Different from other coffee recipes which can be whipped in a couple of minutes with the help of a coffee maker, brewing a good batch of Cold Brew coffee demands a lot more time and patience.
As stated in our previous article introducing the Cold Brew methods, 12 to 24 hours of filtering is required to let the grounds properly steep in cold water to produce Cold Brew concentrate.
It's not the regular hot coffee poured over ice like iced coffee as some might think. Since it takes so long to make at home, while you're at it, you might as well make it in bulk and store it for later use.
So, that brings me to the question at hand that must be on your mind as well: How long is Cold Brew coffee good for?
Does Cold Brew Coffee Go Bad
Yes, like every food and beverage, Cold Brew will eventually spoil and become not safe to consume.
However, it can have a much longer shelf life with proper storage than your regular hot coffee that becomes bad within the next few hours.
How Long Does Cold Brew Last
To begin with, how do you store Cold Brew coffee?
Always in an air-tight container in the fridge, to be on the safe side.
Some coffee lovers have wondered whether it's safe to leave the Cold Brew coffee concentrate out as the weather gets cold.
Unless you are certain that the room temperature gets as low as the temperature inside the fridge, don't risk it.
Another mistake some people make is confusing the steeping temperature with the storing temperature.
You can make Cold Brewed coffee both at room temperature and in the fridge. Generally, the former takes less time than the latter.
So if you're going to be gone for the whole day, just put it in the fridge.
Also, remember to keep it closed and away from direct sunlight, especially if you're steeping it at room temperature.
As soon as you finish steeping, pop it in the fridge for proper storage. You don't want your drain to taste your batch of hard work before you do.
So, how long is Cold Brew coffee good for in your refrigerator? Unless the coffee is made in a commercially manufacturing setting with added preservatives, the answer is up to two weeks, though the coffee quality can be considerably reduced after the first week.
How Do You Know If Cold Brew Has Gone Bad
With some common sense, these signs cannot be missed:
Is It Okay To Drink Expired Cold Brew
In general, the expiration date on products is set by businesses to ensure that until then they are safely consumed with flavors intact.
So if you buy Cold Brew coffee from the grocery store or your local cafe, I suppose it's fine to push the limits by one or two days as long as none of the aforementioned signs of the coffee going bad are there.
Though there probably won't be much effect on your health, expect the expired Cold Brew coffee to taste and smell flatter.
And just because you can doesn't mean you should. Stick to the beverage package to be on the safe side.
The same can be applied to Cold Brew coffee at home.
Even if you properly store the coffee concentrate in the fridge in an air-tight container, you shouldn't consume it after the 2-week mark regardless of whether it has spoilt or not.
However, if you drink coffee that has developed mold and had other clear signs of going Sou(r)th, take shelter in the bathroom because something's about to go down.
How To Extend The Shelf Life Of Cold Brew Coffee
The best way to maintain a long shelf life so that your Cold Brew coffee lasts a maximum of two weeks without chemical preservatives is by properly storing the coffee concentrate in the refrigerator after the steeping process.
Read on for some detailed tips to extend the shelf life and flavor of Cold Brew coffee.
1. Leave Your Cold Brew Undiluted
The Cold Brew concentrate result has a very intense and bitter taste.
Therefore, when ready to drink, remember to dilute it with water or milk, or add cream. Trust me...
Even when diluted, it still retains its coffee flavor better than iced coffee, which is coffee poured over ice.
However, diluting the entire coffee batch will reduce its shelf life, even if you make sure to store it in the fridge.
While the undiluted Cold Brew coffee can sustain for up to 2 weeks, the diluted concentrate can only last around 2 to 3 days at most.
So, the lesson here is only diluting when you're ready to drink.
2. Use Fresh Coffee Grinds
Another thing that most people neglect to pay more attention to is the quality of the ground coffee beans.
While it's fine to use pre-ground coffee to make Cold Brew, it is not as fresh as coffee beans that you grind yourself.
Though this doesn't significantly affect the concentrate's shelf life, using pre-ground coffee beans makes the flavor quality go bad faster than the latter even with proper storage.
Even using older beans that are freshly ground will still have a better flavor that using pre-ground beans.
It's the little things that count.
3. Air-Tight Seals & Multiple Containers
Air-tight containers go a longer way than you might think.
Limiting the exposure to oxygen and direct light can slow down the deterioration and oxidation of Cold Brew coffee and extend its shelf life a little bit further, so opt for those instead of loosely or non-sealed containers.
What's more, firmly tight lids help avoid cross-contamination from other items, loss of nutrients, and odors and mold development as well!
Mason Jars are great for for keep you cold brew airtight and an alternative to plastic containers which could contaminate your brew giving it a plastic aroma and flavor.
Another idea is to divide your coffee batch into smaller portions to be stored in multiple smaller containers to use over the week.
This helps further limit the exposure of Cold Brew coffee to oxygen so that the batch's flavor quality doesn't stoop down as low overtime.
Cold Brew Cubes
Similar to the iced coffee hack, storing cold brew in ice cubes allows you to store the concentrate for a long time without significantly losing the flavor.
With just a warm-up and some water, it's ready to start the day with you.
Though you can enjoy this coffee year-round, as summer is approaching in a few months, why not ditch hot coffee once in a while and get into the habit of brewing Cold Brew every other weekend?
Rather than buying from coffee shops, making coffee concentrate in bulk to enjoy during the busy week will surely save you a couple of bucks per cup.
So make use of these tips to have Cold Brew coffee last well for as long as possible!