Real Good Blog.

How Long Can Coffee Sit Out?

Jul 24, 2023

How Long Can Coffee Sit Out?

We've all been there – you brewed a fresh pot of coffee, poured yourself a cup, got distracted, and forgot about it. Now you're wondering if it's still safe to drink that coffee that's been sitting out for a while. In this ultimate guide, we'll explore the factors that determine how long coffee can sit out before it becomes unsafe to consume. Understanding these considerations will help you enjoy your coffee while ensuring your health and safety.

  1. Coffee's Shelf Life

The shelf life of brewed coffee depends on various factors, such as the brewing method, storage conditions, and temperature. Generally, coffee can sit out at room temperature for about 1 to 2 hours before it starts to deteriorate in quality and flavor. After this time, the coffee may become stale and less enjoyable to drink.

  1. Bacterial Growth

One of the primary concerns with leaving coffee sitting out is the potential for bacterial growth. Brewed coffee provides an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive, especially when kept at room temperature or in a warm environment. Harmful bacteria can multiply rapidly in coffee, leading to potential foodborne illnesses if consumed after an extended period of time.

  1. Refrigeration and Reheating

If you have brewed coffee left over that you want to save for later, it's best to refrigerate it as soon as possible. When stored in the refrigerator, brewed coffee can maintain its quality for up to 24 hours. Before consuming refrigerated coffee, it's advisable to reheat it to a safe temperature to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination.

  1. Iced Coffee Considerations

For iced coffee, the rules are slightly different. Due to the dilution with ice and possible additions of milk or cream, iced coffee may spoil faster than hot coffee. If you're unsure about the safety of your iced coffee, it's best to err on the side of caution and avoid drinking it if it has been sitting out for too long.

  1. Signs of Spoilage

To determine if coffee has gone bad, rely on your senses. Spoiled coffee may have a sour, rancid, or off-putting odor. Additionally, if the coffee tastes sour or bitter, it's an indication that it may have spoiled.


Enjoying a freshly brewed cup of coffee is a delightful experience, but it's essential to be mindful of how long that coffee can safely sit out. To ensure your coffee remains safe and enjoyable, follow these general guidelines: consume brewed coffee within 1 to 2 hours if it's been sitting at room temperature, refrigerate any leftover coffee promptly, and reheat it before consuming. When in doubt, trust your senses to detect any signs of spoilage.

By understanding the shelf life and proper storage of coffee, you can continue to relish the rich flavors of your favorite brew while maintaining your health and safety.


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