Have some extra brewed coffee sitting around and wondering what to do with it? Can it go in the fridge? Do I need to get rid of it? Find out what to do with your leftover freshly brewed coffee below.
Can Hot Coffee Go in the Fridge?
The short answer is yes however there are right and wrong ways to go about it. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your fresh coffee.
If You Have Time- Cool Down Your Coffee First
Hot coffee shouldn’t be put directly into the refrigerator. Instead, let it cool down to room temperature first. This will be faster if the coffee is not in an insulated mug.
Cooling down the coffee before storing in the refrigerator is also smart because you don’t want to risk raising the temperature of the foods in the refrigerator. This could lead to bacteria growth or spoiling the foods nearby.
Also, if you cool your coffee before storing it there are more options for what type of container to store it in since it is already cool. An airtight container is always the best way to store drinks and liquids in the fridge to keep them from spilling and absorbing flavors from other food items.
Different Tips for Cooling Down Coffee
- Put it into a larger container. This will give the coffee more surface area allowing the temperature to lower faster.
- Use a metallic container and pour it back it and forth from one to the other. The containers will absorb some of the heat and the movement will help cool it faster.
- Put it in a mason jar and use an ice bath. Put a bunch of ice cubes into a larger bowl and add water. Place the mason jar into the ice bath and the coffee will cool super fast.
No Time? Here’s How to Put Hot Coffee In the Fridge
- Separate the coffee into smaller portions. Smaller portions will give off less heat and are less likely to affect the temperature of the refrigerator or foods surrounding the hot coffee.
- Place the coffee towards the back of the fridge where the temperature is the lowest. This will help speed up the cool down time.
- Be sure not to put your coffee near any foods that can melt or spoil easily such as milk, eggs and cheeses. Heat transfers easily from one item to another so placing a hot coffee near these foods can potentially ruin them. The last thing you want to do when attempting to save a cup of delicious coffee is ruin something else in your refrigerator.
How Long Can Coffee Stay in the Fridge?
Coffee is best for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Cold coffee should not be reheated in the microwave because it will lose it’s aroma and may have a burnt taste. Refrigerating coffee does also affect the freshness of your coffee and the taste of your coffee.
The best way to use refrigerated cold coffee is to make an iced coffee. Pour it over ice and add your desired cream and sugar.
If you add milk or creamer to your coffee before refrigerating it then it should only be kept in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. It’s always a good idea to refrigerate coffee before adding anything to it so you get a longer shelf life.
Can I Freeze Coffee?
Frozen coffee cubes are the best option for making iced coffees. Take your leftover coffee and pour it into an ice cube tray. Let freeze and then place cubes into an airtight container in the freezer such as a freezer zip lock bag. This will keep the cubes fresh for longer.
Making frozen coffee cubes is perfect for when you don’t have much coffee leftover but still don’t want to waste it. These frozen coffee cubes will last 1-2 months.
To use your cubes for iced coffee simply place a few coffee ice cubes in a glass and add your leftover coffee that has been refrigerated or store-bought cold brew coffee. Then, add your cream and sugar as desired. The iced coffee cubes will keep your iced coffee from being watered down as the drink warms up.
What is the Shelf Life of Coffee?
Whole coffee beans last longer than ground coffee. Unopened coffee beans will be good for 6-9 months. Once ground then the oxidation process starts and should be used within 3-4 months.
Ground coffee that has not been opened is good for 5 months and once opened it should be used within 3-4 months. Once coffee is opened the oxidation process begins. Store coffee ground in a cool dark place in an airtight storage container to keep them fresher longer.
A fresh brewed pot of coffee is best used within 4 hours of brewing. Once cream and sugar have been added to a hot cup of coffee it should be consumed within 1 hour.
As stated earlier, coffee that is refrigerated should be used within 3-4 days. If coffee is frozen into ice cubes they should be used within 1-2 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
It does not matter whether you brewed coffee from whole beans, coffee grounds, french press, etc. All coffee can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer using these tips. Coffee that has had cream or milk added should be stored differently than black coffee. See instructions for how long coffee can be store in the refrigerator.
Yes, hot coffee can be refrigerated overnight and for up to 3-4 days. See our tips above for different ways to store coffee in the refrigerator.
No, not if done correctly. Refrigerating coffee may affect the taste of the coffee but it’s a great alternative to wasting coffee especially if you enjoy iced coffee. Refrigerated coffee should not be reheated in the microwave.
As long as this isn’t including improperly stored dairy there generally aren’t any risks. If stored for too long in the refrigerator you’ll end up with stale coffee
For a behind the scenes look at Return to the Kitchen, be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok and Pinterest! Also, if you make this recipe or any of our recipes be sure to tag us @returntothekitchen!