We’ve all been desperate enough to reheat our coffee in the microwave. But is it actually good?
Is it good to reheat your coffee?
The definition of whether or not reheating your coffee is “good” depends on the person, but most will say it’s “good enough.” The health effects of microwaves remain controversial, and using it to heat coffee doesn't change it. It isn’t unsafe to reheat your coffee in the microwave (or at least wasn't proofed otherwise), but just like most foods, reheating it in the microwave just isn’t the same.
The effects of microwaving your coffee
In the microwave, pizza gets rubbery, steak gets dry, and soup doesn’t evenly warm up. Reheating coffee in the microwave causes it to lose the aroma and original flavor profile. Coffee is so invigorating because it has all 5 tastes our tongue can sense: sour, sweet, savory, and salty. You’re essentially zapping away the aroma and all those flavors when you stick it in the microwave.
One of the main reasons it’s inefficient to use a microwave is because you can’t control the heat or method of reheating your coffee. Sure, there are various settings on your microwave, but there’s no specific setting for coffee, or beverages in general. If you overheat the liquid, it can be dangerous to drink or spill.
When coffee cools down, it becomes more acidic. You can’t make it any less acidic or bring back the flavor of hot coffee by reheating it in the microwave. Additionally, microwaving the coffee for too long and at a high temperature can cause your coffee to burn. We hate to see coffee go to waste as much as the next person, but you’re better off making yourself another fresh cup of coffee.
If you really need to reheat your coffee and you have the time, the best method is to put it in a pot and heat it on low. This way you have more control over the temperature and you can stir the coffee for even heating.
Bottomline: there is no evidence that heating coffee in the microwave is unsafe (unless it's dangerously hot), but it won’t taste as good.
How to avoid your coffee from getting cold fast
If you constantly find yourself with a cold cup of coffee, here are a few ways to prevent that.
1. Insulated tumbler
Glass cups are terrible at retaining heat. Especially without a lid, you may find your coffee turning cold within minutes. Tumblers are meant to trap in the heat for hours and you can bring it with you anywhere. This especially comes in handy when you’re going to work, school, or just need to keep your coffee hot for a while.
2. Make just enough that you can drink
This one seems like common sense, but oftentimes we tend to overshoot how much coffee we need (or even want) to make. If you find yourself only drinking half your cup of coffee every time, perhaps just make half a serving next time. Not only does this prevent your coffee from turning cold, but it also prevents wasted coffee.
You also might want to opt for single serving quality instant coffee for the perfect amount of coffee each time. If you want more, you can just pop in a new packet of instant coffee and hot water.
3. Mug warmer
Mug warmers are both portable and very easy to use. They won’t keep your coffee piping hot, but it will definitely prevent it from getting cold. All you need to do is plug it in at your desk, counter, or anywhere you enjoy your cup of coffee.
4. Make it an iced coffee!
A little optimism can turn a problem into a positive outcome! Throw in some ice cubes and sweetener for a delicious iced coffee.