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In the words of award-winning author Leanna Hieber, “coffee first, schemes later.” There is absolutely nothing better than starting your day with a perfectly brewed cup of coffee.
However, people often mix up iced coffee and cold brew coffee – after all, they are both cold. But they couldn’t be more different. For one, the method used to make iced coffee makes it a little more flexible to temperature changes than the other.
Sometimes, the colder weather requires something warmer, even though you prefer the distinct flavor of iced coffee. So, can you heat up iced coffee? Yes, and there’s ways to do it without sacrificing the taste you’ve come to love.
How Is Iced Coffee Made?
Remember how the method used to make iced coffee makes it easier to heat up? Well, that’s because it is made by cooling down hot brewed coffee. Ironically, this is the major difference between iced coffee and cold brew coffee.
If you’re short on time and need to grab your iced coffee drink quickly, you can add milk, sweetener, and a few ice cubes to a hot brew to cool it down. The downside is that once the ice melts, it becomes watered down and loses some of its flavor.
To prevent your iced coffee from watering, you can make a hot coffee brew the night before and keep it in the refrigerator overnight. You get the same yummy goodness and none of the runny mess caused by ice cubes.
Can You Heat Up Iced Coffee?
Yes, it is entirely possible to heat up iced coffee. There are three heating methods you can use to do this:
- Heating your iced coffee with a microwave
- Slow heating your iced coffee over the stove
- Heating your iced coffee with warm water
Heating Your Iced Coffee with a Microwave
Before you heat your iced coffee in the microwave, you need to ensure that the cup or mug you use is microwaveable.
Pour your iced coffee in the cup and microwave it at short intervals (usually 1-2 minutes) until it reaches the desired temperature. Then, carefully remove your coffee from the microwave.
The microwave method is fast and stress-free. However, your coffee may have a changed taste or look. It could taste more bitter due to the heat from the first process of making it and now reheating it.
If this happens, you can fix it by adding your preferred coffee creamer, milk, sweetener, or sugar until it suits your taste.
Slow Heating Your Iced Coffee Over the Stove
Another way to warm up your iced coffee is to heat it up slowly over a stovetop. Grab a pot, kettle, or saucepan and pour your iced coffee into it. Set your stove to low and begin the reheating process.
Be sure to constantly stir your coffee until it reaches the preferred temperature. This ensures that you don’t degrade the coffee compounds, overboil, or burn the coffee.
With this method, you retain most of the original taste. You can also heat it based on your preference.
The one disadvantage of using the stove method is that it is hard to determine the optimal temperature that brings out the flavor of the coffee. You also cannot walk away from the stove, or you risk ruining your coffee.
Heating Your Iced Coffee with Warm Water
This method is perhaps the simplest method of all three. You don’t need any special skills or equipment to do this.
There are two ways to heat your iced coffee with warm water, which are the internal and external heating methods.
Internal Heating Method
The internal heating method is fairly straightforward. All you need to do is pour your instant iced coffee powder mix in a cup or mug, then mix in hot water until it reaches the desired temperature.
If you want, you can add sweeteners, sugar, cream, or milk to your coffee.
External Heating Method
Similar to the internal heating method, you’re also adding hot water, except you aren’t pouring it directly into the coffee mug.
First, pour your iced coffee into a mug, cover it up, and set it aside. Then, fill a bigger bowl with hot water and place your cup of coffee inside the bowl of hot water to heat it up. Once it reaches the preferred temperature, take out your coffee and enjoy.
Since the heat is not directly touching the coffee, the taste remains the same. However, this heating process can be time-consuming and frustrating, since the coffee requires a lot of heat before it warms up.
Does Warm Iced Coffee Still Taste Good?
If you follow any of the processes mentioned above, you’ll have a sweeter and creamier coffee without the acidic flavor that bad coffee is known for.
How Long Can You Keep Iced Coffee with Milk?
Coffee with milk tends to lose its flavor and turns bitter faster than black coffee. Iced coffee is not an exception. As a general rule of thumb, any coffee that has milk or cream in it can probably stay for 1-2 hours before it goes bad.
But if you refrigerate it at temperatures below 40℉, you can prevent food-spoiling bacteria from developing in the milk and extend its “lifespan” for up to a week.
So the question is, can you heat up iced coffee? Yes, you can. Should you heat up iced coffee? That heavily depends on you and your reasons for wanting to do so.
Most coffee connoisseurs will not do it because they feel the taste and flavor become compromised. However, if you know what you’re doing, you’ll have a reheated coffee that maintains the same original flavor.
Hopefully, this article answered all of your coffee reheating questions. Don’t forget to check out our other cold brew articles.