Can You Put Hot Coffee In a Fridge? (Best Way To Store And Cool Coffee)

Can you put coffee in a fridge?

There’s nothing quite like a hot cup of coffee in the morning. But if you’ve brewed too much you may be wondering can you put hot coffee in a fridge before heading off to work.

In general, you can put hot coffee in the fridge to store it or cool it down. However, it should be stored in an airtight container to prevent it from oxidizing or absorbing aromas from the fridge. Keep in mind that the coffee won’t stay fresh indefinitely and should be used within four days.

While coffee does perfectly well in the fridge, what you intend to do with it is also important.

For example, if you need to store coffee for several days, it’s best to use one type of container. But if you just want to quickly cool it, you’ll need a different container and different methods.

Let’s take a look at each of these scenarios and see what your best options are.

Can You Put Hot Coffee In A Fridge?

It’s perfectly fine to put your coffee in the fridge as long as you store it in a sealed, airtight container.

People typically ask this question because they’re

  • not sure what type of effect the fridge will have on their coffee
  • not sure if hot coffee can negatively impact their fridge or the food stored there

In either case, there shouldn’t be any issues. But let’s take a look at each scenario separately to see exactly what’s going on.

Coffee That’s Not Stored Properly Can Quickly Lose Flavor

One of the big reasons people put coffee in the fridge is to preserve its flavor.

Oxygen in the air breaks down the acids, oils, and sugars that give coffee its flavor and aroma. This is why coffee loses flavor so quickly after it’s brewed.

Storing your coffee in the fridge is one way to preserve the flavors, but of course, there’s oxygen in the fridge too!

This is why you should seal your coffee in an airtight container to limit the oxidation process.

Your best option is to get a glass container with a lid to keep your coffee safely in the fridge. (We use Mason Jars that you can find in local stores or on Amazon.)

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Coffee Can Absorb Flavors In The Fridge If Left Unsealed

Coffee is known for absorbing odors. And since many of us have refrigerators filled with leftover foods and other items, there’s a good chance your coffee will absorb undesirable aromas if not sealed properly.

But in addition to that, you also want to use the right type of container to store your coffee.

For example, plastic containers tend to absorb odors that are very hard to get rid of. And if you put your coffee in plastic, any smells stuck to the container will leech into your drink.

By comparison, glass does not absorb odors so there’s no risk of your coffee absorbing smells.

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Hot Coffee Won’t Hurt Your Refridgerator

It’s generally recommended to avoid putting hot foods in the fridge. So you may be wondering if it’s ok to put hot coffee in the fridge.

When it comes to food, there are a few reasons you don’t want to put it in the fridge:

  • hot food can significantly raise your fridge’s temperature,
  • it risks warming the food already in your refrigerator and
  • your appliance has to work much harder to bring the temperature back down

But a carafe of coffee won’t significantly impact your refrigerator’s temperature, so you won’t have to worry about any of these issues when putting coffee in the fridge.

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How Long Does Coffee Last In The Fridge?

If stored in a sealed, airtight container, you can expect your coffee to last up to 4 days.

By sealing coffee in an airtight container you limit oxidation and flavor loss. But the fact is that water also contains oxygen. So, over time the brewed coffee will slowly oxidize itself.

And after 4 days, much of the coffee’s acids, oils, and sugars will have deteriorated.

Your Coffee’s Flavor Will Worsen If Reheated

One last thing to keep in mind is that your coffee’s flavor will worsen if you’re going to reheat it.

While refrigeration preserves the flavor as long as possible, the reheating process will change the coffee’s taste profile and chemical makeup by

  • breaking down aromatics in the coffee and
  • increasing the acid content

This results in the coffee losing much of its original flavor and becoming much more bitter.

However, if you really want to reheat your coffee, the best option is to heat it on the stove on low to medium-low heat. Essentially, heating it up slower results in fewer chemical changes.

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What’s The Best Way To Cool Down Hot Coffee?

The best way to quickly cool down hot coffee is by giving it an ice bath or by adding coffee ice cubes to the drink. With either of these methods, your coffee should reach room temperature in about 10 minutes.

To figure this out, we tested several different ways of chilling hot coffee. Namely:

  • giving coffee an ice bath
  • adding coffee ice cubes to hot coffee
  • putting hot coffee in the freezer
  • using a device like the Cold Wave Beverage Chiller

Our goal with these experiments was to take a cup of hot coffee and see how long it would take to reach room temperature.

Below you can take a look at our results.

Pro Tip: Stainless steel is a better heat conductor than glass, ceramic, or plastic. So, using a stainless steel cup will help your coffee cool down much faster.

Cooling Down Coffee With An Ice Bath

Cooling down hot coffee with an ice bath will take around 10 minutes.

For this process, you’ll need:

We started by pouring freshly brewed coffee into the cup and measuring its temperature (We use a probe thermometer you can find on Amazon).

Can You put coffee in a fridge?

We then placed the cup of coffee into a bowl of ice and water and let it sit for a few minutes while stirring occasionally.

After about 10 minutes, we checked the temperature and saw that it was colder than room temperature.

Can You put coffee in a fridge?

The ice bath method is our favorite method for quickly cooling down coffee, but there is a drawback. If you don’t have an automatic icemaker, you’ll need to freeze ice cubes or buy them.

Using Coffee Ice Cubes To Cool Brewed Coffee

Cooling down your coffee with ice cubes will take around 10 minutes.

However, for this method, you’ll need to freeze some coffee ahead of time.

After brewing our coffee, we poured it into a cup and measured the temperature.

We started by adding half a tray of ice cubes to the hot coffee. However, after about 5 minutes, the ice cubes were melted but the coffee didn’t reach room temperature.

Can You put coffee in a fridge?

We then added the other half of the ice cubes and after a few more minutes the coffee was below room temperature.

In total, it took around 10 minutes for the coffee to cool.

Can You put coffee in a fridge?

This is another quick method of chilling coffee, however, the drawback here is that it took an entire tray of ice cubes to chill our coffee.

FYI: One alternative to using coffee ice cubes is to use reusable ice cubes. You can find reusable ice cubes on Amazon or at a local store.

Put Your Coffee In The Freezer

Chilling coffee in the freezer takes around 40 minutes.

To start, we poured fresh-brewed coffee into our stainless steel pitcher and measured the temperature.

Can You put coffee in a fridge?

We then placed a spoon in the hot coffee to help conduct heat out of the coffee. And immediately put the coffee in the freezer.

Can You put coffee in a fridge?

After 10 minutes, we checked the temperature and saw that the coffee was still relatively hot. We then returned every 10 minutes to check the coffee and saw that it reached room temperature after a total of 40 minutes.

Can You put coffee in a fridge?

While putting coffee in the freezer is the slowest method, the benefit is that you don’t need ice cubes, bowls, or frozen coffee.

If you’re not in a rush to cool down your coffee, this might be a good option for you.

Cool Your Coffee With A Cold Wave Beverage Chiller

Another option is to buy a device such as the Coldwave Beverage Chiller.

Here’s a quick video showing how this device can chill your hot coffee within minutes!

Key Takeaways

  • You can put coffee in the fridge but it should be sealed in an airtight, glass container to prevent oxidation and aroma absorption.
  • You can chill hot coffee in about 10 minutes by giving it an ice bath or adding frozen coffee.
  • Trying to cool your coffee in the freezer can take up to 40 minutes.
  • There are devices such as reusable ice cubes or the ColdWave Beverage Chiller that can quickly cool your coffee.

Cheers Coffee Lovers!

Oliver's signature coffee break lovers