There’s nothing like sipping a cold brew coffee on a hot day. And while you can always pick one up from the nearest Starbucks or another popular coffee chain, you can also buy canned cold brew from a market. These cans are convenient and still get you the flavors you’re looking for when you purchase a fresh cup of cold brew. The only thing that might halt you in your tracks is the question of just how long those cold brew coffees have been sitting around on supermarket shelves.
Cold brew coffee can actually last quite a long time, depending on how it’s made. Canned cold brew coffee can last for around four to six months after the date of brewing listed on the can. Remember, it should still be refrigerated if you’re keeping it around for that long. On the other hand, if a cold brew is shelf stable, it can last even longer — up to a year — and doesn’t necessarily need to be refrigerated. The good news is that you don’t need to guess about these numbers as manufacturers list an expiration date on cold brew cans, and the drink is generally good until that point.
Here’s what you need to know about how long your canned cold brew stays fresh and what factors can make its shelf life longer or shorter. Plus, what manufacturers do to make their canned cold brew last for long periods of time without going off.
Read more: What’s The Difference Between Coffee And Espresso?
What Affects Your Canned Cold Brew’s Shelf Life
According to Martin Bucknavage, a food safety expert at Penn State Extension, in an interview with Well and Good, canned cold brew “should be shelf stable to the point of expiration date on the can.” However, that expiration date can vary a bit depending on a few factors.
For one thing, black canned coffee tends to last longer than coffee with milk and sugar in it. On top of that, the exact expiration date of canned cold brew can vary depending on who the manufacturer is. This is because different companies use different processes to preserve their coffee and keep the flavor fresh. Finally, if you open your cold brew coffee, you’ll need to drink it within a few hours rather than a few months.
Another thing to note is that your cold brew can last for shorter amounts of time if it’s not shelf-stable. Shelf-stable cold brew has undergone special thermal processing, usually by heating the canned product to high temperatures for several minutes. This process helps preserve your coffee and keep its flavor fresh. It also means that you don’t need to store the canned cold brew in the refrigerator. If the coffee hasn’t been made shelf-stable, it won’t be able to sit around for as long — even unopened — before you drink it. Plus, if it’s not shelf-stable, it should be kept refrigerated.
Should You Drink Canned Cold Brew After The Expiration Date?
While the goal is to drink your canned cold brew within a reasonable timeframe, sometimes, you might purchase a can, store it in the basement, and completely forget about it until well after the expiration date has passed. The question is, if that happens, is it still safe to drink your canned cold brew?
In general, it’s probably best to avoid these products if they’re past their expiration date. The reason for this is that canned cold brew, despite having antimicrobial properties, could still potentially contain pathogens that can make you sick. Additionally, once it’s past the expiration date, your coffee can begin to lose its flavor quality, making it taste stale or bitter.
The good news is that while canned cold brew probably isn’t good to drink once it’s expired, you now know that it does last for quite a long time. So, even if you buy a drink and shove it to the back of your fridge for a month or two, you don’t have to throw it away and can still enjoy sipping on a tasty canned cold brew.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.