Can You Refrigerate Coffee And Reheat It?

If you have leftover coffee in the carafe, you may wonder ‘can you refrigerate coffee and reheat it’. Read this article to find out.

Coffee being reheated in a microwave.
Reheating coffee could deplete the flavor and aroma

If you are like me who needs coffee to feel alive after a tiring day or need it first thing in the morning then you have probably looked for ways to store extra coffee. Making just one cup every time you have a craving can be tough so many people prefer to make a carafe and store it inside the fridge.

But, the question is – can you refrigerate coffee and reheat it? The answer is yes, you can refrigerate the extra beverage and use it to drink iced coffee. However, reheating coffee will deplete the flavor and aroma.

It does not really taste the same and the intensity will be greatly compromised.

If you don’t mind drinking ice coffee when you get a caffeine craving during odd hours of the day, this can be a great option for you. Just take the carafe out of the refrigerator, add a few ice cubes and you can enjoy a refreshing beverage without any grinding or brewing.

When kept inside the fridge, coffee can retain its aroma even after the usual two-hour window that you have when kept outside. According to the experts, you can safely refrigerate coffee for up to one week. You can also reheat it after taking it out of the fridge, but that won’t taste the same as freshly brewed coffee.

Reasons Why Refrigerated Coffee Doesn’t Taste The Same

The reason why coffee doesn’t taste the same when you reheat it after refrigerating is that the coffee starts oxidizing when stored. This happens due to the oxygen molecules in the air interacting with the compounds in the coffee beans, thus resulting in a slow depletion of flavor.

If you let the coffee sit inside the refrigerator and forget about it, you can notice signs of the beverage becoming stale in as less as 10-15 days. This will also depend on the quality of coffee beans used and the method of roasting they went through.

While the process of oxidation can be slowed down by storing coffee in an airtight container, it cannot be avoided altogether. A week after brewing, you can notice the oils in the coffee turn rancid. It smells bad, and don’t even try to taste it because it’s gross and sour.

If you need to refrigerate coffee, make sure you do so only for a week. So, I would suggest that you make a batch on Sunday evening for the entire week and dump whatever remains by Friday to make a fresh batch again.

Work in small batches to get the convenience of reheating your coffee to drink it quickly and still not lose a lot of flavors. Also, make sure that you properly clean the container in which you store the brew and always use an air-tight container to avoid cross-contamination.

Reheating Coffee On Gas Stove

Now that you know the answer to ‘can you refrigerate coffee and reheat it’, I am sure you may not mind drinking reheated coffee. Every coffee lover once in a while runs out of coffee grounds and refrigerated coffee is all they have, so heating it on a stove at low temperature is the best bet.

Use any stainless steel pot to pour the cold coffee and put it on low heat. Keep stirring constantly with a spoon to heat evenly. Make sure you don’t overheat as this will completely destroy the coffee flavor.

Heating coffee in a microwave can break down the authentic aroma and taste of coffee after it is brewed.

Sadly, not only the signature smell of coffee but every tiny detail that makes your favorite beverage so special will change. It will start tasting bitter, salty, and sour. The aroma breaks down to give you a stale smell so you may consider brewing a fresh cup of coffee.

Stale coffee does not contain any health hazards but it is not good to drink due to its unpleasant taste. When you brew coffee and let it sit for too long, the coffee oils in the beverage react with the air and become prone to mold and bacterial contamination. 

Reheating Coffee In Microwave

Can You Refrigerate Coffee And Reheat It
Reheated coffee

To reheat your cup of mud in the microwave, place it inside and then press the ‘power level’ button to an intensity two levels below the default at which the microwave heats normally. It will serve just right for reheating coffee to the right temperature.

You will need to determine how long you wish to reheat the coffee and this will greatly depend on how much coffee you have in the mug. To heat half to a full cup of coffee, you will need about 45 seconds (add or minus a few).

If your coffee has not reached the desired temperature, microwave again after 30 seconds to ensure that it feels as warm as you like it. After being in the microwave, the beverage may turn slightly bitter in taste but it will be reheated to the perfect sipping temperature.

You can adjust the bitterness of reheated coffee by simply adding some sugar or creamer to enhance the taste. Now, drink it before it gets cold again.

Freezing Coffee Cubes Or Whole Pot

Ice cubes have an age-old relationship with coffee and they are used in numerous ways to cool down a steaming hot cup or keep the iced coffee cool without weakening the flavor and so on. It is also used for preparing numerous caffeine-infused smoothies.

To make coffee cubes, you need an ice cube tray and coffee that is cold or at room temperature. Pour coffee into the ice cube tray and put it inside the freezer to make flavored coffee cubes. Once the coffee cubes freeze, you can transfer them to a zip-lock bag.

At times when you make a large pot of coffee and realize it cannot be consumed within two hours or so, you may freeze the whole pot. It may not be realistic to put it into an ice-cube tray or freeze the entire content in an airtight container.

This way the coffee can stay good for longer and when you want to consume it, just put the container in the refrigerator and you will have liquid coffee ready to consume in 24 hours or even less. While coffee can stay good for 2-3 days in the refrigerator, it can last for up to 2 weeks when frozen.

Storing Whole Coffee Beans In Refrigerator

Coffee beans in sealed jars.
Storing whole coffee beans in a refrigerator comes in many benefits

I always advise my friends and readers to grind only as many coffee beans to prepare the required amount of coffee. Storing coffee beans in the refrigerator or freezer is not a good idea as humidity and other food smell inside the refrigerator can spoil the aroma and flavor.

The three biggest threats to coffee beans are heat, moisture, and rodents. If you must store coffee beans inside the fridge, make sure it is kept inside an airtight container or zip-locked bag. An unopened sealed bag of coffee beans can last for up to 2 to 3 years, while an opened bag can be kept in a sealed or airtight container and stored for 1-2 years.

You can technically extend the shelf life of whole beans and ground coffee by storing them in the fridge. While this is a quick and easy way to store home grounds, the downside is that refrigerating coffee will destroy the authentic flavors and the most interesting aspects will degrade.

However, let’s not forget that the best flavor and aroma of coffee comes only within 2-10 days of roasting. If you are storing the beans in the kitchen cabinet or in the refrigerator beyond that point, you are compromising with the quality of the brew. 

Other Useful Tips To Store Your Coffee

Whether you prefer to drink an espresso, latte, Americano, or drip coffee, there are little things that can make your coffee great or bad. Here are a few useful tips to ensure that your coffee tastes best and can be put to good use if you have some extra in the carafe.

When making drip coffee, a common mistake most people commit is leaving the brew over heat source for too long. So, make sure you remove the pot from the gas stove soon after the brewing is completed. Leaving it on the gas for longer will result in oxidation and the brew will get sour.

If you have extra coffee in the carafe that you wish to drink after an interval, transfer the content into an insulated thermos to retain the warmth. A good quality thermos will retain the heat and also preserve the flavor as it is airtight. With a thermos, you can enjoy warm and delicious coffee all day.

If storing brewed coffee in the fridge or freezer does not sound appealing to you, consider using the leftover coffee in your cooking. The rich flavor and aroma of coffee taste great with meaty and savory dishes. It is often used as marinades for steak and pork.

Another amazing idea to use coffee for gourmet food is making baked goods with them. You may use the leftover cold coffee in brownies and cakes to enhance the flavor. Some of the best examples are Espresso Buttercream and Mocha Cupcakes.

You can substitute plain water with cold or room-temperature coffee to add a new dimension to the flavors of baked goods.

Have you ever tried mixing cold coffee with cocktails? This is an excellent way to use leftover coffee in the pot. Try something new like an Espresso Martini or Irish Coffee. Take your room temperature coffee to a new height by mixing it with Beccacino or Drambuie.

Can You Refrigerate Coffee And Reheat It: Related Questions

How long can coffee last if it has milk it in?

Needless to say, coffee with milk will turn stale quicker than black coffee because milk tends to get sour faster. If stored inside the refrigerator, milk can stay good for up to a week but it should not sit out for more than two hours.

Is it okay to reheat a day-old coffee?

If the coffee was stored in the refrigerator then you can consume it safely but if it has been sitting outside for a day then throw it away because it may not only taste sour but also contain mold. Better safe than sorry.

How to tell if the coffee has gone bad?

Trust your nose and go by your sense of smell. If the aroma seems off, then avoid drinking that coffee. Stale coffee usually does not pose any health risks unless the oils turn rancid and it accumulates mold in the cup.


  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.