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Can you drink day-old coffee?

Coffee Geek Lab / Can you drink day-old coffee?
Yurii Brown

Certified Barista

May 1, 2022

Can you drink day-old coffee

Is day-old coffee safe to drink? Is it possible to drink coffee that has been sitting for a day? This article seeks to address these questions and find answers. Understanding the science of coffee goes a long way in explaining why coffee goes bad and how long it takes for it to spoil.

Also featured are some tips on how to make sure coffee stays fresh for a long time. So, is it safe to drink day-old coffee? The answer is yes, but only with precautions!

How long does freshly brewed coffee retain its freshness?

The lifespan of coffee depends on a few factors, including the type of coffee, how it was brewed, and how it was stored. Generally speaking, fresh coffee is the best. But if the only option is a day-old coffee, it’s still drinkable. 

There are different schools of thought on how long coffee remains fresh. Some people say that brewed coffee starts to lose its flavor after about an hour. Others believe that properly stored coffee can stay fresh for up to four days.

The best way to store coffee is in an airtight container at room temperature; alternatively, refrigerating the coffee is best, and bringing it to room temperature before brewing or reheating. Cold coffee doesn’t extract well and can lead to a weak, watery cup.

Coffee that has been stored improperly or for too long can spoil and taste sour, rancid, or otherwise unpleasant. If the coffee tastes off, it’s best to throw it out and start fresh. Brewing with spoiled coffee will not make it taste any better.

When is it not OK to drink day-old coffee

People should avoid drinking day-old coffee if it has gone rancid and/or accumulated an unpleasant smell or taste. Additionally, brewed coffee tends to mold, especially when kept outside of the fridge. When adding milk to coffee, be sure to drink it within two hours according to food safety guidelines by the CDC, as dairy products will spoil quickly.

A food scientist, Dr.Le, argues that leftover coffee is safe to drink from a microbiological standpoint. This is when there are no easily available nutrients like sugar or protein, as in black coffee, which makes it an inhospitable environment for microbial growth.

Even though coffee can get a little moldy, Dr. Le says that a few people who are allergic to mold might have a bad reaction. Mold may take 2 or 3 days to grow, but for safety reasons, day-old coffee should be avoided altogether. 

Fresh Coffee’s Health Benefits

Roasting produces chemicals that do more than just impart a distinct aroma. Roasting creates a variety of antioxidants and vitamins, including vitamins like B2 (riboflavin), B5 (pantothenic acid), and B3 (niacin). Cell metabolism is aided by B vitamins, which are all distinct. Roasting produces caffeic acid and melanoidins, which are both antioxidants.

How to keep the coffee fresh? 

There are a few things that can be done to extend the lifespan of a cup of coffee. 
  • First, investing in a good coffee grinder is a priority. A quality grinder will help in getting the most out of the beans by extracting all the flavor and aroma. 
  • Secondly, is the use of fresh, cold water for brewing. 
  • Third, store the coffee in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. By following these simple tips, coffee lovers can enjoy their fresh-tasting coffee for days.
Dairy products like milk and cream can significantly improve the flavor of the coffee. However, they also shorten the lifespan of brewed coffee. When dairy is added to coffee, it should be drunk within 2 hours. Otherwise, the milk will spoil and give the coffee an unpleasant taste.

What to do with the day-old coffee

Leftover coffee should not be poured down the drain! There are many ways in which day-old coffee can be used. Here are some ideas:
  • alternative to water. Day-old coffee can be used to prepare oatmeal instead of water. This will give the oatmeal a coffee flavor without making it too strong. Also, coffee can be used in baking desired products. 
  • Make a coffee ice cream. Add some day-old coffee to the ice cream recipe for a twist on the classic flavor.
  • Make a classic Italian tiramisu. This dessert is made with coffee-soaked ladyfingers and rich mascarpone cream. It’s the perfect way to use up day-old coffee!
  • Freeze it into ice cubes. This is a great way to keep coffee from going bad and to have cold coffee on hand for iced drinks.
  • Use it in a marinade. Coffee can add a unique flavor to meat, so try using it next time you cook steak or chicken. 
  • Make it a mocha. For a delicious treat, just add a shot of espresso (or day-old coffee) to hot chocolate.

Conclusion

Yes, it is perfectly safe to drink day-old coffee. However, the quality of the coffee will not be as good as freshly brewed coffee. The flavor will be weaker, and the drink will be less aromatic. When looking for the best possible flavor, experts agree that drinking the coffee fresh is key. But whenever there is only day-old coffee that’s still drinkable, don’t worry—it’s nothing wrong. Just enjoy the cup of Joe and be thankful that there is no trip to the coffee shop at the beginning of the day.

Yurii Brown

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