how to make coffee in the microwave

How to Make Coffee in the Microwave (4 Ways Explained)

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Once you know how to make coffee in the microwave, it’s quite easy to make your favorite brew. Sure, it may not have the gourmet appeal that comes with coffee made in an espresso machine. But, when all else fails, the microwave can be your answer.

How Do You Microwave a Cup of Coffee?

A microwave is a handy appliance to have in any kitchen. Most of us use them to defrost frozen meals or warm up left-overs. Some cooks have mastered the art of making a meal from scratch using a microwave. But, who would have thought of using a microwave to make a cup of coffee?

Before you scorn the idea any further, hear me out.

Let’s talk about what goes into making a brew of coffee. Well, if you one of those serious coffee aficionados like me, your first step is grinding your own coffee blend. Every morning you decide which blend you’re in the mood for and toss the beans into the burr grinder. The aromas get your coffee taste buds flowing!


coffee in a microwave


You’ve added water to the coffee machine and pressed the button. On most mornings, all goes according to plan and you brew your coffee. But, I’m talking about the morning when your coffee maker stopped working. You’re sitting with a handful of coffee grounds waiting to be brewed.

You actually have a few options for making coffee in the microwave. So, hold onto those coffee grounds and read on. I’m going to share with you a few methods and take you through each method, step by step.

1. The Filter Coffee in the Microwave Method

Create your own filter coffee brew by using the following steps:

  1. Add two tablespoons of your coffee grounds into a coffee filter. Fold the top of the filter over, making a small bag. Slide the top of this filter bag between the prongs of a fork. Set aside.
  2. Fill a microwave-safe mug (you can get one here at Amazon), cup, or glass jar with water (you can find them . You need about 6 ounces to 8 ounces of water.
  3. Place the container with water into the microwave and heat up for about 45 seconds or until the water reaches a temperature of about 200 degrees F. A thermometer would be useful at this step or simply gauge the water temperature by the length of time its been in the microwave. Each microwave is different so this may take a bit of practice until you know how long your microwave takes to reach the optimal water temperature for brewing coffee.
  4. Take the water out of the microwave and place the coffee filter bag into the water by balancing the fork on top of the mug. Or you can place the filter bag and fork into the water.
  5. Let it steep for about 4 minutes (or longer if you want a stronger brew). You can press the fork against the filter bag to push more flavor out of the coffee grounds.
  6. Remove the fork and filter bag when your brew looks and smells ready.
  7. Add milk and sugar, if that’s your liking, stir and enjoy your cup of coffee. Or, sip on it black. Coffee without milk and sugar is great for tasting the brew’s flavors.
  8. Make sure you take your first sip carefully. Hot water out of the microwave can scald your lips or mouth.

If you don’t have coffee filters on hand, cheesecloth will work just as well. Cut out a small square, place two tablespoons or more of ground coffee beans in the middle, and pull up the corners of the cheesecloth to form a ball. Tie a piece of string to keep the corners tightly closed. Attach the string to the fork and steep as you would with a filter bag.

A binder clip can be used in place of the fork. Simply attach it to the top of the coffee filter or cheesecloth.

2. Using the Tea Strainer Method

If you don’t have a tea strainer in your kitchen, then buy one as soon as you can (you can get it from Amazon here). It’s one of the most useful tools to have in the kitchen. It’s not only used for straining tea leaves. You can use it to make your coffee brew too. It can be used for many other things too but as I’m talking about brewing coffee today, I won’t get sidetracked!

  1. Place a microwaveable mug or cup filled with water in the microwave.
  2. Heat up the water for about 45 to 60 seconds. The length of time depends on how long it takes to bring the water to a temperature of about 200 degrees F.
  3. While the water is heating up in the microwave, heat up another mug or coffee cup with hot water from the tap or kettle.
  4. When the water in the microwave is ready, empty the warmed up cup out and place the tea strainer on top of it.
  5. Scoop two tablespoons of grounded coffee beans into the tea strainer.
  6. Pour the microwaved water over the coffee grounds. You want to pour enough water to cover the grounds in the tea strainer.
  7. Let it steep for 4 to 5 minutes, depending on how strong you like your coffee. Use the flat base of a teaspoon to gently press down on the coffee grounds to extract more flavors.
  8. Add sugar and milk to taste and enjoy.


coffee mug in a microwave


3. When You Don’t Have Filters or Strainers on Hand Method

You’ve run out of coffee filters, the cheesecloth has been used up for making cheese and you haven’t got round to buying the tea strainer. This doesn’t mean you can’t make your coffee in the microwave. While this method is not going to give you your absolutely perfect coffee brew, it’ll fulfill your need for coffee when the coffee maker can’t do it anymore.

  1. Microwave a cup or mug of water until it reaches the right temperature (as I’ve described above).
  2. Take it out of the microwave when it’s ready and add your ground coffee directly to the water.
  3. Stir a few times and let it sit for a few minutes to let the flavors brew.
  4. At this stage, you can add your milk and sugar and sip away OR if you do have a tea strainer on hand, after all, pour the coffee into another cup. This will minimize the gritty taste of the coffee.

Now, the reason you and I grind our own coffee every morning is because we don’t enjoy the taste of instant coffee. But, if you’ve run out of coffee grounds or your whole bean supply has come to an end instant coffee will satisfy the caffeine craving. Simply add a teaspoon to the water when it has been microwaved.

4. The Frothy Milk Coffee Method

if you love the taste of frothy milk in your coffee, you can make it easy enough with a microwave.

  1. While the water is being heated up in the microwave, prepare the milk.
  2. Pour some milk into a microwave-safe jar that has a lid. Screw the lid on and shake vigorously for about 30 seconds. What you’re doing here is adding air bubbles to the milk.
  3. Take the heated up water out of the microwave and steep your favorite coffee grind using any of the above methods described.
  4. Take the lid off the jar (you don’t want an explosion in the microwave!) and heat up the milk for about 45 seconds.
  5. When your coffee has been steeped to your preference, pour in the frothy milk.
  6. Add sugar if you need some sweetness and sit back and enjoy it.

In minutes, you’ve created your own latte or cappuccino with no fuss at all!



Is it Safe to Make Coffee in the Microwave?

When using the microwave to brew your coffee, always make sure you’re using a microwave-safe coffee mug or cup. Leave enough space at the top of the mug or cup so you don’t have water overfilling into the microwave. Or risk spilling boiling water onto your arm or hand when removing the water from the microwave.

Water that has been microwaved can heat up in different areas which means you could have scattered heat spots. It’s important to stir the coffee well before drinking to minimize these hot spots which could scald your lips or mouth when you sip your coffee.

Coffee can be reheated in the microwave. Coffee connoisseurs will raise their eyebrows in horror and suggest you rather drink your coffee cold then ruin it in the microwave. Coffee reacts to the different temperatures and both the cooling down and reheating of coffee will change the flavor and taste of your coffee. But if you’re aware of this and still need a warm cup of coffee, there’s no harm in reheating your coffee.

A Final Word

While a coffee maker is designed to give you gourmet-style coffee, days will happen when you don’t have a coffee maker on hand or it won’t work. You could use the saucepan on the stovetop to heat up water or even the kettle for boiling water. But what’s wrong with coffee making in the microwave when it’s convenient and quick?

Microwave coffee can be enjoyed if you follow some of my methods mentioned in this article. So, get out your coffee mug, make the coffee, and enjoy it!