Can You Refrigerate Coffee? – The Ultimate Guide

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Holding the glass with both hands and inhaling the indescribable aroma. This is how the mornings of most of us begin. With coffee. Hot. Its smell tickles our senses. You let a delicate stream of air out of your mouth rather by habit than by hoping that the drink will cool down. 

If you love coffee as we do, you would understand how much every first sip feels like a first kiss. You start cautiously, slightly tense, and with small sips until you are convinced it is not scary. Only then do you take the real first sip that is truly intoxicating. 

Unfortunately, time does not always let us enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee in the morning which is why many of us brew large batches of coffee that would last several days.

But what is the correct way of storing coffee? It is likely that all of us have experienced the unimaginable disappointment of tasting coffee that has gone bad. 

Perhaps, this is why you are here today – looking for a better way to store the large amounts of coffee.

Can you refrigerate coffee? Yes, you absolutely can refrigerate coffee. Refrigerated coffee should retain its quality for up to a week, although you will notice a change in flavor. To refrigerate coffee, all you need is an airtight container, preferably made from glass, and already brewed coffee. 

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about storing coffee in the refrigerator!

All About Coffee Storage

Coffee is a natural product that is very sensitive to oxygen and light. If not stored well, the coffee loses its aroma and taste.

Anyone who likes to drink coffee and has already found their favorite variety for home usage, usually buys it in large quantities and therefore has experienced certain common problems. 

Imagine when you go home after the market and open the large package of vacuumed coffee, your entire kitchen immediately starts smelling nice of fresh coffee.

On the next day, however, there is no sign of this odor. It is even worse when your already brewed coffee that you left for the next day is not as tasty as in the beginning.

Moisture, heat, oxygen, light, and other odors are enemies of coffee. The very first contact of coffee with oxygen from the moment you open the package and the original strong aroma disappears due to the moisture in the air.

Coffee absorbs other odors and light also makes it lose its flavor. Therefore, it is very unfortunate if the coffee is not stored properly. 

Refrigerating Coffee – Is It Safe?

This question has been a subject of endless debates for years with numerous supporters from both sides. For us, the answer is an absolute yes, but we have to say that it highly depends on your taste and how well you store it. 

With such a large number of ways to brew coffee nowadays, most people disagree that you can or should refrigerate coffee since it does not take too long to make in the morning or whenever you need it.

However, if your time in the morning is limited and you cannot start your day without your favorite cup of coffee, you can safely make a larger amount of coffee that could last several days and store it in the fridge. 

There are certain subtleties that you must follow, however, and we will discuss them in the following sections. 

How to Refrigerate Coffee

If you are like one of us who cannot survive the day without a cup of coffee in the morning (and possibly a few more throughout the day), we have you covered. While refrigerating coffee has its downsides, we will teach you how to do it properly in a few simple steps. 

Later on, we will also explain the drawbacks that most people that don’t refrigerate their coffee use as a reason. While there are negatives, it all depends on your personal taste and preferences. 

1. Refrigerate black coffee for the best results

In general, you can refrigerate any sort of coffee, but we highly recommend sticking to black coffee since it keeps better than others and prevents certain possible issues with the storage. 

For instance, since it is free of sugar and all types of dairy, coffee stores significantly better in the refrigerator. It also reheats easier and better without risking a loss of taste or any other important qualities. 

2. Pick a glass container for brewed coffee

Whatever the coffee you use may be, nothing is more important than using a trustworthy airtight container. When it comes to coffee, this is absolutely crucial. 

Be careful with your choice since most containers may seem airtight, but they actually let air in without you knowing.

For example, most plastic pitchers are extremely unsuitable contrary to popular beliefs. Containers that have been in use for years are also not recommended since they lose their airtightness depending on how much you open them. 

Metal containers are also particularly unsuitable especially if you brewed coffee for several days ahead. Since coffee is acidic, it will likely interact with the metal in an unpleasant way. 

We recommend using an airtight glass container (like this airtight glass pitcher) since it is easier to clean and it does not retain flavors. ‘

You can, of course, use the regular plastic ones but make sure to separate one that will only be used for coffee in the future. 

If you’re refrigerating single-servings of coffee, this airtight lid for mason jars is genius!

If you feel like the container is not 100% airtight, use plastic wrap to secure the opening of the container and reduce air exposure.

This is highly beneficial in protecting your coffee from unpleasant smells.

Coffee will adopt the smell of its surroundings if it is not stored correctly and you don’t want a coffee with an aftertaste of garlic or meat, for example. 

In general, coffee should last for about a week in the fridge but we recommend using it as soon as possible or within 3-4 days. While coffee will be safe to drink even after a week, it will not hold the same taste and quality you desire. 

3. Keep your coffee container clean 

Always clean your container thoroughly after every single batch. You do not want any of the odors from the previous batch to remain although it seems like it doesn’t matter.

As we previously mentioned, it is advisable to use the same container for coffee only. 

In either case, wash your container with hot water and soap and do not forget to dry it entirely before storing the next batch of coffee. 

Does Brewed Coffee Go Bad In The Refrigerator?

Why does coffee taste different after it’s been refrigerated? The reason behind the change in taste and smell of coffee is called oxidation.

This is a chemical process that, unfortunately, begins from the moment you open the package with coffee, from the first contact with air. 

In a similar way, the oxidation process continues when you store coffee in a refrigerator.

The main difference here is that the process is slowed down by the low temperature and especially if you used the correct airtight container that prevents air from entering. 

We already explained that coffee should be consumed within a week if you want to get the most out of the brewed batch. If, by chance, you forget the brewed coffee in the fridge for 10 days, for example, or you do it as an experiment, you will see how it becomes stale. 

Besides that, depending on the type of coffee, your coffee may go bad faster and you may notice the change in the oils in addition to a bad smell. If this happens to be the case, stay away from that coffee, and clean the container immediately.

Related Questions

How long does vacuum-packed coffee last?

It all depends on the packaging. Depending on the way the coffee beans are packaged, they will stay fresh longer, or their taste will quickly become flatter and impersonal.

The best packaging is disposable foil packs with a small-opening flap to release gas outside but prevent it from entering.

This way, customers can enjoy their coffee for a week or two before it loses its aroma and begins to have a more impersonal taste.

If your coffee is in such a package, leave it there. However, if it was in a paper bag, consider moving it to a vacuum plastic container, but be sure to store it in a cupboard, away from light, at room temperature.

Can you refrigerate coffee and reheat it?

The problem that most people experience with reheated coffee is a change in flavor. This is why it is common for people to disagree on whether it is okay to reheat coffee or not. To us, it is entirely up to your own preferences and also, doing it the correct way. 

Out of all the possible methods, we recommend reheating coffee on the stovetop. If you want to prevent the potential changes in taste, you need to be able to control the temperature.

By reheating it on low to medium temperature, you will delay the chemical reactions that change the flavor. 

Last but not least, do not forget that you shouldn’t boil your coffee unless you want to experience the taste of a burnt beverage. Only reheat until it starts to steam. If it reaches this state, it is perfect to consume.

Up Next: Can You Freeze Brewed Coffee?

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