There’s nothing like opening your fridge in the morning to find the beautiful carafe of cold brew you started yesterday waiting for you to enjoy. All your hard work from 24 hours ago is finally going to pay off and you're excited to experience a smooth and invigorating cup of iced coffee, no coffee shop required! But how do you make the most of your cold brew and keep it fresh in your fridge past day one, and how long will it last? If you’re like me, you will more likely drink through your cold brew long before it goes bad, but I’ll still walk you through best practices to help you level up your at-home coffee game.

What is Cold Brew?

Cold brew is a method of brewing iced coffee that involves steeping coffee grounds in water for an extended period (between 20 to 48 hours) to produce a smoother, less acidic end product. Cold brew coffee has been increasing in popularity and become a coffee shop staple over the last few years, even though this method isn’t new, with origins in 17th-century Asia. Trendiness aside, I can’t deny that when done well, cold brew is a far superior experience to other iced coffee brewing methods, which are usually made by brewing hot coffee at double strength and then adding equal parts ice. According to Bean & Bean Coffee Roasters, when coffee is brewed with hot water, quinic acid is extracted from the beans. This acid promotes oxidation even after the coffee has been chilled and extracted, and the coffee ends up tasting acidic and bitter. Since the cold brew method only utilizes cold water, we are left with a coffee that has lower acidity and a longer shelf life.

How To Brew At Home

With just two ingredients — coarse ground coffee and water — making cold brew at home is simple and cost-effective when compared to a daily coffee shop run. Moreover, you can use various vessels for the brewing process, eliminating the need for specialized and expensive equipment to begin making your own cold brew. Ultimately, you just need a setup that allows the grounds to steep fully in the water and filters the grounds from the water. Amazon has inexpensive brewing pitchers available for under $30, but others use only a French press or a mason jar with a coffee filter to make their homemade brew. The best part about making your cold brew at home is that you have the opportunity to experiment and discover which method you enjoy the most and customize your perfect cold brew

How Long Does Cold Brew Last In The Fridge?

If you can avoid drinking it all immediately, it’s important to store your cold brew correctly to preserve the flavor and keep it from becoming bitter. Storing your cold brew in the fridge not only keeps it cold and ready to drink but also prevents the coffee from going bad. According to Dark Horse Coffee Company, cold brew can be stored in the fridge or the freezer to preserve it. Depending on your preferred storage method, cold brew concentrate can stay fresh and hold its flavor for a week to two months. I normally don’t keep my cold brew for longer than seven days, but I also rarely have a carafe last that long at my house. Using air-tight storage can also extend the shelf life, but if you notice that your cold brew looks cloudy or starts to taste bitter, it’s probably time to start the next batch.