Cold brew is one of the most popular and popular forms of coffee around the world.
You’ve probably met him at the local grocery store, cafe, and even restaurants nearby.
Whether you buy it at the store or order it from your nearby cafe, you might be wondering how long your cold brew is good for and what to expect from its shelf life.
While this can usually last up to 2 weeks, there are a few considerations to keep in mind to get the most out of your cold brew batch.
Read on to find out how long a cold brew can last, and what you need to be aware of as it ages.
Iced coffee vs cold brew
To understand why cold brew lasts longer than standard coffee, you need to be aware of the differences between the two.
Not to be confused with iced coffee, cold brew is a beverage defined by the process in which it is created and prepared.
Often it is brewed by soaking the coffee grounds in cold water for 12-24 hours. This leaves enough time to extract the oils, flavor and profile from the beans.
Cold brew even contains more caffeine than iced coffee because of the length of time it is allowed to make infusions.
So back to the question. How come normal coffee and iced coffee deteriorate after a few hours, but the cold brew lasts so long?
The answer lies in the fact that the cold brew becomes an undiluted concentrate because it brews much longer than regular coffee.
Basically, it brews for longer and is therefore a stronger compound than normal, quickly brewed coffee.
Again, this brings a number of advantages unique to cold brew. The drink is almost half as acidic as a regular cup of coffee, so your stomach is relieved. It also contains twice as much caffeine.
The energy boost accompanied by a cup of coffee is the reason most people drink it in the first place, so imagine a cup of cold brew for a second.
It is sweeter, less acidic, tastier, contains more caffeine and can be stored longer.
Like all the beautiful things in life, cold drinks go wrong. Read how the cold brew exhales below.
Does Cold Brew expire?
If you were hoping that your coffee batch would last forever … unfortunately, no such thing exists. Coffee is susceptible to the same problems that the foods you eat every day: oxidation.
While whole coffee beans can last for weeks if stored properly, used coffee grounds should be consumed the same day they are brewed for maximum freshness and taste.
Cold Brew breaks this rule and can last up to 2 weeks if properly refrigerated.
It is important to note that it gets more and more stale each day that it is not consumed, until it inevitably expires and is no longer good than being thrown away.
Again, the cold brew does not escape the oxidation process. All organic material is subject to oxidation – the process of exposure to oxygen, heat, and other elements in the air.
For any drink, whether iced coffee, to milk, or cold infusion, your mug of joe begins to deteriorate once it is encountered by air. The solubles that give coffee its unique flavor begin to oxidize and drain, as the iron begins to rust.
Signs that your cold brew has gone bad
Remember that you need to consume your cold brew as quickly as possible to enjoy it in its freshest state.
If you get lost and keep your brew cold longer than intended, you need to look for a few signs that your brew has gone bad.
- The most obvious signs include mold or foul odors from your bucket or pitcher in the refrigerator. Mold means that your coffee has started to decompose, and the rancid smell of rotting coffee should be a clear sign to throw away your batch.
- Less obvious signs include a lack of energy boost after consuming, loss of flavor and body, and a strong sour taste. When the cold brew begins to deteriorate, it loses its flavor and caffeine.
You can consume a cold brew with these signs, but you won’t enjoy your coffee and you won’t get the energy boost that comes with it.
It is often best to just start a new batch (using one of these cold brew coffee makers) unless you really like the flavor of your cold brew. And hey, to each his own.
Cold Brew Life Cycle
If you’re looking for a more detailed breakdown of the life cycle of your cold brew batch, you can expect the following:
- Day 1: It’s the coolest day to enjoy your cold brew (after soaking for 12 hours minimum). Make sure you take advantage of it!
- Day 3 to 5: Although you might not notice it yet, the bundle has already started to go out of date.
- 7th day: You will notice that the coffee starts to get really stale. A loss of flavor, less caffeine and more acidity will be present when you consume it.
- Day 10-14: After two weeks, if you haven’t finished the batch, you should consider using it as a compost or fertilizer for the garden. Otherwise, it is better not to consume after 14 days.
- Day 14 and following: Throw it out !! Somewhere here, mold will start to grow and break down the soil. It can get pretty gross, so do yourself a favor and throw it away. There will be another use for it.
So how long Exactly Will Cold Brew Last?
As you can see, the answer is not that black and white. It depends on how you like to enjoy your coffee, why you drink it, and how far you are willing to go despite losing some of the benefits of fresh coffee.
To officially answer the question, the cold infusion can be consumed up to 14 days after its infusion. It is recommended that you consume within 7 days, although the first 3 days are the richest in flavor and caffeine.