The Cold Truth: Can You Really Put Coffee in the Fridge?

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Coffee is the most loved go-to source of energy and refreshment. It’s not only the most popular drink on the menu boards but also one of the most convenient caffeinated boosts in households.

Many people tend to brew coffee in carafes and drink them throughout the day. In such cases, you may be left with extra coffee every time you make more and look for convenient ways to chill it down and store it.

The normal practice is to let the hot coffee cool down at room temperature. However, have you ever wondered if you can put your coffee inside your fridge and refrigerate them?

Short answer: There isn’t any significant harm in putting coffee in the fridge. You need to use a suitable container or cup to adjust with the chilling process and ensure the proper distance between the drink and other food items.

To avoid potential spoilage of the coffee or any other food product inside the fridge you need to follow some ways to store it properly.

The following sections will be answering the methods of refrigerating the coffee, the convenient ways to chill the coffee down, and how to store them properly.

Continue your reading!

Can you keep brewed coffee in the fridge?

coffee in a coffee pot

You can keep your brewed coffee in the fridge but the taste may diminish eventually.

As per experts, you may keep the hot brewed coffee on the refrigerator but once you reheat it, it won’t taste nice.

The coffee in the fridge may absorb all the aromas in the fridge and may impact the final taste of the drink.

Also before putting any hot beverages inside the fridge you need to take some considerations. The type of container you’re using for storing is an important factor.

If you put the hot coffee in the fridge safely, then it might help you to enjoy the drink in different ways.

Three are many reasons why you might be needing to keep the brewed coffee in the fridge. Some of the frequent reasons why people refrigerate coffee especially the hot one are to chill the drink down quickly and cool the remaining fluids in the drip coffee maker instantly.

So if you are in need to use the fridge for storing the coffee, you must follow some important notes to preserve the quality of both the coffee and the foods inside the fridge.

What happens when you put hot coffee in the fridge?

When you put your hot coffee mug inside the refrigerator, it cools down as the refrigeration process removes the heat from the drink.

The heat from the food and drinks is transported elsewhere through the fridge’s refrigeration system. The refrigerant expands to move the hot gas through the coils outside the fridge.

Thus, the refrigerant moves the heat from your coffee to the outside of the fridge. In this process, it also absorbs heat from the interior of the fridge.

So, your fridge will help in cooling your cup of brew. To ensure your desirable heat, make sure to check the temperature after a few moments.

What is the ideal coffee temperature?

According to the National Coffee Association, the ideal temperature for serving is about 180 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit. For brewing the coffee, the temperature is well considered to be between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit.

Temperature affects coffee, you can read a more in-depth post about that here.

In many cases, you may have noticed that too hot or too cold coffee tastes bland. Many people prefer the temperature of ideal coffee to be between 150-170 degrees Fahrenheit.

Generally, higher-quality coffee beans brew the best at lower temperatures.

Ensure proper control over the temperature as it can enhance or inhibit the real flavor and aroma of the coffee grounds used. The inefficiency in maintaining the proper temperature for the coffee trigger chemical changes that can affect the delicate flavor notes of the beans.

Is refrigerating coffee bad?

an open fridge

It is safe to refrigerate coffee but is also highly dependent on your taste and how you’re storing it.

Refrigerating coffee doesn’t harm the nutritional content. Science is getting better every day and after going through several reviews I have found that experts have suggested that chilling beans before grinding offer more flavor and aroma.

Conventional ideas have always considered that freezing the beans makes the coffee bad. Now it seems that chilled coffee beans give a more even grind and more surface area for the extraction.

However, for brewed coffees, you need to be careful of the storing process. You can refrigerate the coffee for about a week with its best quality content. After that, the change in flavor will be evident.

With the increasing workloads in our daily life, it might be quite impossible to prepare the cup of joe every day. You can safely make more than your needed cups and store them in the fridge that would last for several days.

It’s better to keep your coffee black to avoid any damage. It reheats easier and tastes the same even after that. Keep your container clean and ensure a safe distance from other food products.

Watch out this video for further details regarding the storage.

How to refrigerate hot coffee correctly?

To preserve the flavor and texture of your hot coffee, you need to follow specific objectives while using a fridge. As already mentioned, the taste of the drink may not remain the same but the chances of preserving it right can be achieved by adopting some quick steps.

Also, while taking care of the coffee ensure proper safeguards for the refrigerator as well so that no damage is caused to the food items inside it and the internal regulators.

Let’s have a look at the following table to follow the safeguards while refrigerating hot coffee:

StepsWhat to do?
1. Ensure the distance between the drink and other itemsItems such as dairy products and perishable foods tend to spoil easily. The heat from the drink is likely to spoil the sensitive items if the proper distance isn’t maintained.
2. Use a proper container to keep the coffeeYou need to use a container that transfers heat fast and doesn’t transfer chemicals to the coffee. A tight-fitting lid is required to cover the container. Avoid using insulated containers and ceramic containers due to their insulating properties.
3. PrecoolingTry to cool in a large container beforehand. You can use a frozen metallic container to pour the hot drink in. The best option would be to put the container in the freezer for a few minutes and then add the hot coffee.
You can also add ice cubes to a bowl and put the container of coffee over it. The traditional method of pouring between two containers can also be used to cool down the liquid.
4. Place the coffee at the back of the fridgeThe back of the fridge is cooler than the front parts. Keeping the coffee at the back may help in cooling down the drink faster.
5. Dividing the coffee drink into smaller portionsAvoid refrigerating a larger amount of coffee that can raise the internal heat and spoil other food items. USDA suggests dividing foods into smaller portions before putting them into the fridge.
Use 1-2 containers or more to preserve it and consolidate it later on.
These steps may help you in cooling your hot coffee right inside the fridge.

How long can you keep coffee in the fridge?

Brewed coffee can be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days. However, black coffee can last for even a week or more and still be completely safe to drink.

Cold brews can be kept for about a week. For the best taste, 2-3 days is optimal but the drinks are still safe to drink afterward. Though I have mentioned that brewed coffee can stay well for 3-4 days, if it is preserved properly it may be kept for about a week or even more.

Iced coffee has a shelf life until the ice melts so you don’t have to worry about this particular drink. After the ice melts, the drink is still safe to drink but the flavor might tone down.

The drinks with cream or sugary content may last relatively less, for like 2-3 days. For similar reasons, it’s a big no to keep espresso in the fridge. You may keep espresso-based drinks like latte and cappuccino for like 2 days and after that, they will eventually spoil due to the milk content.

The coffee kept in the fridge for several days is safe to drink but I can’t ensure the taste of the drink since the coffee flavor might be depleted.

Do coffee beans go bad in the freezer?

Coffee beans won’t go bad when stored in the freezer.

To ensure proper storage use a metallic container with a tight-fitted lid and store them at a distant place from other perishable goods.

Check for the beans once in a while to notice any changes. If the beans turn dull or smell bad, then they must form a musty aroma.

This is unlikely to happen with good storage but look for the features of the beans before using them for the drinks. Also, in some cases, the beans may show the dampness and smell from other products in the fridge so keep the beans away from moisture and air as much as possible.

Can you keep hot coffee in the fridge to make it into iced coffee?

Iced cold brew at a transparent glass.
Prepare your iced coffee following the procedures.

Since the hot drink turns into a cold one, it can be called an iced coffee due to its state of matter. However, hot and iced drinks have different methods of preparation. So chilling the coffee down doesn’t necessarily mean it turns to be the other version.

The cold coffee varieties such as cold brew, iced coffee, Americano, etc can be chilled without worrying since the drinks are incorporated with the cold nature of serving and are served cold in short.

When you do the same for hot brewed coffees, the taste might become awful since reheating doesn’t always ensure good flavor.

Putting hot coffee in the fridge is the same as keeping it unattended at your desk. The aftertaste isn’t pleasant always. The oxidation process makes the flavor bitter and sour.

This is why bottled iced coffee tends to contain a lot of sugar to mask the astringency. So if you want your coffee cool, then switch to cold brews as it keeps longer.

Can you put iced coffee in the fridge overnight?

Yes, you can pour iced coffee into a container or pitcher and put it in the fridge overnight to chill. That’s the main thing you have to do with your iced coffee, chilling it down.

The drink will taste the same the following day without any changes in flavor. It’s better than adding ice cubes into the coffee or putting hot coffee in the fridge to chill down. This is because ice cubes melt into water that fluids down the hot brew. Also, putting hot coffee inside the fridge isn’t necessary unless you’re running late with your drink.

For saving time, you can freeze cubes of prepared cold brew in ice trays that will intensify the strength of the drink when added to it.

In Conclusion

Coffee can safely go in the fridge. If you’re keeping hot coffee, be sure to use metallic containers to fasten the cooling and protect the liquid.

For coffee beans, airtight containers are enough to preserve the quality.

Ensure proper cover over the drink or beans to avoid spoilage through odors from other foods. Keep enough spaces among the coffee and other dishes to avoid heat transfer.

In short, to maintain the peak quality of the coffee:

  • Store them properly in an airtight container
  • Avoid moisture and heat
  • Keep them in a dark place
  • Use the beans within 72 hours of being roasted
  • Avoid making larger amounts unless it’s an urgency
  • Try precooling the brewed ones, when possible

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