Can cold brew coffee go bad? (3 Measures to Take)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, can cold brew coffee go bad? We will discuss reasons that make cold brew coffee go bad, the chemical difference between a cold brew and a hot brew, and the proper way to store cold brew coffee.

Can cold brew coffee go bad?

Cold-brew coffee stays good for a few weeks when stored in the fridge in an air-tight container. Cold-brew coffee can go bad in a week or two, considering there wasn’t milk added to it. If your cold brew coffee has milk added to it, it will last for a day in the fridge at most. 

Depending on how you make and store your cold brew, it can sometimes last for a day which holds especially true for people who tend to be picky when it comes to their coffee drinks. However, people find a week-old coffee to be an acceptable option. 

According to some experts, cold brew concentrate will stay good for a month. Some factors that will impact the life of cold brew are if there was water, milk or seasonings added. Your cold brew concentrate will spoil 2-3 days earlier if mixed with water or spices.

How to tell if cold brew coffee has gone bad?

Unlike espresso, cold brew coffee doesn’t lose its aroma when it goes bad. To determine if cold brew coffee has gone bad, look for mold. Start by looking under the lid and then inside the coffee. If there isn’t any mold growing, you can proceed to taste it. Coffee that has succumbed to spoilage will taste acidic and stale. If you are well-acquainted with the taste of the cold brew, it will not be hard for you to tell when it is bad. 

When a coffee drink is stored, it tends to lose its aroma and flavor. The stored coffee beverage may still be palatable but, it cannot taste the same as the fresh coffee drink.

Why is there a difference between the stability of Hot-Brew and cold-brew?

There are scientific reasons that make Cold-brew store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, while the concentrates for up to 2 weeks. In contrast, Hot-brewed Coffee will be good for 3 to 4 days only.

Cold-brew has higher flavor stability than both hot-brew and iced coffee.

Cold Brew lasts longer than Hot Brew because the prior is brewed at room temperature. Cold Brew coffee is a concentrate which is why it holds flavor better. A hot-brewed coffee, on the other hand, transitions from a hotter temperature to a cooler one. The change in temperature makes the coffee more prone to flavor degradation. 

When we prepare a cold brew, the oxidation process is slower. The compounds released into cold water are less in quantity; the cold brew results in a less flavorful coffee. The flavors are lost from a hot brew just as easily; making the shelf-life shorter than the cold counterpart.

You have an advantage of storing cold brew over hot-brew that it tastes good even if it is not fresh. Cold-brew will retain its flavor for longer than hot brew. French press or drip coffee lasts for four days at most. After which, the Coffee brew starts to lose flavor.

 If you intend to consume coffee within two weeks, it is better to freeze them in an air-tight container. 

How to make the most out of your cold brew coffee?

Do not leave coffee exposed at room temperature for more than 30 minutes. If you don’t want to drink it soon, it is best to store it in an air-tight container. By preventing air from reaching the brewed coffee, it will not oxidize, hence last longer. 

The oxidation process starts with the brewing process. As soon as the Coffee beans are added to water, they release acids, aromatics, and acids. 

When you store coffee, make sure to use a glass container rather than plastic. Plastic is porous, which means that air can penetrate the flask and affect the quality of your cold brew. The chemicals found in plastic can also impact the taste of coffee, hence make it less desirable. 

When coffee spoils, the flavorful oils become oxidized into toxic compounds. Your coffee becomes rancid and hence inconsumable. Do not let coffee with milk sit around at room temperature because it will make it less flavorful and encourage the growth of bacteria and even molds.

If you left your coffee drink at room temperature for more than five hours, you must throw it away. You would notice a rancid and unpleasant smell.

In this brief guide, we answered the question, can cold brew coffee go bad? We discussed reasons that make cold brew coffee go bad, the chemical difference between a cold brew and a hot brew, and the proper way to store cold brew coffee.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.