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How to make coffee in the microwave(if you don’t have a pot)

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 learn 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!

how to make coffee in the microwave

5 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 with your favorite brewing device.

2. Making DIY filter coffee in the microwave

Since we’re totally MacGyvering around here, you can actually make a DIY coffee bag/pouch 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 steeped coffee using a 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 you’ve heated in the microwave and let the coffee brew for 4-5 minutes.

Just pour water on top of the grounds and give it a stir to mix it evenly. At the end of 4 minutes, the top of the coffee will have a foamy froth that you can just scoop off, and the rest of the grounds will have settled to the bottom of the cup.

Decant the coffee slowly into a new mug to leave the grounds in the old cup. You can also drink out of the same cup as long as you’ve scooped off the foam. That’s how they do it in coffee cuppings.

Another 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.

For steeping coffee in this method, go for a medium-coarse grind. This way it will be easier to filter off. If the grounds are too fine, it will result in an over-extracted cup.

4. How to make instant coffee in the microwave

Ah, 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. Get the temperature up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is around 90ish degrees C.

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. How to foam milk in the microwave

Let’s say you have a hankering for a latte or a cappuccino but you don’t have any way to foam milk. What now?

You can use a microwave to foam milk. 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, and microwave it for about 30 to 45 seconds. Remember to remove the lid, otherwise you’ll need a new microwave.

Voila! You have frothed, heated milk!

You can get even foamier, thicker milk if you use a french press or a hand frother. Pour heated milk into the french press and put the top on. Plunge up and down to a count of 60. Plunge all the way down and bring the plunger back all the way up.

Remember that the volume of milk will nearly double once all the air is incorporated, so use a volume of milk accordingly. A whole glass will effectively turn into two whole glasses.

Pour the milk onto your brewed coffee and enjoy.

Heating water in a microwave vs using a kettle

Microwaves are nearly ubiquitous and most households have them, but they’re not very efficient at heating. Kettles will heat water and milk much more evenly. Even if you don’t have a kettle, you can heat water in a saucepan or even a large frying pan.

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Frequently asked questions

Can you make ground coffee in the microwave?

Absolutely. Most of the brewing magic happens after water has already been heated, so you just need a microwave to heat the water. You can then add coffee grounds and let them steep for 4 minutes. Then filter out the coffee and enjoy.

How do you make coffee with milk in the microwave?

To a mug of milk, add instant coffee and sugar to taste. You can also add cinnamon instead of sugar. Give it a quick stir, and microwave for about 1 minute. Take it out of the microwave and give it another stir to dissolve everything.

Is microwaved water bad for you?

Microwaves heat unevenly, so be careful when using them to heat water.

Last update on 2021-01-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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About Shabbir

Shabbir is the Chief Caffeine Officer at Coffee In My Veins. When he's not weighing out coffee beans for his next brew, you can find him writing about his passion: coffee.

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