Does Coffee Concentrate Go Bad?

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Coffee concentrates are becoming increasingly popular as the demand for cold coffee drinks rises. These concentrates have a dark, sweet, and nutty flavor profile highly valued amongst cold brew lovers. It is delicious, but does coffee concentrate go bad?

A homemade coffee concentrate will stay fresh for 10 to 14 days. But a coffee concentrate made by professional baristas and well-refrigerated can be enjoyed for a month.

What Is Coffee Concentrate?

Coarse ground coffee

Coffee concentrate is the result of cold brewing, which is steeping coarse coffee grounds in cold water. During this process, coarsely grounded coffee is left in water for up to 24 hours. This lengthy brewing will produce the ideal flavors and the desired characteristics for the concentrate.

Coffee lovers usually describe the taste as stronger and less bitter compared to the traditional hot water brewing methods.

The coffee concentrate is usually stored in mason jars or in a large pitcher with a lid on and inside the refrigerator.

Does Coffee Concentrate Go Bad?

Many people have questions about the shelf life of coffee concentrate. They want to know the best way to store it and when it will spoil.

It might be difficult to know how to store and handle the concentrate and when it’s time to consider it expired. Coffee concentrate should be refrigerated until used to extend its shelf life.

As a rule of thumb, a homemade concentrate will last about two weeks as there are no professional settings or options. But, a concoction made by a professional can be kept in good condition for months.

Shelf life is critical because the coffee concentrate will spoil after a specified period. It will then lose its flavor and become a reservoir for bacteria and mold, which should be avoided.

Although coffee concentrate can produce the best flavors, the person who wants to use it should also pay attention to the expiration date.

Does Coffee Go Bad?

Yes, coffee can go “bad” in terms of losing its freshness and flavor. According to the National Coffee Association, “coffee beans are at their best a few days after they’ve been roasted and should be consumed within a month.”

After this, coffee may start to lose its flavor and aroma, diminishing the overall coffee experience. However, it doesn’t really spoil or become unsafe to drink unless it’s exposed to moisture, leading to mold growth.

A study in “Food Science and Technology” notes that “storing coffee grounds in a cool, dry place in an airtight container can help to maintain their quality for up to a month.” However, for the best taste, freshly roasted and freshly ground coffee is preferred.

Coffee Concentrate vs Cold Brew Coffee

There are many varieties, roasting and preparation methods, and even ways to serve it when it comes to java.

Let’s find out if coffee concentrate and cold brew are different or two terms for the same thing.

What is Cold Brew Coffee?

Cold brew coffee with ice

Cold Brew is brewed using cold water instead of boiling water.

To brew coffee without hot water, you must let the coffee grounds steep in the cold water for 12 to 24 hours. The resulting brew is a full-bodied and robust coffee.

What Is Coffee Concentrate?

The coffee concentrate is the result of the cold brew method. Cold brew and coffee concentrate are the same things. The phrase Cold Brew is usually reserved for the concentrated coffee brewing method. Cold Brew can also describe the actual beverage that is made and consumed from the coffee concentrate.

So the only difference between coffee concentrate and cold brew is the context in which the terms are used.

A simple way to think of it might be this: Cold Brew is used to making a coffee concentrate that can be diluted with water to make a cold brew coffee.

But it doesn’t matter how these terms are used. Most people use them interchangeably, and everyone will understand what you’re talking about.

However, you shouldn’t confuse iced coffee with cold coffee. These two coffee drinks are very different. Iced coffee is a traditional hot brewed coffee that has been chilled and served on ice.

Diluting Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee in mason jar

Once you have made a batch of Cold Brew concentrate, you are ready to enjoy it. But you may be wondering whether you should dilute your cold brew coffee or drink it straight?

It’s a matter of individual preference, and there is no right or wrong answer to this one.

Let’s go over why you should dilute your Cold Brew concentrate and why some people prefer to drink it neat.

Pros of Diluting Cold Brew

The reason people dilute their Cold Brew concentrate before drinking it is because they prefer the taste and experience of the drink that way.

Because you control the amount of water you add to the concentrate. It’s easy to experiment with different ratios. It might take a few preparations until you find the ratio that suits you best.

Another reason to dilute your Cold Brew instead of drinking it straight is that it can save you some time and money. When you dilute your concentrate, the batch of Cold Brew will last longer before you need to brew a new batch. This is one way to save you money and allow you to skip the coffee shop.

Pros of Pure Cold Brew Concentrate

If you prefer a much more robust cup of coffee, the obvious choice is to dilute the concentrate less or not at all.

Of course, this concentrate will be much stronger, richer, and even thicker on the palate. So those who love espresso might be more inclined to drink their Cold Brew undiluted.

The Bottom Line: Does Coffee Concentrate Go Bad

This article explained that a homemade coffee concentrate could stay in drinkable condition for two weeks and even longer in the case of professionally made concentrates. But the coffee concentrate will go bad after that.

So we recommend drinking it within two weeks to get the best flavors out of your cold brew.