Can You Make Coffee Ahead of Time?

Can You Make Coffee Ahead of Time

Everyone has obligations and a hectic schedule that must be attended to – and coffee drinkers are no different. People are busier than ever and that has put a strain on their time management.

With the fast pace of modern life, it can seem impossible to squeeze in time to complete even the essentials. And with that in mind, it can be difficult to find time to make that perfect cup of coffee.

This has prompted individuals to wonder if they can pre-make their coffee before they need it.

Coffee lovers want to know how they can best utilize their precious free time to prepare for their coming days – caffeine fix included. And it is a valid question given the quick running world around them and the struggle to find the most basic hour of availability.

Can You Make Coffee Ahead of Time?

Making coffee ahead of time can be considered a great time saver during an early morning rush or other circumstances. It will cut down on the tasks needed to be done at the moment and provide a less stressful start to the day. So how can you do it?

For the Record: Yes, coffee can be made ahead of time.

However, there are some considerations that need to be made and a process that should be followed. These will ensure the maximum lifespan of the beverage and prevent mishaps from occurring later on.

  • Be sure to make the appropriate amount of coffee for how long it will be needed, no matter what method is used such as a coffee machine. If the drinker plans to pre-prepare coffee they should maintain the correct size in mind.
  • Avoid putting things like milk and creamer along with other similar products in the coffee before putting away. If any of these are added before storage they can make the cup sour and lead to unsavory effects later on.
  • Once the coffee has been made, store it in an airtight container. This will prevent mingling of the air with the drink. It is also advised that a metal container not be used to contain coffee as it can react to the acidity in it.
  • It is recommended that at the MOST coffee can be kept for a week in total. Any time after that is not advised or suggested by professionals. When this is done it can cause the coffee to turn bitter and lose the desirable taste many hope for.

So if you make coffee ahead of time then let’s discuss the refrigerator.

How Long Can You Keep Brewed Coffee in the Fridge?

Hot Brewed Coffee

Hot Brew is good after brewing for a short period of only a few hours. While it may not expire immediately, the flavors begin to degrade and change within a couple of hours and the cup will not taste the same.

Your coffee will become more bitter and sour, the acidity will increase significantly, and fruity flavors and sweetness that it once had are lost.

When you are going out of your way to ensure a fresh, delicious cup of coffee brewed with freshly ground coffee beans, there is simply put no method to store this coffee in the fridge for later.

If you will consume the coffee within a couple of hours, you may choose to brew an additional cup ahead of time. It is best to transferred brewed coffee to a carafe or thermos as soon as brewing is complete and store in the thermal container until desired.

By keeping the coffee at temperature and sealed you may get a couple of extra hours from the brew. Remember your coffee will still begin to degrade from exposure to air within hours.

If not kept at a hot or cold temperature your coffee may be unsafe to drink after a few hours.

A thermos or mug that keeps temperature like Ember may be desirable.

Cold Brewed Coffee

Unlike its hotter cousin, cold Brew does not have the same limitation of being good for only hours.

Making cold brew coffee can take up to 24 hours. In turn, this coffee can also be stored in the fridge for a much longer period of time.

As cold brew coffee does not draw as many bitter flavors from the coffee, it is able to keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.

After about a week, you will find that the coffee is starting to concentrate and the flavor will get stronger. At this point you may wish to dilute your cold brew coffee back down to the flavor you enjoy with additional cold water.

If you choose to dilute your cold brew coffee it will only keep in the fridge for two to three days.  Make sure to only dilute what you can drink and only rewarm what you plan on drinking too.

So What is the Best Way to Reheat Cold Coffee?

This applys to either cold brew coffee or coffee you let sit on the counter too long.

Maybe your morning went to chaos and now you’re staring at an iced coffee, but you didn’t order it iced. You want that coffee hot, but won’t the microwave ruin the flavor?

  • Microwave You’re right that the microwave will ruin the flavor of the coffee.
    The many aromatic compounds that makeup the complex flavors of your cup are nuked in the microwaving process and the cup you get out isn’t the same cup of coffee you put in. When it comes out your coffee will be bitter, sour, acidic and lacking the flavor notes that once made it delicious.
  • Dilution Adding a splash of hot water to a cooling down cup of coffee can definitely warm things up without bringing harm to your flavor compounds. However, you may notice that the coffee is a little watery. If so, you’re best to use the stovetop method.
  • Add Fresh Coffee You can add a splash of freshly made coffee to reheat a cool mug, but keep in mind that the flavor of the older coffee has already likely begun to change if it has been sitting out for hours. At this point it would be advisable to pour a fresh cup of coffee and allow the leftovers of the cold cup to be discarded.
  • Make It Fresh The best method will always be to make a fresh cup of coffee. In the time it takes to reheat an old cup on the stove, a fresh one could be made. The taste and experience of a reheated cup can’t compare.

This is the best option for reheating though:

Do it on the Stovetop

An option that would stay true to your cuppa joe would be to reheat it slowly and gently on the stove. This process can take a little bit of time, as you don’t want to use high heat.

Place your coffee in a pot on low heat and wait for it to steam to let you know it’s hot.

You don’t have to babysit the pot but be careful not to overdo it as coffee can burn. Don’t be impatient, higher heat will burn the coffee and can even leave it worse than the microwave could’ve.

The Lesson Of Pre-Making Coffee for Hot or Cold Consumption

Pre-making coffee can be a vital way to conserve time. It will prevent a headache in the rush of daily life and leave the person feeling more prepared for their day.

You can ensure coffee has been made without having to bother with it when things become hectic or fast-paced.

That being said, the appropriate steps and precautions need to be taken when doing so.

It is vital to the whole idea that these be followed so that the effort isn’t entirely wasted. And hopefully, with the right steps, the best cup of coffee that can be made ahead of time will be achieved.

Brian Mounts

Head blogger, editor, and owner of "Top Off My Coffee", a website that has been educating readers about coffee brewing techniques and equipment since 2012.

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