HomeCoffee InfoCan You Burn Coffee? An Insight into the Process of Burning

Can You Burn Coffee? An Insight into the Process of Burning

The question Can You Burn Coffee does not have a simple yes or a no for an answer. There are many factors at play that merit consideration to answer this question.

If you leave the coffee on your stove for hours without attending to it, what will happen? Will it burn? Can it ruin your coffee for good?

The answers to the questions above will be clear once we know the meaning of the term “burn” Let’s first have a look at what burning coffee means.

can you burn coffee

What Does Burning Coffee Mean?

The easiest definition of burning coffee would be to boil it at extreme temperatures. For example, cooking the coffee at 100 degrees, Celsius can be defined as burning it.

Another explanation would be to cook coffee for many hours at a stretch. For instance, it would obviously burn if you put your coffee on the burner for hours and hours. Let’s consider both these definitions to answer our questions.

Is It Possible to Burn Coffee While Roasting?

When roasting coffee, there are two factors at work. The first one is the temperature of the water, which is around 95 Degrees Celsius in most coffee makers.

So if you put your beans at this degree, the taste is not ruined and the coffee is NOT burned while roasting.

However, if you keep roasting them for hours, the beans start to give off a burning or scalding sensation, which can spoil your coffee.

It is the long hours of cooking that can burn the coffee rather than high temperatures as coffee beans can handle such extreme temperatures.

The bottom line is to not over roast your coffee as it can definitely burn that way.

Burning Coffee While Brewing

Brewing coffee with ground powder at high temperatures can ruin the perfect taste of your coffee. It is better to let the water boil for at least 30 seconds before pouring room-temperature ground powder (not frozen) to let it perfectly blend in with water.

If the ground powder mixes with boiled water at extreme temperatures, it makes your brew sour (trust me, you don’t want to try it!).

Coffee makers these days come with a built-in thermometer, so you don’t need to worry too much about maintaining the proper temperatures; however, it is still essential to make sure your ground powder is not frozen when used in the water.

Another question is, what can be the ideal temperature to brew your coffee that tastes heavenly? The answer is around 80 to 90 degrees Celsius.

Again, you don’t need to worry about the temperatures as you need to worry about overcooking it at those temperatures.

Can You Burn Coffee Grounds?

Coffee grounds can’t burn like any other substance that catches fire. But they taste different when exposed to high temperatures for a long time. They become sour or leave a burnt taste in your mouth, which is not a preference for any coffee lover.

The secret to a perfectly made coffee is to find the thin line between boiling water and hot water. Coffee grounds can taste good when poured in hot water, which your favorite cafes make sure of when serving you.

On the other hand, if you boil water for very long and then pour your coffee grounds into it, you will mess up the taste and smell of your coffee. So YES, it’s possible to burn your coffee grounds and spoil them for good.

Next time when you make your coffee, make sure you DO NOT expose your coffee ground to extreme temperatures!

Can You Burn Coffee in the Microwave?

The next intriguing question coffee lovers ask is whether coffee can burn in a microwave. The straightforward answer is NO.

When you reheat your coffee in a microwave, expect its taste to be different. Microwaves extract the essence of the delicate flavor and can make it salty and sour.

Coffee is all about having a fresh aroma to help you start your day with energy and strength. A coffee that doesn’t meet your taste can ruin a perfect day for a coffee addict.

So it is crucial to go for a fresh coffee rather than reheating it in a microwave and ruining its taste. You cannot burn your coffee in a microwave but you can surely kill its soul and essence with it.

How long can you heat your coffee in a microwave without burning it?

The ideal time to heat your coffee depends on your microwave. A standard microwave would require 45 seconds to heat your coffee to the temperature you like.

But it can vary and you may have to reheat it for 10 or 20 more seconds depending on your preferences and microwave.

Many people do not like to waste food. If you are one of those, you can choose this alternative method of heating your coffee on the burner at low flame. This can help you preserve that natural taste to an extent.

The priority should always be to make a fresh coffee cup of coffee if you don’t want to settle for a compromised taste.

Does Boiling Coffee Ruin It?

This question has already been adequately answered above. If you boil your coffee to extreme temperatures, it won’t burn, but it will undoubtedly spoil it in taste.

The vital aspect to consider is how long you boil your coffee. If you do it for a few hours at a stretch, it will ruin the taste.

Also, if you expose your frozen coffee grounds to extreme temperatures (more than 95 degrees Celsius), the taste will be sour and rancid.

So, you should avoid the above if you want a coffee that pleases your palates with its taste and smell.

How to Not Burn Coffee?

After developing insight into whether you can burn your coffee or not, it is now time to know how to avoid burning your coffee.

If you roast beans in bulk, they are going to burn. Ensure you roast them for a quantity needed for a week or at a max of 15 days.

There are three types of roasting. The first crack would give you a light roast, the second provides the medium roast and the third gives off a dark roast. Any roasting beyond the third roast can burn your coffee.

Coffee and air react, so the more coffee you roast in bulk, the greater your chances of letting it react with air and burn.

Most people try to roast their coffee and make a big batch that lasts months to avoid repeating the process every 15 days. They save labor that way, but the taste is compromised and the chances of burn also increase.

It would be best if you also went for fresh beans to get a perfect roasting. If stale beans make it to the process, they will ruin the entire roasting process and burn the lot with them.

Cleaning the pot in which your coffee burnt

You can also stain a pot in which coffee burns. To avoid this, you have to ensure proper cleaning of the pot by following a few simple steps.

If the coffee is in the pot for a while, you have to soak that pot for a few hours before rinsing it clean.

Clean the pot after it has cooled to make sure there are no remains of the coffee left.

Next, add some salt to the pot and mix it with water (make sure it’s not boiled). You should notice the water getting darker in the shade.

If you notice the water is exceptionally dark in color and the pot becomes opaque, you should repeat the process until the stain comes off.


It is clear from the facts given above that high temperatures cannot burn your coffee immediately but can spoil its taste.

On the other hand, if that coffee constantly burns at those temperatures for a very long time, it’ll give off a charcoal-like smell when you have it.

Moreover, burnt coffee can only ruin the taste for a coffee lover, but it does not necessarily cause any serious medical-related complications for them.

The answer is clear, you CAN burn your coffee if you let it on the stove for many hours, but you CAN NOT burn it by suddenly exposing your coffee beans or ground to extreme temperatures, i.e., 100 degrees Celsius.

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