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You’re on your way out the door, and—oh no— you still have leftover coffee in the pot. Can you put it in the fridge? Will it stay fresh? What if it’s still hot? That coffee was too delicious to just pour down the drain.
Let’s take a look at the best ways to store hot coffee in the fridge, whether you can use this as an easy way to make iced coffee, and a few other tricks for storing your favorite brew.
Can you put hot coffee in the fridge?
As long as you follow certain rules when placing your hot cup of coffee in the refrigerator, there shouldn’t be any problems. However, if you place a steaming, uncovered cup of coffee in the refrigerator, then you could possibly increase the temperature of some of the food that is near the coffee. Increased temperatures could possibly cause spoilage of the food, something that you definitely don’t want to occur.
Tips For Putting Hot Coffee in the Fridge
Avoid spoiling nearby food
There are ways to prevent hot coffee from spoiling any food in the refrigerator. Heat is able to easily transfer from a container to other items in a certain vicinity, which is why hot coffee placed in the refrigerator could cause food to spoil.
As long as you leave some room between the hot coffee and any food that is also refrigerated, especially dairy items like milk, butter, and cheese, the hot coffee shouldn’t increase the temperature of any surrounding food.
Use the back of the fridge
If you’re in a hurry and you want to quickly place your coffee in the refrigerator, you might be tempted to place it in the front of the refrigerator, but it’s not a good idea.
You want your coffee to cool as quickly as possible, and if you place the coffee in the front, it will take longer to cool. However, if you place it in the back of the refrigerator, you’ll cool your coffee at an accelerated speed.
Store your coffee in a proper container
When placing your hot coffee in the refrigerator, if you want to preserve the flavor, then it’s best to use an appropriate container.
Stainless steel containers are optimal, as you won’t have to worry about odors or flavors from previous beverages being transferred to your coffee. You should also ensure that the lid to your stainless steel container is securely shut, as well, so that your coffee remains properly preserved.
If you need to store your hot coffee in the fridge and you don’t have any stainless steel containers, then there are other containers that you can use instead. Whenever choosing a storage container for your hot coffee, you should refrain from choosing plastic. Plastic has the tendency to absorb flavors and odors, and it can also leach chemicals into your coffee.
A mason jar is a good alternative container, as it has an airtight seal and can keep your coffee fresh. If you don’t have a mason jar, then you can use a similarly airtight container.
Use multiple containers for large amounts of coffee
If you have a large amount of coffee to refrigerate, then it might be best to place the coffee into separate containers. The more hot coffee you place in the refrigerator in a single container, the more of a chance you’ll have of increasing the temperature of other items in the fridge, which could result in spoilage.
Instead of placing one large container in the fridge that could quickly heat up the entire refrigerator, separate the hot coffee into different containers and you’ll decrease your chances of affecting the temperature of other contents of the refrigerator.
Cool your coffee before refrigerating it
If it’s possible to do so, you should try cooling your leftover coffee before placing it in the refrigerator. By cooling the coffee before placing it in the refrigerator, you won’t have to worry about spoiling any food that’s inside, nor do you have to worry about where you place the coffee in the refrigerator.
As long as you ensure the coffee is in a carefully sealed stainless steel container, then it doesn’t matter as much if you place it in the front or the back of the fridge.
Can You Make Iced Coffee With Hot Coffee?
Typically, iced coffee is made by just adding ice to hot coffee, but you can also take advantage of the coldness of your fridge. If you want to make iced coffee in the refrigerator, there is no reason to place the coffee in the refrigerator while it’s still hot.
In order to make the perfect iced coffee at home, you would typically need to make your coffee extra concentrated. After all, the melting ice is going to dilute it. But if you refrigerate the coffee first, you don’t have to worry as much about that dilution. And you don’t have to change up the amount of sugar, alternative coffee sweeteners, and other extras you usually add.
Once the coffee is brewed and sweetened, all you have to do is immediately pour the freshly-brewed coffee concentrate over ice before refrigerating it immediately. As long as you store the iced coffee in an appropriate container, your iced coffee should turn out perfectly.
What About Cold Brew Coffee?
Another way to make the perfect cup of iced coffee instead of brewing a cup of watered down and tasteless coffee is to make cold brew instead.
- Put 1.5 cups of grounds and 4 cups of water in a mason jar.
- Stir the grounds and water together to get rid of any clumps.
- Cover and refrigerate the coffee for at least 24 hours.
- Strain the grounds away from the concentrated coffee
- Dilute the concentrate by adding water in a 1:1 concentrate-to-water ratio. You can dilute further if it’s still too strong
You can make several types of coffee beverage with your cold brew coffee. I suggest turning it into homemade nitro cold brew if you like the fuzziness of a Guinness. . Buy you’ll likely enjoy this delicious brew regardless of how you flavor it.
Fresh coffee is always the best option, but we are all looking for ways to cut down on our waste. If you spent the extra money on your favorite premium flavored coffee or high-caffeine coffee beans, you don’t want to just dump them down the drain—and now you don’t have to.
If you find yourself with leftover coffee too often, it might be time to consider a single-cup coffee maker like a Keurig K-Supreme Plus Smart (for regular drip coffee drinkers) or a Nespresso VertuoPlus (for espresso and drip coffee fanatics). That way, you can enjoy drinks like Nespresso iced coffee without worrying about where to store the extras.