How to Reheat Your Coffee

coffee floor

Got sucked into reading and the coffee went cold.

At one time or another, you’ve probably come back to your kitchen or office breakroom to find that the morning’s pot of coffee has gone cold. Or you let your Chemex brew sit too long while you got sucked into your favorite weekend read. Most people’s first instinct is to pop it in the microwave and warm it back up. But we’re here to tell you that reheating – any kind of reheating – can mess up the taste of your brew.

We tricked you with that headline. There’s really no good way to warm up your cold coffee.

Coffee is a one-and-done kind of thing. You brew it, you drink it, and if it gets cold, you brew again. We don’t like to reheat because it changes the chemical composition of the coffee – altering the taste and destroying the aromas. If you want hot coffee, we always recommend brewing a fresh cup.

If you’re out of coffee and you’re really desperate and you’re staring a cold cup or pot – still don’t reheat it. Drink it cold or over ice. It’ll taste better than reheated and it might even taste different than it did that morning, as fruit and citrus flavors tend to come forward as coffee cools.

10 Comments on How to Reheat Your Coffee

  1. gary parcells // March 3, 2016 at 10:37 am // Reply

    I do reheat my coffee in the microwave. I make coffee in batches of about five cups; making fewer cups at a tie is just not practical for me. I am the only one that drinks coffee in this household, so it takes me a while to finish the pot, making reheating necessary. Cold coffee does not always appeal. The flavor of my Haiti Mare Blanche is slightly altered thereby, but it is still delicious! So thanks for the coffee geek advice, but , being a stubborn old coot, I’ll continue to do it my way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • La Colombe // March 3, 2016 at 10:40 am // Reply

      It’s all about whatever tastes good to YOU! We get this question all the time and this is our stance on it, but we wholeheartedly encourage you to do whatever makes your coffee taste most delicious to your own taste buds.

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  2. Put it in a cup, stick in the fridge, and you’ve got some good cold brew.

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    • it wouldn’t be cold brew… that requires cold brewing, not brewing with hot water. but it would be iced coffee!

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  3. On a related note, we can keep the heating element on our drip coffee maker and the coffee remains heated, but, I suspect that after a certain amount of time we might actually be burning the coffee?

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    • Hey Dee,
      That’s very close to the truth, although the coffee isn’t technically burning per say. Over time, volatile flavor compounds in the coffee do break down and added heat can increase the rate at which this occurs. I realize that sounds a lot like burning, but I steer away from that term because ‘burnt’ flavors in coffee are more often due to poor quality in the roasted coffee to begin with. I hope this was helpful.

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  4. I use the leftovers (if there ever is any) for coffee ice cubes!

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    • I like that idea. I want to try that this summer. I wonder if I can use that idea to infuse different flavors into coffees served cold. Thanks for the tip.

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    • I like that idea about the ice cubes. I want to try that this summer. I wonder if I can use that idea to infuse different flavors into coffees served cold. Thanks for the tip.

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  5. Yes, that is helpful and I am going to read more about ‘burnt’ and maybe the difference versus ‘bitter’ and I am probably not going to keep the drip coffee pot on the heating element too long after brewing anymore. Thanks so much.

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