Does Coffee Concentrate Go Bad?

Does Coffee Concentrate Go Bad?

Coffee concentrate has become increasingly popular as a direct result of the rise in demand for different types of coffee. It is designed with its own flavor profile in mind that can take any cup of coffee to the next level, the creation from these concentrates being cold brew coffee.

Often coffee drinkers love their unique taste and the properties of which they add to the beverage.

What is Coffee Concentrate?

The product of coffee concentrate is created from the cold brew process. This is when coffee beans are steeped in water for a duration of a few hours – generally up to 24 for maximum success and flavor.

Afterward, they are then strained to form a potent coffee concentrate that can be considered by some coffee drinkers to be a dark and tasty alternative. Acidity in the coffee made from the concentrate is also less than that of normal coffee.

Many people describe the taste to be strong and bitter in comparison to those done via other brewing methods. The cause of this is the specifics of the brew that end in the harshness that most people associate with the coffee created from this.

It is then stored for use at the brewer’s leisure, however, there are considerations to be made regarding the storing of the concentrate.

Does Coffee Concentrate Go Bad?

Aside from that, though, many have questions regarding the shelf life of coffee concentrate. They want to know the details about how to best keep it and when it will go bad.

The majority of those who are asking may not know the exact details on how to best store and handle the concentrate and when it is time to consider that it is expired or past its prime.

Coffee concentrate should be kept refrigerated until use to get the most out of its lifespan.

The rule of thumb is roughly about two weeks for a homemade concentrate due to the lack of professional settings and capabilities. With that being said, a professionally made brew can stay good for as long as months on end.

But why is the shelf life important?

Well, the concentrate will start to go bad after the period of time listed. It will start to lose its taste and then become a pool for things like bacteria and mold, both of which should avoid being consumed in all cases.

While coffee concentrate can create the best of flavorful concoctions, the person planning to use it should also keep the expiration date of in mind.

So, Is There a Difference Between Coffee Concentrate and Cold Brew Coffee?

When it comes to coffee, there are few simple answers. There are so many varieties, roasting and brewing methods, and even ways of serving it. That said, this is one question we can answer definitively.

Read on for our discussion on whether coffee concentrate and cold brew are different things altogether or simply two terms for the same thing.

What Is Cold Brew?

What’s in a name? Well, in this case, the answer to this question! That is, cold brew is simply coffee that you brew with cold (well, actually room temperature) water, rather than the traditional brewing method with hot water.

To brew coffee without hot water, you have to steep the grounds in the cool water for a long time—anywhere from 15 to 25 hours, in fact.

The resulting coffee is a thick, bold brew. But is it coffee concentrate?

What Is Coffee Concentrate?

Ok, we simply can’t keep it a secret any longer. Coffee concentrate is, indeed, the result of using the cold brewing method. So, yes, cold brew and coffee concentrate are essentially the same thing.

If there is a difference between the two, it’s really just a matter of semantics.

That is, the term “cold brew” is usually reserved for describing the method of brewing coffee concentrate. “Cold brew” can also be used to describe the actual drink that you consume that is made with the coffee concentrate.

To Sum Up This Easy Point of Confusion

As we’ve said, the only difference between coffee concentrate and cold brew is the context in which you’re using the terms.

An easy way to think about it might be something like this: You use the cold brew method to produce coffee concentrate, which you can dilute with water to make a cold brew coffee.

But it’s really not all that important how you use these terms, as most people use them interchangeably and everyone—including the snobbiest baristas—will understand what you’re talking about.

However, don’t mistake iced coffee for cold brew! These two terms are very different, as iced coffee is simply traditional hot-brewed coffee that has been chilled and served on ice. You can see all the differences between these two methods here.

So now with that out of the way lets look deeper into why you may or may not take cold brew coffee concentrate and dilute it for regular drinking.

Should You Dilute Cold Brew Coffee?

So you’ve made your first batch of cold brew concentrate, and now it’s time to try it out. But you might be left wondering: should I dilute my cold brew coffee or just drink it straight up?

Honestly, there’s no right or wrong answer to this question, as it’s simply a matter of your individual preferences and maybe a little bit of economics.

We’ll go over the reasons why you might want to dilute your cold brew concentrate as well as why some people might prefer to drink it straight.

Why Would Someone Dilute Their Cold Brew?

The main reason people dilute their cold brew concentrate before drinking is that they prefer the taste and experience of the beverage that way.

Because you choose how much or how little water you add to the concentrate, you can experiment with different ratios to determine what level of dilution best fits your palate.

Another reason to dilute your cold brew rather than simply drinking it as is, is that it can save you some time and a bit of money. Obviously, if you dilute your concentrate, that batch of cold brew is going to go a lot further before you have to brew another one. This might even save you a tiny bit of money in the long run.

Why Might You Drink Your Concentrate Straight Up?

If you prefer a much stronger cup of coffee, the obvious thing to do is to dilute your concentrate less or simply not at all.

This concentrate is, of course, going to be much bolder, richer, and even thicker on the palate, so those who really love espresso or moka pot coffee might be more inclined to drink their cold brew without diluting.

The great thing about cold brew is that it is so versatile. You can drink it cold or you can drink it hot. You can dilute it with a little water, a lot of water, or none at all.

The world is your oyster, so don’t let anyone else tell you how to live your life, and especially don’t let them tell you how you should drink your coffee!

But for the love, don’t let your concentrate sit in the fridge for too long; it won’t last forever.

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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