Sometimes, you make food in excess. It makes sense to do so if you don’t always have the time to cook. You can keep the extra food fresh by refrigerating it and then simply microwaving it when needed.
If you maintain the appropriate cooling temperature for the food, it would essentially retain its taste and could still be enjoyed as fresh when you heat it.
The same can’t be said of hot drinks like coffee. Coffee is best enjoyed hot or ice-cold. And hardly do people make coffee in excess.
You only make the quantity you need per time. But if for any reason, you need to microwave an extra cup of coffee, you want to consider if it would still retain its taste and flavors.
Most times, office workers may suddenly discover that their cup of coffee has lost steam after leaving it for too long. Or you left your cup to attend to something, and two minutes suddenly turned twenty.
So, there are many reasons why you may want to get your coffee back to its desired temperature. However, what are the implications?
Can you Reheat the Coffee?
Asking if you can reheat coffee is like asking if you can paint your face. Of course, you can! But your face before painting won’t be the same after.
Coffee is a unique drink because of its taste, flavors, and aroma. Reheating it may restore its temperature, but the taste and flavor won’t remain the same.
The composition of coffee makes it very sensitive to temperature changes. When you heat coffee for the first time, it’s ok. Reheating it changes everything.
That’s because the chemicals in the solution which are perfectly aligned would be disorganized. Coffee’s flavor is derived from as many as 1,000 different chemical compounds, and reheating causes a mass disruption to their composition.
That’s why you notice a sharp difference in taste, it is more bitter, and the flavors somehow disappear.
This is particularly true for microwaved coffee. But if you must retain as much of the flavors as possible and won’t like to damage the composition, you can reheat it on a stove. However, this should only be done on low heat.
We’ll look at the differences between microwave and regular heating in a moment, but it is worth noting that reheating is not entirely harmful to coffee or you.
While it changes its taste and alters the flavors, it causes no extra harm. Many people believe reheating coffee may increase its acidity, but that is not entirely true. You should, however, not reheat any cup of coffee that is close to 12 hours old.
However, microwaving is known to apply heat more homogeneously, which is one way that it differs from regular heating. Let’s look at the differences in more detail.
Microwave vs. Regular Reheating
Shall we explore the difference between microwave and regular reheating of coffee? But first, it is important to consider the general differences between the two.
Microwave heating is not more expensive than regular heating, as commonly assumed. This is because microwaves can effectively and efficiently conserve energy.
The reason is that conventional energy is known to cause 50% more energy loss than a microwave. Conventional heating would require constant stirring to allow the heat to flow evenly, unlike a microwave which distributes the heat evenly.
However, if you want to reheat coffee, regular heating at a low temperature is the best way to do so. When you microwave coffee, it quickly loses taste.
However, when you heat it on a stove at a low temperature, you can keep as much flavor and taste as possible. But a microwave is not that lenient. Once it begins to heat the cup, it breaks down most of the chemical compounds that affect the taste and flavors of the coffee.
Use a pan to heat the coffee, applying low heat and occasionally stirring until it reaches the desired temperature.
The only time you should use a microwave for heating your coffee is when you are in a hurry. However, we recommend that you should make another cup of coffee if your cup gets cold.
Does Microwave Change Coffee?
Coffee is made of different chemicals and compounds, and the first change that happens to it occurs when it is roasted.
Before roasting, coffee contains chlorogenic acids, but when they are roasted, the acids are broken into quinic acids and caffeic acids. These acids are responsible for the bitter taste and distinct flavors.
When you roast the beans appropriately, you can achieve a unique taste and flavor. Remember, there are close to a thousand chemicals in coffee beans.
The bitterness associated with coffee is due to the moderate release of these acids. When you brew coffee, the acidity and bitterness are balanced by flavors and natural sweetness.
When you drink it, it is noticeably different from what you brewed at first. So when you brew coffee freshly, you can’t have a problem with too much bitterness apart from the unique taste associated with different coffee drinks.
However, the issue changes when, after brewing coffee, you try to reheat it. If you do, you trigger the production of more quinic acid and caffeic acid. That’s why the coffee becomes more bitter and produces a more astringent flavor.
When you reheat your coffee with a microwave, it produces more acid than regular heating if you use low heat. The intense heat would not trigger the production of more acids.
That’s because, under low heat, the temperature won’t be high enough to activate it. However, the microwave would change its taste because it produces more acids. That’s why it is more bitter and changes the flavor.
Some coffee roasts are more bitter than others, but all kinds of roasts are more bitter with heat. The darker the roast, the more painful it is. When you brew and reheat it, it increases in bitterness because heat triggers the production of chlorogenic acids.
The acids are not as noticeable with fresh brew, so it is still enjoyable. That begins to change with a reheating process, and the microwave is more effective in this process.
So, do microwaves change the coffee taste? Yes, it does. It makes it bitter, changes the flavor, and alters its composition. To reduce the bitterness, use slow manual heating to reduce the acidity.
If your coffee gets cold, you should make another cup. If you quickly microwave it, it may not produce the required effect. While the temperature may change positively, its taste would also change negatively.
That’s because heat triggers the production of acids responsible for bitterness and acidity.
When you use a microwave, it causes the taste of your coffee to become more bitter. It also affects its flavor and changes it noticeably.
However, to always get the freshness of a cup of coffee, you should always make a fresh one! So, we recommend using regular heating rather than a microwave if you must reheat your coffee.
Last Updated on June 18, 2022 by Ashok Parmar