Can You Reheat Tea in the Microwave?

Categorized as Microwave Cooking
microwave cold cup of tea

You’re probably wondering why anyone would want to reheat their cold cup of tea. After all, it’s just going to taste bitter and gross, right?

Well, sometimes you might not have a choice. Maybe you were too busy to drink your tea when it was fresh, and now it’s cold. Or perhaps you made too much tea and didn’t want it to go to waste.

No matter the reason, reheating tea in the microwave is an option that everyone might have considered at some point. But is it safe? And what happens when you do it? Keep reading to find out.

Can You Reheat Tea in The Microwave?

Reheating tea in the microwave is possible, but there are a few factors to consider beforehand. Microwaving tea can cause compounds to escape and alter its taste and aroma. Overheating can also make it unsafe to drink, so it’s best to heat for the shortest possible duration.

It’s important to note that not all types of tea are suitable for reheating in the microwave. For instance, delicate teas such as white tea and green tea can be sensitive to heat and lose their delicate flavor and aroma if reheated in the microwave.

In contrast, robust teas such as black tea and herbal tea are generally more forgiving and can tolerate reheating. When reheating tea in the microwave, it’s recommended to experiment with different durations and power settings to determine the ideal time for your preferred type of tea.

Is It Safe To Reheat Tea in the Microwave?

There is no definite answer to this question. Some people say that it’s safe to reheat tea in the microwave, while others say it’s not. However, most tea experts agree that it’s best to drink tea the first time around.

If you must reheat your tea, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First of all, make sure that you only reheat it once. Reheating tea multiple times can decrease the quality of the tea and may make it unsafe to drink.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you should only reheat tea in a microwavable container. Don’t try to reheat tea in a non-microwave-safe container, like a plastic or styrofoam cup. This could cause the container to break or the tea to spill.

Finally, make sure that you heat the tea for the shortest amount of time possible. Heating it for too long can ruin the flavor and make it unsafe to drink.

What Happens When You Microwave Tea?

When you reheat tea, no matter what kind of tea it is, it can cause the compounds in it, such as essential oils and labile, to escape. This can change the flavor and aroma of the tea and may make it unsafe to drink.

Additionally, reheating tea may over-activate caffeine and theophylline.

Caffeine and theophylline can be bad for older people with genetic conditions. They can increase heart rate and blood pressure, which can be dangerous for people with certain medical conditions. They can also make these people feel jittery and anxious.

When Can You Safely Reheat Tea?

It is not recommended to reheat tea that has been abandoned for more than eight hours. The main reason for this is that the tea may harbor mold and bacterial growth.

If you’ve added milk or sugar, the maximum time you have is about four hours. After that, it’s not advisable to reheat the tea. As mentioned earlier, adding milk or sugar to tea can increase its spoils rate.

It’s important to note that the four-hour guideline is just a general guideline. Each ingredient in tea can react differently, so it’s always best to err on the side of caution by checking first whether the tea has gone bad or not before reheating it in the microwave.

If you have left your tea for less than eight hours (or four hours if you’ve added milk or other additives), generally, it is still safe to reheat in the microwave.

However, you want to make sure that the tea temperature reaches 175 degrees Fahrenheit. This will make sure that any bacteria or mold is killed.

While bacteria and mold in tea may not poison you, they can cause you to experience stomach problems such as vomiting and diarrhea. So, it’s always best to play it safe and not reheat tea that has been left for more than eight hours.

If you experience any symptoms after drinking tea that has been reheated in the microwave, such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, then you should seek medical attention right away.

How To Tell If Your Tea Has Gone Bad

It is important to check the tea first for any signs of spoilage before reheating.

There are a few ways to tell if your tea has gone wrong.

The most obvious way is to look at the tea leaves themselves and look for any changes in color or any signs of mold. If they start to look cloudy and murky or if there is a clear appearance of mold, then you should throw the tea away.

If your tea has milk added to it, it’s pretty easy to tell if it has gone bad as the milk will start to form a thick white film on the surface of the tea or get solidified and form lumps.

Another way to tell is by smell. If the tea smells musty, earthy, or rank, then it has gone bad.

Finally, you can also take a small sip of the tea and see if it tastes okay. If it tastes sour, bitter, or off, it’s not safe to drink.

If you’re not sure whether the tea has gone bad or not, it’s always best to play it safe and not reheat it in the microwave. Instead, throw it out and make a new cup of tea.

How To Reheat Tea in the Microwave (if You Must)

If you decide that you want to reheat your tea in the microwave, here is how to do it safely.

  1. Transfer the tea to a microwavable safe container. You can use a ceramic mug, glass measuring cup, or teacup.
  2. Put the container in the microwave and heat on medium for about 30 seconds.
  3. Take the container out of the microwave and check the tea. If it’s not warm enough, put it back in the microwave and heat it for another 30 seconds.

Alternative Use for Your Cold Tea

While it’s not advisable to reheat tea that has been left for more than eight hours, that doesn’t mean you have to throw it away. On the contrary, there might be some ways you can still use it.

Herbal tea, in particular, can be used in a bunch of alternative ways. One of the most popular is using it as a facial steam. You can also water your plants with it as it contains a lot of essential nutrients for plants.


Although you can microwave a cold cup of tea, it’s not always the best idea. There are some things you should consider before doing so. For example, microwaving a cold cup of tea can make it bitter or even burnt.

If you do decide to microwave your tea, be sure to use a microwave-safe cup and only heat it for a short amount of time. Thanks for reading!


1. Can You Reheat Overnight Tea?

It’s not recommended to reheat tea that has been sitting overnight. This is because the tea has had more time to develop bacteria, which could make you sick if ingested.

It’s especially important not to reheat tea if you have added sugar or milk to it, as this can make the tea go rancid more quickly. Sugar and milk are both food items that can easily spoil, so it’s best to avoid reheating them altogether.

2. How Many Times Can You Reheat Tea?

It’s not a good idea to reheat tea more than once. In fact, it’s best only to reheat it once, or else you’ll run the risk of bacteria and mold growth.


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By Rosie Elliott

I’m Rosie. I’m a professional chef with experience in Western, Mediterranean, and Italian cuisine. I’ve been cooking for over 15 years, and I have two daughters that keep me busy!