Does Cold Brew Coffee Go Bad? Plus How Long Can It Last


Can Cold Brew Go Bad? 

Cold brew coffee concentrate can be made at home or purchased from the store. It has a delicious flavor profile that coffee lovers enjoy. We will explore can cold brew go bad, and how long of a shelf life it has on average. Keep in mind the different cold brew concentrate types will last longer than others. 

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Concentrated cold brew can be made at home quite easily or purchased from the grocery store. Often a Coffee shop uses cold brew to make delicious, iced beverages or frappes. 

Let’s jump right into looking at the shelf life of coffee and cold brew. 

Shelf Life of Cold Brew Coffee 

The shelf life of coffee may vary depending on what all ingredients are included in your cold brew coffee. Can cold brew go bad? The straightforward answer is yes, cold brew coffee is a perishable food item, so it can go bad.  

How long it lasts may vary depending on what ingredients are included, and the storage methods used. It is also important to note that undeluded concentrate will last longer than cold brew concentrates with other ingredients such as milk or creamer added to it. 

Cold Brew Shelf Life 

A batch of cold brew, can last quite a long time, depending on how it is stored. With proper storage, cold brew can often last up to a week if it is stored properly. However, if it is not stored properly, then it will only last a day or two, and sometimes not even that long. 

Let’s look at the different storage methods you can use to properly store cold brew coffee in the refrigerator. 

Plastic Container 

One of the ways you can store cold brew coffee is in a plastic container in the fridge. If you are using a plastic container, then it should be an airtight container so that you can limit the amount of air, and unwanted bacteria getting into the cold brew coffee. 

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Mason Jar 

Using a glass mason jar with a lid is another great way to store cold brew coffee so that it maintains the best flavor. Not only can you store your cold brew coffee in a glass mason jar, but you can also brew your coffee right in that mason jar with a coffee filter.  

When the cold brew coffee is added to the mason jar, it should be sealed securely with a lid, so that the jar is airtight. It should then be stored in the fridge. 

Ice Cube Tray 

For a longer shelf life, you can make a cold brew coffee, into coffee ice cubes, using an ice cube tray in the freezer. This will expand the shelf life of your cold brew coffee, so that it is not just a few days or even a week, rather you can freeze cold brew coffee and an ice cube tray for a month or two.  

After the ice cubes have been frozen in the ice cube tray, we would recommend transferring the ice cubes to an airtight container or save them in a plastic freezer bag so that they do not become freezer burnt.

When stored this way they can last up to two months in the freezer. These coffee ice cubes make a perfect addition to your iced coffee!  

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What is the Best Way to Store Cold Brew Coffee? 

The best way to store cold brew coffee, so that it maintains the best flavor, is to store it in a glass airtight container, or seal it in a glass mason jar with a lid. 

Important Questions about Cold Brew Coffee 

On average how long does cold brew last when stored in the fridge? 

The first important question to answer is how long cold brew coffee lasts when stored in an airtight container, such as a plastic container, or a glass mason jar.

Typically, undeluded cold brew coffee, meaning just plain coffee brewed in cold water, will last up to seven days when stored properly in the fridge. 

How long does unopened cold brew last? 

In addition to cold brew coffee, that is brewed in your fridge at home, you can also purchase cold brew coffee from the grocery store. Premade cold brew coffee that is purchased from the grocery store, and remains sealed, will typically last between 7 and 14 days when stored in the fridge. 

To be sure about your specific jug of cold brew coffee, make sure to reference the expiration date on the coffee packaging. Some types of cold brew coffee may vary on how long they last, depending on how they are made. 

How long does cold brew last unrefrigerated? 

Cold brew coffee, that is refrigerated, will have a much shorter lifespan. Unless you happen to stumble upon a shelf-stable coffee at the grocery store, most cold brew coffee, whether homemade or purchased from the store should not be left at room temperature any longer than two hours when your temperature is between 40°F and 90°F before it grows unwanted bacteria and goes bad. However, if your room temperature is 90°F or above, then it is only safe to be left at room temperature for one hour or less. 

Can Cold Brew Coffee Go Bad? 

To answer the question, can cold brew go bad? The answer is a resounding yes, cold brew coffee, just like any other perishable food, can go bad.  

How long it takes for the cold brew coffee to go bad, will depend on what ingredients it contains in addition to coffee. As the lifespan of the cold brew coffee goes on, the flavor will change, and ultimately the coffee will spoil and should not be consumed. 

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What happens when cold brew goes bad? 

The best taste of your cold brew coffee will be as soon as the cold brew has finished brewing. If you’re brewing cold brew coffee in the fridge, that usually takes between 12 and 24 hours for it to completely finish the brewing process. At this point, the colder coffee is going to have the best taste and flavor quality. 

As the days go on, the cold brew coffee is stored in the fridge, even if it’s in a glass jar or airtight container, it will slowly experience a loss of flavor, and eventually, turn into stale coffee. 

This is why, the coffee tastes the best as soon as it has finished the brewing process. The coffee will continue to have chemical reactions, even as it sits in the fridge, which will change the flavor of the coffee in general. Therefore, you may experience a rancid coffee flavor if you ever try cold brew coffee that has been in the fridge for too long. 

However, if the cold brew coffee has been in the fridge for too long, it has gone bad, there is still good use for the old coffee. If you have any plants, that like acid, or need a bit of fertilizer, pour a little bit of the old coffee into your plants, may help to perk them up. 

Shelf Life of your Cold Brew 

As mentioned above, your cold brew coffee may last anywhere between 7 and 14 days when stored properly in an airtight container in the fridge.  

However, the longer that it is stored, the more likely your cold brew coffee is to lose its delicious flavor, and contain unwanted bacterial growth, which could result in food poisoning, or illness.  

Below are a few indicators you may observe of your cold brew coffee, to tell if it has gone bad. 

Mold Growth. Cold brew coffee, that has started to go bad may experience unwanted mold growth, both on the cold brew coffee or inside of the container. If you see mold growing on the cold brew coffee, or inside of its container, do not drink this coffee. 

Unknown Floaties. You may also notice some random floaties inside your cold-brew coffee. If you see floaties and don’t know the cause of them in your cold brew coffee, this is a sign that it may have spoiled, and be growing unwanted bacteria. 

Off Smell. You can also smell the cold brew coffee, to see if there is an odd smell or spoiled smell to the coffee. If it does not smell normal, then it has likely spoiled. 

Odd Flavor. If you happen to pour the cold brew coffee into your glass to enjoy a morning cup of coffee, and noticed an odd flavor to the coffee, do not continue drinking it. An odd flavor of the cold brew coffee is a sign that it has likely spoiled. 

Expiration Date. If your cold brew coffee has been purchased from the grocery store, you can also look for an expiration date on the container, whether it is still a sealed container, or opened. The expiry date will still give you a good timeframe reference to know if it has gone bad or not. 

If you observe one or more of these things to look for to tell if your cold brew coffee has gone bad or not, do not drink the cold brew coffee. Even if only one of these items mentioned above is present, it is likely that your cold brew coffee has gone bad and should not be consumed. 

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Cold-Brewed Coffee Different Brewing Process for Cold Brewing 

There are several different methods you can follow to make your own cold brew at home. However, when doing this, you want to be sure to follow some simple food safety tips, so that your cold brew coffee starts off right, and does not go bad right away. Below are some simple tips and tricks for each brewing method. 

French Press 

You can make cold brew coffee in a French press quite easily. To do this, you will simply want to mix together hot water, and coffee grounds. Once they are combined, store the French press in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight until the coffee has brewed. Then press the plunger down, to separate the cold brew coffee from the coffee grounds.  

You can continue to store the cold brew coffee in the fridge in the French press, or you can transfer the coffee into an airtight container, or mason jar with a lid for longer storage. 

Glass Jar Brewing Method 

One of our favorite ways to make cold brew coffee is by using a glass jar, such as a mason jar, with a filter insert. You can then add your coffee grounds into the filter, then fill the mason jar with room temperature water, or cold water. Cover with a lid, then you can let the coffee brew in a few different methods.  

One method, which is our preferred, is to simply set the glass jar with a lid in the fridge for about 12-24 hours to allow the coffee to cold brew. This is a very safe way to brew cold brew coffee.  

Another way you can do it is to set the jar with coffee grounds in it in direct sunlight. If you choose to do this method, you will want to be careful to not let it sit in direct sunlight, for more than two hours. This method could cause unwanted bacterial growth right from the start. 

Coffee Maker 

Another method is to use your coffee maker to brew the coffee. Then pour the brewed coffee into a glass jar with a lid, or airtight container and store the brewed coffee in the fridge until it is nicely chilled.  

This method doesn’t exactly make cold brew coffee, because you’re not brewing in the cold, but it does allow you to make coffee quickly, and then chill it. 

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Type of Coffee 

When making cold brew coffee, there are a few different methods you can use as mentioned above. Each of these methods can be made using a few different types of coffee.  

Typically, to make regular coffee cold brew, you will want to use whole beans that have been ground. These ground coffee beans are then added to your water and brewed for several hours depending on what method you are using.  

However, another type of coffee you could use to make cold brew coffee is instant coffee. To do this you would combine instant coffee with warm water, or even hot water. Mix them together until the instant coffee is dissolved, and then refrigerate the coffee in an airtight container until it is cooled. 

Cold-Brew Coffee 

How long cold brew keeps will depend on how it is stored. Although cold brew coffee typically does last longer than regular coffee when it is stored properly, yes, cold brew coffee can go bad. Cold brew coffee is still a perishable food and does not last forever. Cold brew coffee drink makes a fabulous way to enjoy cold coffee when you are in a hurry. 

Now that you know all about how long culture coffee lasts, and how to best store it for a longer shelf life, it’s time to go enjoy your delicious cup of cold brew coffee. We hope this has been helpful in determining if it goes bad, and how long you can store your cold brew. 

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Faith Has been cooking and baking for many years! she loves to share her recipes with the world, and hopes you will enjoy them too!

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