Just In Case You've Always Wondered: How Long Does Iced Coffee Last?

It all depends on what kind of coffee you're enjoying.

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Just like your iced tea can last a few days, so can iced coffee. However, there is a difference if you're talking about coffee that's been cold-brewed or hot brewed. 

Hot brewed coffee is actually best as soon as it's been brewed. The flavors in hot brewed coffee are at their most potent shortly after the water extracts the flavor, drips out from the grounds, and into a cup or vessel underneath. Pour it into your cup to savor those aromas and flavors. You can drink this coffee even after a few hours but its flavors will not be as delicious as freshly made.

However, for hot brewed coffee that has been poured over ice to cool it down, the flavors in this hot-coffee-made-iced coffee become muted but are still delicious and flavorful within the few minutes it took to make it. 

Hot coffee poured straight into a glass with ice makes iced coffee fast and easy to make!
Photo by Roselle Miranda
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If you bring it home to enjoy, iced coffee should be good to still drink within the day or so since refrigeration staves off spoilage. However, if you somehow forget that you had this iced coffee on your counter, desk, or (Gasp!) left it in your car and it has basically thawed in the hours since you've forgotten it, you can toss it out. If you insist on not wasting it, it's best to heat it up to kill off any bacteria that may have developed and grown in the coffee since it was made. 

This is because just like all food, even coffee is prone to mold, bacteria, and other microorganisms that may not be good for you and cause food poisoning. 

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Cold-brewed coffee is the easiest, almost no effort-brewed coffee you need to learn to make at home.
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Cold-brew coffee is best when it's been steeped overnight (around 8 hours) up to 24 hours which is the ideal steeping time for cold brew. This steeping time should not be counted as storage time. These two different timetables should be kept separate so that you avoid these two cold brew coffee brewing no-nos:

  • ‚ÄĘ You over steep your coffee grounds which leads¬†to bitter cold-brewed coffee.¬†
  • ‚ÄĘ The coffee has been stored for too long that the flavors degrade and you lose the delicious coffee flavor you actually want to taste.¬†

For the dedicated cold brew lovers, the cold brew that's been strained and is now a concentrate in your refrigerator can be stored for up to a week or seven (7) days. If you dilute the concentrate with water, the seven days become around three days. After this time, the concentrate may start to taste sour. When this happens, it's best to toss it out (or feed it to your nitrogen-loving plants). 

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If however, you have added anything else to the cold brew concentrate, such as milk, cream, or even sugar, the cold brew is best drunk as soon as you can. 

How do you like your iced coffee? Here are articles to master the art of cold coffee making, plus recipes to try to level up your coffee drinking experience: 

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