Coffee lovers all over the world crave iced coffee on a hot day. However, sometimes we make too much iced coffee. Or maybe you want to save some time when making that perfect homemade iced coffee that you so love by making extra for later use? Either way, you might be wondering if you can freeze it.
The good news is that you can freeze iced coffee, but to be honest, it is more a question of if you should rather than if you can. I mean, you can, but it will not taste the same as freshly brewed coffee. The texture and flavor of the coffee will not be the same as when it was fresh.
This is because when you freeze iced coffee, it can affect its flavor and texture. As coffee freezes, ice crystals form. This, in turn, could cause the coffee to separate or become watery when it thaws.
Why I Won’t Freeze My Iced Coffee
I like iced coffee and cold brew coffee, in particular, is really high on my list of favorite iced coffee drinks. However, I also think that the best coffee is fresh coffee and freezing coffee influences the taste of the coffee.
This means that I try my best not to have any leftover coffee. I prefer to make a fresh brew each time, which, I think is your best option.
However, if you do end up with extra coffee a great option would be to make coffee ice cubes instead of letting the coffee go to waste. So, technically, if you think about it you can freeze it. I just won’t recommend your using it for the base of your drink afterward. Just use it to help cool your iced drink.
My reason for this is that regular ice cubes will inevitably water down your iced coffee drinks as it melts. This is why I think it is a great idea to freeze your leftover cold coffee in an ice tray. Coffee cubes will not do this and this way the rich coffee flavor will not go to waste.
Tips for Freezing Iced Coffee
However, if you are set on freezing your iced coffee for the next hot summer day there are a few things that you can do to make sure that the coffee is preserved in the best way.
To freeze iced coffee successfully, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Freeze your coffee in an airtight container. This will ensure that your coffee’s flavor isn’t affected by the flavors of whatever else you have in your fridge. Plastic containers with tight-fitting lids or plastic freezer bags are good options.
- If you decide on making ice cubes, you’ll of course use an ice cube tray. As they are usually not airtight, cover the ice cube tray with plastic wrap or a freezer bag. You could also put the tray in a normal plastic bag and use a vacuum sealer to protect your coffee from adapting the flavors of the other things in your freezer.
- You don’t want to leave your coffee in the freezer for too long time. A great way to avoid confusion later is to label your container with the date. This will help you keep track of how long the coffee has been in the freezer. Which, in turn, will avoid any unpleasant surprises later.
- When freezing iced coffee, leave some extra space in the container for the liquid to expand as it freezes. If the container is too full, the coffee may spill. The container could also crack as the liquid expands.
- It is a good idea to give your frozen coffee enough time to thaw either in the fridge or at room temperature. This will help prevent the coffee from separating or becoming watery. Some say you can also thaw the coffee in the microwave. If I did that I’d stir it frequently to ensure even heating. This could help prevent further loss of flavor by making sure that it melts more evenly
- For better results, do not freeze your coffee if it had been mixed with other ingredients such as whole milk. Freezing black coffee is s very good option.
- A good rule of thumb is not to leave coffee in the freezer for more than three months. The longer you freeze it, the more likely it is that the texture and flavor will be affected. To ensure that your iced coffee tastes as fresh as possible, try to use it within a month of freezing.
Why I Recommend Ice Cubes
If you end up freezing coffee, I’d do it in the form of ice cubes. This way if you use it for the recipes that I will mention in the next section, it will melt much faster, which, will be quite convenient. Because, as I mentioned, it is actually a bad idea to defrost frozen coffee in a microwave.
Other Ways of Using Left-Over Coffee
I mean, there is nothing that says that you have to drink the coffee that you froze as you would have before. There are quite a few other things that you can do with the coffee.
There are many coffee-favored desserts that you can make using extra coffee. You can also use coffee ice cubes if you do not want to make these recipes immediately.
Cake, Brownies, Waffles, or Pancakes
Things like cake, brownies, waffles and pancakes can be flavored with coffee to spice things up. Just substitute the water in the recipe with the coffee that you have left. If you want to use coffee that you froze earlier, let it thaw first and then add it to the batter.
If you find that using the coffee to completely substitute the water ends up being too much coffee, you can always use less coffee and add some water.
Also, if your recipe uses a liquid such as milk and no water. I don’t recommend using just coffee. In these cases, I would definitely use a mixture of coffee and other liquid. Maybe start by using a tablespoon or two of coffee for each cup of liquid.
Coffee Flavored Frosting
It could be that you either do not want to make a full-on coffee-flavored cake. In these cases, you can flavor the frosting with your leftover coffee.
This recipe goes well with, for example, chocolate cake. Or maybe you want to double up on the coffee flavor.
In either of these cases, you can once again substitute either all or part of the liquid in your normal frosting recipe for coffee to taste.
Something else that you can consider is to make a drink like a mocha with the coffee. By adding some chocolate to the drink, the changed flavor will be hidden and the coffee doesn’t have to go to waste.
Can I Put My Cold-Brewed Coffee in the Fridge?
Another option to consider before freezing cold brew is to put it in the fridge. The fridge doesn’t influence the taste of the coffee as much as freezing it.
Cold brew is known for having quite a long shelf life. However, this long life is dependent on storing the coffee in the fridge. So, yes, you can. This is very convenient because of the long time that it takes to make cold brew concentrate.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind when putting your cold brew in the fridge. Read more on how to store your cold brew in the fridge.