Sometimes you're super busy in the morning and need your coffee to be done already by the time you wake up. Or, maybe you'd like a nice cold ice coffee, and hot coffee just won't make it as well.
But can coffee be made the night before ? As in, does it ever go stale ? Does it lose caffeine ? Is it an abomination by morning ? I'd had morning coffee both fresh and from the night before, and there are a few differences. Let me explain.
So can you make coffee the night before ?
Yes, you can make coffee the night before. The only problem is that it won't be as fresh or tasty, unless you keep it in a perfectly airtight container, in the fridge.
It also depends on what you need you coffee for. If you're a very busy person in the morning and you need hot coffee but don't have the time to brew it, then I don't recommend brewing it the night before unless you have a great container/travel mug/thermos. I'll explain why in this article.
But if you're looking to make ice coffee, you won't really be able to pull it off without already cold coffee. Even so, there are alternatives. Let's get into it.
Brewed coffee does get stale, but storage is key
Alright, let's say you need fresh, hot coffee in the morning but don't have time to make it. Brewing coffee the night before would sound like a good trick, but there are some problems.
Coffee remains fresh for only about an hours after brewing, and even then its quality rapidly declines. The aroma will evaporate as the coffee cools down, and you'll be left with a vaguely coffee-tasting brew that won't be very good.
Caffeine on the other hand will not evaporate, and will remain in your coffee pretty much forever. So if it's just the caffeine you're after then it doesn't matter when or how you brew your coffee, the caffeine content will be the same as when freshly brewed.
The main problem with brewing coffee and letting it sit is the fact that it loses its aroma, but not just any way. It's the exposure to air that makes coffee lose its tasty punch.
If you've got an especially wonderful and airtight container to keep your coffee in immediately after brewing, then you're pretty much set. If not, you can look into this one right here.
It's both airtight and keeps the coffee warm, so you can brew it in the morning, and grab it before you head out the door.
Do take care though, because even if the container is airtight and keeps the coffee warm, it will still cool if you let it stand for more than 12 hours.
You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well.
This will work well with any kind of coffee you make, be it filter, espresso, French press, mocha, even Turkish style. Just be warned that if you want your coffee to be as fresh as possible, you should buy whole coffee beans, and grind them right before you brew your coffee.
Using already ground beans will dampen the taste of your coffee, even if was an airtight bag the grounds were kept in.
You can set up the coffee machine the night before
If you're wondering about whether you can set up the coffee machine the night before, you definitely can. Just know that the coffee beans or grounds should be exposed to as little air as possible overnight, so your cup is as fresh as possible when brewed.
I've used this method more than once in especially busy periods of the year. I know setting up the coffee doesn't take all that much, but honestly sometimes it's just too much in the morning, you know ?
So if you do this, you're going to have to be okay with not-as-fresh coffee.
Whatever kind of coffee machine you've got, be it filter, espresso, even a Moka pot, they can be filled with coffee the night before. Just make sure that the beans or grounds aren't exposed overnight.
Add as much water as needed, and try to not add any cold water since the warmer the water is, the better the brew.
If your machine has a times, then do set it to whatever hours you need a fresh cup of coffee at. If it doesn't, then you'll have to wait on the coffee a bit until it's done. Mine doesn't have a timer, but I'm perfectly fine with waiting for the brew to be done while I make some breakfast.
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If you're making iced coffee, you need it brewed and chilled
So what if you need your coffee for a different purpose ? As in, yes you still need it for the taste and caffeine, but what if you need it for iced coffee ?
Well, in that case you have two options. Whichever option you choose, please remember that the water in the ice cubes will water down your drink. So make a double-strong coffee, or use ice cubes made of frozen coffee !
The first option is to hot brew the coffee some hours before serving, and in some cases that could mean the night before.
But if you're planning on serving ice coffee to guests at 3 pm, I don't recommend brewing it the night before since too much time will pass over the brew and it will go stale. I'll give you an alternative.
You can either brew the coffee in the morning, after your usual cup, or brew it cold. We'll get to that in a second.
If you do brew your coffee hot, and need it for iced coffee, then transfer the whole brew to a clean glass container, and put a lid on it. If it can become airtight then that's great.
The lid will protect the brew from catching the tastes and smells from other foods in your fridge, and will also keep the water content the same. It will still turn a bit stale, but not nearly as much as if you'd left it 12 hours or without a lid.
Consider cold brewing your coffee
Cold brewing is just adding the coffee grounds to cold water, in a glass container with a lid, and letting it sit like that for about 10-12 hours. you might argues that it would get stale, since I just said to not leave coffee out that long.
That is only true for hot brewed coffee. Cold brewing brings out the flavors in a different way, and as such they're not as sensitive to temperature and won't evaporate as easily.
That being said, if you were to somehow heat the cold brew you'd lose a lot of aroma. It basically the change in temperature (and ensuing evaporation) that ruins a nice pot of coffee.
So for a nice iced coffee, I recommend cold brewing your coffee. You'll have to strain it, or somehow fit a filter into your container. But it will give you a much better result than hot brewed and then cooled coffee.
If you're wondering if you can just add hot coffee to a bunch of ice - no. It won't be as good. It has to be completely chilled even before you add the ice.
Whichever way you want to have your coffee, keep in mind that it does lose flavor over time and you might just end up with a very unhappy cup of coffee if you brew it the night before.
If you need your coffee in the morning but have no time to brew, I'd recommend taking a good look at your schedule.
Is there really no room in your morning ritual for 5 extra minutes to set up and brew your coffee ?
It would make a big difference in terms of taste when the coffee is fresh.
That being said, I hope the tips on iced coffee will help you out whenever you're in need of them. I for one love iced coffee, but ti has the be the middle of summer and a scorching heat. And a very very big glass of coffee.
If you want to know more about coffee or tea, feel free to check the related articles below. Who knows what else you might find ?