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Can You Microwave Coffee? Reheating Tips & Tricks

a cup of coffee in a microwave

If you are a coffee lover, you understand what it’s like to pour yourself a hot cup of joe only to have something come up that keeps you from enjoying your beverage. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence. Whether the cat needs to be fed, the dog wants out, or the kids have tons of questions, more often than not, a good cup of coffee has grown cold waiting on you.

When you return to your cup and find it cold, one question comes to mind. Can you microwave coffee? The easy answer to this question is yes, you can pop a cup of coffee into the microwave that’s gone cold, however, if we’re being honest here, you shouldn’t do it. The changes in flavor afterward are not favorable. Let’s learn more about coffee, how it changes in your microwave, and whether reheating it is the right thing to do.

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Using the Microwave

While reheating your coffee in the microwave instead of brewing a fresh pot is possible, do not expect things to be the same at that point. Yes, although it is the same cup of coffee you left sitting on the counter, changes in your coffee’s chemical makeup have already started as it cools. Reheating only makes these changes more dramatic. The flavors, aroma, and even acidity level are all affected by the cooling process and even more if you reheat.

You may wonder why such changes take place in your coffee. It’s thanks to the chlorogenic acids contained in coffee beans. These acids play a major role in not only the taste but the aroma of your coffee. As your coffee cools, more of these acids are released. This results in a far more bitter coffee which only becomes more noticeable once it is popped in the microwave.

a woman picking up something from the microwave
Image Credit: aodaodaodaod, Shutterstock

Is There a Better Way to Reheat Coffee?

In short, that answer is no. If you simply must reheat your coffee due to time restraints where brewing another cup isn’t possible, the microwave is your best bet. Your microwave can heat the coffee faster, which in some cases can save a bit of the aroma. Also, microwaves apply heat homogeneously. This method may not make your reheated coffee tasty, but it is better than trying to do it on your stovetop.

You should be very careful, however, when reheating your coffee in the microwave. A microwave is made for heating foods and liquids quickly. If you aren’t paying close attention your coffee will get hot faster, but the result inside your cup could be far too hot. Overheating is not only dangerous to you, but it forces the coffee to lose more of its flavor than it already has.

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Final Thoughts

As we said, microwaving coffee is an option when your cup has gone cold, but in life, just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should. For those who love their coffee with a certain taste and aroma, you’ll be left with a cup of joe you aren’t exactly pleased with. Keep in mind, though, if making another cup isn’t an option and you aren’t a fan of iced coffee, the microwave can still be your best bet.

Featured Image Credit: Maliflower73, Shutterstock


Melissa Gunter

Melissa has been a fan of coffee since the first sip she stole from her Granny's cup when she was just a girl. Now, she spends each morning writing with a hot cup of coffee at her side. With a love of sweet and creamy bliss, Melissa and her daughter, Amber, stop by and try out every local coffee shop they see. Neither are afraid to try something new and have a long list of favorite coffee beverages they simply can't do without. When she's not freelance writing about her 2 passions, coffee, and pets, Melissa spends her time with her husband, 2 kids, and 5 fur babies. She also loves diving into the fiction world under her pen name, Rena Marin. If she isn't at the laptop or with the family, Melissa is out enjoying the mountains of East Tennessee she calls home.

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