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I'm a bit of an iced-coffee snob – I love a good, rich tasting coffee, and love the smooth flavor of cold-brewed coffee; unfortunately, the only time I have to make it is the weekends, and it lasts for one to two days in the fridge before being consumed, leaving the rest of my week relegated to Keurig brewed over ice, or a trip to Starbucks.

I had the thought to brew coffee on Saturdays and to store it in lock-top amber bottles in the refrigerator on Sunday, but I wanted to know how long I could expect the coffee to be safe to drink? Is there anything I can do differently to extend the shelf-life of my cold-brewed coffee?

share|improve this question… was helpful in giving a rough week for "brewed coffee", but assumes the application of heat to the process. I'm not sure if this, like the preservation qualities in canning, makes a difference. – stslavik May 15 '13 at 22:26
Try googling Japanese Iced Coffee where you drip-brew directly over ice. It doesn't take any longer to make than normal drip-brew and many people prefer it to cold-brewed. – Chris Steinbach May 16 '13 at 17:43
@ChrisSteinbach It's essentially what I've been doing; adjusting the Keurig to brew with half-ice on a smaller setting. It works, it's just not the same smooth flavor I get from cold-brewing. My problem has been that I haven't wanted to make more than one batch for fear of it going bad and making my wife and I sick. Much appreciated though! – stslavik May 20 '13 at 17:46
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Most cold-brew advocates that I have seen actually create a coffee concentrate, that they then dilute to drinking strength.

This article from The Nourishing Gourmet is typical in indicating that the concentrate can be held for about one week; the recipe at The Chow says 5 days. Bon Appetit is an outlier claiming you can prepare the concentrate up to two weeks ahead of time.

The general consensus is clearly that you should be able to get through the work week, in any case.

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Thank you! That at least confirms that I should be able to make it through the week! – stslavik May 20 '13 at 17:40
I will add that the infamous Toddy cold brew instructions say that the concentrate is good for two weeks in the refrigerator. – Kyle Hayes Aug 29 '15 at 15:41

I was searching for something else, and saw an article on this in the Korean Journal of Food Science and Technology. Sadly it's in a journal I don't have access to, and it's in Korean, except for the abstract, which is:

This study was designed to evaluate the changes in the physicochemical properties and antioxidant activity of Dutch coffee (cold brew) under different conditions of extraction and storage. Dutch coffee was extracted from ground coffee soaked in water at 4 or 20℃ and stored for 8 weeks at 4 or 20 ℃. The storage temperature affected the decline in pH and increase in acidity compared to the extraction temperature. The total phenol content partly decreased during the storage period. As the extraction temperature increased, the ABTS [2,2"-azinobis-(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid)] and DPPH (2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl) radical-scavenging activities also increased; in fact, DPPH radical-scavenging activity showed a general increase. As the storage time prolonged, the caffeine content decreased, but the contents of caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid increased. The results for all kinds of samples indicated that the general bacterial count was <1 CFU/mL, which indicated that the coffee can be stored for and consumed within 8 weeks.

8 weeks!

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I have a Hario Cold Brewer, which doubles as a pitcher and does not seal. I have a batch in my fridge for around 5-7 days. When I tried it, it was definitely rancid. Id say 2 days if the container isn't air tight.

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