Most households now, and even establishments, have coffee makers because of their convenience 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 others.
This led us to the question: can coffee makers kill bacteria? 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 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 found 35 to 67 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. Instead, regularly rinsing and washing the capsule container with warm soapy water can help decrease bacteria.
Let’s touch base with what a coffee maker is first. It’s a coffee machine that has been around for hundreds of years! Most coffee makers work under the same concept: brewing coffee by pouring hot water over the grounds for extraction and infusion. After that, the grounds are trapped and strained, leaving you with your delicious cup of Joe!
The different types of coffee machines are:
- Espresso machines
- Vacuum brewers
- Moka pots
- Single-serve coffee makers
- Electric drip coffee makers
- Pour-over coffee makers
In recent times, pod machines have been popular and have been finding their way to many households because of their convenience!
Bacteria in coffee
Now, when we talk about coffee, we should note that it should not contain harmful bacteria. But, some microorganisms are usually involved in the fermentation process, such as yeasts, fungi, and lactic acid. That said, it means that these are normal parts of coffee and should not cause any harm. On the contrary, fermentation is known to be beneficial to health.
Additionally, coffee houses properties that stop the growth of bacteria that can otherwise cause poisonings, 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 helps improve the taste of your coffee!
Another reason why you want to use purified water is because 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 present in tap water can hasten your brewer’s wear and tear.
To keep your water clean and generally your coffee clean, you must:
- Use bottled purified water or filtered water.
- Clean your brewer regularly. Water and vinegar work wonders!
- Consider purchasing reverse osmosis filters.
Do coffee makers boil water?
The quick answer is NO. The boiling point is 212 degrees Fahrenheit and coffee makers typically reach as far as 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. The reason is that 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, look at the picture below: YUP. THAT’S SOME DISGUSTING MOLD!
Since coffee makers cannot make water boil, it’s safe to say they cannot sterilize water at all! So if you think water from your coffee is always clean, 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
As we have discussed, molds can find their way to your coffee makers. This is due to the temperatures reached by coffee makers being 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 prone to housing bacteria and molds.
To avoid this as much as possible, you must try to clean your coffee maker regularly. This should include all the detachable parts! Here’s a quick method to clean your brewer:
- Mix water and vinegar in a 1:1 ratio.
- Pour the solution into the reservoir.
- Push the start button to begin the brewing cycle.
- After the cycle, let that sit for 10 minutes.
- Empty the reservoir.
- Throw some clean water into the reservoir.
- Run another brew cycle.
- Rinse and repeat until you no longer smell any traces of vinegar.
This method is 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.
Now you know that bacteria and molds can thrive in coffee makers. No matter where you place your coffee maker in your kitchen, bacteria will always find their way in. We hope this inspires and pushes you to clean your brewer regularly and use clean water. While we cannot eradicate their presence, we can at least keep them at a minimum.
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Disclosure: No compensation or free products were received in exchange for writing this review.
The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.