How long is Kahlua good for?
In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how long is Kahlua good for” and discuss the shelf life of Kahlua.
Moreover, we are going to discuss different ways to spot bad Kahlua, factors affecting the quality of Kahlua, and the proper way to store Kahlua.
Kahlua® is a rich, dark brown coffee liqueur made from the finest Mexican coffee, with fine cane spirits and a hint of vanilla. It also contains sugar, corn syrup and vodka, and has a thicker body than most other alcoholic beverages (2).
How long is Kahlua good for?
Kahlua has an indefinite shelf life, as it contains a high alcoholic content of 20%. Due to their high alcohol content, distilled spirits are not susceptible to microbial contamination.
However, if during storage, there is an evaporation of the alcohol and the alcohol concentration from the extract is reduced, it may be susceptible to microbial growth, if it is contaminated. Some bacteria are known to survive and grow in ethanol concentrations of greater than 18% (v/v) (7).
On the other hand, a study showed that, when vodka with different amounts of alcohol was infected by yeasts during the processing, their counts were reduced during storage, due to the killing effect of alcohol (4).
However, Kahlua loses its quality with time. It is well-known that coffee products are complex matrices; especially, brews and liquid presentations are supremely unstable with respect to the changes in their sensory profile during storage, even if frozen (3).
According to the manufacturers website, the recommended shelf life of Kahlúa Original is 4 years. The product will be good for many more years, but the coffee fades over time so it wont give the full flavor impact (6).
What is the shelf life of Kahlua originals?
According to Kahlua manufacturers, Kahlua originals last for about 4 years if it is stored in a cool, dry and dark corner of the pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.
What is the shelf life of Kahlua flavors?
According to Kahlua manufacturers, Kahlua flavors last for about 2 years if it is stored in a cool, dry and dark corner of the pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.
What is the shelf life of Kahlua ready-to-drink?
According to Kahlua manufacturers, Kahlua ready-to-drink lasts for about 1 year if it is stored in a cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.
What are the factors that affect the quality of Kahlua once opened?
The factors that affect the quality of Kahlua once opened are the storage conditions, such as temperature and exposure to oxygen and the composition of the product, which loses it volatiles with time.
Several authors widely studied volatile changes in coffee beverages, and they showed that chlorogenic acids and melanoidins are involved in aroma loss.
These reactions occur due to oxygen interacting with chlorogenic acids and develop adducts such as hydroxyhydroquinones that simultaneously react with thiols, especially with 2-furfurylthiol, which is the main responsible for the coffee aroma note in the beverage (3).
Oxidative reactions, volatile loss, ester hydrolysis, non-enzymatic browning interactions between volatile and non-volatile coffee constituents are some of the chemical phenomena that may lead to the decrease of the shelf life of Kahlua.
Each time you open your Kahlua bottle, air (oxygen) enters your Kahlua that can initiate oxidation reactions in it, thereby decreasing the quality of the Kahlua.
The volatile compounds present in the formulation of Kahlua are susceptible to evaporation by the bottle opening, resulting in the loss of the original aroma of the beverage.
Higher temperatures of storage accelerate both evaporation of volatiles and oxidation reactions of the aroma compounds. And, as mentioned earlier in this article, some microorganisms are able to grow in high concentrated alcoholic solutions (7).
Other FAQs about Kahlua which you may be interested in.
How to know if Kahlua has gone bad?
To know if Kahlua has gone bad, you should be able to identify possible signs of spoilage, including loss of aroma and changes of the original aroma, in addition to possible signs of microbial spoilage, although these are unlikely to occur.
Spoiled foods will develop an off odor, flavor or texture due to naturally occurring spoilage bacteria. If a food has developed such spoilage characteristics, it should not be eaten (8).
How to properly store Kahlua?
- Once your Kahlua bottle has been opened, it is recommended to always seal or close the cap of the bottle properly to minimize its air exposure.
- On the other hand, an unopened bottle of Kahlua can be stored in a cool, dry, and dark corner of your pantry away from direct sunlight and heat (5).
- Temperature fluctuations can degrade the quality of the Kahlua so you should take care of this.
Is Kahlua safe to drink after the best-before date?
Yes, Kahlua is safe to drink after the best-before date. The “best by” or “best before” date that is written on the bottle of Kahlua refers to more of quality rather than safety so Kahlua doesn’t necessarily go bad immediately after the best before date.
According to the USDA, because the “best by ” date is an indication of quality and not of safety, with an exception of infant formula, if the date passes during home storage, a product should still be safe and wholesome if handled properly until the time spoilage is evident (8).
In this brief guide, we answered the question “how long is Kahlua good for” and the shelf life of Kahlua. Moreover, we discussed the factors affecting the quality of Kahlua, and the proper way to store Kahlua.
- Padon, Alisa A., et al. Alcohol brand use of youth-appealing advertising and consumption by youth and adults. J public health res, 2018, 7, jphr-2018.
- Aura-ek, Prajya. The study of coffee liqueur formulation. 2007.
- Quintero, Mónica, et al. Assessment of Concentrated Liquid Coffee Acceptance during Storage: Sensory and Physicochemical Perspective. Molecules, 2021, 26,12.
- Rotar, A. M., et al. Identification of microorganisms involved in distilled spirits contamination and their evolution during final product storage. Annal Univ Craiova, 2012, 17, 345-350.
- Safe Home Food Storage. Texas University.
- Kahlua. Frequently asked questions.
- Pidot, Sacha J., et al. Increasing tolerance of hospital Enterococcus faecium to handwash alcohols. Sci translat med, 2018, 10, eaar6115.
- Food Product dating. United States Department of Agriculture.