Thursday, December 7, 2023

Does Coffee Lose Caffeine Over Time: Everything You Need To Know?

by Mads

If you have ever let your cup of coffee sit for too long, you would have noticed it starts to taste different. The taste worsens the longer you let it sit. But what is it that causes the change in its taste? Is it because it starts to lose its caffeine content after some time?

Simply answered, no, coffee does not lose caffeine over time. Regardless of how long your coffee sits on the counter, the caffeine quantity will remain the same. However, it will lose its flavor.

So, if you let your cup of coffee sit on the counter for eight to nine hours and come back to drink it, the caffeine will still be there, but the flavor wouldn’t because the flavanols are the first to vanish when it comes to the coffee shelf life.

To understand why this happens, let’s look at caffeine in general and what happens to it after brewing.

What Is Caffeine?

Caffeine itself is a natural stimulant. It is found in cocoa beans, kola nuts, and of course, coffee beans as well. It works by blocking specific hormone receptors which promote sleep. Thus, it activates the brain and makes us feel more awake.

Caffeine also increases adrenaline levels. Adrenaline functions increase your heart rate and blood pressure. This is what gives you the push of energy after drinking coffee.

Physically, if you take caffeine from coffee beans, it will look like a white powderish substance. It is water-soluble and has a very high melting point of around 235 degrees Celcius. This is why caffeine doesn’t evaporate while brewing coffee, as the melting point of caffeine is way above any brewing method.

The only time caffeine will ever evaporate is if you deliberately extract it out to make decaf.

Learn more about boiling water in a coffee maker.

Does Coffee Ever Lose Caffeine?

We have established that coffee won’t just lose its caffeine content over a few days or even months. But there must be a limit to it?

Unprocessed roasted coffee or grounds will remain potent for four years. However, caffeine breaks down at prolonged rates even after that period.

So it is safe to say that you don’t have to worry about your coffee losing its caffeine factor any time soon.

Why Does The Taste Change Over Time?

Our brain perceives a change in taste because of the change in caffeine quantity in our coffee. However, as we have discussed, that is not true. So, if it is not the caffeine making your coffee taste bad, what is it?

When we talk about unbrewed coffee, coffee can retain its flavor for long periods if it is not roasted. Roasted coffee only lasts a couple of weeks because it goes through an oxidation process, losing its flavor.

Brewed coffee lasts even less. A cup of coffee retains its flavor as long as it stays heated. However, it will lose its unique taste and aroma as soon as it cools down and won’t give you the same punch.

Can Reheating Coffee bring Back Its Taste?

It is easy to believe that since a hot cup of coffee will retain its taste, reheating stale coffee might make it taste better. However, that is not the case at all.

Reheating brewed coffee won’t bring back its original taste or feel the same. However, it’s not going to taste horrible either, and will only help evaporate whatever aroma it has left.

Therefore, we suggest drinking your coffee while it’s hot or storing it in a thermos if you have to. But in case it gets cold, there’s nothing much you can do to bring back its flavor.

Does Storing Coffee Beans Affect Caffeine?

Have you ever wondered if the caffeine amount is affected in the coffee beans that are just stored? Never brewed or never ground?

Storing your bag of coffee beans correctly in an airtight bag can make the caffeine in the coffee beans last up to four years. After four years, the caffeine content will slowly and gradually fade.

However, the flavor and aroma of the stored coffee beans will be the first to disappear. Therefore, it mainly depends on the amount of fragrance infused in the coffee beans.


The caffeine content in your coffee is not affected over time. The amount of caffeine in your brewed coffee will remain the same even after drinking it 6 hours later.

Unless you have four-year-old roasted coffee or ground slaying around, you have no reason to worry about your coffee losing its caffeine. Even after four years, it takes a long time for the caffeine levels to decrease to the point where the difference may be noticeable.

So sit back and enjoy your cup of coffee. Just make sure you drink your cup of coffee while it’s hot if flavor matters to you.

How does Caffeine taste?

Caffeine has a very bitter, soapy taste on its own. However, when combined with other ingredients in coffee, it creates new flavors.

Are there any downsides to drinking caffeine?

Too much of anything can be harmful. As long as you consume regular amounts of caffeine, there are no harmful effects on your health and body. However, too much consumption can increase blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

What factors can affect the caffeine content in coffee?

There are many different factors that can affect how much caffeine is in your coffee. Some of these include:
– Type of coffee bean
– Brewing Method
– The quantity of coffee grounds used.

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