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New Coffee Drinkers Guide: Can You Reheat Coffee In A Microwave?

Have you ever sat down at your desk with a cup of coffee and gotten so in the zone that before you know it your coffee is cold and you’ve not even drank half of it?

Man, I really hate when that happens.

Cold coffee is the worst, unless we’re talking about iced coffee, but we’re not.

So, what do you do when you discover that your cup of coffee has gone cold before you finish drinking it?

Can you microwave the coffee to reheat it? Yes, you can reheat coffee in the microwave.

But I prefer to just make a new pot. If you’re not like me, then here’s what you should know about microwaving coffee.

Can You Microwave Old Coffee?

As disgusting as this sounds to me, I can tell you that my dad does it all the time. He loves to reheat day old or two day old coffee in the microwave.

How he drinks that sludge is a mystery to me, but yes, you can microwave old coffee to warm it up.

Of course, I’m talking about black coffee only.

You definitely don’t want to be trying to microwave old coffee that has milk or other dairy creamer in it. You’re just asking for food poisoning if you do that.

Keep in mind that old coffee not only tastes different than fresh coffee, but if it’s more than four hours old it’s more acidic than when made fresh.

Does Microwaving Coffee Change Its Flavor?

If you’ve ever had the misfortune of sipping on some microwaved coffee, then you know that it doesn’t taste as good as the fresh stuff. It’s not just your imagination because the longer it goes after coffee has been made, the more it changes.

But no, the microwave doesn’t change the coffee’s flavor. Something else does.

So, it’s not really so much that the act of microwaving changes the coffee’s flavor.

Time is what changes the flavor of the coffee.

Here’s what you should know:

  • approximately a half hour after coffee has been made it cools enough for the flavor to change
  • approximately four hours after coffee has been made the oils in it start to ruin and the acidity of the coffee increases

As previously mentioned, the microwave doesn’t cause these changes. The time passing since you made the coffee is what causes the changes in the coffee.

Does Microwaving Coffee Remove Or Lower Caffeine?

If this is one of your concerns, then I love how you’re thinking. I definitely don’t want to be drinking coffee without getting that full jolt of caffeine.

But, you can rest easy, my friend.

Microwaving coffee does not change the caffeine level of the coffee.

Your cup of joe still has the same amount of caffeine as it did before you put it in the microwave.

How Long Does It Take To Heat Up Coffee In The Microwave?

This is something that’s really going to depend on each person’s microwave and the material of the cup that is being used to reheat the coffee.

On average, I’d say around 30 seconds is all that you need to reheat coffee in the microwave.

However, no one wants to burn their mouth on hot coffee. So, I suggest reheating it in 15-second increments and testing it for temperature level.

Keep in mind how microwaves work is that they heat things up in spots, so there are likely going to be “hot spots” in your coffee cup where the liquid is hotter than the rest.

Also make sure that you’re using a microwave safe cup for your coffee.

Better Ways To Reheat Coffee

As you can probably tell, I’m certainly no fan of using the microwave to reheat coffee. Granted I avoid reheating coffee it at all possible.

But if you hate the idea of wasting coffee and really want to reheat it, then there are better ways to do it than with the microwave.

If you drink pour over coffee, like from a Chemex, then you can probably put your pour over maker directly on the stove to reheat the coffee.

Another great way to reheat coffee is by pouring it into a saucepan and heating it up on your stove at a low heat setting.

If you set the temperature too high, then you’re basically frying your coffee – don’t do that. Friends don’t let friends drink burnt coffee.

Ideally though, you’re drinking up that coffee before it gets cold, or just making a fresh pot if you discover that you’ve failed to drink that last drop.

Final Word

If you find yourself looking at a cup of coffee that’s gone cold, then you might be tempted to reheat it in the microwave.

Yes, you can reheat coffee in the microwave but it’s not going to taste as good as fresh coffee.

Plus, there are better ways to reheat coffee where it tastes a little bit better. But try to make a fresh pot instead of drinking the old coffee for the best experience.

image: Deposit Photos

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