Does premixing iced coffee with half-and-half spell disaster?
July 31, 2014 9:16 AM   Subscribe

Once I've made cold-brew iced coffee, I drink it over about 5 days. Is there any reason that I can't mix in the half-and-half on day 1?

I was wondering if the acidity of the coffee would have any effect on the stability of the half and half. (Is the coffee not acidic enough for this to matter? I was thinking of how your get crema/sour cream type results if you add vinegar to half and half or heavy cream.)

I've done this for 24 hours with no ill-result, but I was interested in thoughts on the longer storage period. I know I could experiment, but waste! and also I'm curious about the theory.
posted by mercredi to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It might be OK, but I'd at least give it a good sniff before you drink it... the container the half-and-half comes in is sterile, and once you transfer the half-and-half out of it, it starts going bad much more quickly than it would if left in its original container. If anything I would expect the coffee-and-half-and-half to last longer than plain half-and-half out of its original container (because... dilution? preservative effects of caffeine? I'm basically making this part up is what I'm saying).

If you have a nice clean jar or tupperware or something, try pouring a few tablespoons of half-and-half into it and returning it to the fridge. I'm guessing that after five days it will be noticeably "off."
posted by mskyle at 9:24 AM on July 31, 2014

You'll know when it starts going off because you'll get tiny tiny little yoghurt curds at the top of the container. Four days is fine in my house in a sealed, refrigerated jar or container ; 5 might be pushing it but some of this will actually depend on your fridge.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:44 AM on July 31, 2014

In Australia you can buy premixed Iced Coffees in cartons. The coffee is mixed with milk & glucose not half and half, but they last the same length of time as normal milk. That is at a higher milk to coffee ratio than I am imagining you want to mix it with half and half & is more like a cold latte. The cream might float to the top as cream is want to do but a quick stir or shake should mix it all up again.
posted by wwax at 9:47 AM on July 31, 2014

I don't have a direct answer, but since you've done it successfully for 24h already, maybe you could try it for longer and longer each time (maybe adding a day after each success), instead of jumping right to 5 days? And even if it curdles it should still be drinkable, if you're really concerned about the waste.
posted by randomnity at 10:14 AM on July 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

One option for long-term cold-brew storage: pre-mixed half-and-half is really nice in coffee ice cubes, which will last well over five days.
posted by magdalemon at 10:16 AM on July 31, 2014 [4 favorites]

It can be done. Stumptown Coffee already makes that available to buy. It tastes a bit gross though; there's something off about it.

It might separate and look a bit weird, just give it a good shake before you do. Freshly made each week, you should be fine. Anything more and you'll start to get some weird flavors going on.
posted by furnace.heart at 11:15 AM on July 31, 2014

The coffee shop I work at stores pitchers of cold brewed espresso mixed with skim and whole milk for making blended drinks in the fridge- we usually go through it in two or three days, but it keeps pretty well. You might start to notice some weird separation because of the higher fat content, plus the coffee itself starts to taste different after a few days, but it's worth a shot.
posted by MadamM at 12:41 PM on July 31, 2014

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