Can you Microwave a Starbucks Ceramic Mug? 7 Tips

As a writer, sometimes, I need to pull several all-nighters to meet up with deadlines. On those nights, nothing keeps me going like the good old Starbucks coffee.

This is not news: I love my coffee. Hot. 

But when I’m running closer and closer to my deadline, I get so tempted to reheat my coffee in the Starbucks ceramic mug it came in.

But then everyone says you can’t microwave a Starbucks ceramic mug.

The big question is WHY?

Ever asked the same question? Me too!

In this article, I’ll extensively answer all your questions about microwaving a Starbucks ceramic mug. 

I will also offer a lifeline to rebels (like me), who are stubbornly interested in finding ways to do the ‘impossible’, which in this case is, safely microwaving their freaking Starbucks ceramic mugs.

CAN YOU MICROWAVE A STARBUCKS CERAMIC MUG?

Yes, you can microwave some Starbucks ceramic mugs. However, there are a few that you should not microwave. If there is gold foil, decorative decals or metal on the mug, you can’t microwave it. If there is a ‘microwave-safe’ label at the bottom of the mug, then you can microwave it.

Generally, ceramic is considered microwavable, however, some Starbucks mugs are made with other things that could be harmful if microwaved.

The double-wall ones are so thin that microwaving makes them extremely hot. You bring that anywhere near your lips and you get some scalding. If you choose to wait until the cup is cool enough, it means you’ll be waiting for as long as 10 minutes. This defeats the point of microwaving it in the first place – to save time. 

I’ll tell you what ceramic mugs are good for

To keep the coffee hot for longer and to hold more coffee. They are loved for the variety of colors and designs they bring.

Why can’t you microwave some Starbucks ceramic mugs?

It’s simple. The manufacturer says not to. 

So, how are you going to know which mug is safe to use, especially if there is no “Do not microwave” warning? 

I know. I know. You need more answers, so I’m going to dive deeper into the reasons. 

Did you ever try to microwave a ceramic mug with no microwave-safe label? What happened? For me, nothing eventful happened in the microwave. But when I attempted to grab the mug, it sent a piercing pain through my fingers. I shrieked.

It was SO FREAKING HOT!

I later found out that the mug got so hot because it was made to absorb heat.

Here’s my logic:

Starbuck ceramic mugs are not made for the microwave per se. They are made to keep drinks hot for a longer amount of time. So, when they sense that heat is coming from anywhere, they absorb it in an attempt to retain the hotness of that drink. This works perfectly if you’re preserving hot drinks.

When you bring a microwave into the equation, then it becomes something else. Microwaves heat from the outside to the inside. And as quick as a flash.

When the ceramic mug begins receiving so much heat, it gets excited and starts acting like a fool. It is not intelligent enough to know that the heat coming from outside needs to get inside for you, the owner, to be pleased. It just absorbs the heat from outside and doesn’t let it get inside.

If you had a security officer who keeps both thieves and family away, wouldn’t you fire him? In the same way, you shouldn’t microwave a Starbucks ceramic mug.

How can you tell if a Starbucks ceramic mug is not microwave-safe?

Pour water into your Starbucks ceramic mug until it’s half full. Put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. At the end of the short heating session, if the mug is hotter than your water, then it is not microwavable. 

This often points to how the mug is made. The thicker ones often have a higher core temperature. As I said before, this is to keep your drink hot for a longer period of time.

This is a sharp difference from normal ceramic mugs because they tend to be glazed. This prevents them from absorbing the heat. On the other hand, some Starbucks mugs are not glazed, so they tend to get hotter than the drink.

I have to say this for your safety, always use a glove when handling your ceramic mug. It can get spiking hot after a little time in the microwave.

The Starbucks ceramic mug has heat-conducting properties, which prevents heat from transferring from the body to the drinks. Worse still, these mugs are often coated with decorations, which may affect the thermal conductivity property. Some of them even have a metal inlay and you know; microwaves and metal don’t mix. 

Finally, the surest way to know whether you can microwave your Starbucks ceramic mug is to check the bottom of the mug for a label. If it says do not microwave, do not. If it says the mug is microwavable, do. If it says nothing, it is better to be safe than sorry. Do not use it in the microwave.

Despite all of these, if you microwave the mug, then you have to do it in short intervals and stir your drink during each interval. But seriously, why would you want to when you have several options to choose from?

ALTERNATIVES TO MICROWAVING STARBUCKS CERAMIC MUGS

Say I have successfully convinced you to not microwave your Starbucks ceramic mug that doesn’t come with a microwave-safe label and you’re asking, “what alternatives do I have?” Lotssss. Here are a few:

  1. If you love microwaving Starbucks mugs so much, maybe you should consider buying microwave-safe ones. If you can’t find anyone at Starbucks, you could warm your drink in a different mug that is microwave-safe, then pour it back into the Starbucks mug.
  2. Try plastic. Some plastics can be microwaved. Just be sure that they have microwave-safe labels, or they could melt and leak chemicals into your drink.
  3. Glass containers are best to use in the microwave. No stain. No odor.
  4. Other ceramic containers are just as good as glass.
  5. Consider using old-school heating methods like stovetops and pans.

TIPS TO KNOW BEFORE MICROWAVING STARBUCKS CERAMIC MUG

  1. Do not use a lid on the mug, when microwaving. It will only serve in containing more heat. Remember that this is the major issue with microwaving your Starbucks ceramic mug in the first place.
  2. If the mug is not labeled microwave-safe, use an alternative container or heating method. You can always pour your drink back into your favorite Starbucks mug.
  3. If your drink smells or tastes different after microwaving, pour it away. Something is fishy.
  4. If you’re uncertain that the mug you’re going to heat is microwave safe, do the 30-second test I taught you earlier. If the mug is hotter than the drink, then it’s not microwave-safe. 
  5. Be sure to feel the mug by the handle to know if it is too hot first, before holding it in your hands. If you have oven gloves, then wear them to remove your mug from the microwave.
  6. If you do not have gloves, be sure to put the microwaved mug on a baking tray or any other microwave-safe container, so you don’t have to carry the hot mug out with your bare hands.
  7. Keep your Starbucks ceramic mug covered, when you have a drink, you’d like to keep warm. The mug’s thermal properties may be a disadvantage when it comes to microwaving. But you could flip things to your favor, by using it to keep your drink hot for a longer amount of time.

IN CONCLUSION

Not all Starbucks ceramic mugs are safe to use in the microwave. So, before you go ahead and put it in the microwave, just because it’s your favorite, remember to check if there is a microwave-safe label on it. 

If there is no label on it and you choose to microwave it still, then you can only heat it for 30 seconds intervals, while stirring the content each time. Even then, just know that there are risks involved when you use the wrong mug in the microwave.