How To Make Coffee In The Microwave To Kick-Start Your Day

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coffee in a microwave

Need a quick caffeine fix, but there’s no coffee maker in sight?

As long as you have a microwave, you’re golden! It’s quick, easy, and sometimes, it might be the only option. So why not make the best out of it?

If you want to know how to make coffee in the microwave, you’ve come to the right place. Today, I’ll share with you my favorite methods with step-by-step instructions

So let’s dive straight in!

4 Ways To Make Coffee In The Microwave

While there are many ways to make coffee in the microwave, here are the 4 most common ones:

  1. Filtered coffee
  2. Cowboy coffee
  3. Turkish coffee
  4. Instant coffee

Making Filtered Coffee In The Microwave

Making coffee in the microwave is pretty simple. But, we’ll need to improvise. 

Luckily, all the tools you need are probably in your house already:

  • Coffee filter
  • 2 tablespoons medium-coarse grind 
  • Binder clip
  • Microwave-safe mug
  • Your favorite coffee mug 

And here’s a step by step explanation of the coffee-making process:

  1. Take a coffee filter and fold it in half. Then, fold both sides towards the middle, and fold them again. This will give you the shape of the bag.
  2. Pour two tablespoons of coffee grounds into the bag.
  3. Take the binder clip and seal the bag opening. Put it into your favorite coffee mug
  4. Grab a microwave-safe mug, fill it with water, and put it into the microwave to warm up for up to two minutes.
  5. Take the mug out and pour water into a mug with the coffee bag. Let it sit for up to four minutes, then throw it away. 

The more you keep the coffee bag submerged, the stronger your cup of joe will be. This means you can really experiment with your brew.

Cowboy Coffee

No filter? No problem! 

Do you think cowboys bothered filtering their coffee while on the trail?

You can easily make a cup of true cowboy coffee at your home. Just instead of the campfire, you’ll use a microwave to heat up water. Here are a few things you’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon medium-coarse grind
  • 2 mugs
  • Strainer (optional)

Here’s how you can do that:

  1. Fill the mug with water and put it in the microwave. Bring it to a boil.
  2. Take the mug out of the microwave and let it sit for 30 seconds. It will cool down to 205ºF, which is the ideal temperature for brewing.
  3. Add a tablespoon of coffee grounds and stir well. Then, move the mug aside for a few minutes. This will allow the grounds to settle on the bottom. At this point, you should see a foamy froth forming on the top.
  4. Slowly transfer your coffee to another cup while avoiding grounds to get in. You can use a strainer to do that quickly and mess-free.

Keep in mind that, while the steps are pretty simple, you can easily over-extract your coffee grounds. 

To avoid that, don’t let the grounds settle for more than five minutes before transferring coffee into another cup.

Since this method uses no filters, your coffee will definitely be a bit on the bitter side. 

It’s how they used to drink it in the wild, wild West after all. But if you don’t like it, you can mask the bitterness by adding sugar or milk to your cup.

Turkish Coffee: Microwave Edition

turkish coffee

This method is somewhat similar to the one above. But it uses extra-fine coffee grounds and gives you a stronger cup of joe. 

The only things you need are:

  • 2 tablespoons of extra-fine coffee grounds
  • 16-ounce microwave-safe measuring cup
  • Coffee mug

As for the steps, repeat them after me:

  1. Add two tablespoons of coffee grounds into a 16-ounce measuring cup. 
  2. Pour one to one and a half glasses of water into the measuring cup, over the grounds you’ve added in the previous step. They’ll float on top of the water, but don’t stir! It’s supposed to be this way.
  3. Place the measuring cup into the microwave and set it to medium temperature. 
  4. For this step, you’ll have to stay alert and watch your coffee as it’s brewing. As soon as you notice it’s rising, stop the microwave before coffee overflows.
  5. As the liquid level settles down, let it heat up again to start rising. Then, stop it just as it hits the brim of the measuring cup.
  6. Take the cup out of the microwave and let it sit for up to five minutes. This will allow the grounds to settle at the bottom.
  7. Slowly pour over coffee into your mug so that you don’t disturb the coffee particles. But even if some get inside your cup, don’t worry, as they’ll settle on the bottom. Just remember not to drink your coffee to the last sip.

You need to be extra careful when making Turkish coffee in the microwave. 

Even if you’re one second late at pressing the stop button, you can end up with coffee spilled inside your microwave, making a huge mess.

The Instant Coffee Method

Instant coffee might not be the java of your choice. But there will be a moment when you feel like any coffee is better than no coffee. 

And when that moment happens, you’ll be glad you’ve stashed on instant coffee in your pantry.

You just need two things:

  • Instant coffee mix
  • Microwave-safe mug

You thought previous coffee-making methods were easy? It’s not called instant coffee for nothing. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Fill the mug with water and put it into the microwave for around 40 seconds. This should be enough for it to reach the sweet spot for brewing coffee, which is around 205ºF.
  2. Once heated, take the mug out of the microwave.
  3. Add your instant coffee mix into the mug. The ideal ratio is ½ teaspoons for every 8 ounces of water. But you can always add more or less, depending on your taste preference.
  4. Stir until the mix completely dissolves into the drink.

How To Froth Milk In The Microwave

You don’t need a fancy espresso machine to enjoy the froth on your coffee. In fact, you can even make it in your microwave, as long as you have two things.

These are:

  • Jar with a lid
  • A desired amount of milk

The frothing process is a piece of cake. Just follow these easy steps:

  1. Pour milk into the jar. Ideally, you don’t want to fill more than half of it, so that you leave enough room for foam.
  2. Close the lid, making sure it’s sealed properly. Shake it well for about 30 seconds. At this point, milk should double in volume.
  3. Take off the lid and place the jar inside the microwave. Heat it up until the froth rises to your desired level.
  4. Pour the froth into your coffee. 

You can also sprinkle cinnamon or cocoa to spice up your coffee flavor. Trust me, no one will be able to tell you made coffee in the microwave, and not an expensive machine.

Heating Water In A Microwave Vs A Kettle

As you can see, there are several ways you can make coffee in a microwave. And the results can be pretty good. 

A microwave can serve as an alternative to certain coffee-making appliances. But, that doesn’t mean it can effectively replace them. 

And the main reason? It doesn’t heat up water evenly. 

As you might know, a microwave oven uses electromagnetic waves to heat up the content. Imagine these waves as heat bolts that are shot in all directions towards the cup of water you want to bring to boil.

Those heat bolts warm-up water molecules, but only the ones they’re touching. Hot water molecules are less dense than cold molecules, so they rise on the surface. And what you get is a cup of water that’s hot at the top, and cool at the bottom.

So why does a simple instrument, such as a kettle, do a better job at heating liquid?

The answer is simple – the heat is coming from the bottom. As each water molecule is becoming hotter, it starts going up, thus creating a cyclical fluid flow. Eventually, all the molecules mix up together, creating liquid with uniform temperature.


Since you’re new to making coffee in a microwave, I’m sure there are tons of questions popping in your head. I’ve tried my best to answer some of the things you might be wondering about.

Are Electromagnetic Waves Dangerous For Our Health?

Microwaves emit electromagnetic radiation, which lots of people believe is harmful to our health. But hey, so do all of our electronic devices, yet we don’t see them as life-threatening. 

Tons of studies have been conducted on the matter, and none of them has found evidence of microwaves being dangerous to our health. So there’s no reason to worry about using this appliance at home.

Can You Heat Up Coffee In The Microwave?

Theoretically, you could heat up your coffee with the help of a microwave. But you should know the coffee will surely lose the original flavor. 

Reheating coffee is like baking an already-baked cake all over again. So what you end up with is an overly processed drink that tastes bitter.

Does Microwaving Coffee Destroy Caffeine Content?

While microwaving coffee kills certain nutrients, it doesn’t affect the caffeine content. So no matter how much you over-extract it, the only thing that will stay the same is the amount of caffeine in your coffee.

To Sum Things Up

As you can see, you don’t need fancy appliances to make a cup of coffee. 

While coffee made in the microwave may not be the best cup you’ve ever had, it can turn out to be pretty good. 

Just follow the steps and you can’t go wrong!

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Viktoria Marks
Viktoria is a writer and a journalist who can't imagine sitting by her computer without a large cup of java in her hand. She loves sampling coffee from all over the world as much as writing about it.