Coffee is a treasured and sometimes expensive beverage.
When you brew coffee, you want it to be fresh and delicious. But how long does that just brewed flavor last?
After two hours, brewed coffee loses its optimum flavor and aroma due to oxidation.
If you’ve brewed coffee and don’t want it to go to waste, there are a few ways you can ensure your coffee stays fresh beyond the initial two hours.
1. Remove coffee from the heat source
When brewing drip coffee, it’s important to remove the coffee pot from the burner immediately after the brewing is complete.
If you leave it on the burner, it will oxidize faster and become sour.
2. Keep it hot without extra heat
After you’ve removed the coffee from the burner, you can transfer it into an insulated thermos.
Because a good thermos is airtight, it can preserve the heat and flavor without causing the coffee to become bitter or off in taste.
You can bring a hot thermos of coffee with you and enjoy hot, delicious coffee all day, no matter where you are.
3. Put your brewed coffee in the fridge
Few people realize just how easy it is to make your own ice coffee. But all you need is a carafe, brewed coffee and a refrigerator. Let’s say you make a pot of coffee and only have a couple cups.
Simply pour the rest of the pot into a carafe and pop it in the refrigerator. Keeping the coffee cold preserves its flavor and aroma beyond the two-hour window.
Experts say you can refrigerate coffee for up to a week. You can even reheat it from the fridge, but that won’t taste as good as a freshly brewed cup.
Pro tip: Use a glass carafe or jar to store your coffee. Glass does not retain flavors, whereas plastic can impact the taste of your coffee.
4. Make coffee ice cubes
Coffee ice cubes can be used to cool down hot coffee, to keep iced coffee cold without watering down the flavor, or to make delicious caffeine-infused smoothies.
Making coffee ice cubes is easy. Using an ice cube tray and room temperature or cold coffee, just fill the ice cube tray with coffee and put it in the freezer.
Some people even make flavored coffee ice cubes with cream and sugar or other fun additions like vanilla syrup.
Once frozen, you can store the ice cubes in the tray or transfer to a ziplock bag.
5. Or freeze a whole pot
Let’s say you were having company and made a large urn of coffee. An hour or so into the event, you realize the coffee is not going to be consumed.
Instead of stressing about refrigerating and using in less than a week, you can simply freeze a whole pot or more. Be sure to use an airtight container.
When you want to defrost the coffee, just move it to the refrigerator and you’ll have liquid coffee in 24 hours or less.
The advantage is that coffee will stay fresh longer in the freezer.
6. Use it in your food
If storing it in the fridge or freezer is not appealing to you, you can use brewed coffee in your cooking.
It’s great with savory, meaty dishes. Some favorite recipes include a red wine and coffee marinade for steak and Molasses Coffee Marinated Pork Chops.
Not in the mood for dinner? Try Fried Eggs with Coffee-Chipolte Mole to give your mornings an extra kick.
7. Make dessert with it
Coffee and baked goods are a match made in heaven. Coffee brownies and chocolate coffee cake are just a few ideas.
And Mocha Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream are perfect for a bite-sized treat.
You can use room temperature or cold coffee in place of water in many baking recipes to add an extra dimension of flavor.
You can even make ice cream from leftover coffee.
8. Bartend your brew
Coffee mixed drinks are an excellent use of leftover coffee. Make an authentic Irish Coffee or try an Espresso Martini.
Coffee cocktails range from simple to five-star creations. You can always add some Drambuie to your coffee and call it a day, or take it to the next level with something like the Beccacino.
9. Do something out of the ordinary: don’t drink or eat it
Yup, you read that correctly. You can use leftover coffee for something other than a food or drink. Did you know that people dye their hair with coffee? People also use coffee as a natural dye for fabric.
Using coffee as a dye extends its lifecycle well beyond hours or weeks. You can give your hair or furniture a makeover with your leftover brew.We hope you have new ideas to make your brewed coffee last longer.
Whether you choose to make ice cubes, cold coffee, dessert, a drink or a style change, you have options to keep your coffee fresh beyond the initial two hours after brewing.
What will you do with your leftover coffee? After reading this piece, do you have any questions about making use of your coffee?
Remember if you have leftover coffee, here are a few steps you absolutely must take to avoid oxidation and dilution of flavor:
- Immediately remove brewed coffee from the heat source. If it’s on a burner, take it off. If it’s in a percolator or urn, remove the coffee and put into a new container.
- Decide what you will do with the leftovers. If you’re in doubt, put the coffee in the fridge while you figure it out.
- Get creative with your leftover coffee. Remember, gone are the days of throwing out your leftover coffee. You now have new ideas and choices! Don’t be afraid to be bold with your brew.
Have a new idea that’s not listed here? Share it with us in the comments below. Thank you!
My name is Kathy Gallo, Editor of Ag Ferrari food blog. The guide you find here is designed exactly for you, and it is our hope that you find it not only interesting but also actionable.