A freshly brewed pot of coffee does not stay good forever, coffee is the best when drunk within thirty minutes after brewing and begins to change after an hour. While the coffee has been affected, the first stages only affect the taste and smell of coffee.
Coffee, like any other food substance, can go bad. If left out for too long, coffee can grow yeast and bacteria. This typically only happens when the coffee has been sitting out for at least a day. Having coffee that’s a few hours old won’t hurt you. Just the taste won’t be as strong.
When coffee is exposed to air, it is affected by oxidation. Oxygen affects almost every food and drink when it’s sitting out. Oxidation is what causes coffee to lose its good smell and flavor after being left out for too long. This can make coffee bitter after it has been sitting out.
To keep coffee fresh for longer, keeping it stored in an air-tight container can help prevent oxidation. When air can’t access the coffee, the coffee doesn’t feel the effects of oxidation. Coffee can also be stored in a refrigerator and reheated later, though it won’t taste the same.
Having freshly brewed coffee in the morning is an important ritual for many people. Knowing the best way to brew coffee and keep it fresh will help you have better mornings with good-tasting coffee. It will also guarantee that the coffee you store tastes good and will be able to maintain that taste after being stored.
Knowing the shelf life of coffee and knowing how to extend that can help you have good-tasting coffee throughout the day. Whether it’s by keeping it in an air-tight container to maintain freshness or reheating it, it is possible to have fresh coffee without having to make multiple pots.
How Long is Coffee Good?
Coffee is just like any other food or drink, it can go bad if left out. While you may not see the effects of it with your eyes, like rotting fruit or meat, the process still affects coffee. As soon as coffee is finished brewing, changes can begin to affect the pot.
As soon as coffee is brewed, the taste begins to change. Within minutes the taste and smell begin to change. By the thirty-minute mark, the taste of freshly brewed coffee has changed. It is least robust and becomes diluted. Just as a soda can become flat, the taste of coffee is affected by being out as well.
The best tasting coffee is usually within the first 10 to 15 minutes. This is when the coffee is warmest and has the best aroma. Both of these contribute to the robust taste that coffee is known for. Having the best start to the morning typically means enjoying those first few sips of freshly brewed coffee, as soon as it’s out that can change.
Coffee that has been out for a few hours will not affect anything except for the smell and taste. The caffeine levels and their effects will still be there. It just may not be as pleasant to drink. If you want to drink coffee throughout the day, you will need to plan to brew multiple pots or account for oxidation that affects coffee.
What is Oxidation?
Oxidation is a process that affects most kinds of food, especially those with fats. When food and drink are exposed to oxygen, oxygen breaks down the food and can cause it to rot. This is what happens to fruit when it has been left out for too long and why it turns brown.
With coffee, the effects are less immediate and drastic. First, the aroma of your fresh pot of coffee will begin to fade away. Your coffee is not only getting cold, it will begin to smell differently as well. Whether sitting in a pot or mug, oxygen will begin to affect your coffee after thirty minutes.
Oxygen can also be one of the reasons that your coffee has become bitter. Oxidation lifts the pH levels in your coffee and makes it taste bitter. Water is the biggest culprit to this process to coffee because coffee releases its chemicals when in contact with water. There’s a scientific reason that cold coffee tastes more bitter than hot coffee.
If left out for more than a day, coffee can begin to grow yeast, bacteria, and mold. These small particles can make you sick if you consume them. Once the coffee has been out for at least 24 hours, it is time to dump it if you haven’t already. Though drinking coffee that is that old wouldn’t be a good way to start the morning anyway.
Drinking coffee that has been growing yeast and bacteria will not taste good, even reheated, and make you sick. Though it may not cause any serious illness, it is better to be safe and toss any coffee that has been sitting for too long. Just as with any food that has been out for too long.
Keeping Coffee Fresh
The best way to keep coffee fresh for longer is to keep oxygen from getting to it. This is best done with airtight containers. If you drink coffee on the go, you probably already use airtight containers, like a thermos, to transport your coffee safely while keeping it warm. Using one of these drinking containers even when not traveling will help keep your coffee fresher longer.
Coffee is also heavily affected by add-ins. The more that you add in your coffee, like sugar or creamer, the more oxidation will affect it. All of these add-ins create chemical reactions that affect the taste of your coffee. While it may taste good at first, these add-ins are also affected by oxidation and will make your coffee taste worse if left out.
By keeping your coffee free of any add-ins and storing it in an air-tight container, you can help preserve the life of your morning coffee into the afternoon. It will not last forever, but it will last long enough for a mid-day treat. Coffee does not need to be a morning drink with these tips in mind.
If you’re staying at home and just want to be able to enjoy coffee throughout the day without brewing new pots, you can remove the pot off the hot pan or hotplate. Keeping the coffee in a hot place means that the coffee is still being actively heated. This will make the coffee more bitter as it cooks more. To maintain freshness, you’ll want to stop the coffee from over brewing.
Coffee can also be refrigerated and reheated. Though this will not yield the same taste like freshly brewed coffee. Reheating coffee will not affect the caffeine content at all if you’re relying on reheated coffee for a mid-morning pick-me-up. If you want that robust coffee taste, you will want to store it in a thermos or another air-tight container.
When refrigerating coffee, store it when it’s still black and add to it once it’s been reheated. Any additives may not store or reheat well. Coffee is best refrigerated for a week but the sooner it’s reheated, the better. Being in a cold place does not stop all of the effects of being left out or being too old.
Brewing Fresh Coffee
Brewing coffee is a science and like all sciences, there are certain methods to use to get the best results. Having fresh coffee is not just the result of keeping coffee stored properly, it also requires knowing how to brew coffee in the first place. Brewing coffee well may also help keep the taste and smell that you enjoy longer.
The first step to brewing fresh coffee is making sure that all of your ingredients are fresh, including the coffee beans or grounds. Using stale beans or grounds will make stale coffee. Stale coffee isn’t harmful, but it won’t be the best way to wake up. Fresh beans and grounds will lead to a more robust taste to help wake you up.
Coffee beans and grounds are also susceptible to oxidation. When storing beans or grounds, store them in an air-tight container so oxygen won’t be able to affect it as much. It is also wise to not buy grounds or beans in bulk unless you need to, to lessen the risk of them going bad.
The amount of time that coffee is brewed also affects the taste. If you want bitter-tasting coffee, brewing it for a long time will cause that. If you want less bitter coffee then you will need to make sure that the coffee isn’t brewed for too long. Perfecting this can be different for some people so you may need to experiment.
Having freshly brewed coffee will ensure that the coffee you start with tastes as good as you want it. That way you can enjoy those first few sips, knowing that it’s as fresh as can be. Storing fresh coffee will also ensure that it tastes good for longer when you need that pick-me-up.
How Long Does Brewed Coffee Stay Fresh? (Video)
Just as with all foods, coffee has a shelf-life. When a pot of coffee has been out for too long, the taste and smell are affected after thirty minutes. When it’s been out for a day, coffee can grow yeast, bacteria, and mold that can make people sick.
The best way to avoid this from happening to your coffee if you want to last past morning is to store it in an air-tight container and don’t add anything until you’re ready to drink it. Coffee can also be refrigerated and reheated and only the taste will be affected.
Brewing a fresh cup of coffee may also help extend the shelf-life of your coffee. By using and storing fresh beans or grounds, you can start your mornings the right way. Brewing coffee correctly will also help coffee taste good after it has properly stored as well.
Coffee can be stored correctly, just like with all foods. Coffee does not have to be limited to morning drinks and you don’t have to constantly brew new pots for more coffee. Storing freshly brewed coffee can help you stay awake throughout the day.