Does cold brew coffee go bad?

Marlin Dariel

Have you ever left a bottle of cold brew coffee sitting in your fridge for days, unsure if it’s still safe to drink? We’ve all been there! Cold brew coffee has become increasingly popular for its smooth and less acidic taste. However, with its longer steeping process, many wonder if it can still go bad or if it goes bad at all. In this article, we’ll break it down for you and answer the burning question: does cold brew coffee go bad? So grab yourself a cup of joe and let’s find out!

Does Cold Brew Coffee Go Bad?

Cold brew coffee has gained popularity in recent years due to its smooth and rich flavor. But just like any other perishable food item, it is essential to understand whether cold brew coffee can go bad or not. In this article, we will explore the shelf life of cold brew coffee, the signs of spoilage, and how to properly store it to ensure its freshness.

What is Cold Brew Coffee?

Before delving into the topic of its spoilage, let’s understand what cold brew coffee actually is. Unlike traditional hot brewed coffee, cold brew is made by steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in cold water for an extended period, usually 12-24 hours. This slow brewing process extracts the flavors and caffeine, resulting in a less acidic and smoother coffee concentrate.

Why Choose Cold Brew Coffee?

Cold brew coffee offers several advantages over its hot brewed counterpart. Firstly, it has a lower acidity level, making it gentler on the stomach and teeth. This makes it an excellent choice for individuals who experience acid reflux or have sensitive stomachs. Secondly, the slower extraction process in cold brew results in a reduced bitterness, allowing the natural flavors of the coffee beans to shine through. Lastly, cold brew coffee can be enjoyed both cold and hot, providing versatility in your caffeine routine.

See also  Cold Brew with Instant Coffee: Simple Steps for a Refreshing Summer Drink

How Long Does Cold Brew Coffee Last?

Now, let’s address the central question – does cold brew coffee go bad? When prepared and stored correctly, cold brew coffee can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator. However, its quality and taste may gradually deteriorate over time. Therefore, it is best to consume it within the first week for the optimal flavor experience.

It is important to note that cold brew coffee is more susceptible to spoilage compared to hot brewed coffee due to its slow extraction process. The lack of heat can provide an ideal environment for the growth of bacteria and mold if not handled properly.

Signs of Spoiled Cold Brew Coffee

So, how can you tell if your cold brew coffee has gone bad? Here are some signs to watch out for:

  1. Unpleasant odor: If your cold brew coffee smells funky or sour, it’s a sign of spoilage.
  2. Mold growth: Visual inspection is crucial. If you notice any mold floating or settled at the bottom of your cold brew, discard it immediately.
  3. Off taste: Spoiled cold brew coffee will have a rancid or off flavor. If it tastes noticeably different or unpleasant, it’s time to get rid of it.

Remember, always trust your senses when it comes to determining the freshness of your cold brew coffee.

Properly Storing Cold Brew Coffee

To prolong the freshness and prevent spoilage, it is vital to store cold brew coffee correctly. Here are some tips to follow:

  • Use airtight containers: Transfer the cold brew coffee into a clean, airtight glass container or pitcher for storage. This will prevent any odors or contaminants from infiltrating the liquid.
  • Refrigerate promptly: Place the sealed container in the refrigerator immediately after preparing the cold brew. Cold temperatures slow down the growth of bacteria and mold.
  • Avoid exposing to air: Each time you pour a serving of cold brew, make sure to seal the container tightly again. Oxygen exposure can accelerate the degradation process.

Does Cold Brew Coffee Go Bad Faster if Diluted?

Cold brew coffee is typically served by diluting the concentrated brew with water, milk, or other additives. Dilution does not significantly impact the shelf life of cold brew coffee. However, keep in mind that any added ingredients might have their own expiration dates and storage requirements.

See also  Searching for the perfect bean for cold brew incites debate

Difference Between Cold Brew and Iced Coffee

While both cold brew and iced coffee are refreshing alternatives to hot brewed options, there are differences between the two. Cold brew coffee is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold water, as mentioned earlier in this article. On the other hand, iced coffee is regular hot brewed coffee that is cooled down and served over ice. The brewing methods and taste profiles of these two beverages vary significantly.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Cold Brew Coffee

Let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of cold brew coffee:


  • Smooth and less acidic taste
  • Reduced bitterness
  • Easier on the stomach
  • Customizable with various flavorings
  • Versatility in serving temperature


  • Longer preparation time
  • Requires specialized equipment
  • Can be more expensive than hot brewed coffee
  • Shorter shelf life compared to hot brewed coffee

Tips for Enjoying Cold Brew Coffee

Here are some tips to enhance your cold brew coffee experience:

  • Experiment with different coffee beans: Try using various types of coffee beans to discover your preferred flavor profiles.
  • Add flavors and milk: Cold brew coffee can be customized with caramel, vanilla, or hazelnut syrups, as well as milk or cream, to create your perfect drink.
  • Make coffee ice cubes: To prevent dilution, freeze some cold brew coffee in ice cube trays and use them to chill your next serving.
  • Experiment with ratios: Adjust the coffee-to-water ratio to find the strength that suits your taste buds.

Comparison Table: Cold Brew Coffee vs. Hot Brewed Coffee

Aspects Cold Brew Coffee Hot Brewed Coffee
Acidity Low High
Flavor Smooth, less bitter Bold, potentially bitter
Preparation Time Longer Shorter
Customizability Various flavorings Various brewing methods
Shelf Life Shorter (up to 2 weeks) Longer

Important Note

It is crucial to remember that the recommendations provided for storing and consuming cold brew coffee are general guidelines. Factors such as the quality of the coffee beans, water, and handling practices can influence the shelf life and overall safety of the cold brew. Always use your best judgment and prioritize freshness and taste when enjoying your cup of cold brew coffee.


In conclusion, cold brew coffee can go bad if not stored and handled properly. While it can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator, its taste and quality may diminish over time. Be vigilant for signs of spoilage, such as a foul odor, mold growth, or unusual taste. By following proper storage techniques and consuming it within the recommended timeframe, you can enjoy the smooth and refreshing flavors of cold brew coffee to the fullest.

See also  How Many Scoops of Coffee for Cold Brew?

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: Can I drink cold brew coffee that has been sitting out overnight?

A: No, it is generally not safe to drink cold brew coffee that has been left sitting out overnight. Cold brew coffee is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period, usually around 12-24 hours. When coffee is left at room temperature for too long, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, and consuming it could lead to food poisoning or other health issues. It is recommended to refrigerate cold brew coffee and consume it within 24-48 hours to ensure its freshness and safety.

Q: How long does cold brew coffee last in the refrigerator?

A: Cold brew coffee can typically last in the refrigerator for up to 7-10 days. The key to preserving its freshness is to store it in an airtight container and keep it chilled at all times. Exposure to oxygen and higher temperatures can accelerate the deterioration process and alter the taste of the coffee. If you notice any strange odor or taste in your cold brew coffee, it is best to discard it to avoid any potential health risks.

Q: Can I freeze cold brew coffee to make it last longer?

A: Yes, you can freeze cold brew coffee to extend its shelf life. Freezing cold brew coffee can help preserve its flavors and freshness for up to a month or even longer. It is important to transfer the cold brew coffee into an airtight container or ice cube trays before freezing to prevent freezer burn or absorption of other food odors. When you want to enjoy a cup of cold brew coffee, simply thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and give it a gentle stir before consuming.

Q: How can I tell if my cold brew coffee has gone bad?

A: There are a few signs to look out for to determine if your cold brew coffee has gone bad. Firstly, if you notice any mold or growth on the surface of the coffee, it is a clear indication that it is spoiled and should not be consumed. Additionally, if the coffee has a sour or off-putting smell, it may have become rancid and should be discarded. Lastly, if the taste of the cold brew coffee is noticeably different, bitter, or unpleasant, it is best to err on the side of caution and avoid drinking it.

Q: Can I reheat cold brew coffee?

A: Cold brew coffee is meant to be enjoyed cold or over ice due to its unique brewing process. While you technically can reheat cold brew coffee, it may result in a less desirable taste as the flavors may change and the coffee may become more bitter. If you prefer to have a hot cup of coffee, it is recommended to brew a fresh batch using your preferred brewing method.

Rate this post

Also Read


Marlin Dariel

A seasoned coffee connoisseur, reviews coffee shops, recommends unique places to enjoy a great cup of coffee. "Every coffee bean has an interesting story"


Leave a Comment