Liquor Laboratory

How Long Does Coffee Liqueur Last? Shelf Life Unveiled (2024)

How Long Does Coffee Liqueur Last

I make sure to store a bottle of coffee liqueur so I can grab it right away whenever I feel like drinking something with the touch of coffee.

Coffee liqueurs, like Kahlua, are a delightful addition to many recipes and drinks. But have you ever wondered how long does coffee liqueur last and stay good?

Today, let me elaborate on its shelf life, plus share tips on how it should be properly stored and some warning signs to watch out for – all based on my observation. Read on!

How Long Does Coffee Liqueur Last?

Bottle and a Glass of Coffee Liqueur

Coffee liqueur typically has a longer lifespan due to the alcohol and sugar content.

  • Unopened, it can last several years, often up to four years or more.
  • Opened, it can remain good for 1-2 years or longer.

“Savor the essence of time, for coffee liqueur’s lasting delight.” – Liquor Laboratory

However, its flavor may gradually diminish over time. Always check for the production date and any indications of spoilage before using it in recipes. But what’s the best cream liqueur for coffee?

Life Span of Coffee Liqueurs

With Cream

  • Opened: An open bottle of liqueur with cream lasts around six months to 12 months. Once opened, you can keep it in the refrigerator to extend its lifespan.
  • Tip: Ensure the bottle is sealed tightly so it doesn’t harbor harmful bacteria, causing spoilage. But for me, I always consume it within six months so I can enjoy its fresh flavor. 
  • Unopened: An unopened bottle of liqueur with cream has a long shelf life, lasting up to 2 years or more.
  • Refrigerated: The recommended shelf life for a refrigerated opened coffee with cream is 12 months. But it can extend its shelf life to 18 months or more, depending on how it’s stored.
  • Note: Storing it in the fridge helps preserve its flavor. Always seal the bottle tightly to prevent exposure to air and moisture. 

Without Cream

  • Opened: Opened liqueur without creams typically remains good for 1-2 years. But after opening, keep it in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight.
  • Unopened: Unopened liqueur bottle without creams can last several years, often up to four years or more.
  • Refrigerated: Storing an opened bottle of liqueur without creams in the refrigerator isn’t necessary, but it can help maintain quality for a longer period, up to 2 years or more.

Does Coffee Liqueur Expire?

Pouring Coffee Liqueur on a Pitcher

Coffee liqueurs, like Kahlua, can last long, but it doesn’t truly “expire.” Kahlua has a suggested 4-year shelf life. The bottles can go bad over time, and their flavor will gradually fade.

If the bottles are stored properly with a tightly sealed lid in a cool, dark place, they can remain enjoyable well past their recommended period.

To check if it’s still good, sniff it – if it smells like fresh bean, it’s likely fine. Storing Kahlua in the refrigerator isn’t necessary due to its sugar and alcohol content.

So, sip Kahlua within a reasonable time frame for optimal taste and aroma.

How To Tell If It Has Gone Bad


When liqueurs, like Kahlua [1], have gone bad, you’ll notice strange flavors, and they lose the rich savor and alcohol.

If the coffee tastes bitter or sour, it has deteriorated, and it’s no longer enjoyable and not recommended to be drunk or consumed.


It smells sour or rancid instead of a pleasant scent. If it smells bad, it only suggests that it has gone bad and may no longer be suitable for consumption.

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If the texture becomes thicker or syrupy, it’s already spoiled. It’s best to avoid using or consuming any alcoholic drink with such texture changes.

What Happens When You Drink Expired Coffee Liqueur?

Drinking expired coffee liqueur typically won’t pose serious health risks, as the alcohol content acts as a preservative.

However, the deteriorated profile of the coffee impacts the overall quality, resulting in an unpleasant bite.

The liqueur may taste bitter, sour, or rancid, making consuming it unenjoyable. Always check for indications of spoilage before using it in cocktails.

How Long Does Homemade Coffee Liqueur Last?

Coffee Liqueur on a Glass Bottle

Homemade ones last, depending on the ingredients and how it’s stored. While unopened Kahlua expires after two or four years, homemade ones can last several months to a year.

“I doubt if you can have a truly wild party without liquor.” – Carl Sandburg, American Poet

Properly sealed and stored in a cool, dark place, it stays fresh longer. Monitor for any signs of spoilage, and discard it if it no longer appears or reeks as it should.

Does It Need To Be Refrigerated?

It doesn’t need to be refrigerated, like wine or vodka. Since it has more sugar than other alcoholic beverages, it may form sugar crystals when stored in the freezer.

Besides, its alcohol content acts as a preservative. You can keep it at room temperature in a cool, dark place with a sealed cap.

If you prefer to serve it chilled, you can keep it in cold storage for a refreshing bite, like beer. However, prolonged refrigeration may make the liqueur thicker, but it won’t affect its safety for drinking.


Does unopened caffeine liqueur expire?

Unopened coffee liqueur generally has a longer shelf life, often years, if stored properly in a cool, dark place, like wine.

Can you sip a 20-year-old Kahlua?

Yes, you can technically consume 20-year-old Kahlúa, but the quality and alcohol will likely have significantly deteriorated.

Does it have to be refrigerated after opening?

Caffeine liqueur doesn’t have to be refrigerated after opening, but it can prolong its freshness if refrigerated. Storing it in a cool, dark place is generally sufficient.

Can you drink expired coffee liqueur if sealed?

Consuming an expired caffeine liqueur isn’t recommended, even if it’s sealed. The freshness may have deteriorated significantly over time, so it may not taste as expected or be enjoyable. Before consuming it, always check for signs of spoilage.

How long does coffee liqueur last in the freezer?

Coffee liqueur can last indefinitely in the freezer as the alcohol content prevents it from freezing solid. Storing it in most home freezers can give it a thicker consistency and a more refreshing bite when drunk chilled.

Does coffee liqueur have caffeine?

Yes, it typically contains caffeine [1] because it’s made with caffeine extract. The caffeine content can vary among different brands.

Does coffee liqueur have an expiration date printed on the bottle?

Some coffee liqueur brands may have a “best by” or “expiration” date printed on the label, but it’s not universal. In the absence of a printed date, it’s best to rely on sensory cues to determine its freshness.

What are the signs that coffee liqueur has gone bad or expired?

Signs that coffee liqueur may have gone bad include changes in color, flavor, or aroma. If it appears cloudy, has an off smell, or tastes significantly different from its usual flavor profile, it may be past its prime.

Can I still consume coffee liqueur after the expiration date?

While it’s generally safe to consume coffee liqueur past the expiration date if it still tastes and smells fine, the quality may have deteriorated, and it may not be as enjoyable as when fresh.

Can I refrigerate or freeze coffee liqueur to extend its shelf life?

Coffee liqueur does not require refrigeration and should not be frozen, as this can affect its texture and flavor. It’s best stored at room temperature in a cool, dark place.

Key Takeaways

Coffee liqueur boasts a generous lifespan, often lasting years if stored thoughtfully.

Unopened bottles can maintain their good qualities for up to four or more years in a cool, dark place, while opened ones may still be good for one to two years when resealed and stored properly.

But I suggest being vigilant for any signs of spoilage before you pour and enjoy its rich flavors with a kick of alcohol.


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