Most people love waking up to the smell and taste of a hot cup of coffee. It not only gives our bodies a wake-up boost from the caffeine but also helps prepare our minds for the day ahead. What if I told you many of us have mold in our coffee?
If the thought of drinking mold doesn’t make you physically ill, it will likely make you rethink how you do coffee. Mold in your cup of coffee can come from two culprits: the coffee beans and your coffee maker.
How do you know if your coffee maker has mold? Most coffee makers contain mold. If regular cleanings aren’t occurring, the coffee maker is likely growing mold. Mycotoxins are then produced by this mold and making your coffee taste extra bitter. Health symptoms of consuming mold include brain fog, stomach issues, headaches, and tiredness.
There’s much more to cover about mold in your coffee. Keep reading to learn what to look for, how often to clean your coffee maker, and how to clean it.
Coffee Maker and Mold
Unfortunately, your coffee maker is one of the dirtiest appliances in your kitchen. As mentioned above, you could have mold growing in it right now! Gross, right?
Sad to say, it doesn’t end with mold. Bacteria and yeast could also grow inside your machine and make their way into your morning cup of coffee. This is why regular cleanings are essential for whichever coffee brewing device you use in your home. We’ll talk a bit more about how often you should clean it later in this article.
Mold loves to grow where there is moisture present. So, the combination of water and leftover coffee grounds in your machine is ideal for mold growth.
Where Do Mold, Bacteria, and Yeast Grow?
Although these nasty things can grow anywhere on or inside your coffee maker, the water reservoir is most likely where they will be found, especially if you use a Keurig.
Because Keurig’s allow you to fill the water reservoir up with water and sit there until it runs out, it is just asking for bacteria and mold to grow in it. Even with a typical coffee maker, water droplets are always left in the reservoir, so it’s a great idea to leave the lid open, so air can help it dry quicker.
Another area mold loves to grow in your Keurig is where you place the pod. If not wiped down regularly, residual coffee grounds get stuck around and inside the holder. This is not good. Remember, where water and coffee grounds are present, mold is present as well.
For your typical drip coffee maker, the basket will grow mold when not washed weekly. Even where the coffee dispenses from the machine can grow mold and bacteria. It’s everywhere!
No need to panic. Continue reading, and we’ll tell you how to solve your mold issue.
Coffee Beans and Mold Growth
Your coffee maker isn’t the only culprit of mold in your coffee. Some coffee beans have been shown to contain certain types of mold. This mold is present even before the coffee reaches your coffee machine. In fact, it is present before it even gets to the roasting process.
Many roasters will say that this mold is simply roasted out of the bean, but unfortunately, this is only partially true. Yes, it is right to say the mold is roasted off, but the mycotoxins produced from the mold can not be roasted away. We’ll talk more about mycotoxins in the next section.
Effects of Mold on the Body
We can all guess that ingesting mold is not good for you, but how much should you be concerned with it? And what symptoms will you experience if drinking mold in your coffee?
It’s important to note that mold exists everywhere in our daily lives. The level of exposure we have to them is where the problem arises. People also have different sensitivities to mold, so the symptoms will vary from person to person. The initial symptoms could include brain fog, memory and focusing problems, headaches, and tiredness.
Mold also creates compounds called mycotoxins. Mycotoxins can be extremely damaging to the body and can create many health issues, including kidney disease, brain damage, hypertension, cardiomyopathy, and cancer.
Healthy adults consuming small amounts of mycotoxins likely don’t have anything to worry about since their immune systems are strong enough to fight and kill the toxins.
Mycotoxins will make your coffee taste bitter and downright bad. Even though we discuss many other causes of bitter-tasting coffee in another article, mycotoxins can also be the cause.
Mycotoxins are typically only found in less expensive, lower-quality coffee beans, which is why purchasing high-quality beans is essential to not only the taste of your coffee but also your health. Here at Taste the Latte, we take pride in the quality of our coffee beans.
How Often Should You Clean Your Coffee Machine?
Luckily, there is a solution to your mold problem. Regular washing of the various parts of your brewing device will eliminate mold and is so essential. I can’t stress this enough.
While some parts need to be cleaned daily, other cleaning rituals need only be completed every few months. Below we’ll go over what you should be cleaning and when.
- Daily cleanings should include rinsing your coffee pot with warm water. Dumping and rinsing the used coffee grounds from the basket should also be done after each use as well. Remember, mold likes to grow where there is water and coffee ground residue. The best practice is to do this promptly after brewing and not allow it to sit overnight.
- Weekly cleanings should include a quick wipe-down of your coffee machine to eliminate residual coffee grounds in the basket. Weekly wipe-downs can save you time and money in the long run, keeping your device in optimal condition.
- To clean, grab a damp cloth and wipe the entire machine. Clorox wipes also work great for this.
- NOTE: Pay extra attention to where your filter is placed.
- Monthly cleanings include removing baskets or filters and washing with warm soapy water. If you want to bypass the soap, make a mixture of warm water and cleaning vinegar.
- Place the items into the water/vinegar mixture and let sit for a couple of hours. Rinse the vinegar off and place it back into the coffee machine.
- To clean the machine parts you can’t necessarily get to, run a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water through it. (You can use pure vinegar as well) To do so, fill the water reservoir with about 3 to 4 cups of vinegar and water. Let sit for about thirty minutes, then run the machine through a brewing cycle.
- Next, fill the reservoir with fresh water and run through a brew cycle 2-3 times to get rid of the vinegar.
- If your machine has a coffee carafe, it also needs monthly cleaning. There are a few different ways to do this. Click the link to learn how.
For more in-depth information on how to clean your particular brewing device, check out our article, “How Often Should You Clean Your Coffee Maker?”
There we discuss how to properly clean your Keurig, French Press, and Espresso machines.
Other Methods to Cleaning Your Coffee Maker
- Coffee Maker Cleaning Solution
- There are cleaning solutions on the market that will help you keep your device in tip-top shape. The two main ones we recommend are Urnex Cleancraf and Dezcal.
- Warm Water & Liquid Dish Soap
- With warm soapy water and a clean towel, gently scrub the basket, water reservoir, drip tray, coffee pot, and any other removable parts.
- Salt and Cold Water
- Pour salt and 4 ice cubes into coffee carafe, stir until the ice melts. To read more click here.
- Baking Soda Solution
- Baking soda has long been known as a natural cleaning agent that is chemical-free and also acts as a deodorizer.
- Lemon Juice
- Likely the most natural way to clean your coffee maker is lemon juice. Due to its high acidity levels, the citric acid works the same way as vinegar does without the harsh smell.
Even if you are not experiencing any symptoms associated with mold poisoning, if regularly cleanings of your coffee maker isn’t occurring, you will have mold growing on it. Although we encounter mold in our daily lives, the more exposure you get to it, the more likely your body will have adverse reactions.
So get to cleaning, and enjoy that mold-free cup of coffee.