How long is it safe to drink coffee after brewed?

Of course brewed coffee won’t stay good forever – that is common sense. But you are here because you want to know exactly how long is it safe to drink coffee after brewed?

Here is your quick answer:

30 minutes!! – Unless you store the coffee in an airtight thermos. And why is this the case you ask. Well..the coffee actually continues to oxidize by the oxygen in the air after brewing. So if you are very picky, you’ll get the most taste and flavor out of your coffee if you consume it under half an hour or so.

But that doesn’t mean the coffee will become bad, unsafe or unbearable after 30 minutes.

Watch this very interesting video below to learn more..

How Long Does Brewed Coffee Stay Fresh?

How Long Does Brewed Coffee Stay Fresh? (And How To Make It Last Longer)

The very first second you’ve brewed comes in contact with the air and it starts to oxidize. This basically means that the oxygen (in the air) and works with the coffee and starts to break it down to alter the flavor. And thus tastes less fresh.

But if you store your coffee in an airtight thermos (here is an excellent one on Amazon), you can keep it fresh for potentially 2 or even 3 hours without altering the flavor.

You’ll be thinking:

How To Tell If Brewed Coffee Is Bad

Well first: You can do the sniff test. But be careful here because we are not looking for a bad smell, instead we are looking for a lack of smell. If there is a lack of smell this may be a sign that the coffee isn’t fresh or has gone bad. You may avoid consuming it as it can be unsafe to drink.

Second: If you have creamer or milk in your coffee, sniff and check if it your coffee smells bad. Again, if it smells bad avoid it and do not take the risk of consuming unsafe coffee.

If it doesn’t smells bad but only a little unusual..Well in this case you have no choice than to take one little sip and see how it tastes. If it doesn’t taste good, avoid consuming it.

How Long Can Brewed Coffee Sit Out?

If its simple black coffee (with no additives), it can sit out for potentially a couple hours before it turn unsafe/bad. In my opinion (disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional) you can consume it under 24 hours. After a one or two days, the coffee starts to lose its smell and that is when you know it not safe anymore.

However, if you add milk to your coffee, it won’t last longer than 1 or 2 hours max. In case of a creamer as a general rule of thumb, you should consider it safe for 3/4 hours.

To summarize:

  • Coffee with milk: The coffee shouldn’t sit for more than 2 hours
  • Coffee with Creamer: No more than 3 hours.

How To Keep Brewed Coffee Fresh

Here are a few tips:

  • First: Don’t add additives. If you add creamer, milk or sugar. If you’ve mixed milk, consume it within 1 hour or 2. This is because milk has a short shelf life and therefore there is high risk that the coffee may become unsafe if you do not consume it within 1/2 hours.
  • Second: Store your brewed coffee in an sealed container. As you’ve already guessed by now, the oxidation process make your coffee to lose its taste and make it less fresh. So use an air tight container. Here is excellent one on Amazon.
  • Third: Refrigerate your coffee. Cooling your coffee will keep it fresh and safe to drink later.

5 Tips for brewing better coffee at home

An excellent video from cnet:

5 tips for brewing better coffee at home

The Coffee Oxidation Phenomenon

The oxidation can occur and impact the taste of coffee way before it’s been brewed. It’s important to understand this phenomenon so you only drink the freshest, most delicious coffee out there.

When roasted coffee beans come in contact with air, it tends to oxidize the beans. The process is pretty similar to what happens to apples if you leave slices for a while. And while it’s not easy to determine if the oxidization has occurred on coffee (since it’s not visible to the naked eye), but the process can mess up the taste. Oxidization can impact the coffee’s flavor compounds and cause them to deteriorate. Therefore, it is crucial to store the roasted coffee beans properly. Packed in an airtight jar, the oxidization process can significantly slow down and will keep your coffee good for several weeks.

It is important to note that the oxidization process is much faster on ground coffee beans. That’s because the ground form has a finer, more vulnerable surface. In fact, the brewing process itself oxidizes the coffee. When mixed into water, coffee tends to release the aromatics, acids, and oils into the water. This is a chemical reaction that gives out the perfect cup of coffee your mornings cannot start without.

So if you avoid the oxidization to happen before brewing, you can perfectly retain the fresh flavor of your coffee.  

The Bitter Taste – Is it a Sign?

Another important thing to remember is that the oxidization continues even after the coffee is brewed. If you allow your coffee to sit for too long, another chemical reaction will occur between oxygen and hydrogen. This could increase the pH level of your aromatic drink, giving it a weird bitter taste.

That’s the number one reason why you should never let your coffee sit for too long in the brewing pot. If you have extra coffee there, transfer it to an airtight thermos container instead. The bitter taste can be a strong sign that your coffee isn’t in the best condition.

Another factor that could lead to bitterness is over-extraction. The best way to prevent is to get the best size of your grind and avoid brewing your coffee more than it needs to be. This is particularly important for coffee brewing like a French press. Letting your coffee sit in the press after the brewing process is the worst thing you can do.

Why’s My Coffee Stale?

Can leaving my coffee to sit for too long make it stale? Of course, it can!

Moreover, if the coffee grounds were stale, it’s definitely going to make for a stale cup of coffee. Like any other food item, it’s perishable and won’t stay fresh forever. The longer you let it sit or the older your coffee grounds are, the more likely it’s subject to the oxidization process. The impact on the quality will immediately reflect in the stale taste.

So how can you tell if your coffee has gone bad?

You smell it. But unlike other food items, bad coffee won’t smell bad. It is the lack of scent that would signify old coffee. Although stale coffee isn’t dangerous to consume, it’s unpleasant. And if you like your coffee with milk, do not drink it if it has sat for longer than two hours.

Do I Need to See A Doctor If I’ve Accidently Drank Old Coffee?

Coffee that’s less than an old week and without any additives poses no danger to the drinker (disclaimer: This is just a general opinion and should not be taken as professional medical advice and if you think you need medical assistance, do it right away).

The complications occur if your coffee had any kind of creamer or milk added to it. In that case, drinking old coffee can be more problematic, especially if it was a large cup of your favorite drink.

It can mess up with your stomach and even your gut. So listen to your body. If you think you are in danger and you need to see a doctor, go for it immediately.  

Is It Safe to Refrigerate the Coffee and Reheat it For Drinking?

Yes, it’s absolutely safe to store your coffee in a refrigerator and reheat it. However, it’s going to lose its freshness and flavor with time. If you are very particular about your coffee, refrigerating is a bad idea. But if you are more about saving time instead of saving yourself the freshest flavors, go for it.

Just make sure you always store black coffee without any additives. If you like it with creamer or milk, you can always add that later after reheating your coffee. For first-timers, experimenting with this idea is the key to getting used to the flavors. However, I don’t recommend this unless you have to do it because, even though it is safe, a few minutes of brewing a fresh cup of coffee is definitely worth the experience you get.

But if convenience is all that you’re after, this is a safe option.

7 Facts About Coffee You Probably Didn’t Know

7 Facts About Coffee You Probably Didn’t Know


1. Is it okay to drink coffee that’s a day old?

Drinking old coffee, even if it’s just a day old, is not recommended. You should avoid it if you notice an unpleasant smell or taste. There’s also a chance for brewed coffee to accumulate molds, especially if it is not refrigerated. Steer clear that coffee mug if the day-old coffee has milk, creamer, or any other additives in it.

2. How long is the coffee fresh with milk?

Since milk tends to go bad if it stays out of the fridge for more than 2 hours, the coffee with milk in it would too. So if you plan to drink your coffee later, put it without the milk in the refrigerator and reheat it before adding milk to your coffee.

3. How long does brewed coffee stays fresh in the fridge?

While it tends to lose flavor, brewed coffee can sit in the fridge for up to a week. Just make sure you cover up your cup of black coffee to avoid it absorbing aroma and scents of other beverages or foods in the fridge.


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