iced coffee is absolutely fine but don’t store iced coffee in the fridge, unless you take the ice out first.
Another big no, don’t keep espresso in the fridge, there shouldn’t be a circumstance that leads you to have excess espresso, just take care next time to make the right amount.
Espresso-based drinks like Latte’s and Cappuccinos are absolutely fine in the fridge.
I’ve put leftover Starbucks in the fridge before and drank it the next day, it was nice cold but I decided to reheat it in a saucepan first.
Espresso drinks will only last 2 days in the fridge because of the milk, it spoils much faster and is much more likely to make you ill if you accidentally drink it after it’s gone rancid.
What Does Milk Bring To The Equation
Milk changes everything when it comes to coffee, it changes the flavor but it also completely changes how you can store coffee.
Black coffee can last and last, in my research for this post I saw one guy who was talking about drinking the 6-month-old coffee that he kept in a gallon jug in his coffee that was still completely fine…
For one thing, I don’t believe him that it tasted good in any way but it’s interesting.
If you did that with milky coffee you’d end up with coffee that could walk out the fridge by itself!
It of course makes sense that milk doesn’t last as long, but it can still be kept for a day or two and enjoyed if it’s reheated.
It’ll probably be alright if you just left it cold but it will taste better if it’s been heated up again.
I’ll talk about this more further down but if you plan on storing coffee in the fridge then make sure it’s black coffee and you add milk to it only when it’s ready.
Alternatives To Storing Brewed Coffee In the Fridge
You’ve got 2 other options if you don’t want to store your coffee in the fridge
1. Leave it out
Yup, you can leave black coffee out on the countertop, in a carafe, or a coffee pot overnight and it will still be completely fine to drink the next day.
This is my preferred option if I accidentally make too much coffee, it stops it from taking up space in the fridge, you can leave it in the coffee machine.
And while it might make some baristas cringe, I don’t think it changes the flavor too much at all.
2. Freeze it into ice cubes
Freezing your brewed coffee is another option, freezing it by the mugful doesn’t do the flavor any favors I won’t kid you on that front.
But you can freeze your coffee into an ice cube tray and make coffee-flavored ice cubes. Which are tasty by themselves on a hot day or if you’re making iced coffee, you can use iced coffee cubes for extra zing.
Not the most efficient solution but it can be something fun to try.
If you’re using instant coffee however I wouldn’t bother storing it any which way. It’s only a few pennies in a mug, just pour it away when you’re done.
3. Use A Thermos
If you’ve got leftover coffee what better use for it apart from putting it in a thermos, some can keep contents hot for 12 hours so if you make too much coffee you can keep it for later and still enjoy it hot.
It won’t taste as good as if you made it fresh but it will taste better than if you put it in the fridge and then spend as little time as possible reheating it!
How Long Do Coffee grounds Last In The Fridge
Coffee grounds aren’t the best to store in the fridge, because if they aren’t properly sealed into a container they can start leeching up other smells from the fridge. So before you know if our coffee has a taste of onion in it, gross…
Your coffee grounds and your coffee beans last better when they’re stored in a cool dry place. Preferably in an airtight container but even in the bag with a peg on the top is a reasonable way to store your coffee.
Does Coffee Go Bad In The Fridge?
Coffee goes stale when it’s kept in the fridge, even cold brew which is made and stored in the fridge goes stale after about 2 weeks which leads to a coffee taste similar to a cheap diner coffee.
But will it go bad as in start going moldy? Eventually, it will, if all your coffee equipment was clean and possibly even sterilized then your coffee will sit for a long time in the fridge before any mold appears.
But if it was made in a French Press that gets rinsed after each use instead of deep cleaned then the expiration date will be much shorter. Which, full disclosure, is how I clean my French Press and it’s absolutely fine.
Tips For Storing Coffee In The Fridge
1. Use an Airtight Container
This is the most important step because coffee beans are very porous and can act as a sponge for other smells that might be lingering in your fridge. And even brewed coffee can have the same problem where if it’s stored, say, in an open mug when you come back to drink it you might find it has the faintest smell and taste of onion in it.
Not to mention oxidization will happen faster if your coffee is exposed to constant circulating air, which in turn will cause the coffee to degrade quicker fast tracking you to a terrible cup of coffee.
2. Allow It To Cool Completely
You don’t want to put hot coffee into the fridge, not because it’s bad for the coffee but it is bad food hygiene and a waste of power!
When you put something hot in a fridge the temperature of the fridge raises, and as a result your fridge then has to use more power to cool itself back down. But apart from that everything in the fridge will rise in temperature which is how bacteria start to grow.
This is why it isn’t a good idea to put anything hot in your fridge let alone a steaming jug of hot water!
3. Keep Beans Whole
If you need to put coffee beans in the fridge be sure to put them in whole, again in an airtight container, because ground coffee has a much bigger surface area than whole bean coffee which drastically shortens the shelf life by exposing them to more oxidation.
All coffee drinks taste better fresh, no matter the coffee maker, drip coffee, french press, pour-over, espresso, you just can’t beat having it fresh.
That’s the whole point of going to a cafe, so a barista will make you a fresh cup of coffee with a big fancy grinder.
But if you’ve been caught out having made far more coffee than you can drink then I hope this article has helped!