Do Coffee Makers Kill Bacteria

Most households now, and even establishments, have coffee makers now because of the convenience they provide and the top quality coffee they can brew. Add to that the affordable ones that don’t sacrifice performance. But as you know, not all coffee makers are the same and some are harder to clean than the others.

This led us to the question: can coffee makers kill bacteria? Well, water in a coffee maker heats up and we know bacteria die in boiling water. But, that’s the problem: water in coffee makers does not actually reach the boiling point! Thus, coffee makers do not kill bacteria!

In fact, and unfortunately really, coffee makers are great breeding grounds for bacteria to thrive! A research study actually found 35 to 67 different kinds of bacteria in 9 different Nespresso machines. Yikes! And this includes well-known brands such as Keurig and Mr. Coffee. No brand is an exemption.

But, don’t fret! You don’t have to throw your coffee maker away. Regularly rinsing and washing the capsule container  with warm soapy water can help decrease the presence of bacteria. 

Coffee maker

Let’s touch base with what a coffee maker is first. Obviously, it’s a machine that makes coffee and has been around for hundreds of years! Most of the coffee makers work under the same concept: brewing coffee by pouring hot water over the grounds for extraction and infusion to take place. After that, grounds are trapped and strained so you’re left with your delicious cup of Joe!

The different types of coffee machines are:

  • Espresso machines
  • Cafetière
  • Vacuum brewers
  • Moka pots
  • Single-serve coffee makers
  • Electric drip coffee makers
  • Percolators
  • Pour-over coffee makers

In recent times, pod machines have been popular and have been finding their way to a lott of households because of the convenience they offer!

Bacteria in coffee

Now when we talk about coffee, we should duly note that it should not contain any harmful bacteria. But, there are microorganisms that are normally involved in the fermentation process such as yeasts, fungi, and lactic acid. With that said, it means that these are normal parts of coffee and should not cause any harm. In fact, fermentation is known to be beneficial to health. 

Additionally, coffee actually houses properties that stop the growth of bacteria that can otherwise cause poisoning such as Salmonella, Staphylococcus Aureus, and Escherichia Coli. This is what microbiologists from the American Society for Microbiology have discovered.

With that said, we can conclude that coffee is gut-friendly!

How to kill any bacteria?

The Environmental Protection Agency suggested, bacteria is best eradicated at 212 degrees fahrenheit for 3 minutes. Unfortunately, coffee makers and kettles do not keep temperatures like this for a duration as long as the requirement.

Brewing with purified water

Think about this: coffee is 98.75% water. Thus, most of what you consume is water so it’s only understandable why you should use clean and purified water. Plus, clean water actually helps improve the taste of your coffee!

Another reason why you want to use purified water is that tap water may contain microorganisms such as molds, bacteria, chemicals, and fungi. We do not know where the tap water comes from so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Plus, these microorganisms and other substances that may be present in tap water can hasten your brewer’s wear and tear.

To keep your water clean and generally your coffee clean, you must:

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Do coffee makers boil water?

The quick answer is NO. Boiling point is at 212 degrees fahrenheit and coffee makers typically reach as far as 195 to 205 degrees fahrenheit only. The reason for that is because a temperature up to 205 degrees fahrenheit is the optimal temperature for brewing a tasty cup of Joe. 

Another reason is that boiling water only burns the coffee grounds and who wants burnt coffee? Pretty much no one! What good is a cup if it’s nothing but bitter and burnt. 

To repeat: since coffee makers can’t boil water, then coffee makers can’t kill bacteria! So always clean your coffee maker and use purified water. If you’re not convinced yet, just look at the picture below: YUP. THAT’S SOME DISGUSTING MOLD!

sour moldy food top view close up 98725 730

Now since coffee makers cannot make water boil, it’s safe to say that they cannot sterilize water at all! So if you think water from your coffee is always clean, then you should think again.

Coffee makers with built-in filters

Coffee maker brands such as Keurig, Cuisinart, and Mr. Coffee have brewers that come with charcoal filters. The carbon-activated particles in these filters are known to absorb organic substances. But, unfortunately, they cannot filter heavier metals, microorganisms, and bacteria. Plus, they require frequent replacement because they have a short lifespan.

Molds in coffee makers

Yes, as we have discussed, molds can find their way to your coffee makers. This is due to the temperatures reached by coffee makers are actually good breeding grounds for microorganisms such as molds. To make matters worse, a study by NSF International revealed that coffee makers are among the home items that are prone to housing bacteria and molds. 

To avoid this as much as possible, you really have to put in the effort to clean your coffee maker regularly. This should include all the detachable parts! Here’s a quick method to clean your brewer:

  1. Mix water and vinegar together in a 1:1 ratio.
  2. Pour in the solution into the reservoir.
  3. Push the start button to begin the brewing cycle.
  4. After the cycle, let that sit for 10 minutes.
  5. Empty the reservoir.
  6. Throw in some clean water in the reservoir.
  7. Run another brew cycle.
  8. Rinse and repeat until you no longer smell any traces of vinegar.

This method is totally cheap and easy so don’t skip out on cleaning your brewers!

More cleaning tips

  • Wash and rinse every after use.
  • Deep clean your machine at least once a month.
  • Clean the removable filter and the inside of the reservoir with warm soapy water.
  • Check the manual to know which parts are dishwasher-friendly.
  • Keep the machine dry at all times when not in use. Bacteria and molds thrive in a moist environment!
  • Avoid utilization of harsh cleaning chemicals such as bleach.
  • Clean your machine using distilled water.

Last words

Now you know that bacteria and molds can definitely thrive in coffee makers. No matter where you place your coffee maker in your kitchen, bacteria will always find their way in. We hope that this inspires and pushes you to clean your brewer regularly and to use clean water. While we cannot totally eradicate their presence, we can at least keep them at minimum. 

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nv-author-image

Self-proclaimed coffee drinker. I would, on a typical day, start my day by grinding my coffee with a manual grinder and use a French Press as a starter (2 cups), then a pour-over in the afternoon (4 cups). I had my fair share as a barista but I prefer to drink it, not serve it.