Especially when the summer season hits a common question for coffee lovers is how long does cold brew last? This refreshing brew is perfect for those hot days when a hot coffee just doesn’t feel right.
But if you do have cold brew, whether store-bought or homemade, it is important to know how long it lasts. The last thing you need on that hot summer day is to pour the cold brew on fresh ice and have your heart sink as you realize that you left it too long!
So how long is too long?
How Long Does Cold Brew Last?
The general consensus in the specialty coffee world is that cold brew is best consumed within 10-14 days of being brewed. However, this statement does come with a few caveats. The first is that it assumes that the cold brew is transferred to the refrigerator immediately after being brewed. This is vital and without this step it will be moldy and undrinkable within a day. Guaranteed.
The second caveat is that it is stored in its concentrate form. Cold brew is normally brewed very strong and then diluted with either water or milk. So the normal procedure would be to have cold brew in the refrigerator and then use 1 part cold brew, 1 ice cube, and 1-2 parts chilled water. If you dilute the cold brew before refrigerating it then it should be consumed within 2-3 days max. The same applies for any other additives you choose to add to the concentrate cold brew.
The other factor which makes answering this question slightly more complex is that it can depend on a number of other factors. For example, the quality of the bean you use, the storage container, and the brewing method you use all play into the shelf or in this case fridge life of cold brew. So take any hard and fast rules with a grain of salt.
The other thing to consider is that how long does cold brew last and when should I drink my cold brew are not the same question. What I mean by that is that although cold brew can last in ideal situations for up to 14 days, it should usually be consumed far before that. For optimal flavor and freshness, cold brew should normally be drunk within a week of being brewed.
How to tell if your Cold Brew is off
So what do you do in that situation where you are simply not sure whether it is still good or not. Well in large part it will come down to personality, for the timid and hypochondriacs there is no way that they are taking that risk. While for many others a ‘she’ll be right mate’ attitude means they would give it a shot even with a bit of floating mold.
However, there are a few key marks that cold brew has gone off that are helpful to be aware of. If you note any of the following then it is time to tip your cold brew down the sink:
If you get to the floating pieces of mold, well no more needs to be said…
Additional Tips for Cold Brew
There are a few other handy cold brew hacks that are worth being aware of.
The first is cold brew ice cubes. One way to store cold brew for far longer that 1-2 weeks is to turn them into ice cubes and chuck them in the freezer. And then when summer hits pull out a cold cube, let it melt and you are away laughing.
Also while cold brew can be stored in a range of different cold brew coffee makers, a popular option is glass mason jars. Glass is always a good option as it has minimal impact on the flavor of the coffee and glass mason jars are cheap and do work a treat.
Finally, if you have ever had a cold brew at a cafe they likely served it up with a single large cube of ice almost whiskey style. This is relatively simply to do at home and while not particularly affecting the flavor, does add to the experience. Don’t just enjoy the coffee, enjoy the whole experience.
Summary: How long does Cold Brew last?
In summary, our answer to the question how long does cold brew last, is 10-14 days in ideal conditions, but within a week for optimal flavor.