There’s no denying that a refreshing cup of coffee is the perfect way to start a day. However, with mornings being as busy as they are, coffee often gets left out for way too long. Luckily, for the most part, reheating coffee is perfectly safe and there are plenty of safe methods. If you’ve got access to a microwave, you can throw it in for a couple of minutes. However, you’ll lose some of that great taste. Alternatively, you can warm up coffee on the stove, which will help to retain its taste. When it comes to reheating old coffee, you need to understand the deeper science to keep the taste alive. Throughout this article, we will establish the best way to reheat coffee and the factors that contribute to its great taste after the fact.
Can Coffee Be Reheated?
The simple answer to can you reheat coffee is, yes. However, you need to be careful not to reheat coffee that has been left out too long. Typically, you can leave the coffee out for around four hours before it begins to spoil. Therefore, if you brewed a pot in the morning, went to work for a full day, and then fancied a hot cup of coffee when you got home, you’d have to make a fresh batch. If you’re going to reheat your coffee after work, make sure you’ve popped it into the fridge first.
If your coffee has been left refrigerated or you’ve simply let your morning coffee go cold, you can reheat it safely in no time. When it comes to how to reheat coffee, you are best off using a microwave or stovetop. You should avoid using a convection oven because it will scald your coffee mug. Further, you can’t use your coffee machine to reheat coffee because you’ll only burn the coffee.
For the most part, as long as you’ve followed the guidelines above, your coffee is perfectly safe to reheat. However, you should note that only black coffee should be reheated. If you’ve added any sort of dairy or non-dairy milk/cream to your mug, you should steer clear of reheating. The reason for this is that dairy products have a tendency to curdle and may scald. When reheating your coffee, make sure you add any extras in after.
Microwave Vs Stovetop
As mentioned previously, when it comes to reheating your coffee, there are only really two ways to do it: in a microwave and on the stovetop. Each method has disadvantages and advantages that we will examine in this section.
Although not the most effective method, you have to hand it to the microwave - it’s certainly the fastest. When you’re in a rush to get out the door in the morning, reheat coffee in microwave and get on your way in no time. When using the microwave to reheat coffee, you should ensure that the power is set to medium. If you have it set too high, it will ruin the taste even further.
We can hear you asking how long to microwave coffee? Unfortunately, there’s no absolute ruling. However, as a benchmark, you should heat your coffee for one minute. After the minute is up, you should heat it in 30-second intervals until you reach the desired temperature. Doing this will prevent you from burning your coffee and scalding your mouth.
When you fetch your favourite mug, remember to make sure that it’s microwave safe. This means that you should avoid any mugs with metallic handles, even if they’re only painted metallic. When these mugs come out of the microwave, they can leave you with nasty burns because of the way they retain heat. If you’re ever unsure, you should use a tea towel to remove your cup from the microwave.
If you’ve got the time to do so, you should reheat your coffee over the stove. This way, you will retain the most aroma in your coffee. Please note, when you talk about aroma here, we’re not simply talking about the smell. Instead, we are referring to the overall flavour of the coffee. A coffee’s aromas are what gives it the bitter, sweet, sour, and salty tastes you may experience. The longer you leave a coffee, the quicker they break down.
When you’re reheating your coffee on the stove, you need to keep the temperature low and be patient. If you heat it up too fast, you will risk burning the coffee and you can say goodbye to the taste. Given the nature of the stove, you need to monitor the liquid at all times because you need to remove it before bubbles begin to rise. Once your coffee is heated through, you can pour it carefully back into your favourite mug. To avoid unnecessary burns, you use a saucepan with a lip on it for pouring.
Optimal Coffee Temperature
No matter which method you use to reheat your coffee, you should be mindful of the temperature. You need to make sure that your coffee isn’t too hot but not too cold. Typically, this means serving a coffee between 80°C and 85°C. When you use a regular coffee maker, you don’t need to worry about this because it will be pre-set. However, when you’re reheating your coffee and don’t have a thermometer, it’s best to let it just boil and then remove it for ten minutes.
Although there is an average coffee temperature, you will need to play around with the reheating process because everyone likes their coffee different. Some people enjoy a coffee that will burn their mouth off and others enjoy a lukewarm coffee.
What Does Reheated Coffee Taste Like?
We’ve mentioned a lot about the taste of the coffee, and how reheating a brew will alter the taste. If you know anything about coffee, you’ll know that dark roasted coffee has a more bitter taste. This is because it had more heat applied to it during the roasting process. Therefore, when it comes to heating your coffee, you will always have a more bitter taste - this is what happens when you add additional heat to coffee. If you prefer a lighter roasted coffee bean, you may find your reheated coffee doesn’t taste that great.
When you follow the best way to heat up coffee or not, the overall taste boils down to personal preference. When you first start reheating coffee, you may not enjoy the taste. However, once you reduce the timings or add in sugar or dairy products, you will eventually find a process that works for you.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to taste is to avoid burning your coffee. When you’re using the stove, you need to use low heat and remove it just before the coffee begins to boil.
Is “Old” Coffee Safe to Reheat?
Understanding how to reheat your coffee is one thing, but knowing if your cold coffee is safe to reheat is another. Typically, if your coffee has been left a day or two, you will be safe to reheat it. However, you need to ask yourself a couple of questions first, including how long it has been left, whether you added dairy/sugar, and if your coffee was refrigerated.
When you leave milk and other dairy products out of the fridge for more than two hours, it begins to go bad. Although you can’t see it as well, the same goes for the dairy in your coffee. If your coffee has been sat on the side for less than a couple of hours, you can reheat it if there’s dairy in there. However, to be on the safe side, you should start from scratch.
If you make a pot in the morning and it has been left out for less than four hours, you are safe to reheat your coffee. If you’ve left your coffee out for more than four hours, you should avoid reheating. This is because, the longer a coffee is left out, the more the oils disintegrate and the taste breaks down. For the best results, you should put your cold coffee in the refrigerator. If your cold coffee has come from the fridge, you can reheat it within 3-4 days.
How to Avoid Letting Coffee Go Cold
Now that you understand how to reheat your coffee and how long you can leave it out, you need to learn how to avoid letting it cool in the first place. If you make a pot in the morning and plan on drinking it throughout the day, you should invest in a heavy-duty thermal mug. That way, your coffee will stay warm for a set amount of time, which will help retain its flavour.
There’s nothing better than having a mug of refreshing coffee in the morning, but it can all come crashing down if you let your brew go cold. Luckily, depending on the circumstances, you can reheat your coffee. The best way to reheat your coffee is on the stovetop over low heat. However, if you’re in a hurry, you won’t do yourself any harm by using the microwave.