We’ve all been there - you decide to treat yourself to a nice hot latte from Starbucks, only to find yourself too busy to enjoy it before it gets cold. There’s a lot of debate over what to do next: drink it cold? Throw it away? Try to save it?
It’s possible to reheat a Starbucks latte without ruining it, even if it has been kept overnight. A latte can be reheated in a microwave or on the stove as long as it hasn’t been left at room temperature long enough for the milk to spoil. Don’t reheat to the point of boiling.
Read on to find out how to reheat a Starbucks latte successfully - it’s not hard to do, but it’s easy to get wrong if you haven’t done it before.
Can You Save a Starbucks Latte Overnight?
There are three main ways to reheat a Starbucks latte:
- Steam wand
Each one works just as well, so it’s really a matter of your preference and what tools you have available.
One of the quickest and most convenient ways to reheat a Starbucks latte is by using the microwave, as you may have guessed.
The steps are simple:
- Make sure the latte is in a microwave-safe cup. If you’re not sure that the cup it came in is safe for the microwave, transfer it to another one.
It goes without saying, but it’s better safe than sorry when it comes to using microwaves, and it’s important to prevent possible fires or releasing of chemicals that aren’t supposed to be in there by microwaving the wrong materials.
- Lower the power on the microwave, if the model you’re using allows it. Depending on the model, you’ll want the power to be somewhere around or just under half.
- Microwave the latte at 30-second intervals, checking after every 30 seconds whether it’s hot enough.
Don’t let the latte come to a boil, because that’s what will potentially ruin the flavor.
Microwaves are convenient, but they’re not the only way to reheat a Starbucks latte. You can just as easily use a stove, although it might take a little longer.
To reheat a Starbucks latte on the stove:
- Pour the latte into a small saucepan
- Turn the heat on low
- Keep stirring and checking the temperature every minute or so. As mentioned above, it’s important not to let the latte come to a boil. Doing so can ruin it.
- Once the latte’s at the desired temperature, turn off the burner, pour the latte into a mug, and enjoy!
If you have one, use a thermometer to make sure the latte doesn’t get too hot. The ideal temperature for lattes is between 120℉ and 140℉.
Although not as commonplace as microwaves, steamer wands are just as fast and convenient when it comes to reheating lattes.
Every quality espresso machine has a steam wand attachment, of course, but handheld steamer wands are also available on their own for a fraction of the price.
The process to reheat a Starbucks latte using a steamer wand is the same whether you use one attached to a larger machine or a standalone one.
- Pour the latte into an appropriate container with enough room to keep the latte from overflowing when the steam is introduced to it.
A stainless steel pitcher is a better choice than a ceramic or paper cup, if possible, for a few reasons:
- Depending on how long the latte has been sitting in a paper cup, the cup can spring a leak once reheated.
- Drinks reheated with steamer wands can become hot very quickly, so using a container with a handle will prevent burning your hand
- Ceramic cups that are heated quickly can crack, especially if they have pre-existing damage
- Put the steamer wand all the way to the bottom of the drink before turning it on.
Turning the steamer wand on before putting it in the latte, or while it’s near the surface of the drink, will cause steam and hot latte to shoot out of the container.
- If using a steel pitcher to reheat the latte, hold the pitcher by the handle and keep your free hand on the side of the pitcher to check the temperature.
When you can keep your hand on the side for 4-5 seconds before it’s too hot, you know it’s hot enough.
As with the other two methods, it’s possible to ruin the latte’s flavor if you reheat it to the point of boiling. Steamer wands reheat drinks very quickly, so keep a close eye on it.
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Ice It Instead
No matter what you tell them, some people are dead set against reheating lattes, fearing that it will ruin the drink.
If you’re still not sure if reheating it will save the drink, or you don’t have access to something to heat it with, try icing it instead.
Just grab a glass that’s bigger than needed to hold the latte and fill it with ice. Pour the latte over the top of it, and voila! You’ve got a refreshing iced latte.
Save It with Cream and Sugar
Maybe you’ve already reheated your latte, overdid it to the point of boiling, and now have a bitter-tasting drink.
Try adding some flavor to disguise the bitterness:
- Flavor syrups
- Chai tea
Things to Keep in Mind for Next Time
If you regularly find yourself having to reheat Starbucks lattes, here are a few tips for the next time.
If you know ahead of time that you’re going to be drinking the latte much later, for example:
- You’re taking advantage of a sale and buying more than you need right now
- You’re buying for the next day to save time in the morning
Then you might consider ordering the latte iced with no ice.
This way, you can enjoy it later, either heated or iced, with less heating up, cooling down, and heating up again from the time you leave Starbucks until the time you enjoy the latte.
Make sure to keep the latte in the fridge until you decide to ice or heat it, to prevent spoilage.
Keep It in the Fridge
Because lattes contain milk, it’s not a good idea to drink one that’s been cooling for more than two hours.
After this time, bacteria can start to grow, causing spoilage and possible food poisoning.
If you know you’re not going to be able to finish a latte for a while, it’s best to put it in the fridge before the two hours are up.
Invest in a Quality Tumbler
Reusable coffee tumblers are great for the environment, preventing disposable cups from piling up in landfills.
They’re also usually insulated to keep lattes hot longer than paper cups or ceramic mugs.
Just hand the tumbler to your Starbucks barista, and they’ll serve the latte directly in it, making sure your drink stays hot until you’re able to finish it.
Heat Your Cup First
Fortunately for coffee addicts, Starbucks now has products that allow you to make Starbucks lattes at home.
If you’re making your own latte, be sure to pour boiling water into the mug you’re using, swirl it around, and pour it out before pouring the latte in. This will heat the cup, preventing the cold ceramic from colling the latte faster than necessary.
Final Thoughts on Saving Starbucks Lattes
As you can see, it’s absolutely possible to reheat a Starbucks latte without ruining it, as long as you’re careful not to overheat. There are also a number of ways to prevent the need or make the reheating process as easy as possible.