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How Long Should You Microwave Water For Coffee?

Microwaving water for coffee or tea can be highly convenient. Fill your mug with water and microwave it for 2-3 minutes. Let it cool down for 30 seconds, add your coffee grounds and other additives and stir it. Be cautious and never use plastic, glass or metal mugs and always use oven mitts as the mugs will be burning hot.

Microwaves are convenient for all types of things, and even for heating up water. I often microwave the water for my coffee when I’m in a hurry and it’s excellent for that. Let me tell you all about it as I made a step-by-step guide, as well as precautions and what you can expect your coffee to taste like.

Let’s get started.

How Long Should You Microwave Water For Coffee?

Before microwaving water, it’s essential to know that the water temperature for coffee should be between 195°F – 205 °F (90°C – 96°C), but not higher than the boiling temperature which is 212°F (100°C).

Now that you know this, it will take 3 – 4 minutes to boil water in the microwave, which is quite fast.

How Do You Make Coffee In The Microwave?

I’m going to be honest with you: I often make coffee in the microwave, especially when I’m in a rush. So let me take you through the process of how I do it. 

Always be sure to use a microwave-safe coffee mug to avoid an accident. Never use plastic, glass, or metal mugs.

Every microwave is a bit different, mine takes a while to heat things up. It’s best to play around a bit with the times but the process is the same:

  1. Fill your mug with water and microwave it. Now depending on the wattage of your microwave, boiling water takes roughly 2-3 minutes. The mug will be hot and won’t absorb your coffee, this allows water in your mug to stay hot for longer.
  2. Wait for 30 seconds to let the water cool down to around 205°F (96°C), this is the ideal temperature for coffee and doesn’t destroy the grounds.
  3. Add the ground coffee and stir to combine it. Something important to note is that the water might come up and overflow your cup if you did not wait for the water to cool down, so keep that in mind. You’ll have to use grounds in your cup if you don’t have a filter. But don’t panic, it’s not as horrible as it may seem and if you sip your coffee quickly, it won’t taste as bitter.
  4. Try to avoid a sludgy mess at the bottom of your mug. I’ve wound up with a handful of grounds before, and it’s not something I’d recommend.


Now, if you do have a filter, we recommend you use it. Just because you’re microwaving the water, doesn’t mean you have to go for something completely different out of your routine. A french press is a perfect brewer to use in combination with the microwave.

The Difference Between Microwaved and Regular Water

There is no difference in boiling water in a microwave or on the stove, however, there’s a difference in the microwaving mechanism which can have devastating effects.

Sometimes heating water in the microwave can get hotter than boiling, this is called “superheating.” Now, you may ask what’s the big deal with this? Well, let me tell you.

Microwaving heat water uses a completely different mechanism than the traditional stove for example. When you boil water on the stove, convection causes hot water to rise in the pot, stirring and disrupting the coffee. It’s the action of stirring bubbles that form and make water boil.

When you heat water in the microwave, convection doesn’t happen. This means that water can heat without showing any signs of boiling. It might appear that the water is cold when in reality it’s superheater or far beyond the boiling point. When superheated water is disturbed, it will violently boil all at once, this creates a dangerous explosion of boiling water and steam. This is what I mentioned in step 3 earlier, and thus it’s very important to let your water cool down for a good 30 seconds before adding your coffee grounds to the water.

This is why it’s important to avoid superheating your water by microwaving it in short bursts of 1 – 2 minutes.

Precautions When Microwaving Water

This is an important section as I’ve hurt myself plenty of times and I don’t want you to make the same mistakes. As convenient as microwaving water is, you still need to be cautious when you decide to do it.

  • Use appropriate mugs to microwave your water. No metal, plastic or glass. I used a metal mug once and found out the hard way.
  • Spilling hot boiling water is always a risk, use oven mitts or a thick towel to hold the mug handle.
  • Steam vapor burns just as much as spilling boiling water, the steam can make its way out of the microwave when it’s done. That’s why I like to open the microwave and let my mug cool down inside of it for 30 seconds before getting my hands on it. If you do get burnt, place your hands under cool (not cold or ice) or lukewarm water immediately.
  • Get familiar with your microwave’s settings. For example, I know my microwave takes a while to heat things up, much longer than regular microwaves. It’s best to start low and make your way up if you have to. After a while you’ll know best how to handle your microwave and microwaving water will get even more convenient at this point.

The Bottom Line

Microwaves can be very convenient and fast to make a quick coffee. I do it very often when I’m in a rush in combination with some instant coffee. Is it the best coffee you’ll ever have? Surely not. But it’s a quick and effective way of getting caffeine in your system and it’s not as horrible as you may think.

Always be cautious when handling hot mugs that come out of the microwave. Never use a plastic, metal or glass mug. Use oven mitts if necessary and let your water cool down before adding anything to it as this can bring out an explosion of boiled water.

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