How long is iced coffee good in the fridge? (how to store)
In this article, we are going to answer the question “How long is iced coffee good in the fridge?” and discuss what is the shelf life of iced coffee in the fridge, what happens when you store iced coffee in the fridge, how to identify a bad iced coffee and how to prepare and store iced coffee.
How long is iced coffee good in the fridge?
Iced coffee stays good for about 30 to 60 days in the fridge, depending on the production process. However, the flavour and aroma of the iced coffee are lost the longer the storage of iced coffee, and the caffeine can also be reduced (1, 2, 3).
Plain iced coffee has a long shelf life in the refrigerator, especially when is prepared by the hot brew process. Additional processes are applied in the commercial ready-to-drink coffee beverages to ensure their safety and long storage.
The addition of milk and other ingredients in the iced coffee reduces the shelf life of the product and the shelf life will depend on the composition of the iced coffee. For iced coffee with milk, sugar and thickener, the shelf life in the refrigerator was 4 weeks, according to a study (4).
What happens when you store iced coffee in the fridge?
When iced coffee is stored in the fridge, it loses its volatile compounds and becomes stale. There is an increase in the acidity and consequently, the pH of the drink is reduced with time (1, 2).
During storage, there is a breakdown of the chlorogenic acid, which generates quinic, caffeoylquinic and feruloyl quinic acids, increasing the concentration of acids in the coffee (2).
The amount of caffeine can vary and decrease, however, this depends on the brewing method and the process of producing the coffee beverage (1, 3).
However, there is no growth of microorganisms detected in the iced coffee beverage during cold storage, as reported in different studies, even after 42 days of storage (1, 3).
Is it safe to drink old iced coffee?
Yes, it is safe to drink an old plain iced coffee that has been stored in the refrigerator. Plain iced coffee that has been prepared by hot brew rarely goes bad due to microbial activity (1, 3, 4).
The shelf life of plain hot-brewed coffee beverages is limited by the loss of volatile compounds and degradation of phenolics. The amount of caffeine can also decrease with time. However, microbial contamination is not probable.
The shelf life of iced coffee containing milk and other ingredients is limited by the degradation of the components, especially the oxidation of milk fat, leading to the formation of unpleasant flavour compounds (4).
However, if the coffee beverage has been sterilised, it has a long shelf life in terms of microbial safety. According to studies, a coffee beverage containing milk was considered microbiologically safe after 14 weeks, although it was negatively scored in terms of sensory properties after 4 weeks (4).
On the other hand, an old cold-brewed coffee is not safe to consume. Different from hot-brewed coffee, cold-brewed coffee is extracted using cold water and using long extraction processes.
This can lead to microbial contamination. According to studies, pathogenic bacteria, including Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes, were found in samples of cold-brewed coffees right after production and during storage (3, 5).
How to identify a bad iced coffee?
A bad iced coffee can be identified by a stale flavour or having an extremely bitter, astringent or sour flavour (1).
When the iced coffee contains milk, spoilage can be identified by the rancid odour or flavour, the bitterness, sourness and other off-odours and off-flavours related to the oxidation of the milk fats (4).
How to prepare and store iced coffee?
To prepare iced coffee, brew the coffee, cool and store the brewed coffee, as follows (adapted from 1):
- Fill a coffee paper filter placed on plastic filter support with 3.5 tablespoons of coffee powder
- Heat 3 cups of water to a temperature of 97°C (205 °F)
- Brew the coffee by pouring the hot water onto the coffee powder and wait till the brew is completed
- Pour the brewed coffee into a metal or glass jar
- Immerse the jar containing the brewed coffee in an ice water bath till the brew is cool
- Bottle the brewed coffee in amber glass bottles with screw caps
- Store the brewed iced coffee in the refrigerator
In this article, we answered the question “How long does iced coffee stay good in the fridge?” and discussed what is the shelf life of iced coffee in the fridge, what happens when you store iced coffee in the fridge, how to identify a bad iced coffee and how to prepare and store iced coffee.
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Lopane SN. An Investigation of the Shelf Life of Cold Brew Coffee and the Influence of Extraction Temperature Using Chemical, Microbial and Sensory Analysis (Doctoral dissertation, Clemson University).
Phanumong P, Kraboun K, Roipromma P. Influence of Thermal Treatments and Packaging on Physicochemical and Microbiological Characteristics of Ready-to-Drink Cold Brew Coffee cv. Robusta Blended with Coconut Water. Burapha Science Journal. 2022 Sep 1:1544-58.
Yoon JW, Ahn SI, Kim HN, Park JH, Park SY, Kim JH, Oh DG, Jhoo JW, Kim GY. Qualitative characteristics and determining shelf-life of milk beverage product supplemented with coffee extracts. Korean journal for food science of animal resources. 2017;37(2):305.
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