What’s the Shelf Life for Cold Brew Coffee?

What’s the Shelf Life for Cold Brew Coffee?


Many people mistakenly believe cold brew coffee is like regular coffee poured over ice. The truth is, it’s not. The art of cold brew coffee is much different than traditional coffee.

What is cold brew coffee?

Cold brew coffee is created by slowly steeping ground coffee beans in water for nearly a day before straining the grounds from the liquid. As a result of your patience, what remains is an incredibly strong, cold brew coffee concentrate, full of intense flavor, and a mild bitter taste.

Typically, cold brew coffee is allowed to steep for a full 24 hours. Before imbibing your drink, it needs to be diluted with water, cream, or a milk alternative. The dilution process helps cut the bitterness and also produces double the coffee than if you made hot brewed coffee.

How long is cold brew coffee good for? 

Because you can produce a lot of excess coffee and it’s in a concentrated form, you’ll likely be storing the leftover beverage for later use.

Cold brew coffee made at home has a much longer life than its hot brewed counterpart. Often day-old hot coffee never tastes as good as the fresh-brewed version. With cold brew however, you can expect to enjoy your batch of cold brew for up to two weeks after it’s first made. The best flavor is evident within the first week for the concentrated coffee.

If you dilute the coffee concentrate with cream before storing it in the refrigerator, you can expect a much shorter shelf life. Diluted cold brew will only last about 2-3 days before the flavor is permanently changed and its liquid begins to spoil.

Can cold brew coffee go bad?

The average cold brew concentrate made at home is about two weeks because it isn’t made in a ‘clean’ environment, meaning your home set up likely lacks proper sterilization necessary in commercial manufacturing.

In addition to a loss of flavor, mold and bacteria will eventually take over the liquid in your refrigerator, leaving it undrinkable.

In commercial brews, a longer shelf life will require additional production work. To achieve a shelf life of 3-6 months, you’ll have to consider heat pasteurization or high-pressure pasteurization. Both types of pasteurization may change the flavor of your coffee. It will also increase your overall manufacturing costs but produces shelf-stable products.

Sticking with the Freshest Option

Cold brew coffee makers are finding success in coffee bars that are set up for on tap keg dispensing. Some manufacturers are able to make batches of cold brew that remain good to go for up to 6 weeks, thanks to the refrigerated kegs.

Many cold brew coffee makers are leaving out additives and preservatives to ensure a delicious cold brew coffee drink, rather than a long shelf life, allowing them to promote cold brew as a healthier alternative to other coffee beverages.

If you’re looking to manufacture larger batches of cold brew coffee for commercial sale, you can shop for reliable, durable cold brew coffee bottles in both plastic and glass at BottleStore.com. You can also find tight-sealing caps and closures that protect your products, and can also be designed to match your marketing materials, logo, and brand.


Jonathan @ BottleStore
Jonathan @ BottleStore
Jonathan is the Online Marketing Manger of BottleStore and it's parent - The O.Berk Company. In addition to making BottleStore work and run smoothly, Jonathan also enjoys passing on packaging knowledge to help solve customer pain points. He is the chief architect of Packaging Crash Course - a packaging resource hub for rigid glass and plastic packaging site.


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