How Long Can Coffee Sit Out?

If you’re an avid coffee drinker, chances are that you’ve taken a few sips of a coffee that’s been sitting on your desk for a few hours.

We’re all guilty of sipping on an old coffee we forgot we brewed or were too busy to get to until hours later.

You may be wondering the age-old question, how long can coffee sit out before it goes bad? Is it safe to drink coffee that’s been sat out for a few hours or even an entire day?

In this article, you’ll learn about how long different types of coffees can sit out.

How long is coffee good at room temperature?

Have you ever brewed yourself a fresh cup of coffee, only to get sidetracked or forget about the coffee entirely?

Most people have drunk a coffee that’s been left out longer than it should have, but how long is coffee good to drink for when left out at room temperature?

At room temperature, brewed coffee will only last about 30 minutes until its flavor starts to change. After a few more hours, coffee will lose its flavor and develop an unpleasant, bitter taste.

Coffee continues to oxidize even after it’s brewing which is why it starts to get bitter after 30 minutes.

It’s still considered safe to drink but it won’t have the fresh taste that so many love about a coffee.

How fresh your coffee tastes will also depend on the coffee beans used as stale coffee beans or grounds that will produce a stale tasting cup of coffee.

How long can black coffee sit out?

Plain black coffee can sit out for 30 minutes before it starts to get an unpleasant bitter taste to it.

If you don’t drink your coffee in the first 30 minutes, don’t sweat it. Black coffee can sit out at room temperature for more than 24 hours after brewing.

It’s still considered safe to drink after 24 hours, but it will have lost all of its original flavors by then and have quite a bitter taste to it.

How long can coffee sit out

How long can coffee sit out with milk?

Coffee that has milk in it generally doesn’t last as long as plain black coffee. Coffee with milk or creamer shouldn’t be left to sit out for more than 1 to 2 hours.

This applies to milk substitutes like almond milk too.

Coffee with milk that’s left to sit out will spoil much quicker than a black coffee so if you’re looking for your coffee to last longer, skip the milk or creamer.

How long can iced coffee sit out?

Iced coffee can sit out for about 1-2 hours after it’s been made, or until all of the ice in the coffee melts.

If you’re somewhere that’s very warm, the ice in your iced coffee could melt quicker. If you drink the coffee after that, you’ll end up sipping on a lukewarm, watery coffee.

How quickly your iced coffee starts to lose its delicious flavor also depends on whether it has any additives in it like milk or creamer.

A plain black iced coffee will last longer when left out than one with milk or creamer.

It’s still safe to drink iced coffee within 24 hours, but it won’t taste very nice.

If you want iced coffee to last longer, you can keep iced coffee in the fridge for about a week.

If the coffee is a cold brew, it should be drunk within 10 to 14 days after being prepared and stored in the fridge.

Make sure to store the iced coffee in a tightly sealed container to preserve as much flavor and freshness as possible.

Can you drink day-old coffee?

You may be wondering, how long is too long for a coffee to sit out? Most would agree that coffee that’s sat out for a day is beyond the point of being drinkable.

It’s not recommended to drink day-old coffee, especially if it’s gone bad, has an unpleasant smell, or has an unpleasant taste. 

Brewed coffee can accumulate mold when it’s not stored in the fridge and is left out at room temperature.

If the day-old coffee has milk in it, do not drink the coffee. The milk will spoil the coffee.

If stored in the fridge, you can drink day-old coffee as its freshness is preserved when refrigerated.

Final thoughts on how long coffee can sit out

There isn’t a set amount of time that coffee can sit out, but coffee that’s left to sit out for too long will eventually lose its flavor and go bad.

If you find yourself making more coffee than you can drink throughout the day, you can place your coffee in an airtight thermos and put it in the fridge to help it last longer.

With these tips, you’ll never have to drink another stale or off cup of coffee again.

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