Whether it be from making a whole pot of coffee or just forgetting to drink the cup you set aside for “a few minutes”, sometimes we end up with a cold cup of Joe. I'm sure a lot of you have had the problem of your coffee becoming cold over time and wished there was a way to reheat it so it doesn't go to waste. For those of us with kettles, the prospect of easily reheating our coffee back to perfection is very tempting. But the questions still remain; can you use a kettle to reheat coffee? And is it wise to?
Can you reheat coffee in a kettle? You can reheat your coffee, but not in a kettle. Most kettles were made for boiling water and only water, so if you were to put coffee in one, it may damage the kettle. The coffee will most likely have lost most of the nuanced flavors after being reheated as well, and you also run the risk of burning the coffee and making it bitter if it's not done properly.
In this article, we explore the do's and don'ts of reheating your coffee, and what you might expect in terms of flavor loss, overall quality, and safety. Read on for more!
Can you reheat coffee in a kettle?
Kettles, both electric and stovetop, are fantastic for heating up water quickly and effectively. Kettles are an excellent addition to most kitchens when you have a need for hot water. But how does the ol' kettle fare against our best friend, coffee?
Coffee and water are indeed both liquids, and since kettles are so good at heating up water, it stands to reason that they'd also be good at reheating coffee, right? Well… not so much.
Damage is Likely
While your trusty old kettle may be fantastic at heating up your water, I'm sad to say that awesomeness doesn't extend past water. Adding anything but water to most kettles, coffee included, is going to run the risk of damaging your kettle, and probably ruining your coffee as well. For electric kettles especially, putting other liquids inside is typically frowned on by the appliance's manufacturer. It may even void the warranty to boot. Using a kettle to heat up anything but water usually falls under “misuse” by the terms of the warranties.
The Cleaning Issue
Not only do you run the risk of damaging your kettle and ruining your coffee, but even if you did somehow manage to make and reheat the perfect cup of Joe using a kettle, cleaning it out is going to be another story. If it's a stovetop kettle, you're probably going to have to wait until it cools down to clean it out, as most stovetop kettles are made entirely of metal.
Electric and goose neck kettles would certainly be a nightmare and a half to clean out completely, that's for sure. Electric kettles can't just be submerged and cleaned like stovetop kettles usually can. Besides, even if you used something like a pipe cleaner to clean out the narrow goose neck kettle, there's not really a way to see if you get it all out. That's a surefire way to breed bacteria that can ruin your next use.
Coffee is also known to be very staining, both in color and in smell. That means that any kettle used to brew or reheat coffee would probably be stained. At that point, it would have to only be used for coffee from then on out. Unless you like your hot water to have the slight flavor of coffee, of course. I won't judge.
While it hasn't been extensively tested, it might be worth noting that the acids in coffee could cause some health issues if exposed to and heated in a kettle. Since kettles are designed to heat water, they are meant to be used with neutral (non-acidic) contents. By using a kettle with an acidic liquid, you could potentially be using that acid to unintentionally leech chemicals or minerals from the kettle or any coatings. It's not really worth the risk.
Again, I'm not aware of any scientific studies looking into this specific issue. But I'd rather mention it and be safe. The manufacturers of kettles state the devices should be used for water only for a reason, after all!
Is it okay to reheat coffee?
While technically yes, you can reheat coffee and in many different ways, that doesn't particularly mean it's going to taste the same as it did before. Reheating coffee that's been sitting out is going to have mixed results, most of which probably aren't going to be very good. The longer the coffee sits, the colder it gets, and once it reaches room temperature, you could be creating a breeding ground for bacteria.
Whether the coffee tastes fine after reheating it also depends on a multitude of factors, such as how the coffee was originally prepared, the amount of time it was left sitting, whether or not it was covered completely, and what (if any) other ingredients are in your coffee.
Some people also claim that after reheating their coffee the taste barely changes, if at all. So, if you're lucky you may find a way to reheat your coffee and keep its flavor intact, at least for the most part. You can always experiment with different ways to see what might work best for you.
If your coffee comes out of being reheated tasting a little bland or burnt, but you don't want to waste it, then you can try adding a bit of coffee creamer, cream, and or sugar to see if that helps mask any bad tastes.
Related Article: CAN YOU REHEAT COFFEE IN A COFFEE MAKER?
What is the best way to reheat coffee?
So, since kettles are a bust, how else can you reheat your leftover or forgotten coffee? There's got to be some reliable way, right?
This is a resounding yes! But it may not be as awesome as you're hoping.
The first and foremost thing you should keep in mind is that if you plan on heating up your coffee, you typically should use a method that uses a slow, gradual heat. You want to avoid making your coffee too hot, because you don't want to end up burning your coffee. Burnt coffee just doesn't taste very good, and you don't need to have a refined palate to tell when coffee is burnt.
Microwaves to Reheat Coffee
Probably the quickest and easiest way to heat up your coffee would be to microwave it, which makes the microwave a viable option in a pinch. However, this doesn't make it the best option for a couple of reasons. The most important issue being that microwaves can sometimes have a tendency to alter the flavor of coffee. It's not always noticeable, and let's be honest, you might not even care about the subtle difference. But it does need to be pointed out.
Microwaves are great while you're in a hurry, but are prone to reacting oddly with coffee. This doesn't happen to everybody, but if you plan on using a microwave to heat up your coffee just be aware that you run the risk of altering the flavor, and not for the better. The suspected reason for this is that the way a microwave heats up things can sometimes break down the coffee's aromas and more complex flavors, which can leave your coffee tasting a tad bit stale. Some people report a more bitter taste, too.
How to Use a Microwave to Reheat Coffee
For best results, you should check your microwave to see that it isn't running too hot, and make sure to heat up your coffee slowly at lower temperatures. If you don't know how or are unable to alter the temperature of your microwave, you can try to heat up the coffee a couple seconds at a time. If you're lucky, the coffee won't come out tasting bland, bitter, or burnt.
Related Article: HOW TO MAKE COFFEE WITH A MICROWAVE? (IT WORKS)
Reheating Coffee Using a Pot and Stove
Some coffee enthusiasts claim that the best possible way to reheat coffee is by carefully and slowly heating it up in a pot on the stove. The key here is the speed; the type of pot and what you decide to stir with doesn't really matter so long as you carefully monitor the heat. The reason for keeping it at a slow and gradual temperature while heating up is that it's deceptively easy to burn the coffee, especially if you get impatient or excited for your coffee and try to heat it up too fast.
Using a Moka Pot to Reheat Coffee
You can also use a Moka Pot to reheat coffee. This is a stovetop or electric coffee maker, but it can work to reheat coffee as well. Simply use as normal, but don't put any coffee grounds in the pot.
So, to summarize: microwaves are good if you're in a hurry, but are known to some people to leave the coffee tasting a little strange. Heating up your coffee with a stovetop pot is said to be the best method, but takes a while to do because you have to do it at a low to medium temperature to ensure that you don't end up burning your coffee. And you can use a Moka Pot to reheat coffee if you don't add more coffee grounds to it first.
Can you make coffee using a kettle?
We talked about reheating coffee in a kettle, but what about making it in the kettle to begin with?
Kettles are mostly used to heat up water, which can then be used in a multitude of ways—such as a French press. Technically, you can make coffee with a kettle, but only if it's the kind of coffee where you pour in hot water, like the pour-over or French press kinds. Much like reheating your coffee in a kettle, brewing your coffee directly in a kettle runs the same risks of not only breaking your kettle, but ruining the coffee as well. Brewing coffee in your kettle may also stain the kettle with the taste and color of coffee, which isn't fun.
What kind of kettle is best for making coffee?
Even though making coffee directly in a kettle is generally frowned upon by coffee connoisseurs and kettle manufacturers alike, kettles can still be used to make the kinds of coffee where you pour in heated water into some other kind of vessel. But what kind of kettle out-performs the others when it comes to coffee making? Let's find out!
To begin with, there are two types of kettles currently out there: stovetop and electric. Stovetop kettles (see Amazon) are filled with water and heated on, well, the stove. This can be an electric stove or one with a flame. Whereas electric kettles are plugged into a wall outlet. They are filled with water and let you select the temperature that you want your water to be.
With a lot of electric kettles, you have the added bonus of not only seeing exactly how much water you have inside, but also picking what temperature you want the water to be. Some electric kettles also have added options, like a keep warm button to keep your water at that temperature while you go about your business.
Stovetop kettles may not have any fancy buttons or anything like that, but they are fantastic for heating up water, even when there's no power. So long as you have access to a heat source—such as a woodstove—you might also be able to use a trusty stovetop kettle. Some stove top kettles are very rugged and made for camping, and can be used over an open fire!
Electric kettles are wonderful for heating precisely the amount and temperature of water that you want and can sometimes have helpful options included, but if you're in a pinch or maybe don't have access to electricity, like if you were camping, a stovetop kettle is a nice and reliable option as well.
It's best to think carefully about what you could possibly need for your specific kitchen and get what you think is best.