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How Long Is Coffee Good For In The Fridge?

Java, joe, high octane, rocket fuel, wakey juice, battery acid, perk, brew, cuppa.

Whatever you call it, it wakes you up in the morning, gives you a jolt in the mid-afternoon, and gives dinner an added, well, perk.

It’s coffee.

Join us as we discuss how long you can keep it in the fridge.

The Lowest Common Denominator

What gives coffee its flavor, its punch?

These are about the molecular structure of the fruit.

Oh, yes, coffee comes from a coffee cherry.

Technically a fruit, the cherry pits can either be brewed as the drink we all know and love, or it can be mixed with other foods and eaten. 

As a whole bean, the molecular compounds are intact.

They last in the fridge for up to nine months.

If the container is opened, say to take out some beans for grinding, then the remaining beans will last about six months without too much molecular degradation.

Essential Oils 

Another compound that gives coffee its flavor is the oils found on the beans.

When the seeds or beans are roasted, the cellulose fiber enclosing all the goodness begins to crack and become porous.

The oils trapped inside the bean seep through the pores.

The more heat, the darker the roast, and the more oil on the outside of the bean.

The presence of oils on the beans doesn’t make the coffee any fresher.

Light, air, and heat or cold affect the beans and oils.

The longer they sit in a light, airy place, the staler they become.

Store your beans in a cool, dry place, and they’ll stay fresher longer.

How Roasting Affects Coffee Beans

A steak is red. A coffee berry is red.

Neither taste like anything, until they’re cooked.

There’s a reason for that. 

Cooking a raw steak breaks down the proteins in the muscle of the meat.

Depending on the level of doneness you desire, the fats are also rendered out of the steak.

The meat turns brown.

The more done the meat, the more proteins and fats are rendered out of the meat, leaving it tough and tasteless.

Steak can stay in the fridge for a couple of days before it dries out or spoils.

With coffee, the heat breaks down the chemical compounds into simple sugars.

These turn brown or caramelize upon roasting, which is called the Maillard effect.

This browning also decreases the acids and oils, which changes the flavor.

As the heating process continues, other oils come to the surface.

Now it smells like coffee and can stay in the fridge without spoiling.

Ground Coffee

This is the type of coffee preferred by numerous coffee drinkers.

You just grab it off the shelf, put a couple of spoons in the basket of the coffee maker, add water, and enjoy.

No grinding it in the store.

No purchasing a grinder for the home.

Just inhale that aroma, and you’re good to go.

Coffee changes when the whole beans are ground.

The chemical compounds break down.

The molecular structure is blasted to smithereens.

Thus, the flavor is totally different.

Ground coffee lasts about two weeks in the fridge.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that ground coffee absorbs.

If you had fish for dinner or stored onions in the fridge, then the coffee grounds will absorb those odors.

You might want to keep your ground coffee elsewhere.

Does Coffee Spoil In The Fridge?

Coffee beans or grounds don’t spoil the way food does.

It doesn’t get moldy, at least not for a very long time.

Keeping it from getting stale is the enemy here.

As long as you store your coffee in an airtight container, you shouldn’t have any problems.

However, the instant that moisture appears, all bets are off.

Water changes coffee beans and coffee grounds.

When this happens, the coffee will only last two to four days in a fridge, as does brewed coffee.

    • Brewed coffee will sit in the fridge until tomorrow morning without too much trouble. If you won’t drink it the next morning, then toss it out. It will taste weak and perhaps even stale. Your best bet is to make as much coffee as you will drink in one sitting.

    • If you cold brew your coffee, it will last in the fridge for up to two weeks, because that’s how it’s designed. It just has to stay in an airtight container.

    • Iced coffee in a fridge is only good until the next day. Basically, when the ice melts, then your coffee is watered down and thus weaker. 

    • Expresso is meant to be drunk hot and not from a whole pot.  The heat oxidizes the coffee, but milk spoils, no matter what it’s in. Espresso lasts for two days in a fridge. Longer than that, and the milk will spoil.

    • Milk alters the composition of a cup of coffee. Storing unused coffee in the fridge is fine, but not if milk is in it. Store the coffee, by all means, but only add the milk when you reheat the coffee to prevent spoiling.

Options For Storing Coffee Other Than A Fridge

Opaque means you can’t see through it.

Containers like coffee cans, some Tupperware, ceramic jars, and the like are ideal for storing coffee beans or grounds.

The light can’t get to the coffee.

Air won’t get to it, as long as there’s a tight lid on the jar or can. 

You’ll read that you need to store your coffee in a cool, dry place.

Most pantries are located off the kitchen to avoid extremes in heat altering the foods.

Cabinets are used to store groceries when the pantry is full.

Keep these away from heat sources, and you won’t have problems.

Many people keep some of their foodstuffs on shelves in the garage.

Most garages only have one window, so it’s a simple matter of putting up blinds to keep the harmful rays of the sun away from your coffee.

The fact that garages are cold in winter only means your coffee will stay fresher longer.

Options For Storing Brewed Coffee Other Than The Fridge

Oops, time’s a-wastin’ and you have to get to work.

What to do with the pot of brewed coffee, though?

If you don’t want to shove it in the fridge, here are some ideas for storage:

    • Leave it. It’s a myth that coffee that has sat out all day can walk out of the house on its own. It will taste just as good when you get off work as it was that morning.

    • Thermos. Take it with you in a thermos. It will remain hot and be ready for you when you’re ready for it.

    • Insulated carafe. If the idea of leaving the pot out puts you off, then pour it in an insulated carafe. It does the same job as a thermos.

    • Ice cubes. Pour your leftover coffee into ice cube trays for use in iced coffee or for use at a later date.

Final Thoughts

Coffee has a wonderful history of being the ideal pick-me-up.

Goats in Arabia first loved the burst of energy from eating the coffee cherries.

Herdsmen caught on, and soon, the whole world came to love coffee.

Most coffee is grown in countries around the Equator: Asia, South America, the Middle East, and, believe it or not, Hawaii.

It takes three to four years for the coffee cherries to mature into usable food or drink.

Coffee comes in beans, ground, instant, and single-serve packages.

It can be consumed anytime, anywhere.

Storing it is a simple matter of an airtight jar or can.

It can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Brewed coffee lasts in a fridge for up to four days. Enjoy!

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