Microwave used for making coffee

How to Make Coffee Using a Microwave

For most coffee-lovers, having a coffee machine is an essential tool. But sometimes you’re on the road, perhaps at a hotel that doesn’t have a coffee maker in the room. And other times, you could be in the middle of replacing your coffee maker for a new one after it broke. Even if you accidentally cracked the pot on your current coffee maker, you’d want another way to make coffee until your replacement arrived.

That’s why knowing how to make coffee using a microwave is a handy bit of information for every coffee aficionado out there. As long as you have a quality coffee grinder, top-notch beans, and good, clean water, you can make coffee in your microwave.

Purists might be screaming, but really, if something should go wrong with your coffee machine or you find yourself in a place without one and only ground coffee and a microwave, what other choice do you have? And on a busy morning if you have no time to wait for your own machine to do its thing, you can quickly microwave a cup of coffee up to take with you so you don’t have to go without coffee or risk running late stopping at a café.

Additionally, if you like to experiment and want to bring out your coffeehouse skills, you should keep reading for how to make coffee using a microwave. You’ll find out how to froth milk and do some other cool things too to take your cup of coffee to the next level!

How to Make Coffee Using a Microwave

If you dread starting your day without your morning cup of coffee, knowing how to use a microwave to make a cup of fresh coffee is a great skill to have. It takes just seconds once you know how and can really save you time when you’re pressed.

Who hasn’t slept through their alarm only to realize they’ve got just a few minutes to get it together and get going to make it out the door on time? When you need coffee right now and you’ve got to go, you can make it in your microwave.

Sure, some big coffee chains have drive-up windows that you can use, but what if the line is a mile long? Unless you’re the big boss, tardiness will be frowned down upon at the office, especially if you show up with a big cup from a coffeehouse. Furthermore, those coffee stops really eat away at your budget. If you frequent them on a daily basis, you’re spending around $5 a day which is $150 you could be using for something else.

So to save yourself time and money and never be without coffee even if you’ve only got seconds to spare, dust off your to-go cup and keep reading to follow these steps to making delicious and fresh coffee right in your microwave!

1. Choose a microwave-safe coffee mug

Coffee mugs are generally microwave-safe if they’re made from ceramic. You shouldn’t put your to-go cup in the microwave unless it says “microwave-safe” on it. If it doesn’t, choose a mug to make the coffee in and at the end, you can dump it into that to-go cup.

2. Fill the mug with water

Next, you’ll add water to your coffee mug. This water should be good quality, filtered or bottled, especially if you’re not going to heat it to a full boil. Generally, a minute to a minute and 30 seconds should do the trick unless your water is cold from the fridge.

3. Add your ground coffee

Once the water is hot enough, you can add ground coffee into the water, though the best way is to use either a cheesecloth or a non-dyed coffee filter. Two tablespoons of ground coffee should make the perfect brew. You should add your sugar to the water in this step if you take your coffee with sweetener (though it’s much healthier for you if you don’t!).

4. Wrap it up

With the filter or cheesecloth, wrap it up into a ball. You should also grab some twine or thread to tie it up. Don’t use a rubber band. That’s just gross!

5. Dip it

Once you’ve secured your bundle of coffee, take a fork or spoon and use it to submerge the bundle and keep it at the bottom of the mug. Let it sit for a minute or two, then press it against the side of the cup to squeeze out the rest of the coffee flavor into your cup.

Once you pull the bundle out, you can either enjoy your coffee in the mug or pour it into a cup to take along for the road!

Another Method to Make Coffee in a Microwave

Of course, it’s always good to know other ways to do something. And there’s more than one way to make coffee in the microwave! Sure, you could use instant coffee, but we strongly advise against it. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with it but it generally doesn’t taste as good as using real coffee grounds to make your coffee.

So what does this other method involve?

– Grind your coffee beans

If you have pre-ground coffee, that’s fine too, but nothing tastes better than coffee made from freshly-ground beans.

– Get a microwave-safe mug

As mentioned in the other method above, you need a mug that can be safely used in the microwave.

– Fill and heat

Next, fill the mug with good-quality water and heat it up. Allow it to sit for a minute inside the microwave.

– Make your coffee

Take the coffee you’ve just ground and stir it into the water for a few seconds. You’ll test the water to see how the temperature is. It should look like coffee at this point, with a bit of a foaminess on top. The grounds should settle on the bottom.

– Transfer to another cup

Next, you’ll pour this coffee into another cup, leaving the grounds behind. You can avoid transference of grounds into your new cup by using a mesh sieve if you prefer.

You can then feel free to add cream or sugar if you prefer. Again, that takes away from the health benefits of your coffee. Ideally, you should be choosing premium organic whole coffee beans to grind up as these preserve the antioxidant content of your coffee. Drinking it black is the best way for your health, and some people prefer it this way, though you can drink it as you wish.

The key is not letting the grounds steep for too long or it could become bitter in taste. And if you really want to elevate your microwave coffee experience or try something new, you can froth milk in the microwave too. Yes, really! Keep reading and you can have coffeehouse taste in just minutes with a frothy coffee drink from your microwave!

How to Froth Milk in a Microwave

If you like hot frothy milk on your coffee or you want to make an indulgent treat, you can use your microwave too. You don’t need a fancy cappuccino machine, but this might make you want to save up for one that you’ll use when guests come.

Make frothy milk in your microwave by following these steps:

  1. Get a jar with a lid (like a mason jar) and fill it with the desired amount of milk. It shouldn’t be filled to the top though because it needs room for the foam to build.
  2. Tighten the cap and shake up the jar for 30 seconds or so. The milk should double in volume.
  3. Remove the lid and microwave your milk uncovered for 30 seconds. Keep watch as the foam rises.
  4. Once done, add it to your microwaved coffee for a coffeehouse touch!

You can sprinkle a little ground cinnamon on top if you desire for a pretty presentation as well. And if you do choose to use your coffee maker, you can always use this frothy milk method in the microwave any time you desire!

How to Make Instant Coffee in a Microwave

OK, so what about those of you that only have instant coffee in the house? Don’t worry…we didn’t forget you! While we urge you to try making coffee with whole or even ground beans, sometimes those instant mixes are a lifesaver when you’re on the road, your coffee maker has randomly broken, or you forgot to pick up more coffee when you were on at the supermarket.

Most people keep a stash of instant coffee on-hand for reasons like this, or for when you have a dinner party and only one guest wants coffee. You can even fashion cappuccino-style microwave coffee using an instant mix which can make instant taste amazing. Here’s what to do:

  1. Fill a microwave-safe mug with cold milk, about halfway or a little more.
  2. Microwave it for about 40 seconds.
  3. Add a teaspoon each of sugar and instant coffee, then stir
  4. Heat another 30 seconds.
  5. Add a little more instant coffee on top, then microwave for no more than 12 seconds. Watch it closely so it doesn’t foam over the side.

That’s it for creamy, cappuccino flavor from your microwave! For a really rich flavor, use whole milk, but you can use 2% or non-fat milk if that’s what you’ve got.

Is it Safe to Make a Coffee in a Microwave?

From a scientific perspective, there are no harmful effects on your health for microwaving coffee as far as radiation goes. The walls of the microwave don’t let the radiation from it escape so it’s safe. But many people talk of the disadvantages of using microwaves, for coffee and other things.

It’s true that microwaves don’t just heat up your foods and beverages…they change the structure. They form new compounds that don’t form when you make things in their traditional ways of cooking.

The one thing to be concerned about is that molecular changes from microwaving foods and drinks could be harmful. Some experts have advised to only eat meals from the microwave after 20 minutes have passed. Others have researched this and come to the conclusion that it’s not as harmful as the other experts surmised.

In the US, these tests were conducted and found that microwaved foods do contain particles with microwave radiation which could be harmful. But if the microwave is of quality and in good working condition, this shouldn’t be a problem.

The biggest problem with microwaves is that it can lend a different taste than you’d get from heating your foods and drinks in more traditional methods like on the stove, in the oven, or in the case of coffee, in your coffee machine. Another thing that should be noted is that microwaves use up more energy to heat things. It takes 1000 watts of power to heat up meat and potatoes, and while coffee doesn’t require as much heating, it could be using more power than simply switching on the coffee maker.

That is, unless you leave your coffee maker on all day. Then you’ll likely be spending more energy on that. Still, heating things in the microwave can be a waste of energy, even if the item is small in nature.


If you need to make coffee but have no other means to do so, making it in the microwave is a great way to get a cup of it. It might expend more energy than your coffee maker, but if you are short on time or supplies, you don’t need to go without your cup of coffee for the day.

Plus, you can add frothy milk to it to create a unique treat which might be good when the mood strikes you or you have guests over. With these tips on how to make coffee using a microwave, you’ll have all your bases covered for when you need a cup right away!


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