HomeEspressoHow Long Do Espresso Shots Last? Myths Debunked!

How Long Do Espresso Shots Last? Myths Debunked!

Coffee aficionados love to have a pure shot of espresso. But have you ever wondered as a coffee lover, how long do espresso shots last? I decided to look into it and what I found out was really surprising for me.

In this piece, I have decided to share with you the average time a shot of espresso lasts (we will also talk about its taste) before it can be called dead. Espresso shots are the base of many different types of coffee. In Italy, however, people prefer to have their espresso shots directly without modifying their taste.

A shot of espresso only lasts till its crema is visible. As soon as the crema dissipates, the shot of espresso is ruined for good. It takes around 30 seconds for the crema to start disappearing, does that mean the espresso is ruined just after 30 seconds of being poured into the cup? Let’s find out.

How Long Do Espresso Shots Last?

What Does a Dead Espresso Shot Mean?

A ‘dead’ shot of espresso has lost its pure taste as most compounds in it are volatile in nature. It means they tend to disintegrate when left unattended. The nuances of its flavor disappear and if you leave it for quite a while, the shot you have then would barely qualify as “a shot of espresso”

So a ‘dead’ espresso shot is not even worth having, believe me when I say this as I’ve seen people try it and spit it out as if they just had the worst tasting coffee of all time. I haven’t had the courage to actually try one, but if you think you can for the purpose of this experiment, feel free to share your experience in the comments section of this article.

The question that remains is, what about the average time it takes before a shot of espresso can be pronounced ‘dead’ (pun intended)? If we consider 30 seconds, then most Italians have their Doppio after it has practically died.

Do Espresso Shots Die?

Now onto the main query, do espresso shots die? To understand this, you need to know about the oxidizing process. When you leave your shot of espresso on the table for some time, its ingredients start to react with the Oxygen in the atmosphere. This process is called oxidizing.

It ruins the taste of your espresso making it rancid and giving it a putrid smell. For a coffee aficionado, a shot of espresso ‘dies’ if it’s even 5 minutes old. They like to have their shot fresh and hot right when it comes out of the espresso machine.

But, it’s also not pragmatic for a barista to serve a shot in less than 30 seconds (ideal time for having a shot of espresso before it starts ‘dying’). Also, only a true coffee-lover would care to have their first sip within the first minute of buying their espresso shot.

So a shot of espresso does not die for all practical purposes although its optimal taste does start diminishing after the first minute. However, for most people, the difference in taste will be subtle and barely noticeable.

Can You Store Espresso Shots in the Fridge?

There is another question that comes to mind when you talk about a dying shot of espresso that is, can you store espresso shots in the fridge?

Here’s what I did. I prepared a shot of espresso and laminated the cup before the ingredients mixed with air to ruin it. I put it in a refrigerator. The next morning, I took out the cup and tried a sip. To be honest, I expected worse, but it was not that bad. Although the nuances of the original flavor were lost, it could easily form the base of another drink such as a latte or a cappuccino.

So, yes you can store an espresso shot in a fridge but expect its taste to be very different than what you experience when you try a hot steaming shot of espresso. For a coffee lover who is able to identify the subtle differences in taste, please don’t try this at home as your pallets won’t forgive you for it.

For a newbie, who wants to add milk to the shot, they can use the refrigerated shot. In fact, many coffee shops around the world store espresso shots and use them later in the day to prepare lattes and cappuccinos. However, it’s a big no for someone who is very particular about their coffee flavor.

How Long Will 2 Shots of Espresso Last?

How Long Will 2 Shots of Espresso Last?

The duration a shot of espresso lasts would be the same whether it’s one shot or two. The optimal taste of two shots of espresso also lasts for 30 seconds before it starts oxidizing when you leave it unattended.  

The color of the shots also starts changing and crema starts disappearing in the same way it does for a single shot of espresso. So two shots of espresso last for 30 seconds. But it does not mean that after 30 seconds it would go bad quickly.

It will slowly start to lose its taste notes and if you leave it out in the open for more than an hour, its taste will alter significantly and you can expect it to go bitterer. Your shots will not be the same. Its color would also change from dark brown to almost black.

Do Espresso Shots Die in Syrup?

Many people believe a shot of espresso can be saved if you add milk, water, or flavored syrup. It’s true to some extent as I told you previously that a shot of espresso forms the base for many milk-based coffees.

Having said that, espresso shots are kept for a while before you add flavored syrup in them.

To simply answer the query, No, a shot of espresso does not die in syrup rather it forms the base for any new type of drink you want to make with flavored syrup.

How Long Does a Shot of Espresso Last in the Body?

This is a different query altogether. If you consume the usual shot of espresso (around 50 ml), the effects of caffeine can last for more than 2 hours.

It really depends on the exact amount you consume and your physical attributes such as your height and BMI (Body Mass Index). People ask this question because sometimes unwanted caffeine consumption can lead to consequences.

You can also know about caffeine content in Nespresso Decaf by reading our article: How Much Caffeine in Nespresso Decaf

Most of the time, the effects of an espresso shot will take around 9-10 hours to completely exit your bodily system. This time may vary depending on a myriad of other factors in this process.

Can You Pre-make Your Espresso Shots?

Can You Pre-Make Your Espresso Shots?

To know this, you have to know what pre-made espresso shots are. Pre-made espresso shots would mean they are made and stored at a temperature for using it later. This can only be possible if you use a refrigerator.

While it is certainly possible to pre-make your espresso shots and use them a few hours later (not more than 10-12 hours for acceptable taste). You should avoid pre-making espresso shots if you want to enjoy the espresso shot with all its might and glory.

If you are facing time constraints and want to pre-make your espresso shots, be ready to make a compromise on its taste.


At the end of the day, for a true coffee lover, it’s all about the freshness and taste of the coffee. I hope I was able to drive the message home about how long does a shot of espresso last.

Did you find this useful, let me know in the comments section below. I look forward to your experiences with the shots of espresso.

Have a great freshly-brewed shot of espresso!

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