When it comes to proper food storage, you must get well informed or suffer the consequences. Believe us; you don’t want to find out the hard way; foodborne illnesses are no joke!
It might seem that some drinks, such as coffee or tea, are excluded from this rule and cannot cause much harm even if they are left to sit too long before we consume them. Such an opinion is very wrong and can be dangerous too!
For this reason, today, we’ll share our knowledge on how long does a cold brew last and can be enjoyed safely.
If you are a coffee enthusiast or simply know your way around the ever-evolving world of the coffee business, you know what’s trending right now – it is cold brew!
This hot trend, although not hot at all, has taken over the domination of the ever-so-popular iced coffee. With summer just around the corner, it is crucial that we learn how to drink this refreshing beverage without endangering our health.
The thing is – cold brew, just like ice tea, has a rather short shelf life. So, let’s find out how to store it properly and how long we can enjoy it without regretting it later on!
A Word Or Two About Cold Brew
Until the invention of cold brew, coffee shops mostly sold either hot coffee or hot coffee poured over ice. The later usually turned out watery and blunt as it was as much coffee as it was melted ice. Sometimes even less.
Besides, making ice coffee from hot-brewed coffee makes the end product slightly acidic and messes up the pure aroma of the coffee beans. On the other hand, cold brewing does not alter the coffee taste at all.
Unlike hot coffee, which is somewhat unstable and changes its taste at different temperatures, cold brew is rather stable and can thus be packed up and sold as a ready-to-drink beverage.
If you compare cold brew and iced coffee, cold brew is a clear winner. It has twice the caffeine content in comparison to any standard iced coffee.
Cold brew has revolutionized the coffee industry. Baristas do not have to worry anymore when the summer season comes. Coffee sales are now high even when it is hot outside.
The unfortunate part is – a good cold brew is expensive. Even the commercial cold brew sold in markets does not come cheap (and we would say it is mostly not worth it), but if you want a freshly made cold brew made by a proper barista, you’ll have to pay some serious money.
The good news is that making cold brew on your own is not difficult to master. As a result, you can make it in the comfort of your own home and enjoy it all year long.
But first, make sure that you know how to handle and store your homemade cold brew properly. You do not want to ruin your experience forever. So, let’s find out how long does cold brew lasts.
How Long Does Cold Brew Last When Refrigerated?
Cold brew does not have a super-long shelf life. If you do not keep it refrigerated, it will get spoiled rather quickly.
Even if you follow all the rules and store your cold brew in the fridge right away, it would still be best to consume it within a week or two. You do not want to risk serving moldy cold brew to your guest, don’t you?
As a general rule, no one should keep cold brew for longer than a month. The same goes for the concentrate too.
Many baristas, however, have the opinion that you should not store cold brew for more than two weeks. It might stay safe to drink for longer, health-wise, but it will not taste the same anymore.
Experienced baristas gave us a valuable piece of advice on how to preserve the flavor of cold brew so that it can taste fresh for a couple of weeks. We’ll share the secret with you too, of course.
The container you keep your refrigerated cold brew in should always match the amount of the liquid you store in it. What does this mean in practice?
If you plan to keep one liter of cold brew in your fridge, you need to store it in a one-liter glass container. Once you drink some, you should size down the container too. Why?
The main reason why any food or drink goes bad is oxidation. Cold brew is no exception. As soon as it comes in contact with air, the coffee starts to oxidize, and it is just a matter of a moment before it becomes harmful to your health.
The moral of the story is that you should make sure that there is a minimal amount of air in the bottle or container in which you store your cold brew. In this way, you will slow down the oxidization process, and your coffee will not leech the flavor (at least not as much).
Cold Brew FAQ
Q: What coffee should you use to make your cold brew?
A: If you like your coffee black and strong, African coffees are your best choice. If you prefer a more mellow brew with a chocolate-like aroma, go for Latin American coffees.
Q: Can cold brew be made with decaf beans?
Q: Should the water we use for cold brew be filtered?
A: Yes, after all, cold brew is made of almost 98% water. Make sure it is both fresh and sanitary!
Q: How long should cold brew steep for?
A: For best results, it should brew for 16 hours, but anywhere from 14-18 will do just fine too. If you overdo it, you risk getting unpleasant woody notes. Therefore, if you want a stronger profile, you should better dilute the mixture a little less than steep it longer.
Q: Does the brew have to be kept in the fridge while it’s brewing?
A: No, you can keep it at room temperature too. Just remember to put the cold brew in a fridge as soon as it’s done filtering.
Q: How long does cold brew last?
A: Cold brew can be kept in the fridge for 7-14 days.
Q: Do we need to keep cold brew refrigerated at all times?
The bottom line is – you should keep cold brew refrigerated at all times and consume it within two weeks. Our advice is to enjoy your cold brew within one week, as that is the only way you will be sure that you can savor its full taste and aroma.
Most importantly, you should never feel tempted to drink a glass of cold brew that you have forgotten out at room temperature. You might find yourself noticing oily, greenish patches floating on top of your brew halfway through your first sip. By then, you’ll probably already feel nauseated.
Be responsible, and enjoy every sip of your cold brew!