Does Coffee Go Bad in the Fridge?

yellow fridge bluish wall

One doesn’t always know how much coffee one needs. We have all been in a situation where we made more coffee than we needed. Alternatively, you could have made coffee for two only to hear, “oh, I don’t drink coffee,” from your guest. So, can you do what you do with most food you don’t immediately eat?

Coffee doesn’t go bad in the fridge if your fridge is free of aromatic foods and meat. But if there is meat or spicy food in your fridge, then an exposed cup of coffee will absorb the smell of the fridge and come out smelling (and tasting) bad. It is best to store coffee in a mason jar.

In this article, you’ll learn all you need to know about storing coffee in your fridge, including the pros and cons of doing so, the best practices of popping your coffee in the refrigerator, and how long you can get away with it. You will also learn the difference between storing cold brew and hot brew in the fridge, so continue reading.

Pros of Refrigerating Coffee

Refrigerating coffee is certainly acceptable, especially if you drink it for the kick and not the taste. Alternatively, you might have acquired an eccentric taste and appreciate coffee well after it has been brewed. Either way, there are certain advantages of popping your brewed coffee in the fridge.

Convenient in the Morning

If you need coffee to open your eyes and must open your eyes to make coffee, the best way to solve this dilemma is to reduce the effort required in the morning by making coffee the night before. Now that you know that you can have your coffee in the fridge for a week, you might even brew a bigger batch and take a glass every morning. This convenience isn’t available to those who brew their fresh cup every morning.

Saves Money

Let’s suppose making your own coffee every morning isn’t an option. In such a case, you have only three options: to buy your coffee from the nearby cafe, get store-refrigerated coffee, or brew your coffee and put it in the fridge. Of all of these, refrigerating the coffee you’ve made is the most pocket-friendly option. It is ideal for college students who rely on coffee to enhance their focus and do not care much about how the drink tastes.

Reduces Missteps

While the common notion seems to be that refrigerated coffee tastes bad, it actually doesn’t. It just tastes different from a freshly brewed cup. And if you’re okay with how your coffee tastes after a night or two in the fridge, then it is actually better to have it refrigerated than to brew cups over and over, especially if you’re a novice. Why? Because the more often you brew your own coffee, the more chances there are for human error. 

Making coffee once with proper focus and care allows you to consume coffee of reliable taste for up to a week. However, if you use a machine that automates all steps and cuts out human error, then this advantage doesn’t apply as each cup tastes the same whether you make all your coffee at once or make a new cup each day.

Doesn’t Necessitate Daily Access to a Coffee Machine

If a friend of yours has a coffee machine and you don’t, then it is less intrusive to use their coffee machine once a week than to use it daily. If your coffee maker is anywhere but home, making coffee in bulk, then refrigerating it is one of the practical advantages. Alternatively, you can purchase a crate of cold coffee and put that in the fridge. That, however, isn’t the most pocket-friendly choice.

Cons of Refrigerating Coffee

While storing coffee can help with your budget and time, it does come with a few compromises. And before you decide to make it a part of your caffeine consumption routine, it is worth knowing the drawbacks. Look at the cons listed below and make an informed choice.

Does not Taste Fresh

Coffee that’s been refrigerated for more than a day will taste like day-old coffee. There’s no way around this, and if you choose the fridge-coffee life, you should make sure you are okay with the compromise of taste. 

One way to check if refrigerated coffee sits well with your tastebuds is to pop a bottle of cold coffee in the fridge and leave it there for seven days. Drinking the 7th-day coffee after you have had fresh coffee can help you notice the contrast. If this contrast doesn’t bother you, then you can make refrigerating coffee a staple in your daily routine.

Deprives You of Brewing Therapy

Brewing one’s cup is more than the means to a cup. Making your own cup of coffee can be therapeutic. Everything from low-difficulty task-accomplishment, which releases the brain’s reward chemicals, to smelling fresh coffee while it is being brewed serves to instill positive feelings in you. 

When you let go of the daily brew, you fast-forward to the greatest benefit of coffee: alertness. However, this shortcut comes at a price. You lose the slowed-down almost-ASMR-like process that many find rewarding.

Best Practices for Keeping Coffee in the Fridge

Now that you know the pros and cons of placing your coffee in the fridge, here are some of the best practices that will ensure that whenever you do consume the drink out of your fridge, you have the best-preserved brew.

Do Not Have Meat and Coffee in the Same Fridge

Yes, you can refrigerate coffee, but that doesn’t mean just about any refrigerator is ready to house the last batch you brewed. Coffee is a deodorizer which means that its scent will seep into the nearby food items, and it will, in turn, absorb the aroma of other foods. 

So, you have to be careful not to store aromatic foods, including raw items like meat, in the same refrigerator as the one that houses your coffee. But if your fridge is filled with canned items, chocolates, and biscuits, then your cup of coffee will feel right at home.

Use an Airtight Container or a Mason Jar

While middle-class households have embraced refrigerators as the universal answer to food preservation, a combination of cold temperature and airtight storage is required to preserve freshness for most food items, including coffee. Having a mason jar filled to the brim or an airtight container is ideal for storing coffee, especially if you plan to take more than a day to finish it.

Don’t Put a Hot Cup in the Fridge

This is more for your refrigerator’s sake than for the sake of your coffee. Putting an extremely warm object in the fridge puts everything in the fridge at risk, including the refrigerator’s compressor. 

Aside from putting immense pressure on the refrigerator’s cooling mechanism, the act of putting piping hot coffee in the fridge brings up the temperature of surrounding items, which can go bad because of getting heated suddenly. Since most refrigerators also feature plastic shelves, you might cause heat damage to the shelf surface by placing a hot cup on it.

If you can’t put a hot cup in the fridge, how are you supposed to store your brewed coffee? Black coffee can sit at room temperature for 24 hours. When there is no need to refrigerate coffee for this period, you should make use of it and have your coffee sit outside, albeit covered, overnight. If you still haven’t finished it, you can put it in the fridge.

How Long Can You Refrigerate Coffee?

We have briefly mentioned the possibility of storing coffee in the fridge for a week. However, this isn’t the norm. How long you can store coffee depends on the brew, the presence or absence of grounds, and the conditions of your fridge.

You can store coffee in the fridge for 4 to 7 days. Traditionally brewed coffee can retain good taste for 4 days and be reheated in the microwave after taking out of the fridge. Cold-brew tastes acceptable for up to 7 days, after which it drastically loses both taste and potency.

If your coffee is brewed from coarse grounds, then you have the shortest fridge duration because the longer the rogue grounds last in your coffee, the worst it will taste, going from mildly acidic to downright rancid. Coffee made from coarse ground beans shouldn’t be left longer than 2 days in the fridge.

Best Containers to Store Brewed Coffee

With the storage duration established, let’s circle back to the container conversation. As you know now, mason jars, as well as airtight containers, are great for housing coffee. Here are our best picks for products to use to store coffee in your fridge.

The Dairy Shoppe Heavy Milk Bottles

When you rely on the fridge to create a cold environment, you don’t need a thermostat flask to extend your coffee’s lifespan. However, you need a container that will preserve your coffee’s aromatic profile. The last thing you want is your coffee smelling like last night’s pasta. To prevent this, the best container is the classic milk jar. The glass surface is easy to cool and harder to heat, which makes the most of the refrigeration and keeps your coffee chilled.

The Dairy Shoppe specializes in storage options for dairy beverages, and this bottle can preserve milk, which is a lot less odor-stable than coffee. More importantly, this product comes with additional lids, including ones that can turn the bottle into a sippy cup. If you live alone and despise the idea of having to wash a cup every day, you might as well drink straight from the bottle. 

Whether you wish to make drinking fridge coffee from the bottle a guilty pleasure you can never disclose to anyone, or you simply want the best way to keep your coffee chilled, you can use these milk bottles to store a liter of coffee per container. With over 6000 reviews, enough social proof speaks of these bottles’ quality as their collective average rating on Amazon is 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Le Parfait Super Jar

What are some of the best options to store coffee in the fridge? A mason jar, an airtight container, or a glass bottle. This product combines all three as it is an airtight mason jar made of glass. The glass will keep your coffee cold, and the lid will keep excess air out. However, you’ll need to have it filled to the brim because any air that fills up the empty space still interacts with your coffee. 

Since this jar isn’t too big, you can buy multiple and store each day’s supply of coffee in a separate jar. But if you don’t like the idea of getting 7 jars of 250 ml capacity, then you can get even bigger ones going all the way up to two liters. This product has over a thousand reviews, with its “leakproof” rating standing at 5 stars. It also has an average of 4.5 stars for being easy to clean, which is important as you don’t want the 7th-day coffee to linger in your next batch. 

The product has also won 4.3 stars for durability and 4.2 for sturdiness, both of which are important in any purchase. Finally, over a thousand reviewers have collectively given a 4.1-star rating for its value for money; it is reasonable to buy. Overall, this mason jar stands as one of the best-rated across Amazon, with a global average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Is Refrigerated Coffee the Same as Cold Brew?

There’s a difference between brewed coffee that has been refrigerated and cold brew as the latter is made in a fridge, whereas the former is made hot, then cooled, and placed in a fridge. A regular brew has more caffeine, whereas a cold brew is relatively mellower and can take an entire day to brew. You can store cold brew longer, which is why brands like Starbucks have started their own lines of canned coffee.

Final Thoughts

Coffee doesn’t go bad in a fridge, but a fridge can hold items that will ruin your coffee’s scent profile. You can use the right container to keep scents away and keep your coffee chilled in the fridge for 7 days or less. So, if you opened this article because you have an extra cup of coffee lying around, cover it and keep it out overnight. You’ll be able to heat it the next day. And if you still don’t have it the next day, you’ll be able to pop it in the fridge for another 2 to 3 days.

Tim S.

Tim loves roasting, brewing, and experimenting with coffee. After years of perfecting this craft, working as a barista, and owning a small coffee service in college, he has decided to share his knowledge with the world.

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