Espresso is a highly concentrated coffee brewed with finely ground beans and very hot water under high pressure. It is prized for its bold flavor and tantalizing aroma.
But both the flavor and aroma dissipate quickly, leaving many asking, “How long does espresso last?”
The answer depends on both your personal taste and the intended use of the espresso. For example:
- Hot espresso: If you drink espresso for the intense flavor experience, you will likely be disappointed if it sits more than a few minutes.
- Cold espresso: If you like your espresso in cold espresso-based drinks, it can stay fresh for a few hours.
In This Article
How Long Does Espresso Last?
Facts about espresso freshness:
Brewed espresso begins to go stale within minutes of brewing but has an acceptable flavor for about two hours. It can be kept in the refrigerator for a day or two before the crema dissipates. At which point, the oils from the coffee beans rise to the surface while the rest of the coffee settles. This gives your espresso a sour or bitter taste.
Espresso left out at room temperature will go bad even quicker. It will quickly progress from losing its crema to becoming a muddy sludge as the oils rise and break down and the rest of the coffee settles.
Although stale espresso won’t hurt you, its flavor won’t be pleasant.
Therefore, it’s best to discard brewed espresso as soon as the crema dissipates unless you want to use it for cold espresso-based drinks.
How Long Do Espresso Beans Last?
Unopened espresso beans will stay fresh for about a month at room temperature and up to two months in the refrigerator. After the beans are open, they will lose flavor relatively quickly. They will stay fresh in the fridge for about a week but are best if used within 4 or 5 days.
How Long Can You Keep Espresso in the Fridge?
Brewed espresso will stay fresh in the fridge for a day or two, but it will begin to lose some flavor. Espresso stored in the refrigerator be used for cold espresso drinks but isn’t suitable for hot beverages. Store brewed espresso in a glass jar or container to help preserve its flavor.
Espresso beans can be stored in the refrigerator for 4 or 5 days after they are opened or for up to two months if they haven’t been opened.
What Drinks Can You Make with Cold Espresso?
Making cold espresso-based drinks is a great way to use leftover espresso stored in the fridge. Try these refreshing drinks on a hot summer’s day to reap the benefits of espresso while enjoying a cold drink.
- Iced Latte: Add 8 ounces of milk to a shot of cold espresso to make a delicious iced latte.
- Vietnamese Iced Coffee: This iced espresso drink features cold, sweetened condensed milk and a shot or two of espresso served over ice.
- Iced Cappuccino: Start with a double shot of espresso and add two tablespoons of milk and a teaspoon of your favorite syrup. Serve over ice.
- Iced Mocha: Make a quick iced mocha with cold espresso by combining the espresso, milk, and a splash of chocolate syrup and pouring it over ice. Top it with a bit of whipped cream for a delicious treat.
Freezing leftover espresso in the ice cube tray and storing them in a bag in the freezer can make your cold drinks even more flavorful, as the coffee flavor won’t get diluted as the ice melts in your cup.
Why Does Espresso Lose Its Freshness?
Espresso loses its flavor quickly because the oils in the espresso begin to break down and decompose. As a result, the crema on top dissipates as CO2 is released into the air. This action causes the espresso to lose its characteristic flavor and turns bitter or sour.
What’s the Best Way to Keep Espresso Fresh?
The best way to keep espresso fresh is to store it in the fridge. Brewed espresso can be stored in a glass container for a day or two and used in cold espresso-based drinks.
Ground espresso beans should also be stored in the fridge in an airtight container. It will stay fresh for about a week but is best if used within 4 or 5 days.
Whole, unopened espresso beans can be stored in the pantry for up to a month and in the fridge for two months without losing their freshness.
How Fresh Should Espresso Be?
Espresso has the best flavor when drunk shortly after brewing it, but you need to let it cool for a bit. Espresso machines brew espresso at about 200 degrees, but it is best served at about 150 degrees, as this is when the rich flavor from the beans is most enjoyable.
Allowing the espresso to cool for too long will also compromise the characteristic espresso flavor you crave.
However, freshly brewed espresso intended for cold espresso-based drinks can be stored in the refrigerator for a day or two before a significant loss in flavor.
If you are making espresso-based hot drinks, use the espresso as soon as it has been pulled for the best flavor.
How Do I Know if Espresso is No Longer Fresh?
The first indication that your espresso is no longer fresh is the dissipation of the crema. This indicates it has begun to lose its freshness, but it doesn’t mean you can’t drink it.
A bitter or sour taste indicates that your espresso is going bad or is no longer fresh.
If left too long, the cup of espresso with become thick and sludgy and may even emit an unpleasant odor.
As a rule, you can store espresso in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to two days to use in cold espresso-based drinks.
Are There Any Practical Uses for Old Espresso?
If you have leftover espresso and don’t want to let it go to waste, there are several ways you can use it.
- Store it in the refrigerator for up to two days to use in cold espresso-based drinks. Place it in a glass container to preserve the best flavor.
- Freeze it in ice cube trays if you don’t intend to use it within a day or two. Pop the frozen espresso cubes in frozen drinks to keep them from diluting your beverage as the cubes melt.
- Use it to flavor desserts like mousse, brownies, chocolate cake, or tiramisu.
- Make coffee ice cream.
Frequently Asked Questions
Espresso beans have been roasted for a long time at a high temperature to extract the oils from the coffee beans. This gives espresso its characteristic bold, rich flavor. Either Arabic or Robusta beans can be used for espresso. In fact, any dark roast coffee bean can be used for espresso as long as you grind the beans to the right grind size.
The 10-second rule for espresso refers to the time between pulling the shot and adding it to whatever drink you are making, says Time Out. Reportedly, taking more than 10 seconds to add it to the beverage causes the espresso to lose flavor and turn bitter.
While 10 seconds may be an exaggeration, it is best to use freshly brewed espresso immediately after brewing to preserve the best quality and flavor.
Espresso begins to lose its flavor within an hour or two of brewing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drink it. In fact, you can store brewed espresso in the fridge in a glass jar for a day or two for making cold espresso-based drinks.
However, if the espresso is extremely bitter or sour, emits a bad odor, or looks sludgy, it is best to avoid drinking it. As a rule, drink freshly brewed espresso while it is still hot, or store freshly brewed espresso in the fridge for cold drinks for a day or two.
Espresso has the best flavor at about 150 degrees. A higher temperature poses the risk of burning you and makes it difficult to taste the flavor of the beans. A lower temperature posed the risk of losing flavor as the crema dissipates and oils separate from the brew.
Reheating espresso is perfectly safe, but that doesn’t mean it will have the flavor and aroma you expect. According to Tasting Table, not only does the composition of coffee change as it cools, becoming more acidic, but reheating coffee also reorganizes the chemical composition of coffee, ruining its flavor and aroma.
Try refrigerating leftover espresso instead and use it in cold expresso-based drinks.
For the best espresso experience, brew it fresh whenever you want a hot espresso drink.
Ristretto is the strongest type of espresso. Because only the first part of an espresso shot is pulled, it is sometimes called a short or restricted shot. Ristretto is sweeter and less bitter than a traditional espresso but actually contains more coffee flavor, says Parachute Coffee.
Ristretto also contains more caffeine by volume because it is more concentrated.
A single shot of espresso contains 64.5 milligrams of caffeine. So doing the math, there are
Final Thoughts on How Long Espresso Lasts
If you drink espresso in the morning because you savor the rich, intense flavor and heavenly aroma, you will likely want to avoid espresso that has been sitting for more than a few minutes. However, if it is the caffeine jolt you are looking for, you may be fine with a decrease in flavor and aroma, as sitting does not affect the caffeine content of the espresso.