How Long Can Coffee Sit Out Before Going Bad? Is Day Old Coffee Still Safe to Drink?

How long can coffee sit out before going bad? The short answer: Black hot coffee generally starts to taste stale after sitting out for more than 12 to 24 hours at room temperature. Add in any milk or creamer, and you can't leave your coffee out longer than 2 hours. 
how long can coffee sit out

Have you ever wondered how long your morning cup of coffee can sit out before it goes bad? Whether you enjoy plain black coffee or prefer milk in your coffee, you probably know fresh coffee tastes best when enjoyed immediately after brewing.

Still, if you’ve ever wondered how long it can still be drunk after being left out, this one is for you. It’s essential to understand the factors that affect coffee freshness and how to determine if it’s still safe to drink. Keep reading for a deeper dive.

Does Coffee Taste Stale After Sitting Out at Room Temperature? – Understanding Coffee Shelf Life

how long can coffee sit out

Coffee can last for different durations depending on various factors such as room temperature, the process of brewing coffee, and the addition of milk or coffee with milk. The shelf life of coffee can range from freshly brewed coffee to day-old coffee, and the taste evolves, impacting its quality.

When Does Leftover Coffee Go Bad?

Leftover coffee – whether it’s black coffee, cold brew, or iced coffee – will start to lose its flavor and freshness within a few hours. After a day or more, the coffee will start to taste stale and may not be as enjoyable to drink. 

The taste of old coffee can become bitter or sour, and the overall quality may deteriorate, even if you keep the coffee hot.

Leaving coffee out for too long – certainly after more than 24 hours – will cause the coffee to become gross.

What About Coffee with Milk or Creamer?

Adding milk or cream to your coffee impacts its shelf life. The dairy in milk and cream shortens the longevity of the coffee, causing it to spoil more quickly. 

Hot coffee with milk or any milk-flavored coffee drink only has about 2 hours before the coffee flavor starts to sour. Therefore, it’s important to leave coffee with milk or cream refrigerated so it remains safe to drink and maintains its quality.

How to Store Brewed Coffee Correctly

how long can coffee sit out

You probably know you need to keep your coffee in an airtight container before grinding and brewing it. But when discussing popular coffee variants and storage, it’s also essential to consider the impact of room temperature on cold brew coffee.

Cold brew coffee is known for its unique flavor profile, but it’s crucial to keep it refrigerated to maintain its freshness and prevent it from spoiling. 

Room temperature can cause the coffee to lose its freshness and potentially go bad, so it’s best to store it in the refrigerator.

Many coffee enthusiasts often wonder whether they should refrigerate iced coffee. Refrigerating iced coffee is recommended to preserve its flavor and prevent it from spoiling.

Since iced coffee is brewed with hot water and then cooled, it is susceptible to bacterial growth if left at room temperature for an extended period. Storing iced coffee in the refrigerator can help extend its shelf life and keep the cold coffee safe to drink.

Ensuring Your Coffee is Safe to Drink

how long can coffee sit out

It’s important to know how to determine if old coffee is still safe to drink. If morning coffee has been left out at room temperature for an extended period, assess its aroma, flavor, and appearance.

The presence of any off-putting odors, unusual taste, or mold growth indicates that the coffee is no longer safe to consume.

When deciding whether it’s safe to drink day-old coffee, consider its storage conditions. If the coffee has been refrigerated promptly after brewing, it may still be safe to drink. However, if stale coffee has been left at room temperature for over a day, it’s best to err on the side of caution and discard it to avoid any potential health risks.

Recognizing when coffee should not be consumed is essential for maintaining good health. If you notice any signs of spoilage, such as a rancid odor, peculiar taste, or visible mold, it’s important to refrain from consuming the coffee to avoid potential illness. Prioritizing food safety is crucial when it comes to consuming coffee or any perishable food item, and it’s always better to brew a fresh cup of coffee if you’re in doubt.

Final Thoughts on How Long Can Coffee Sit Out

To maintain fresh coffee, store your coffee beans in airtight containers, refrigerate iced coffee, and promptly put any leftover black coffee in the fridge. If you’re going to drink black coffee that’s been out, wait to add any coffee creamer until right before you drink it.

Remember: If you leave the coffee out with milk or coffee creamer in it, how long your coffee can sit out drastically goes does. Don’t let it sit out for longer than 2 hours, max. 

And of course, pay attention to the taste and aroma. A fresh pot of coffee will last a day or two, but coffee that’s been sitting with dairy needs to be drunk or thrown out fast. It’s always better to make coffee and enjoy it right away, regardless of your coffee maker of choice.

By implementing proper storage and brewing practices, you can ensure that your coffee maintains its flavor and aroma, resulting in a satisfying and enjoyable coffee-drinking experience – even if your coffee drink isn’t fresh off the burner!

How Long Can Coffee Sit Out? – Related FAQs

  1. How should I store brewed coffee to keep it fresh?

    If you cannot drink coffee right after brewing, it's best to store it in an airtight container. This will help keep the coffee fresh and flavorful. If you want your coffee still hot, you can store it in a thermos or a coffee pot designed to keep coffee hot.

  2. Can I drink day-old coffee?

    It won't harm you, but you may find the taste less enjoyable as the coffee will likely have started to taste stale. If you choose to drink day old coffee, it's best to quickly heat it up enough to kill any potential mold spores.

  3. Is cold brew coffee safe to drink after sitting out?

    Yes, cold brew coffee is safe to drink even after sitting out as long as it's stored properly—generally in a refrigerator. Cold brew concentrate can last for up to two weeks in the fridge without losing its flavor.

  4. What's the longest that hot coffee can sit at room temperature?

    Hot coffee should not be left to sit at room temperature for more than 4 hours to ensure safety and taste. After these 4 hours, the coffee can start to develop harmful bacteria.

  5. Is cold brew coffee safe to drink after sitting out?

    Yes, cold brew coffee is safe to drink even after sitting out as long as it's stored properly—generally in a refrigerator. Cold brew concentrate can last for up to two weeks in the fridge without losing its flavor.

  6. What's the longest that hot coffee can sit at room temperature?

    Hot coffee should not be left to sit at room temperature for more than 4 hours to ensure safety and taste. After these 4 hours, the coffee can start to develop harmful bacteria.

  7. How does adding milk or creamer to coffee affect how long it can sit out?

    Coffee with milk or creamer should not sit out for more than two hours. Dairy products in the coffee will start to spoil, leading the coffee to taste bad and potentially causing foodborne illnesses.

  8. Does iced coffee last longer than hot coffee?

    Yes. When properly stored in the fridge, iced coffee can remain fresh and safe to drink for about 1 to 2 weeks. However, for optimal taste, it's best to drink iced coffee within the first couple of days.

  9. If I leave black coffee to sit at room temperature, will it still be safe to drink?

    Yes, black coffee left to sit at room temperature is generally safe to drink for up to 12 hours. However, for the best flavor, it's recommended to drink it as soon as possible after brewing because as time passes, coffee tends to lose its flavor.

  10. Do coffee beans and coffee grounds last longer than brewed coffee?

    Yes, coffee beans and coffee grounds indeed last longer than brewed coffee. When stored properly, whole bean coffee can last for several months. Ground coffee can last for up to 3 to 5 months when stored in a cool, dark place. Yet, all coffee tastes best when it's fresh!

  11. Can I drink coffee that has been sitting out for a day?

    If it's black coffee that has been properly stored, you may drink day old coffee. However, it probably won't taste as good as freshly brewed coffee.

  12. How can I keep my coffee fresh for longer?

    If you want your coffee to stay fresh for longer, store it in an airtight container in a cool and dark place. Beware of storing it in a place with strong smells as coffee can easily absorb them. Also, remember the golden rule for coffee – it's best when it's fresh, so try to only brew the amount of coffee you'll consume at once when using your coffee machine.

  13. How long is brewed coffee good for?

    Brewed coffee can be good for up to a week if properly stored in the refrigerator. It just takes a long time for it to become harmful, but the taste will start to change after the first day.

  14. Is it safe to drink old coffee?

    Technically, it is safe to drink coffee that has sat out for a day or two. However, the flavor can degrade and it may taste stale or over-extracted.

  15. What happens if I drink old, cold coffee that has left out all day?

    Drinking old, cold coffee won't likely harm you physically. However, the coffee may become slightly acidic and the taste will be far from fresh.

  16. How can I keep coffee fresh for a longer period?

    To keep coffee fresh for a longer period, it's best to store it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. It's also best to brew only what you will drink at that time.

  17. Is coffee from the coffee maker safe to drink after a couple of hours?

    Coffee from a coffee maker can stay fresh for upto two hours. After this, the heat from the coffee maker can cause the coffee to over extracted and taste bitter.

  18. Does coffee go bad or just taste bad after being left out too long?

    Coffee doesn't necessarily go “bad” in a way that it becomes harmful, but after being left out for too long, the taste can turn extremely bitter and unpalatable due to oxidation and loss of volatile aromas.

  19. Can diner coffee sit out at room temperature longer than home brewed coffee?

    There is no significant difference in how long diner coffee or home brewed coffee can sit out. Coffee, no matter where it's brewed, will start to degrade after a certain period.

  20. Does adding milk or cream affect how long coffee can sit out?

    Yes, adding perishables like milk or cream to your coffee can significantly shorten its lifespan. This coffee should either be consumed immediately, or refrigerated and consumed within two days.

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