Is it bad to put hot coffee in the fridge?

In this text we will answer the question: “Is it bad to put hot coffee in the fridge?”. In addition, we will discuss if coffee beans can be refrigerated and we will also discuss what is the best way to freeze your coffee in the fridge.

Is it bad to put hot coffee in the fridge?

No, it’s not bad to put hot coffee in the fridge. When brewed coffee is stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator, it can extend its lifespan. In this manner, it is generally safe to consume for approximately 3-4 days. 

Optimal freshness of brewed coffee typically lasts around 20-30 minutes when served in an open cup. However, it is still acceptable to consume coffee for a few hours after brewing. (1, 2)

How long can coffee last in the fridge?

Storing brewed coffee in a sealed container in the refrigerator can extend its shelf life, typically allowing it to remain safe for consumption for about 3-4 days. However, it’s important to note that the taste may not be as exceptional as that of freshly brewed coffee.

For brewed coffee without milk or creamer, such as black coffee in a pot sitting on a burner, it can be consumed for up to 4 hours. However, once milk or creamer is added, it is recommended to consume it within a couple of hours.

When brewed coffee is mixed with milk or creamer, it’s advisable to consume it within 2 hours if left at room temperature. Alternatively, you can extend its freshness by storing it in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a day or two.

Keep in mind that the overall quality and taste of refrigerated coffee may diminish over time. While it is still safe to drink within the suggested time frames, the flavor may not be as satisfying as when it was freshly brewed.(1, 2)

Does brewed coffee go bad in the fridge?

Yes, brewed coffee is susceptible to spoilage when stored in the refrigerator. In the case of pasteurized coffee brews and coffee-based beverages, the growth of alternative microorganisms can have a substantial impact on their quality during refrigeration.

The growth of microorganisms becomes a concern as it can lead to a decline in the overall quality of these products over time. Even in the absence of microbial growth, coffee beverages are still vulnerable to chemical reactions that result in an increased perception of sourness. 

These changes are accompanied by a decrease in pH, indicating a rise in titratable acidity.

The deterioration of liquid coffee quality begins immediately after brewing. The decrease in pH is thought to occur due to complex reactions, likely involving non-enzymatic browning pathways that interact with carbohydrates and amino acids. 

The hydrolysis of lactones may also contribute to the decline in pH. Additionally, oxidative reactions can also contribute to the deterioration of quality, particularly in long-life products stored at room temperature. (1)

How to tell If the coffee has gone bad?

Sensory analysis is widely used to evaluate the deterioration of coffee during storage. This method involves assessing the aroma of coffee powders and conducting taste tests with brewed coffee.

It’s worth noting that microbial growth is typically not a major concern for whole and ground roasted coffee. Coffee inherently possesses properties that effectively inhibit the growth of microorganisms, thus preventing spoilage. 

This natural inhibition is attributed to factors such as low water activity, limited essential nutrients, and the presence of antimicrobial melanoidins.(1)

However, certain indicators can help identify when coffee has gone bad. The presence of mold, discoloration, or unpleasant odors are warning signs that indicate the need for disposal.

Moreover, during storage, various compounds in coffee, as well as added ingredients like flavors, dairy derivatives, and colorants, can undergo oxidation, resulting in rancidity and staleness.

When assessing the deterioration of coffee quality, factors such as the volatile profile in the headspace, pH levels, and sensory attributes are typically taken into consideration. 

Additionally, the presence of yeast or bacteria can lead to decreased sugar content and diminished sweetness in coffee, which should be considered when evaluating the overall quality of the product. (1-3)

What happens if you drink old brewed coffee?

Consuming old brewed coffee without milk or sugar is generally not a major health concern. However, it’s crucial to understand that when coffee goes bad, it loses its characteristic aroma and flavor, resulting in an unpleasant taste and compromised mouthfeel. 

This significantly diminishes the overall enjoyment of the beverage.On the other hand, inadvertently consuming brewed coffee that has spoiled and contains dairy products like milk or creamers can pose risks to your gut health. 

The combination of spoiled coffee and dairy ingredients increases the chances of experiencing gastrointestinal issues. These issues can vary from mild discomfort to more severe digestive disturbances. (1-3)

What’s the best way to freeze your coffee in the fridge?

Yes, you can store brewed coffee in the freezer, fill an ice cube tray with cooled brewed coffee. Let the cubes freeze for a couple of hours until solid, then transfer them to an airtight container or bag. Use within 2 weeks, either as an addition to fresh cold brew or melted down. (2)

Other FAQs about Coffee that you may be interested in.

Is it espresso or expresso coffee?

Is it hard to make a Chinese coffee mousse cake recipe?

Is it ok to drink coffee everyday?


In this text we answered the question: “Is it bad to put hot coffee in the fridge?”. In addition, we discussed if coffee beans can be refrigerated and we also discussed what is the best way to freeze your coffee in the fridge.


  1. Manzocco, L., Melchior, S., Calligaris, S., & Nicoli, M. C.  Packaging and the Shelf Life of Coffee. Reference Module in Food Science. 2019.
  2. Adrienne Seitz, Lizzie Streit, How Long Does Coffee Last? Ground, Brewed, Cold Brew, and More, Healthline Media LLC. 2021.
  3. Kwok, R., Lee Wee Ting, K., Schwarz, S., Claassen, L., & Lachenmeier, D. W.  Current Challenges of Cold Brew Coffee—Roasting, Extraction, Flavor Profile, Contamination, and Food Safety. Challenges, 11(2), 26. 2020.

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