Is reheating coffee in the microwave a bad idea?


Sometimes I get distracted, and realise I've got a cold cup of coffee on my desk. Will reheating it in the microwave do bad things to it? I've heard people say it will alter the flavour, and some people even say that the effect of the microwave on the coffee will produce medically harmful chemicals. Is this true? Should I just chuck it and make a fresh brew?


Posted 2015-02-02T09:46:02.247

Reputation: 4 258

I usually just drink it cold, even if it is very old. Maybe you are interested in my somewhat related question :

– None – 2015-02-02T12:17:44.680

I'm sure there is a point if you left it going long enough to carcinogens could build up. I'd be interested if there is a researcher here to find where that point is.

I probably microwave a cup every day because of a distraction at work. – Justin C – 2015-02-02T16:39:52.520

I think "is it dangerous?" and "will it change the flavour?" are significantly different questions and should, IMO, be posed as two separate questions. – starsplusplus – 2015-02-04T15:39:52.510

Couldn't that be already answered in Cooking SE:

– Anthony Pham – 2015-02-11T22:49:35.320 – Shokhet – 2015-02-16T05:33:41.860



Although coffee generally becomes staler with time, heating coffee up in the microwave does not produce any harmful chemicals - as long as the container you are microwaving it in is microwave-safe.

The microwaves emitted inside the microwave are a relatively safe form of radiation that cause the water molecules in the coffee to move faster, thus creating heat. This is relatively harmless.

As far as taste goes, you may consider just making a new coffee, as this will always taste better, in my opinion!

Patrick Sebastien

Posted 2015-02-02T09:46:02.247

Reputation: 1 650