Every bundesburger drinks an average of 162 liters of coffee per year. Mineral water comes to 148 liters, tea only to 28 liters per head. But instead of talking about the pleasures, the tastes and the trends, we should also take a look at the hygiene of coffee machines and pad machines.
Invisible and tasteless
Researchers have discovered that germs settle in coffee grounds and in used capsules and pads. "Moist coffee grounds encourage the growth of mold.", explains prof. Fritz titgemeyer, head of the food microbiology laboratory at munster university of applied sciences. If an old pad remains in the machine for a few days, mold spores can remain in the pad holder the next time it is used, and these spores then enter the coffee. "Heat-stable toxins, known as mycotoxins, may have formed that you can neither see nor taste."
Water holders and plastic hoses are also real bacteria havens if they are not cleaned well. "Bacteria can settle there in the form of biofilms", explains titgemeyer. These slimy deposits should be thoroughly removed. "However, they can also be found in hoses inside the machine, which are not easily accessible to the user."
Miracle cure or devil's food: is coffee healthy or unhealthy now??
The good news: as unpleasant as the idea of microorganisms cavorting in the coffee machine may be, the munster researchers do not believe there is any risk to health. "The brewing group heats the water to 80 degrees celsius, which destroys germs in the water tank." But caution is advised with cold drinks. "In cold extracted drinks like iced tea or iced coffee all germs remain contained."
Although many automatic coffee machines have self-cleaning programs. Nevertheless, there is still a task for the owner: "you have to take care of the machine, for example, you should renew the water in the tank every day, says werner scholz, managing director of the household appliance trade association in the central association of the electrical engineering and electronics industry in frankfurt. Despite differences in the technology of the various models, scholz can give as a rule of thumb: "all removable parts should be cleaned regularly by hand or in a winding machine." How to proceed in concrete terms is described in the operating instructions.
"The instructions there should be followed." There are some areas in coffee machines and pad machines that are particularly sensitive and require special care. "Wherever there is heat and moisture, a thorough check is needed", advice from barbel neher of the DHB household network in karlsruhe, germany. "Water tank, drip tray, milk frother, brew group and pomace holder are very susceptible to bacteria and mildew."
The tips in detail:
Brewing unit: if you have a machine with a removable brewing unit, you can clean it by hand with clean water without a spooling agent. "Once a week is enough", says neher. It is important to allow the brew group to dry thoroughly before reinserting it into the machine. If the sieve is clogged, you can try to unclog the holes with a brush.
"Brewing groups that cannot be removed are generally constructed in such a way that no coffee grounds can escape, thus minimizing the risk of mold", explains neher. Here is enough the cleaning program of the manufacturer, which works mostly with 70 degrees hot water. Its necessity is usually shown in the display.
Collector: the coffee grounds collector collects the coffee grounds after brewing. "It should be emptied, cleaned and well dried every day", explains scholz. "This is also known from the simple filter machine." The drip tray under the coffee spout must also be cleaned frequently, if possible in the spooling machine.
Milk frother: the milk frother should be rewound every day with hot water. It is important that no milk residue remains and dries up – otherwise germs have an easy time of it.
Water tank: "the water tank must also be emptied daily, cleaned with burste and winding agent, and dried thoroughly", says neher. "The water must not remain in it for too long. It is best to change the water in the tank after four hours at the latest. Under no circumstances should it be left in there for several days."
Descaling: regular descaling of the coffee machine is important, especially with very hard water. "Lime deposits on the surfaces and a rough coating forms. Bacteria can adhere to this much better than to a smooth surface," explains neher, explains neher.