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Can You Microwave Paper Coffee Cups?

I love coffee. It is the biggest joy to wake up each morning and have a nice hot cup of coffee. Sometimes, I like to put my coffee in one of those paper-to-go cups so that I don’t spill it.

It is easier to carry my cup of coffee up and down the stairs in a paper cup. However, I tend not to drink it fast enough, and then I wanna reheat it.

It dawned on me recently that I didn’t know the real answer to whether you can microwave a paper coffee cup or not. I knew that it was bad, but I didn’t know why.

Well, now you get to learn what I learned. It helps to know a barista. So here is the quick down and dirty of what you need to know about reheating coffee in a paper cup.

This is a paper cup of coffee and coffee beans in the background.

Can You Microwave Paper Coffee Cups?

No, you should not microwave paper coffee cups. It seems like it should be fine to do because it is just paper, but it turns out that it is a bad idea. 

The issue lies in the composition of the cups. Many paper coffee cups are lined with a thin plastic or wax layer to prevent the liquid from seeping through. When microwaved, this lining can melt or warp, potentially causing the cup to leak, deform, or even cause a fire.

Can You Reheat Coffee In A Paper Cup?

While it might be tempting to quickly zap your coffee in the microwave, it’s not a good idea to reheat coffee in a paper cup. Your paper cup may melt or have a harmful chemical reaction in the microwave. 

The same stuff that keeps the paper cup from leaking is the stuff that causes a reaction in the microwave. 

It turns out that the paper cups are excellent for containing your coffee but unsafe for reheating. 

Can You Microwave Starbucks Paper Cups?

No. If you try to reheat your coffee in a Starbucks paper cup, you risk the cup melting and/or releasing chemicals. Even Starbucks, one of the most popular coffee chains worldwide, advises against microwaving their paper cups.

Their cups are designed for single use and are not intended for reheating. 

Instead, they recommend transferring your coffee to a microwave-safe ceramic or glass container if you need to reheat it.

This is a closeup of a Starbucks paper cup.

Risks Of Microwaving Paper Coffee Cups

The risks of microwaving paper coffee cups extend beyond just a ruined cup of coffee. The heat from the microwave can cause the plastic lining to melt and potentially leak harmful chemicals into your coffee. 

In extreme cases, it could even cause the cup to catch fire, leading to potential damage to your microwave or even your home.

Safe Ways To Reheat Coffee

So, what should you do if you need to reheat your coffee? The safest way is to transfer your coffee to a microwave-safe container, like a ceramic mug or glass cup, and then microwave it. 

Remember to heat in short intervals and stir in between to ensure even heating. 

Alternatively, you could reheat your coffee on the stove, ensuring a gentle and even heat.

The bottom line

While it might seem convenient to pop a paper coffee cup into the microwave, it’s not a safe practice. The potential risks far outweigh the convenience. 

Instead, take the time to transfer your coffee to a microwave-safe container or reheat it on the stove. Not only will this be safer, but your coffee will also taste better. 

Remember, coffee is meant to be enjoyed, so it’s worth the extra effort to ensure it’s heated properly and safely.

This is a paper cup of hot coffee with smoke.