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If you’re in a rush to get out the door, you don’t always have time to finish your coffee. If you’re drinking a Starbucks coffee, is it okay to save it? Or does it have to be thrown away if you can’t finish the whole cup?
Turns out, Starbucks coffee is completely fine to save as long as you refrigerate it. But some people maintain that Starbucks coffee goes bad quickly, even if kept in the fridge. This article will explore why Starbucks iced coffee expires so quickly and ways to deal with it.
How Long Does Starbucks Iced Coffee Last in the Fridge?
If you keep an open Starbucks iced coffee in your fridge, it will taste best if finishes within about half a day. However, if you haven’t opened a bottled drink yet, you can keep it in the refrigerator for as long as you like until it expires.
Starbucks iced coffee typically has a much shorter lifespan than cold brew coffee. The answer is obvious as to why: the milk, cream, sugar, and water in the iced coffee will spoil quickly once its seal is broken. So, make sure to cover and seal it before storing it in your fridge. Otherwise, you risk altering the taste and calories of your coffee.
Is It Possible for Starbucks Iced Coffee To Spoil?
Starbucks iced coffee is prepared with Arabica coffee beans and water and is often served with milk. It isn’t the coffee that’s the problem when it comes to the shelf life of a Starbucks coffee. The component that spoils very quickly is the milk. After that, the cream and sugar follow suit.
Iced coffee that has been sealed and bottled does not degrade before its expiration date. But open the drink before its expiration date, and the countdown begins.
Pro Tip: Always verify the expiration date before purchasing drinks, whether online or from a coffee shop.
Factors That Affect the Life of Your Coffee
Iced coffee, if stored properly, can last for up to twelve hours or more. But this depends on several factors, including:
The Amount of Ice Used
It should come as no surprise that the amount of ice in your iced coffee will impact its lifespan. Sure, you can keep your iced coffee cooler for longer by adding extra ice to it. This, however, has a catch. As the ice melts, your coffee becomes inevitably more watery, which can dilute the taste.
If you leave your iced coffee out on the counter in a humid climate for a long time, it will degrade considerably faster than if you keep it in the refrigerator.
Iced coffee isn’t as long-lasting as you would believe. It’s prepared by pouring hot coffee over ice. So, as soon as the coffee beans come into contact with hot water, they become activated and begin to break down.
Coffee grounds are ideal breeding grounds for germs and bacteria due to their large surface area. Aside from bugs contaminating the coffee, dampness and heat can provoke problems too. Heat, in particular, will accelerate bacterial growth. Even room temperature is warm enough to encourage bacterial growth.
This isn’t an issue at all if you drink your coffee within the advisable time span, but allowing the bacteria to sit and multiply overtime isn’t such a good idea.
Furthermore, iced coffee is first brewed hot. The coffee oils extracted in the hot brew process can go rancid, giving your leftover coffee an off taste.
Signs That Your Starbucks Coffee Has Gone Bad
Now that you know how long your drink lasts, you should be aware of the telltale signs that your favorite brew has expired:
- A faint odor — could be woody, rotten, or sour
- Extremely acidic flavor — it may taste like overripe fruit or wood vinegar
- Mold or a rotten odor
- Reduction in the caffeine kick
- Significantly less flavor
Health Implications of Stale Iced Coffee
It’s not a good idea to drink stale coffee as it contains several potentially hazardous compounds that can cause stomach issues such as bloating, indigestion, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, acid reflux, migraines, nausea, disorientation, vomiting, lethargy, and even depression.
Be careful with coffee with creamer or extra milk. To avoid bacterial growth, milk should not be left at room temperature for longer than 2 hours. Consuming spoiled milk significantly increases your chances of acquiring a foodborne illness. It’s essential to inspect your coffee for signs of spoilage before drinking it.
Is It Safe To Drink an Expired Iced Coffee?
Never drink coffee you bought a few days ago that is now past its expiration date. We understand it’s difficult to let a nice cup of Starbucks coffee go to waste, but it’s best you throw it away.
Tips for Using Leftover Coffee
Sometimes you just can’t finish your coffee. But because Starbucks isn’t cheap, you don’t want to throw it out just yet.
Good news! Your leftover coffee can actually provide a lot of value if you know what to do with it.
Here are a few simple ways to put leftover iced coffee to good use:
Make Ice Cubes
Coffee ice cubes can cool hot coffee, keep iced coffee cold without diluting the flavor, or create tasty caffeine-infused smoothies. Moreover, making coffee ice cubes is pretty straightforward. Simply fill an ice cube tray with room temperature or cold coffee and place it in the freezer.
Some people even make different flavored ice cubes with cream and sugar and other exciting ingredients like vanilla syrup. You can keep the ice cubes in the tray or transfer them to a ziplock bag once they’ve frozen.
Supercharge Your Breakfast
Putting coffee into your breakfast is the perfect way to get an extra boost in the morning! Ever tried making breakfast recipes with your leftover coffee?
You can make your oatmeal with coffee instead of water or soak your overnight oats in coffee for a quick breakfast. Make chia seed pudding with coffee or add it into pancake batter. There are fewer faster ways of adding a little flair to your meals and improving their flavor while also getting a little more buzz.
Water your Plants
You can put leftover brewed coffee to use outside the kitchen as well. If you’re growing acid-loving plants like orchids or azaleas, a cup of cold, diluted coffee will help them grow faster. However, since liquid coffee is quite acidic, you should only water your coffee once or twice a week.
Keep an eye on your plants if you’re using coffee to water them. If their leaves start to turn brown or yellow, it’s a sign that your soil is excessively acidic. Also, if you add milk, cream, or sugar to your coffee, don’t use it to water plants as it can attract microbes and pests.
Using leftover coffee in your brownie will make them much stronger, just like using coffee in a chocolate cake boosts the flavor of the chocolate. You can also use leftover coffee as a substitute for milk or cold water. The stronger the coffee, the stronger the chocolaty flavor.
Make a Hair Mask
Coffee is great for promoting healthy hair! Antioxidants and caffeine make your hair shinier and bouncier by removing built-ups clung to your scalp.
It can also promote hair growth and enhance texture. Feel free to add other ingredients like honey, coconut oil, or egg yolk. Don’t hold back from trying multiple things, as it’ll help you find the ideal hair-care recipe for you.
Use It for Staining
Buying unfinished wood means you must stain it to make it look more appealing and classic. Unfortunately, professional wood staining is a pricey affair. Use leftover solid coffee if you don’t want to burn a hole in your pocket on the expensive dye.
To use coffee as a stain, polish the wood and then apply the coffee using a paintbrush or cloth. Apply multiple coats of coffee and wait 15 minutes between each round for a darker hue. If you want a lighter stain, dilute the coffee more and apply fewer coats.
Nothing compares to the flavor of fresh iced coffee right from the Starbucks counter! That flavor, unfortunately, can’t be stored for long. We hope you now understand how long Starbucks iced coffee lasts in the fridge and why.
Never leave your coffee at room temperature, and consider refrigerating the coffee right away if its seal has been broken. If the coffee has already been opened, make sure you drink it within four to eight hours. Waiting any longer than that will mean drinking a substandard coffee that could possibly harm your gut.
Try other creative solutions like watering your plants with coffee or baking it into your brownies for a fun way to repurpose half-used coffee.