Learn about old coffee in all its forms—this is a safe space.
It happens every afternoon: Around 4 o'clock, I start to fade and begin considering my caffeine options, always landing on the abandoned, half-consumed coffee at my desk. Every morning, I brew a cup, put a splash of milk in it, take a sip or two, then get distracted by my to-do list (looming deadlines are more effective than caffeine, I've found). And every day, I wonder, "Can I drink that? At what point does the potential risk outweigh the promise of caffeine? I turned to Google to find an (unofficial, but workable) answer:
Does the water in the coffee spoil? Water can absorb flavors from its environment which change its flavor (especially if it's left in a particularly pungent place like the refrigerator), but even uncapped, glasses of water are drinkable for weeks after they're poured. Unless water has something living in it, like flowers, it's difficult for bacteria to survive in it. Drink up.
So, is coffee safe to drink after several hours? Black coffee should be safe to drink, though it probably won't taste all that good. If it has milk in it, make a fresh pot instead—but if you're determined to still drink it (as I often am), make sure to microwave it all the way through, for an extra-classy, extra-safe 4 PM pick-me-up.
What is your stance on drinking hours-old coffee? Tell us in the coments below!