While some coffee lovers enjoy their cup of coffee black with no additives, many of us, including myself, wouldn’t dare drink it without our favorite coffee creamers. Nowadays, there is such a variety of creamers to choose from.
Depending on what type of coffee creamer you are using will determine how long it can last refrigerated or not. So, how do you know how long your specific coffee creamer will last?
Liquid dairy coffee creamers are good for up to a couple of weeks past the “use-by” date on the package if left unopened. However, once opened, it will only last one to two weeks in the refrigerator. Other variations of coffee creamers will last longer.
Let’s delve deeper into multiple kinds of creamers, how long they should be good for, and what can happen if consumed after it’s gone bad.
Variations of Coffee Creamers and How Long They Last
Thankfully, there isn’t a one size fits all creamer for our coffee in the coffee world. From liquid to powered and dairy to non-dairy, there are plentiful options. Then, there are the ever-changing flavors you can try. Let’s look at the various creamers to choose from and how they hold up regarding their longevity or shelf life.
Dairy creamer typically consists of milk, cream, sugar, and often flavoring. As a result, refrigeration is always needed, whether it’s unopened or opened, and should be used within one to two weeks once opened. Always check the “use by” date on the packaging as well.
Luckily for those who can’t or wish not to drink dairy, we have the option to use non-dairy creamers in our coffee.
If the product you are using is a non-dairy powder, storing it in an UNOPENED, tightly sealed container in a dark and cool cupboard is just fine.
If unopened, check the “best used by” date and use it within four weeks after the date. If opened, be sure to store it in the refrigerator and use it within one to two weeks.
Powdered Coffee Creamers
Powered coffee creamers are probably the easiest creamer to store and stays good the longest. This type of creamer can stay good for months even after the “use-by date” on the package.
I store mine in a pantry at room temperature with the lid tightened to prevent moisture from entering. If your powered creamer shows signs of moisture or is clumping up in balls, I suggest tossing it and using a new container.
This moisture and/or clumping could lead to bacteria growth and thus spoiling your creamer.
Liquid Coffee Creamer
Any creamer, whether it is dairy or non-dairy, that is liquid isn’t going to last as long as powdered. Always check the “best used by” date on the package; if unopened, I suggest only using it one to two weeks after the date.
Once you open the liquid creamer, use it within one week, two at max.
Individual Creamer Cups
Individual creamer packages are typically found at restaurants but can also be purchased for home use. These store longer than your typical liquid creamers, and refrigeration is unnecessary.
Although these single-serve creamers don’t need to be chilled, they should never be left in a warm sunny area. It’s best to keep them in a cupboard or drawer.
Always check the “best by” date on the packaging, but single-serve creamers are often good for six months. Once the cup is opened, it is preferable to use it immediately, but if necessary can be stored in the refrigerator and covered for a couple of days.
The figures listed above are just estimates. It is always best to inspect your creamer if you are unsure.
How to Tell if Your Coffee Creamer is no Longer Good?
We’ve just gone over how long each type of creamer lasts, either opened or unopened, but sometimes you may not be sure how long ago you opened your coffee creamer. What do you do then? How do you tell if it is safe to use?
This is when your detective skills come in. Examine the creamer for changes in appearance, smell, and taste. This is especially true for your liquid creamers.
If you see any signs of a change in texture, as in clumps or chunkiness, throw it away! Also, smell to see if there is a sour smell or if it just doesn’t smell right. Lastly, if its appearance and odor have not changed, do a small taste test. Drink a teaspoon before pouring it into your cup of coffee.
What Can Happen if Bad Coffee Creamer is Consumed?
While it is often completely fine to consume certain foods after their expiration date, you must be cautious about coffee creamer. As we discussed earlier in this article, any coffee creamer that is liquid and/or dairy will spoil much faster than other powered and non-dairy creamers.
Once a particular creamer goes bad, they become contaminated with fungus and bacteria. If consumed, your stomach will likely not be too happy with you and let you know. Consuming spoiled creamer can cause food poisoning that can often lead to digestive issues, including stomach aches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Drinking only a tiny amount of spoiled coffee creamer, such as when you are doing a taste test, will not likely cause severe digestive symptoms. However, consuming larger amounts can cause the issues stated above.
These symptoms will likely resolve within 12-24 hours. If you aren’t feeling better after this timeframe, consult your doctor for further care.
How to Make Coffee Creamer Last Longer
If you are looking for ways to make your creamer last longer, one solution is to store it in the freezer. Like many other foods, freezing it will, in a sense, freeze the expiration date on the label.
When freezing a liquid creamer, it’s best to place it in the freezer before opening if possible. This can add about six months to your shelf life. As soon as the bottle is removed from the freezer and opened, you start the one to two-week period in which it should be used.
If powered creamer is your preferred coffee additive, then you can again store it in the freezer as well. What’s nice about the powered variation is that you don’t necessarily need to thaw before using it. Simply take the container out of the freezer, scoop what you need into your coffee, and immediately return it to the freezer.
As with liquid creamer, freezing powered creamer should give you about six months of shelf life.
One important thing to note when freezing powdered creamer; it is essential not to let the powder thaw outside the freezer unless you are going to use all of it right away. The reason is that once the powder begins to thaw, moisture starts to build. This moisture can lead to bacteria growth, which obviously we don’t want going into our bodies.
Another tip when storing liquid creamer in the refrigerator is to place it near the back of the fridge, where it tends to stay colder. Keeping it in the refrigerator’s door is not a good idea because this area tends to be the least cold spot.
Keep Tightly Sealed
Storing in a tightly sealed container will help preserve its freshness regardless of what type of creamer you are using. If the packaging isn’t adequate or shows signs of damage, pour it into another storage container, preferable one that doesn’t let in any light or air.
How Long Do Different Kinds of Milk Stay Good For?
If you want to forgo the typical coffee creamer and go straight for the milk instead, be cautious not to consume spoiled milk. Always check the expiration date and do a quick sniff before pouring it into your coffee. If it has an off odor, it’s best to toss it.
Some types of milk stay good for longer. Let’s take a quick look at the shelf life of some popular kinds of milk.
- Cow’s milk: 3 weeks to a month after processing
- Almond milk: 1 to 1 1/2 weeks after opening
- Oat milk: 2 to 3 weeks (refrigerated)
- Coconut milk: 7-10 days after opening (in canned and unopened, then 2-5 years)
Hopefully, you can now drink your coffee and creamer with ease knowing it’s fresh and safe. Remember that powdered creamer will always outlast liquid creamer by far, and refrigeration or freezing is your friend!