How Long Does Unopened Cold Brew Last?
Unopened, shelf-stable cold brew coffee has a typical shelf life of up to a year. These brews may remain out at room temperature for months at a time without causing issues. On the other hand, you’ll need to keep your cold brew coffee in the fridge for around three to five months if it isn’t shelf stable.
You may be thinking, “How long does unopened cold brew last?” if you have recently discovered an unsealed can of cold brew in the bottom of your refrigerator or a pair of bottles left out for a few weeks.
However, remember that this is more often associated with black coffee. Adding milk or other substances to the cold brew might shorten its shelf life.
Additionally, manufacturers’ techniques vary, which in turn, affects the longevity of their coffee. Read on if you’re curious about the shelf lives of various coffees and other related topics.
How Long Does Unopened Cold Brew Last?
Coffee that is not shelf-stable often only stays fresh for three to five months after opening, whereas shelf-stable coffee can survive for up to a year.
Coffees that can be stored at room temperature are what we mean when we talk about their being “shelf-stable.” These coffees have been preserved to last for a long time.
Coffees that aren’t treated this way aren’t shelf-stable and thus must be kept in the refrigerator.
These coffees can usually be purchased as
- Cold brew on tap
- Refrigerated bottles
- Shelf-stable cans and bottles
Let’s quickly talk about each type.
Cold Brew On Tap
Coffee that comes in a box with a built-in dispenser is known as a cold brew on tap.
This coffee is often heated to high temperatures before being packed to remove any potential for bacterial growth. They are disinfected by being placed in preheated bags (at temperatures between 280 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit) for a few seconds.
For this reason, cold brew on tap may remain fresh for a whole year if left unopened.
Once opened, however, it needs to be refrigerated and consumed within a month.
These cans are shelf-stable, meaning they don’t require refrigeration. Cans don’t have to be as durable as a case of cold brew on tap because they contain enough for one serving.
The shelf life of an unopened can of cold brew is typically 3 to 5 months. This, however, may change based on the time it takes for the coffee to get from the producer to the supermarket.
Coffee in cans is similarly treated with heat to extend its shelf life. But unlike iced coffee from a tap, they aren’t subjected to extreme heat.
Instead, they respond to a technique known as “retort.” This method involves enclosing the coffee in a can and heating it to a temperature between 160 and 175 degrees Fahrenheit using steam and water.
The shelf life of an opened can of cold brew is approximately one week.
The coffees you see in the store’s refrigerated area are also processed. As a result, its “best by” date is frequently three to five months out.
It would be best if you didn’t store them at room temperature after purchase; the refrigeration is for a reason. And after you open them, you need to keep them cold and use them before the “best by” date.
Does Nitro Cold Brew Last Longer
Considering that nitrogen acts as a preservative, Nitro Cold brew may be kept for a more extended period than traditional cold brews.
However, the expiration date on the can may not significantly differ from that of other cold brew brands.
For example, the date printed on the can of Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew was five months from the purchase date. That’s approximately the same as I find on standard cold brews, whether they need to be kept cool or not.
Can I Drink Cold Brew Coffee That’s Expired?
There are “best by” dates printed on cold brew. This signifies that the coffee is at its peak of quality before that date.
Thankfully, coffee rarely spoils. Unopened cold brew should be fine even after the expiration date if it is stored properly.
Open up that cold brew and look if you have any doubts. Before you take a sip of your coffee, analyze its aroma, colour, and consistency.
How Long Does Homemade Cold Brew Last?
The shelf life of homemade cold brew is around two weeks in the fridge. Commercial coffees go through preservation methods, so this is far shorter than the cold brews you’ll get in stores.
Several variables affect how long your homemade cold brew will keep, including:
- The beans’ freshness and whether or not they’ve been affected by mold.
- How you refrigerated your containers and whether or not you cleaned them before use.
- Whether you flavored your cold brew with milk.
- If you have any rotten food in your fridge, it might infect your cold brew.
Homemade cold brew is more likely to be affected than store-bought, so it’s best to keep it refrigerated and drink it within a couple of weeks.
How Can I Preserve My Cold Brew Longer?
Your homemade cold brew may be kept in the fridge for up to two weeks. That’s about as long as cold brew coffee usually keeps. Though pasteurized and freezing can extend its shelf life if you want to keep it for an exceptionally long time.
Pasteurizing Homemade Cold Brew
Since the heating process will destroy many of the tasteful flavors known for cold brew, I would not recommend pasteurizing it.
Keeping coffee that could be brewed on demand also requires significant effort.
Freezing Homemade Cold Brew
Your cold brew coffee may also be frozen. Your cold brew may be kept out for a long time if you put it in a sealed container or plastic bag in the freezer.
You may also use an ice cube tray to freeze your cold brew and save it for later. Your cold brew will stay in the freezer for up to six months if you use this method.
Cold brew coffee is a popular, easy-to-make alternative to hot coffee. Many people prefer its taste since it’s less acidic than hot coffee.
Cold brew may be refrigerated for an extended period without losing flavor, unlike hot coffee. Cold medicine shouldn’t be kept for more than two weeks. It spoils after ten days in the fridge.
This article explains how to prepare and preserve cold brew coffee in the refrigerator. Use the appropriate beans and follow the directions to make a coffee home for the best results. Follow these ways to keep your coffee fresh.
- Lopane, Samuel Nicholas, (2018). An Investigation of the Shelf Life of Cold Brew Coffee and the Influence of Extraction Temperature Using Chemical Microbial and Sensory Analysis. All Theses. 2899.
- Wroclawski D. (2020, January 16). Cold Brew Coffee For Hot Days. Retrieved from https://www.consumerreports.org/cold-brew-coffee/cold-brew-coffee-for-hot-days/