If you are a coffee lover, drinking a cup of hot and delicious coffee is a great way to begin your day.
However, it’s easy for us to get distracted somehow, and our coffee gets cold before we can drink it. Can you heat up coffee in the microwave if your coffee gets cold?
You can heat up your coffee in the microwave as doing so doesn’t affect the caffeine levels and doesn’t have adverse health effects. However, its taste and aroma may change after being reheated in the microwave. Also, it’s best to take some precautions when microwaving coffee to avoid hazards.
In the rest of this article, I’ll tell you why it’s okay to heat up coffee in the microwave.
I’ll also explain what happens when you microwave coffee, precautions to avoid any hazards and show you how to heat up coffee in the microwave. Here we go!
Why it’s okay to heat up coffee in the microwave
There’s no doubt that a microwave is a convenient and versatile home appliance. It’s especially great for heating liquids as they readily absorb microwave radiation.
So, you can heat up coffee in your microwave as it’s mainly water and thus heats up quickly.
The question of whether or not to heat up coffee in the microwave is usually a contentious one.
Some coffee specialists argue that the best cup of coffee is the one you drink while it’s still fresh, as it contains all the best flavors.
However, other people argue that there is no use in wasting perfectly good coffee just because it’s gone cold.
So, whether or not to heat up coffee in the microwave is a personal choice.
Here are a few reasons why it’s okay to heat up coffee in the microwave:
- It’s the best method of heating up coffee. Although there are other ways you can heat up coffee, using the microwave is the best. The microwave applies heat evenly to the beverage and thus heats it up quickly. The coffee, therefore, doesn’t lose a lot of its aroma.
- It’s easy and convenient. Heating your coffee in the microwave is more convenient than using a stovetop. Put the cup of coffee in the microwave, set the timer, and your coffee heats up within a minute or two.
- There are no health risks. Heating up coffee in the microwave has no known health risks. So, if you wish to microwave your cold coffee instead of pouring it down the drain, go for it.
- The coffee retains caffeine. After you heat up coffee in the microwave, the caffeine in the coffee isn’t destroyed. The reason is that caffeine is a molecule that doesn’t lose its properties quickly. So, your coffee retains its caffeine levels even if you reheat it after several hours.
- It prevents wastage. Coffee, regardless of its quality, costs money. Pouring a cup of coffee just because it’s cold may lead to waste and the guilt of wasting coffee and money.
What happens when you heat up coffee in the microwave?
Although it’s alright to heat up coffee in the microwave if you so wish, it’s good to know what happens when you microwave coffee.
As I mentioned earlier, some changes may occur after heating up coffee in the microwave.
Here is what happens when you heat up coffee in the microwave:
There’s some change in the taste of the coffee
When you put coffee in a cup and let it cool, it starts to lose its original taste within 30 minutes.
When coffee cools down, there is an irreversible change in taste because temperatures affect the flavor of the coffee.
So, if your coffee was initially acidic and bright, it may become less aromatic when it becomes cold.
So, if you decide to microwave your coffee, the change of taste caused by the initial cooling of the coffee remains.
In addition to the change in taste caused by the cooling of the coffee, as your coffee heats in the microwave, it continues to extract flavors that it didn’t extract initially.
When you taste the heated coffee, you can detect that the flavor isn’t as pleasant as the freshly brewed one.
There’s some change in the coffee’s aroma
Coffee has different aromas depending on the type of coffee. The aromas may be:
Coffee aroma is one of the things people love about coffee.
Now, when you heat up coffee using the microwave or any other method, the heat breaks down the coffee’s aroma, thus reducing its intensity.
So, when you heat up your coffee in the microwave, it doesn’t smell as great as a freshly brewed cup of coffee.
In addition, the breaking down of the aroma also affects the taste of the coffee. In the end, you have a cup of coffee that doesn’t taste or smell as good as you’d want it to.
The bitterness in the coffee may increase
When you heat up coffee in the microwave or use another method, the coffee may taste more bitter.
The increase in bitterness is because coffee beans have large amounts of chlorogenic acids, which are responsible for the coffee’s acidity levels.
The acids contribute significantly to the coffee’s aroma and flavor.
As the microwave heats up your coffee, the chlorogenic acids break down and release other compounds that increase the bitterness of the coffee.
So, when you taste the coffee after heating it up, you can easily pick up the increased bitterness.
Precautions to take when you microwave coffee
If you decide to microwave coffee, you can take precautions to ensure that your coffee retains its original flavor as much as possible.
You can also apply precautions to ensure your safety while heating up your coffee.
Here are some precautions to take when you microwave coffee:
- Avoid microwaving coffee after four hours. Although you can heat up coffee, avoid heating up black coffee exposed to room temperature for four hours or more. After four hours, the oils start to deteriorate, and the coffee’s acidity levels increase. It’s best to pour out that kind of coffee.
- Be extra careful when you microwave coffee with milk. If your coffee has milk like flat white or cappuccino, it’s good to be careful. Milk can spoil quickly, depending on the room temperature. Spoiled milk is unsafe to drink, so ensure that the milk is alright before heating up the coffee.
- Use a microwave-safe mug. Before putting your coffee mug in the oven, ensure it’s microwave-safe. A microwave-safe cup can’t crack inside the microwave and heats the coffee evenly. A ceramic mug is an example of a microwave-safe cup; avoid using metal or plastic in the microwave.
- Stir the coffee before heating. Stirring it before heating helps mix the coffee to prevent it from burning at the bottom.
- Avoid high temperatures. It’s best to use medium temperatures when heating up coffee in the microwave instead of high temperatures. High temperatures can end up scorching and burning your coffee, thus giving it a horrible taste.
- Use hot pads to remove the mug from the microwave. If you are not careful, the hot coffee mug could burn you as you remove it. It’s, therefore, best to use hot pads to remove the cup from the microwave to prevent burns.
- Avoid stirring the coffee immediately. After removing the hot coffee from the microwave, give it a minute or so before stirring. If the coffee is too hot (superheated), putting a spoon in the mug could cause the coffee to boil over.
- Stir the coffee thoroughly after heating. Microwaves may heat liquids unevenly. Stirring the coffee after heating enables the heat to distribute evenly in the coffee. In addition, you’ll be able to drink your coffee without scalding your lips.
How to heat up coffee in the microwave
Heating up your coffee in the microwave is easy, fast, and safe as long as you take the necessary precautions.
Here’s how to microwave your coffee:
- Put the coffee in a microwave-safe mug.
- Stir the coffee thoroughly to mix it.
- Place the coffee in the microwave and close the door.
- Set the microwave temperature to medium heat.
- Heat the coffee for about one minute.
- If the coffee has not reached your desired temperature, heat it for an additional 30 seconds.
- Take the coffee out of the microwave.
- Allow the coffee to cool for about a minute.
- Stir the coffee to ensure the heat is evenly distributed.
- Enjoy your coffee while it’s still hot.
Heating up coffee in the microwave is an excellent way to avoid wasting this highly-fanaticized beverage.
However, heating up coffee in the microwave will also bring out other compounds that affect the coffee’s taste and aroma.
So, you should expect your coffee’s taste and aroma to be different after being reheated in the microwave.
The decision to heat up coffee in the microwave is personal. You can decide to pour the old coffee and make a fresh cup. You can also choose to microwave the coffee.
The taste and aroma may change slightly, but in the end, it will still be coffee. If you’d like to learn more about coffee, you can check out some in-depth articles below: