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How long can brewed coffee sit out?

How long can brewed coffee sit out?

We’ve all been there and done this: brewed way too much coffee! When we heat our coffee again, the taste just isn’t the same as before. How long can brewed coffee sit out?

Brewed coffee can sit out for a short time about half an hour. We just don’t like to throw away our batch of coffee, especially if there are guests over.

When you reheat your last day’s brew, don’t expect it to be high quality but you don’t just throw away coffee, right? You can avoid this altogether by using single-serve coffeemakers like Nespresso.

Read on for more info and tips about storing your brewed coffee!

Can you leave the brewed coffee to sit out?

That’s the main question we’d like to answer.

When I’m brewing coffee in our home, I brew mostly with a drip machine and we brew small batches, mostly 2 to 3 times a day to make sure we get the most out of it.

By doing this, we use our coffee maker a lot. More frequent use of our gear can lead to some problems like mold but if you clean it regularly you’ll be fine.

When you drink your coffee black you’ll mostly be fine. When you add sweeteners like milk or cream it will decrease in quality even faster because of the dairy products.

The bottom line to take away is that you drink your coffee on the same day. If my 2nd batch of the day is still a lot, I just finish that and get myself a nice coffee from my single-serve coffee maker to finish the day.

Just stick with your habits and think about the work and selection you’ve done from your gear, beans, time for that perfect brew, don’t throw away coffee unless it’s really bad.

What happens to brewed coffee if left to sit out?

Coffee is an organic product and deteriorates over time. 3 things happen after you’ve finished brewing your coffee: Air, flavors loss, and mold.

  • Air oxidation: Right after you’ve brewed your coffee, the oxygen in the air will begin to react with it. That’s what makes your coffee lose some of its flavors over time – oxygen reduces the quality of the bean and oxidizes certain compounds.
  • Flavor loss: The more exposed your beans are to air, the faster they’ll degrade. A chemical reaction with oxygen causes the compounds in your coffee to change and makes your beans lose their flavor.
  • Mold: Mold doesn’t love air but it loves moisture. It will grow on anything wet. In coffee gear it can be in places that are difficult to clean. Always clear your grounds when changing them. We don’t want moldy coffee or suffer from mold illness.

How to store brewed coffee?

Brewed coffee can be stored in several ways to preserve freshness. We’ll talk about storing them in the fridge, container, and thermos.

Fridge: If you want to keep brewed coffee for 1 or 2 days, put it in the fridge. It will be fine there and you can drink it later, probably at a higher quality than if you’d thrown it away right after brewing.

Don’t let your coffee sit out for too long because air, flavors loss, and mold are bad for your coffee storage.

Container: If you don’t want to keep it in the fridge, use a container or jar and store it away from the light. If you leave your coffee lying around for too long, mold can set in and ruin your brew so always take precautions and never store brewed coffee longer than 2 days.

Thermos: The best way to do this is to brew your coffee and immediately pour it into a thermos. The longer you keep it in the thermos, the better tasting your coffee will be as you reduce its contact with air and lower its exposure to light.

The best type of container for this is a vacuum flask or thermos because its good insulation properties help prevent heat loss which helps to keep your coffee warm for longer.

We simply assume that you’re storing brewed black coffee. Don’t add things like milk because this speeds up the process of deterioration.

2 ways to reheat your old brewed coffee

Old brewed coffee is best consumed after it’s brewed. There’s no need to wait longer because there are risks involved.

You can reheat your coffee in a few quick ways:

  • Microwave: you can put your coffee in a microwave-safe container or pot. Do this for about 10 seconds. Try it and mix it through and repeat the process if it’s not too hot.
  • Stovetop: reheat it on the stovetop with a stovetop kettle at a low temperature.

The general rule we use is just reheating a days-old coffee and don’t go over this rate. You can brew smaller batches to reduce possible coffee losses and waste.

Things to look for when buying coffee?

When you start brewing, you need coffee beans or already ground coffee beans.

When you’re buying beans, you can sometimes see the roast date on the package, as this is a quality indicator.


When you buy coffee beans or coffee grounds, don’t buy them in massive packages.

The smaller the packages, the more likely you’ll be able to keep them fresh and reduce their contact with air. You’ll also be able to reduce waste in the long run.

We’ll take a closer look at this in the following section about storing your coffee properly.

Roasting date:

You can use the roasting date as a possible indicator of the freshness of your coffee.

Don’t confuse it with the fact that your coffee needs to be bought and consumed within a period. You don’t know a lot of information about your coffee.

We think the roasting date should be less than a week. This gives you great control of your next brews.

Does this mean that coffee is bad if it’s 20 days after the roasting date? Surely not but, likely, they won’t be at peak levels.

Can brewed coffee go bad in the fridge?

Yes, depending on the time it’s in the fridge.

As long as you don’t add things like milk or creamer, it will be fine. If you do, then your coffee can go bad and should be treated like any other food product.

So consume them as fast as you can. Don’t let them sit there forever as everything will be non-consumable after some time.

Can you drink coffee that’s been sitting out for 24 hours?

Yes of course.

This won’t taste as good after the brewing but it will still be good. You can reheat your coffee and still have a good cup of coffee. We assume this is black coffee but also a latte can be just fine.

The risk of quality loss is higher when there’s milk added.

Can you get sick from drinking old coffee?

No simply not.

Of course, we assume that old coffee is coffee that’s not there for years but a maximum of a few days.

You can perfectly reheat your coffee from the last day and have a great cup at your disposal.

You’ll more likely get sick from mold or other food poisons. Everyone reacts differently to this but generally, old coffee won’t harm you that much but consume it within the right period.

Can coffee become bad in the fridge?

Yes, it will eventually go bad if you leave it for too long, even in the fridge.

If you don’t want it to lose its flavor, consume your coffee within a few days at max after brewing it.

How long does milk in your coffee stay good?

It depends on the type of milk you’ve added to your coffee.

Generally, we’d say you consume within the same day. About 2 days it can stay good and that’s our rule of thumb for putting it away.

Don’t take risks if you’re in doubt.

Does cold brew coffee stay fresh for a longer period?

Yes, it does for about 2 to 3 weeks.

Cold brew coffee is great to use when you want to make your cold coffee at home or when you think you might need some in the next few weeks.


We all agree that the best coffee is the coffee that is brewed recently. If you’ve made a too large batch of coffee, you can still reheat your black coffee in the microwave or on the stovetop.

We advise using this rule of thumb: after 1 day, brew yourself a smaller batch of fresh coffee instead of reheating coffee that’s more than a day old.

Enjoy your coffee!