Can You Microwave Starbucks Cups?

Starbucks Paper Cup

Are you trying to figure out if you can microwave Starbucks cups?

Well, you are in the right place.

Today, I am going to take a detailed look at if you should/shouldn’t be microwaving Starbucks cups.

We will also present useful, yet important information, as it relates to the different cups that are available at the popular coffee chain.

With that said, lets us jump right into it.

Are Starbucks Cups Microwavable? (Paper, Plastic or Ceramic Mugs)

Can You Microwave Starbucks Cups: An In-depth Informational Guide

Before we answer that question, we first need to determine the type of Starbucks cup you are planning on microwaving.

We will look at:

  • Paper
  • Plastic/Plastic Reusable
  • Mugs

Let’s take a more detailed look at each one below.

Starbucks Paper Cups

To start things off, let us see what Starbucks has to say about putting cups in the microwave.

The picture above puts a lot into perspective, as the cup from the coffee chain clearly states, Do not microwave.

A quick search of the Starbucks website, shows no information on the microwaving of paper cups.

However, a former Starbucks supervisor, Santita Ngo, gave some insight as someone posed the question on the popular answer site, Quora.

Screenshot of a Quora answer to "Can Starbucks Cups be Microwaved?"

Santita highlights a couple important points. We will look at them in detail below:.

  • Can’t Withstand the Extreme Heat
  • Toxic Leaching
  • May Catch Fire

Can’t Withstand the Extreme Heat

Microwaving coffee in Starbucks paper cups, can lead to the cup having structural failure.

 Eco products, manufactures of their own paper cups, explains this concept in great detail. They state:

 “Paper hot cups and soup cups are designed to hold hot drinks and food, but not to withstand the extreme heat of a microwave. At best, the glue at the seam can loosen and the cup will start to leak.”

Alternatively, if the glue melts, your cup may start leaking from the sides.

Toxic Leaching

The coating found inside the Starbucks paper cups is a mix of wax and plastic.

According to Change plastic for good, they explain that the plastic coating is made of Polyethylene, a plastic that is known for its heat resistance and durability.

While it is good at heat resistance, a 2011 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives highlighted that there is an acceleration of plastic leaching into your beverage, when the plastic is exposed to stresses such as microwave radiation and boiling liquids.

There is a possibility that consuming a beverage in a Starbucks paper cup that was heated in the microwave, might result in the introduction of certain toxins into your body.

The effects of these toxins on your body could be seen in the long-term and this is all the reason why they should be avoided.

Fire Risk

Finally, there is possibility that putting the Starbucks paper cup in the microwave, could cause it to catch fire.

Manufacturer of paper cups, Eco Products, has a warning on its website.

Paper cups, “at worst, the cups can even catch on fire. This is true for all paper cups. … We recommend microwaving in glass or ceramic containers labeled as microwave safe,”

A search on Twitter, found tons of tweets of people finding out the hard way that Starbucks paper cups can catch fire.

Twitter Screenshots of Starbucks Cups catching fire.

Final Thoughts on Microwaving Paper Cups

 With all the evidence presented above, you definitely should not microwave Starbucks paper cups.

While I am sure thousands of people do this daily, the risks are too much.

If you do want to reheat your coffee, then it is best to do so in a microwave safe cup.

Starbucks Plastic/Reusable Plastic Cups

In this section, we will look at if you should be microwaving Starbucks plastic cups.

  • Plastic
  • Plastic reusable

Plastic

Plastic cups are generally used for cold drinks, such as Frappuccino, Refreshers, etc.

But you will not be able to microwave those.

Plastic Reusable

Starbucks Plastic Reusable Cups

Over the past couple of years, Starbucks has introduced reusable and recyclable plastic cups.

These plastic cups which many use for their coffee, are made frompolypropylene, a plastic that is considered to be safe for use in the microwave.

So does that mean Starbucks reusable cups are microwave safe?

If you look at the bottom of the cup or the packaging, it will clearly state that cups should not be microwaved.

You might be wondering, why? Since polypropylene is a microwave-safe plastic.

INEOS, a leading chemical company explains that there are a variety of factors that makes these types of cups unsuitable for the microwave.

The factors that may significantly affect the suitability of polypropylene containers used for reheating foods are:

  • Chemical resistance based on the composition of the contents
  • Maximum exposure to the container (time and surface contact)
  • Thickness of the container
  • Residual stresses imposed during the conversion process

Starbucks Mugs

Starbucks Mug

We know many of you also want to know if Starbucks mugs can be microwaved?

The answer to that questions depends on varying factors:

  • What type of mug will be going into the microwave?
  • Is it decorated?
  • Is it double walled?

We go into more details below, looking at the different types of mugs.

  • Ceramic mugs
  • Double wall mugs

Ceramic

Regular ceramic mugs, without the double walls should be OK to be used in the microwave, just as long the as there are no foil or metallic decorations on them.

To be sure, you could always look at the bottom of the mug to see if you see the “microwave safe” label.

Doubled Wall Mugs

While the double wall mugs are used for drinking hot coffee, reheating them in the microwave is a recipe for disaster.

The BarbecueTricks Youtube page gives a short, yet detailed explanation as to why it is not a good idea to reheat Starbucks double wall mugs in the microwave.

Wrapping it up

We’ve reached the end. Were all your questions answered adequately enough?

If you found this article helpful, share it with a friend or let me know in the comment section below.

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