Brewing coffee via the cold brew method unquestionably produces the smoothest, least bitter, coffee on the planet. But how long does cold brew last? More specifically, how long does cold brew coffee last in the refrigerator?

Simple Answer

how long does cold brew last
Tripping With Cold Brew

The simple answer is 3 to 7 days. That being said; there are several variables, which can reduce that number to a few hours or on the other hand increase that number to a few weeks. 

The important question to ask yourself is what are you trying to accomplish? Do you want amazing good tasting cold brew or you don’t care what it tastes like as long as it lasts a long time?

What Is Cold Brew

cold brew on a hot day
Cold Brew on a Hot Day

First of all, what is cold brew and how do you make it. Cold brew coffee is typically just steeping the coffee grounds in cold water. When steeped in hot water, there are chemical reactions happening which changes the taste of the coffee, often producing brewed coffee that’s more bitter.

When using the cold brewing method, those chemical reactions are not happening, thus giving you a smother, less bitter cup of coffee.

how long does cold brew coffee last

How To Cold Brew

There are a ton of cold-brew devices on the market.  If you have one, great use it. If you don’t have one, then save your money, there’s other methods which are much cheaper and produces just as good if not better coffee.

I use a 1 Quart Mason/Ball jar.  I coarsely grind about 1/3 cup of fresh roasted whole bean coffee and toss it into the jar, fill it with water, and put it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Then when I want coffee, I just slowly and gently pour off the top 2/3 and leave the grounds in the bottom of the jar.  Or, I use a metal coffee filter, or strainer. Watch this video.

How Do You Like Your Coffee?

truly enjoying coffee black
Heaven In A Cup

If you like burnt and bitter industrial coffee, then just use the above method with your favorite beans. It’ll still taste burnt and bitter, but might be a tad bit less bitter.

Oh the other hand, if you like smooth coffee, then use your favorite smooth coffee, like Lake City Coffee’s Majestic Medium, and what you’ll find is that the cold brew method produces a cup of coffee that’s smooth as silk and naturally sweet with just a hint of chocolate and nut. This my friend is heaven in a cup.

How Long Does Cold Brew Last

Kiss of Coffee
Long Kiss Goodnight

That depends on several factors. The longer the coffee sits in the refrigerator, the more bitter and stronger it will become. A quart Mason jar of cold brew will typically last me 3 days. The first day is smoother than the 3rd day; and the 3rd day is stronger than the first day. It really depends on what you like.

I’ve gone camping with enough could brew in an ice chest to last a week. And to tell you the truth, that 7th day coffee was pretty darn good; maybe not as good as the first, but by the 7th day, I was ready for stronger coffee anyway.

I’ve even gone backpacking with non-refrigerated, no-ice-pack cold brew, i.e. ambient temperature cold brew, which lasted just fine for a couple of days.

How Long Does Cold Brew Coffee Last In The Refrigerator?

How To Make Coffee Less Bitter

I personally have never had coffee in the refrigerator for more than a week. It always get consumed rather quickly around here.

If we’re talking 100% pure water and 100% pure coffee grounds, stored in a refrigerator, there is no reason that the cold brew coffee shouldn’t last at least 30 days. Now there’s no telling how good or bad the coffee will be after that time, but should be safe to drink.

Benefits of Cold Brew Coffee

  1. Quick-n-Simple – It takes less than a minute to make cold brew coffee.  That includes grinding, filling the Mason jar with coffee grounds, filling the jar with water, screwing on the top, shaking it, and putting it in the refrigerator. Then when you’re ready to drink your coffee, it takes less than a minute to pour the coffee from the jar, through a filter, and into your cup. Easy – Peasy
  2. Smooth as Silk – Cold brew coffee is notoriously less bitter than any other brewing method. So, if you like smooth, then this is it.
  3. Long Lasting – As I said, in the section above “How long does cold brew coffee last in the refrigerator”, this method of brewing coffee will last longer than any other method.

Flavoring Options

conservative coffee company

I’m a purist. I like my coffee black, which as I said, should last 3-7 days. Where the question gets dicey, is when you start adding anything to the coffee.  Add milk or cream to the coffee and I wouldn’t trust it more than I would an open gallon of milk in the refrigerator; 1 week maybe? If you add sweeteners, then you’re safe to keep the sweetened cold brew for 2 weeks.

I can’t think of a single reason that anyone would want to add anything to any brewed coffee until you’re ready to drink it. So, don’t pre-sweeten or add milk or cream until right before you drink your coffee.

Smoothest Coffee Beans For Cold Brew

how long do coffee beans last
Costa Rica Tarrazu Amapola

I love smooth coffee. Each year Alisha, my wife and business partner, do an extensive blind taste testing, looking for the world’s smoothest (non-bitter) and best tasting whole bean coffee. 

And each year, we end up picking the same bean from the same growers. That winning coffee is from the Amapola plantations in the Tarazzu region of Costa Rica. This is the only bean that we buy, roast, and sell.

Fresh Beans

White Coffee Beans
Amapola Plantation

The fresher the bean, the better the coffee. – Once a coffee bean is roasted, it will begin going stale and thus bitter within 30 days AND no amount of space age packaging technology can change that fact. Unfortunately, a vast majority of coffee sold in America has been sitting in warehouses and on store shelves for months if not years.

Therefore, never buy coffee that was roasted more than a few days ago. That’s why Lake City Coffee roasts and ships our coffee the same day. If you love smooth coffee, then nothing beats Costa Rican, Tarazzu, Amapola whole bean coffee.

Whole Bean Only

Fresh Roasted Coffee
Whole Bean Coffee

Only buy whole bean coffee. – The oils in the bean are where all the bioflavonoids, antioxidants, caffeine, and taste reside. You want to protect those wonderfully God created oils for your coffee cup. You do that by grinding at the last minute. Never pre-grind your whole bean coffee. Always grind right before brewing.

Brewing Methods

Below is my list of favorite brewing methods; from best to worst. Again, remember that I’m looking for smooth, non-bitter, coffee.

  • Cold Brew
  • AeroPress (Hand Pressed Coffee) – Watch My Demo Video
  • French Press
  • Slow Pour Over
  • Any Drip Machine
  • Espresso (Yes, I know many of you love using an espresso, which is GREAT.  You like it, then by all means definitely drink what you like. I personally think espresso produces a more bitter cup of coffee).

Bottom Line

Here’s the bottom line. Cold brew rocks. Typically I’d drink my cold brew within 3 days. This is the smoothest, least bitter, brewing method in existence.

Best Cold Brew Beans

The very best cold brew whole beans are the Amapola Tarazzu beans from Costa Rica. I suggest either the Delectable Dark or the Majestic Medium Roasts. Click Here.

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