Why Stirring Hot Coffee Is Pointless If You're Waiting For It To Cool Down

Is there anything better than a hot coffee right when you wake up to help you start your day? The aroma, the flavor, the caffeine — it all gets you up and moving. But if your coffee is too hot to enjoy right away, cooling it down fast is at the top of your list. If you're like most people, you stir the coffee, thinking that the motion will help to introduce air and cool it down faster, but this may have the opposite effect.

Stirring coffee can add kinetic energy to the liquid, which is the energy of motion. When you stir coffee, you're imparting kinetic energy to the liquid by moving the molecules around. This can cause its temperature to rise slightly due to the increased movement of the molecules. So, rather than introducing air to cool the coffee, you transfer energy and allow it to heat up or hold onto its heat, even though the effect is typically quite small.

How to actually cool your coffee

If you want to cool your coffee before drinking it in the morning, you can do the ol' tried and true method of blowing on it. When you do this, you are using your breath to transfer some of the heat from the liquid to the surrounding air in a process known as convection. This works by carrying heat away from the surface of the liquid, but it usually only cools the surface of the coffee.

If you want to cool all of your coffee faster, you can put your coffee mug or even the whole pot of coffee in a bowl of cold water. Let it sit for a minute or two so that it has time to cool the entire container. If you have more time in the morning, you can place the mug or pot in the fridge or freezer for a while, but this may affect the taste of the coffee because it tends to lose some of its molecular complexity as it cools. You can also just wait for your coffee to cool on its own.

Opting for nitro or cold brew coffee

If you really don't want to wait for your hot coffee to cool down, you can always make an iced coffee by adding ice to your regular coffee drink, or you can try cold brew or nitro cold brew coffees. Cold brew coffee is brewed using cold or room temperature water instead of hot water, resulting in a smoother, less acidic taste from the beans. This coffee is then made into a concentrate that you can serve over ice or warmed to whatever temperature you'd like. Another benefit is that it can be stored in the refrigerator for several days, making it a convenient way to enjoy a quick coffee at home.

Nitro cold brew is a type of cold brew coffee that is infused with nitrogen gas, which gives it a creamy, smooth texture and a frothy head, similar to that of a beer. To make it, cold brew coffee concentrate is stored in a keg and infused with nitrogen gas using a specialized tap system. As the coffee is dispensed from the tap, nitrogen gas is released into the coffee, resulting in a velvety texture and a sweeter flavor. You can buy nitro cold brew systems that fit in your fridge, and the coffee can be made ahead of time so that it's ready for you when you wake up in the morning.