Any iced coffee lover will tell you it’s a sin to throw away your iced coffee. But if you have leftover iced coffee or a jug of it in the fridge, how long is it good for?
Iced coffee that is black and stored in an airtight container can last for about 2 weeks. Iced coffee with cream, milk, or sugar is only good for 2 to 3 days.
This article will dig into how long your iced coffee will last and how to best store your iced coffee. We’ll also give you some tips on how to tell if your iced coffee has gone bad.
Table of Contents
Black Iced Coffee and Expiration
The type of iced coffee that will last the longest is plain black iced coffee.
As long as the iced coffee or cold brew is black, you can safely consume it within two weeks of purchasing it.
There are two important things to consider when safely storing it. First, research shows it needs to be stored in an airtight container to prevent bacterial growth.
Second, you must ensure it’s always stored in the refrigerator. Colder temperatures will also help to prevent bacterial growth in your coffee. And who wants to drink lukewarm iced coffee?
Iced Coffee with Sugar, Cream, or Milk and Expiration
The rules for iced coffee with sugar, cream, or milk are different. But this doesn’t mean you have to throw away your extra iced coffee with additives.
Iced coffee with sugar, cream, or milk will only last about 2 to 3 days.
Research shows that bacteria can grow within products with dairy in just a few days. And aside from dairy being a problem, sugar has also been shown to feed bacteria that lead to mold.
Like black iced coffee, the key is to store your leftover iced coffee with additives in a tightly sealed container. Storing it in the same cup it came in allows more bacteria to enter the beverage.
It’s also best to store your leftover iced coffee in the fridge within 2 to 3 hours after consuming it. Once again, keeping your beverage cold will minimize any chance of bacterial growth.
Will Iced Coffee Still Taste Good For That Long?
Now you know how long your iced coffee will last. But the bigger question is, will it still taste good?
In the case of black iced coffee that comes in a carton or jug, the answer is generally yes. As long as you’re drinking it within that two-week time frame, the coffee should maintain its flavor.
This is because these variations of iced coffee don’t add any ice. Leftover iced coffee, on the other hand, is a different story. Because ice has been added to the beverage, it may end up tasting watered down.
Also, the taste depends on how you store the beverage. If you intentionally kept it in an airtight container, the flavor should be maintained.
But if you expose the iced coffee to the open environment of your fridge, the flavor may diminish. Or even worse, it may take on flavors of other items in your fridge.
How Can You Tell If Your Iced Coffee Has Gone Bad?
There are a few simple ways to tell if your iced coffee has gone bad.
Number one would be the scent. If your iced coffee smells rancid or moldy, don’t drink it.
Another clue that your iced coffee has gone bad is its appearance. You should be cautious if you see little white or yellow circular masses gathered at the top.
Lastly, the taste of the iced coffee will let you know if it’s no longer good. If the flavor has disappeared or it tastes sour, toss it out.
And if something in your gut tells you your iced coffee is bad, trust it. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
You don’t have to toss that extra iced coffee or quickly drink your premade jug of iced coffee.
Black iced coffee will last up to two weeks if stored properly in the fridge. But iced coffee with milk, sugar, or cream will only last 2 to 3 days in the fridge.
The dairy and sugar added to an iced coffee will promote bacterial growth that could be harmful.
Whether your iced coffee is black or not, it’s important to be mindful of how you store it. Opt for an airtight container, and be sure to keep it cold to minimize the risk of bacterial growth.
Now you can confidently and safely store your iced coffee, so not a single drop gets wasted!
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