How Long Can Coffee Sit Out? Read Before You Drink It


Nowadays, people lead hectic lives that get busier day after day. They often abandon one activity to do something else, something more important and urgent. In most cases, they will find themselves coming back to their desk to a cold cup of coffee. Most of them will then drink that cold coffee without knowing if it’s even safe. This leaves them wondering, how long can coffee sit out?

Black coffee can sit out for up to a week. It will taste awful, but it won’t make you sick. You should drink your coffee during the first two hours after you make it. Coffee that contains milk or cream shouldn’t be consumed after two hours because the milk will likely be spoiled by then.

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If you make coffee and don’t have the time to drink it right away, put it in the fridge, where it can stay for a significant amount of time. Keep reading to find out how you can store your coffee beans to prolong their life and what to do if you want to drink a day-old coffee.

How long is brewed coffee good for at room temp?

Black coffee can sit out for a while before it turns bad and even longer before it becomes unsafe to drink. It will usually start to lose its taste after about 30 minutes. You should drink it in the first two hours after you make it. If you want to preserve the quality and taste of your coffee, pour it in an airtight thermos right after you brew it.

You won’t get sick if you drink coffee sitting for a few days, but it won’t taste good.

How long it will take your coffee to turn bad also depends on what you put in it. Coffee with milk or cream can sit at room temperature for a much shorter time than black coffee.

How long does brewed coffee last in the fridge?

You can refrigerate any type of coffee, but it is best to refrigerate black coffee because it keeps better than others and prevents certain possible storage issues.

You should keep your coffee in an airtight container, even in the fridge. Plastic pitchers aren’t the best choice for storing your coffee because they lose their airtightness depending on how often you open them.

Metal containers are also not the best fit because the acid in coffee will unpleasantly interact with the metal.

The best container to store your coffee in is an airtight glass container because it is easier to clean and does not retain flavors.

You can even use mason jars if you are refrigerating single-servings of coffee.

If you don’t think that your container is absolutely airtight, you can use plastic wrap to secure the container’s opening and reduce air exposure, which will protect your coffee from unwanted smells.

Coffee can generally last for about a week in the fridge, but it is advisable to use it within 3-4 days.

However, your coffee will taste differently once it has been refrigerated. That is due to oxidization, a chemical process that begins when you open the package with coffee, from the first contact with air. This process will continue when you store your coffee in the fridge, but it will be slower due to the lower temperatures.

How long can coffee sit out with milk at room temperature?

You want to avoid drinking coffee with milk that has been sitting out for longer than two hours.

If you put raw milk in your coffee, you run a greater chance of bacterial contamination. Raw milk hasn’t been treated with the usual high-temperature treatments such as pasteurization, which is why the possibility of contamination is way greater.

How long does coffee with milk last in the fridge?

Dairy shortens the shelf life of coffee. Once you open milk, you should consume it in a week and keep it in the fridge the whole time. Since coffee can be stored in the fridge for about 2 weeks, it significantly shortens its shelf life. The best way you can make your coffee last longer in the fridge is to keep them separated and mix them in your cup if you want to drink it with milk.

Is drinking day-old coffee bad for you?

When you leave your coffee out for long enough, bacteria and mold begin to brew. However, that is not the only thing that will make it taste not good. When coffee sits, its chemical bonds break down the compounds that give coffee its taste.

Coffee indeed has some antibacterial properties, but they are quite limited. When it comes to killing bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus mutans, it is only about 50% effective.

If you want to drink your coffee after sitting out for a while, you will have to let it boil for at least a minute to kill off all the potentially hazardous germs that could be in it. You have to be careful with this because you can end up burning your coffee.

Does ground coffee go bad if left out?

The shelf life of your coffee depends on when you bought it relative to the “best by” date, the quality of beans, and the way you store it. Usually, an unopened package of ground coffee stored in the pantry will still be good for about 3 to 5 months after its “best by” date.

However, once you open the package, it will start to lose quality after two weeks. Drinking coffee made out of beans that have been left out for two weeks won’t make you sick, but it won’t taste like it did when you first opened it.

That being said, there are 2 scenarios in which you should throw away your coffee sitting out.

The first one is when water gets into your coffee container. This could happen if it’s not properly closed and moisture from the air creeps in, or if you use a wet spoon to scoop out your coffee. This could cause mold to form, which will make your coffee undrinkable.

The second one is if your coffee tastes stale. You won’t be able to tell this just by looking at them, but you will be able to smell it. If it doesn’t smell like it usually does, throw it away.

How do you store coffee grounds long term?

There are a few ways you can store your coffee.

Keep coffee beans in a dry place

Even though keeping your coffee beans in the fridge is popular, it’s a bad idea. You see, you should keep your coffee in a dry place because moisture ruins coffee, and there is a lot of moisture in the fridge. Coffee is very porous, which means that it quickly soaks in any flavors. That will lead to your coffee tastings like the food you have in your fridge, like onions or meat.

Keep coffee beans in a dark place

Coffee beans are shipped in dark containers for a reason. Even though coffee beans can look nice in a clear container in your kitchen, it isn’t good for them. Opt for a dark container instead. Keep in mind that you should also store your coffee beans away from direct sunlight.

It is best that you keep your coffee beans in the dark and cool location. Usually, that would be in an airtight dark container in the cabinet away from the oven.

Freeze your coffee beans

Freezing your coffee is a good way to store your coffee beans if you buy them in bulk. However, they should only be stored for a month. Storing your coffee in the freezer for longer than a month will make it lose its flavor.

Separate your coffee beans into pouches before freezing so you can take out a pouch when you want to make coffee. You should vacuum seal each bag before you freeze it to keep oxygen out and freshness in.

Charlie McFarlane

Technology professional with 20 years in the industry providing solutions to customers based on IT. Recently got interested in the art and science behind of specialty coffee and decided to document this journey, sharing it with public.

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