Does Iced Coffee Go Bad? 10 Tips To Keep It Fresh

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I LOOOOOVVVEE me some regular hot coffee in the morning, it’s how I start my day off right. I would miss it if I don’t have it but in the summer man it can make you sweat…. Some people switch to cold brew coffee or iced coffee and that makes total sense. Especially if you need a pick-me-up in the middle of the day and it’s 90 degrees outside. Iced coffee is a refreshing and energizing drink that many people enjoy during hot weather.

does iced coffee go bad intro image

However, if you’re a coffee lover, you may be wondering if iced coffee goes bad and how to keep it fresh. In this blog post, I’ll answer these questions and provide the best way to make sure your iced coffee stays fresh.

Does Iced Coffee Go Bad?

Yes, iced coffee can go bad, just like any other food or beverage. When coffee is exposed to air and moisture, it can start to develop mold and bacteria. This can lead to an unpleasant taste and potentially make you sick with food poisoning especially if there is dairy in it. Additionally, if you add dairy or sweeteners to your iced coffee, they can also spoil and contribute to the drink going bad.

This can take a few days to happen but it doesn’t take a long time for your amazing drink to start separating and just not taste as good.

cup with cold coffee and a spoon

How to Keep Iced Coffee Fresh

To prevent your iced coffee from going bad, it’s important to follow these tips:

  1. Use Freshly Brewed Coffee: Start with freshly brewed coffee to ensure the best flavor and quality. If you’re using leftover coffee, make sure it’s been stored properly and hasn’t been sitting out for too long. Coffee tends to go stale after about 8 hours of sitting open or in a pot. Not to mention in the open air if it was in a drip-style coffee maker or french press.
  2. If You Are Using A Pre-Bought Cold Brew Check The Expiration Date: Get the cans farthest from their expiry date and DO NOT open them until you are ready to drink them.
  3. Store Iced Coffee in the Refrigerator: After brewing your coffee, allow it to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate it. ( you don’t want to be putting hot water into a plastic container because it will mess up the shape of the jar or a glass one could crack and shatter if you put hot coffee into a cool jar. Make sure to use an airtight container to prevent air and moisture from getting in.
  4. Don’t Add Dairy or Sweeteners Until You’re Ready to Drink: Leave your drink as black coffee for as long as possible. If this is going to be a party drink or for a family get-together keep the dairy products and iced coffee separate until the last minute then serve over ice. Adding dairy or sweeteners to your iced coffee can accelerate spoilage, so it’s best to wait until you’re ready to drink it before adding them.
Coffee Beans spilled from a cup
  1. Use Ice Cubes Made of Coffee: Instead of using regular ice cubes, consider making coffee ice cubes. This will prevent your iced coffee from becoming diluted as the ice melts and adds extra flavor. I would consider having a special coffee ice cube tray if you like it because you could end up with coffee flavoring the plastic and you don’t want an odd coffee hint to your other drinks.
  2. Consume Within 24 Hours: To ensure the best quality and flavor, it’s recommended to consume your iced coffee within 24 hours of brewing.
  3. Store it in an airtight container: When not drinking your iced coffee, store it in an airtight container in the fridge to prevent air and moisture from seeping in and ruining the taste.
  4. Use a clean container: Always use a clean container to store your iced coffee. This will help prevent contamination and keep your coffee fresh. Also, keep the container closed until you are ready to consume. This helps keep the cold-brewed coffee good longer.
  5. Use freshly roasted and ground coffee beans: Freshly roasted whole beans are going to really help the taste of the coffee. If you are buying ground coffee beans find as fresh of beans as you can but produce better-tasting coffee that will stay fresh longer. Avoid using old or stale coffee beans.
  6. Keep Your Fresh Coffee Grounds In The Freezer: The freezer helps extend the shelf life of coffee and can make your beans last longer than a year.
  7. Avoid exposure to light and heat: Keep your iced coffee away from direct sunlight and heat sources as they can cause the coffee to spoil faster.
  8. Consider using a vacuum-sealed container: If you’re serious about keeping your iced coffee fresh, consider investing in a vacuum-sealed container. This will help remove air and moisture from the container, keeping your coffee fresh for longer

Helpful Tools

32oz mason jars w/lids

1 Gal Drink Dispenser

20oz Glass Tumbler

What About The Pre Made Store Coffee

If you still have some premade iced latte like a starbucks coffee or from a restaurant you are going to be able to get about 24hrs out of it before those drinks start to taste nasty. You will also start to see some separation in the drink within 12 hrs.

cup of iced coffee from a store

If you have been out all day with your Starbucks iced coffee in the car or shopping and you are wondering how long coffee lasts it is likely that it won’t last more than a couple of hours on a hot day.

You also need to keep in mind how much ice is in the drink because that is going to cause it to get watered down.

How To Make An Iced Coffee Ready The Night Before

If you want to take your cold coffee with you to work here are some tips to help you have the best taste.

  • You can start the brewing process the night before and have your regular coffee in a to go up in the refrigerator.
  • Add the dairy products and sweetener together in another container with a lid like a mason jar next to it ready to go.
  • Then in the morning combine the two and shake well. And a nice amount of ice if needed.

Bonus: you could even add a splash of cinnamon or a dollop of chocolate syrup if you want to add a touch of freshness.

cup of coffee

Iced coffee can go bad if not stored properly, but with these tips, you can keep your iced coffee fresh and enjoyable for longer. Remember to start with a freshly brewed cup of coffee, store it in the refrigerator, and consume it within 24 hours. With these simple steps, you can enjoy delicious and refreshing iced coffee all summer long.