You can never have too much coffee (especially if you were quarantined with children)! However, on occasion, you might have accidentally brewed more coffee than you can drink in one sitting. As you're going to dump the excess down the drain, you might have asked yourself things like, "Can you freeze brewed coffee?" and "How long is brewed coffee good for?" The short answer to the first question is YES. You can most definitely freeze brewed coffee. Throughout this post, we'll be discussing:
- Why some people think you can’t freeze brewed coffee (and why they’re wrong!)
- The best methods for freezing brewed coffee
- How long brewed coffee is good
- How to thaw your frozen brewed coffee for later use
- Alternate uses for brewed coffee (bet you thought you'd just be thawing and drinking it!)
Let’s dive into it!
Why It Used to be Frowned Upon to Freeze Brewed Coffee
First, it was initially frowned upon to freeze brewed coffee (or coffee grounds) for a couple of reasons. However, we’re going to debunk those myths right now.
- One, it was thought that the coffee could take on foul odors or flavors from any strongly scented foods that may also be stored in the freezer. This is incorrect. Due to the low temperatures of freezers, they generally don't smell (at least not as much as the refrigerator). Conversely, it is still recommended that you store brewed coffee in a sealed airtight container when freezing. Additionally, other foods in the freeze should also be stored in a sealed airtight container. This will help prevent food odors and that "freezer burn" smell.
- Two, it was thought that condensation would be problematic and water down the coffee. This can be prevented. Again, you'll want to be vigilant about always storing your frozen brewed coffee in an airtight container.
What is the Best Way to Freeze Brewed Coffee?
Well, as previously stated, an airtight container is a great option. However, there are a few other ways you can go about freezing your coffee.
An Ice Tray with a Lid
The lid is imperative due to the potential odor absorption. You simply pour your coffee into the ice tray, cover it and freeze it. The best part … You can freeze more than basic black coffee. Try these flavored ice cubes:
- Mocha flavored coffee cubes – In a pitcher, whisk together (cool/cold) black coffee, milk and chocolate syrup to taste. Pour into an ice tray, cover and freeze.
- Caramel macchiato espresso cubes – In a pitcher, whisk together (cool/cold) espresso, milk and caramel syrup to taste. Pour into an ice tray, cover and freeze.
If you are tight on space, you can store your brewed coffee in a freezer bag. You brew the coffee, let it cool, flavor it (or not) and pour it into a quality freeze bag. Then make sure you properly seal it before laying it flat in your freezer.
Other bags of coffee or freezer goods can be stacked on top of it. Huge space saver! The key here is to make sure it's a quality freezer bag to prevent freezer burn and to ensure that the zippered seal won’t allow coffee to leak into the freezer.
How Long Does Frozen Brewed Coffee Stay Good?
The next thing you may be wondering is how long you can keep the brewed coffee in the freezer. To ensure the flavor and quality are maintained, it is recommended that you do not freeze any longer than two months.
In general, the coffee isn't harmful to drink if it's been frozen longer than that. However, the flavor and quality begin to suffer over time, so it's best when used within two months of freezing.
Because of this, it is HIGHLY recommended that you label the coffee (whether in a container, bag or ice tray) with the date you put it into the freezer. You can take it a step further and add the "use by" date too.
How to Thaw Your Frozen Brewed Coffee?
Now you also might be asking yourself how you go about thawing your frozen brewed coffee to drink it. Here are a few methods for thawing your frozen brewed coffee.
- Don’t thaw it: If you made coffee ice cubes, you don’t have to thaw them. You can simply drop them in some cold brew coffee and enjoy! Or you can make a blended Frappuccino. Just take some (cool/cold) liquid coffee, some milk, some flavored syrup and the coffee ice cubes and blend them up. Use more ice cubes for a thicker consistency.
- You can transfer the bag or container to the fridge to thaw overnight. This will obviously mean your coffee will still be cold after you thaw it. IF you do want to enjoy a hot cup of coffee, the next step will be to warm it up on low in a pot on the stove. Nuking it in the microwave will kill a lot of the aromatics. So, if you have the time, do the low and slow method of heating it on the stove.
- You can choose to defrost your frozen brewed coffee in the microwave if you are in a hurry. First, make sure you are using a microwave-safe container. Second, use the defrost setting because it defrosts the coffee at a much lower temperature than your microwave typically runs. You will most likely lose some of the aromatics, but less so than if you microwaved it on high. And again, if you have the time and want a hot cup of coffee, use the stove to finish heating it. Low and slow, baby!
Conclusion – Plus, Alternate Uses for Coffee
Because coffee can last up to two months in the freezer, you no longer have to worry about accidentally brewing too much coffee for one sitting! You can simply pour your extra coffee into an ice tray, storage container or freezer bag and pop it right in the freezer for later use. You can implement several thawing methods, too, whether you're looking to enjoy iced coffee or hot coffee. So convenient!
However, if you like the ritual of brewing coffee, you don't have to freeze your extra. There are a couple of exciting things you can do with it. Conversely, you can use the extra coffee that you did freeze for any of these things, as well. You can use your extra brewed coffee for cooking or baking to add a rich, intense flavor!
- Marinate meat before cooking
- Add it to a homemade BBQ sauce
- Substitute it for vinegar in any recipe
- In a cake or brownie recipe, use the extra coffee as a substitution for the water. However, if you bake a lot, you should consider freezing your extra coffee to pull out whenever you're trying a new recipe!
Plus, besides cooking, you diluted coffee to water plants that love a bit of acid. For example, azaleas and orchids are two plants that you could water with diluted coffee. Just keep an eye out for yellowing leaves, this is a sign the soil is too acidic!