Nothing compares to the rich, frothy taste of a freshly brewed shot of espresso. But sometimes you might pull a shot of espresso and then find that you don’t have enough time to enjoy it right away. Or perhaps you own or work at a coffee shop, and you pulled a shot of espresso that didn’t get used. This may lead you to wonder, how long does an espresso shot last? Can espresso be stored or used later? The answer is not definite, and there are several factors to consider.
How Long Does an Espresso Shot Last?
Immediately after being pulled, an espresso shot will only be fresh, hot, and ready to add to a hot drink for a few minutes. If an espresso shot has been pulled for a hot drink, the espresso will be creamy and frothy. Combined with the steamed milk, it will create a delicious treat.
After the espresso has sat for a few minutes, the froth will begin to settle and the shot will begin to cool down. It will lose the creamy texture that results from the high temperatures of brewing.
If you plan to use a shot of espresso in a cold drink, it can last for half a day in the fridge. Over time, the espresso will become bitter and the shot will begin to separate. While it may not technically expire or become unsafe to drink, it will certainly not be as enjoyable as fresh espresso.
Can a Shot of Espresso Be Stored in the Fridge?
A shot of espresso can be stored in the fridge, but only if you plan to use the shot for a cold beverage or incorporate the shot in another recipe. If you plan to brew a shot of espresso to be used in a hot beverage, the shot should be served almost immediately. Even after sitting out for a few minutes, the espresso shot will begin to decrease in quality.
For a cold beverage, the shot is immediately chilled by the drink when it is added regardless, so it is not as big of a deal if the shot is stored in the fridge for a few hours before serving. If you’re planning to serve customers a cold drink, it may still be best to brew a fresh shot of espresso just to ensure that you’re offering the highest quality beverage possible.
If you’re planning to serve yourself, friends, or family a cold drink, you can try serving a drink made with espresso that has been stored in the fridge for a few hours. Most likely, they will not notice any difference, and if they do, you will know for future reference that the quality of the drink could be sacrificed if the espresso is stored for too long.
What Happens to a Shot of Espresso After It Has Been Pulled?
After a shot of espresso has been pulled, it immediately begins to react with oxygen in the air, and the chemical components of the shot begin to change. This is why it is very important to serve a shot immediately after it has been pulled.
Oxygen promotes the release of chlorogenic acid from the shot, which causes the shot to taste more bitter the longer that it is exposed to oxygen. When a fresh shot is added to steamed milk or water, it is no longer exposed to oxygen, so the flavor of the shot is preserved.
If you have left a shot of espresso out for more than a few minutes, it is most likely not going to be suitable for a hot beverage anymore. The texture and flavor of the shot will not be satisfactory, especially to people who are used to having fresh shots of espresso in their drinks.
Fortunately, a shot of espresso can be reused if it is stored in the fridge, just not for a hot drink. There are plenty of creative ways that a chilled espresso shot can be used, such as in an iced latte or espresso martini.
Can I Reheat a Shot of Espresso?
A shot of espresso should not be reheated. Reheating a pulled shot of espresso will essentially overcook the espresso, which can lead to the espresso tasting bitter or burned. In addition, reheating the espresso will not restore the creamy, frothy texture of a freshly brewed shot of espresso.
However, if you wish to do so, it is possible to reheat espresso. Do not reheat espresso by microwaving it — this will not restore the flavor in any aspect and will likely make the espresso taste even worse. Additionally, reheating espresso on the stove is not the best method either. If you really want to reheat a shot of espresso, you will see the best results by using a milk frother.
Using a milk frother to reheat a shot of espresso will mimic the original frothiness of a freshly brewed shot of espresso while raising the temperature of the espresso gently to prevent overcooking.
However, a reheated shot of espresso will likely not taste as good as a fresh shot of espresso no matter what. If you have the means to do so, it is best to simply pull a fresh shot of espresso to guarantee the best results. If you have a leftover shot of espresso that you’re considering reheating, you may want to see what else you could do with a cold shot of espresso before deciding to reheat it.
What Can I Make With a Refrigerated Espresso Shot?
There are a variety of ways to use a refrigerated shot of espresso. The most obvious is to use the refrigerated shot to create an iced latte. In an iced latte, the taste of the espresso will likely not be noticeably different than if the shot of espresso was fresh.
An iced latte can be created using ice, milk, espresso shots, and any additional syrups or flavorings of your choice.
A shot of espresso can also be added to dishes such as yogurt, oatmeal, and ice cream to create a coffee flavor. You could also make baked goods, such as espresso flavored brownies.
If you have coffee liqueur and vodka on hand, you can even make espresso martinis.
What Does a Refrigerated Espresso Shot Taste Like?
The taste of a refrigerated shot of espresso is quite different than a fresh shot of espresso. In order to fully understand the difference, it is important to try a fresh shot of espresso by itself at some point. A fresh shot of espresso will have a rich, creamy, and strong flavor.
After espresso sits for a while or is chilled in the refrigerator, its flavor will begin to change as it is exposed to oxygen. The espresso will lose its creamy texture and become chalky as it separates from the water. The flavor will become overpoweringly bitter, especially if it sits for a long time.
Upon learning this, you may wonder how a refrigerated shot of espresso can possibly be used at all. Fortunately, when the espresso is combined with other flavors, the bitterness of the espresso balances out. After adding chilled espresso to an iced latte or another recipe, you likely won’t notice the difference.
The difference between fresh espresso and chilled espresso is most noticeable when it comes to hot coffee beverages and drinking a shot of espresso by itself. With a hot coffee beverage, the flavors and texture of the espresso are crucial.
Even those who aren’t seasoned coffee connoisseurs will likely notice the difference if their hot coffee is made with a chilled shot of espresso. They might not know exactly what’s wrong, but they’ll definitely be aware that it isn’t the same.
In a cold drink, a refrigerated shot of espresso will likely taste just fine to most consumers. Some fast-paced, automated coffee shops even brew larger amounts of espresso in the morning to use in cold drinks throughout the day, although most coffee shops will pull fresh espresso for every customer throughout the day in order to offer the highest quality coffee possible.
Can I Refrigerate Ground Espresso?
Espresso or coffee beans should not be refrigerated. The quality of espresso beans are preserved best when left in a dry, room temperature area away from direct light.
Final Thoughts: How Long Does an Espresso Shot Last?
So, how long does an espresso shot last? First of all, it is best to serve espresso shots immediately. However, if you pull a shot of espresso and cannot use it immediately, espresso can be chilled and stored in the fridge for roughly half a day. When added to a cold drink or other recipe, a chilled shot of espresso should suffice without sacrificing quality. Whether you enjoy your espresso fresh or choose to use it after storing it for a few hours, espresso is an excellent way to enhance the flavor of a variety of drinks and recipes.