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How to make coffee in the microwave(for emergencies, of course)

Sometimes the need for a jolt of caffeinated joe is so urgent that you’ll just need to use whatever means you have available to make a cup. So let’s talk about how to make coffee in the microwave.

Imagine this: your kettle is broken, and all your pots are dirty, and you’re feeling too tired to wash anything. You just need a cup of coffee!

So what will you have to resort to? Using your microwave to make coffee, of course!

3 ways to make coffee in the microwave

1. Using a microwave to heat up the water

Assuming you’ve already got your favorite brewing equipment on hand, you can just use a microwave to heat up the water. This will work for french press, drip, and Aeropress.

Fill up a mug with 6-8 ounces of water and pop it into the microwave.

Now, every microwave is different, so I can’t really give you an estimate of how long it will take for you to get water to the proper temperature.

You will need to figure that out by yourself, and here’s how:

Heat the water in the microwave for one minute and measure the temperature using a thermometer.

Any good probe thermometer will do the trick, these are usually meant for meat and chicken but they do the job just fine. You can also use a candy thermometer.

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Your target temperature is 90-95 degrees C(194-203 degrees F).

See how far or close you are to the target temperature, and pop it back into the microwave for some more time accordingly:

  • If you’ve got a long way to go, try 45 seconds to one minute
  • If you’ve only got a few degrees to go, try 20 to 30 seconds, or even less

Since all microwaves are different I can’t really give you a specific number. You’ll need to figure out how much time it takes for you to get to the required temperature.

Safety note:

It is possible in some cases for water to become superheated(reach 100 degrees C but not boil). In this case, the moment the water is disturbed, it’ll start boiling and you may get splashed with boiling water.

For this reason, you want to slowly heat up the water, not go all out too quickly.

Once you reach the desired temperature, it’s time to brew some coffee.

2. Making DIY filter coffee in the microwave

Since we’re totally MacGyvering around here, you can actually make a DIY filter using a paper filter and a fork. Measure out and fill coffee grounds(preferably freshly ground from beans) into the paper filter and bunch it up so it forms a pocket.

As soon as your water is heated up in the microwave, insert the folded up part that sticks out through the gaps in the fork to jam it there, and put the fork into the coffee to start steeping.

Let it steep for 4 minutes, remove the fork and filter, and enjoy your MacGyvered coffee.

3. Making DIY french press-ish coffee in the microwave

If you don’t even have a paper filter, but you have coffee grounds, you can actually just mix the coffee grounds into the water(pour water on top of the grounds and give it a stir to mix it evenly) you’ve heated in the microwave and let the coffee brew for 4-5 minutes.

Within this time, most of the grounds will have settled to the bottom of the cup, so you can just pour the coffee slowly into a new mug and leave a little bit at the bottom that contains all of the grounds.

A better way would be to use a strainer. Just strain the coffee through it into a new mug and you’ll have a nice, clean cup of fresh coffee.

4. Making instant coffee in the microwave

Finally, making instant coffee. Personally, I don’t even go near the stuff anymore, but perhaps the adage is true: something is better than nothing. So if there is truly nothing else available and you’re desperate, I suppose a cup of instant coffee may just hit the spot for long enough for you to find some good coffee.

The process is pretty much the same.

Heat up water using the method described above, and mix in one to two teaspoons of instant coffee for every 8 ounces of water. Add sugar and milk to taste, since you’re probably not going to enjoy black instant coffee!

5. Making milky coffee in the microwave

At this point, we’re going full MacGyver without looking back at all.

You can make a milky, frothy cup of coffee in the microwave quite easily. This version is called an Indian cappuccino or hand beaten coffee.

To make it, add two teaspoons of coffee, one teaspoon of sugar, and one teaspoon of water to a mug and start beating it with a spoon. After about 10 minutes of beating, you’ll notice the mixture becomes really stiff, thick, foamy, and light. This means it’s ready. If it seems too dry and does not mix, add water in half teaspoon increments.

A quicker way of foaming up the mixture is just to use a hand blender and you’ll have the thick foam within a minute or so.

Next up, add some milk in a jar – fill it up halfway, screw the lid on tightly, and give it a really vigorous shake to get some bubbles forming.

Remove the lid(IMPORTANT!), and microwave the milk for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.

Voila! You have frothed milk!

Pour the milk onto the foamed coffee mixture and give it a good stir. Enjoy!

Do you really need a microwave?

Do you really need a microwave? Not really, actually, kettles are way more effective and can be found for super cheap. If your kettle is broken, please buy a new one!

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Last update on 2020-05-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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