Indeed, Cleaning the Coffee Maker Is Necessary, and Here's How

Many of us have coffee as part of our daily routines, but despite its prevalence in our lives, keeping our coffee makers clean and descaled is often put off.  

Avoiding the brown staining of the glass carafe isn't the only reason to keep your coffee machine clean. Lisa Yakas, a trained microbiologist and consumer product safety expert with the NSF, claims that the coffee machine reservoir is one of the top five germiest items in our homes.

"Some components of coffee makers can promote the growth and spread of mold and yeast," says Yakas. This probably shouldn't come as a huge surprise, given the coffee machine's daily exposure to human hands, steaming water, and coffee oils.

Maintaining a clean coffee maker is essential for preventing the growth of bacteria and the accumulation of minerals from hard water, both of which can compromise the quality of your morning brew.

Roaster and owner Heather Calatrello says, "Daily maintenance is straightforward and only takes a few minutes." Simply rinsing and drying each part of the coffee maker after each use constitutes regular maintenance. Descaling, or deep cleaning, should be done every four to six weeks. ”

Food and Wine with Summer Rylander

A dirty coffee maker carafe is usually enough to motivate the average person to pull out the cleaning supplies. You can be very thorough in your post-use cleaning routine, but the swirl-and-pour technique has its limits.

If your coffee machine has water spots, coffee stains, or loose grounds, it's time to clean it. This is especially true if you can't recall the last time you did so.

Calatrello recommends "disassembling the coffee maker to the extent that you can thoroughly rinse and dry all components" for a speedy cleanup. While dish soap can be used, she says it's not necessary for regular cleaning. The point is just to give everything a good washing and let it air dry.

Calatrello suggests leaving the lid of a traditional electric coffee maker's water reservoir open for several hours after brewing to dry the carafe out before reassembling the machine.

In the beginning, check your coffee maker's manual to see if there are any special cleaning rules you need to follow. There's no harm in making sure you're doing things correctly even though it shouldn't be too complicated.

The time has come to get down to business, and there is no shortage of pills, potions, and powders to help you get things done. You can also make your own using equal parts water and distilled white vinegar.

Vine & Dine with Summer Rylander

Calatrello recommends simply adding the solution to the water reservoir and starting the brewing cycle. After the coffee has brewed for half the cycle, turn off the machine. Three to four hours of letting the vinegar solution sit in the carafe should do the trick. After it has had time to brew's magic, turn the machine back on. ” 

Once the solution has been discarded, Calatrello suggests replacing it with fresh water. Do another brew cycle, this time using at least twice as much fresh, clean water as you did for the first. Afterwards, you need only wipe the machine down with a soft cloth to restore its exterior to its original condition.

Revitalize Your Coffee Machine's Cleaning Procedure


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Descaling your coffee machine is equivalent to giving it a thorough cleaning, despite the availability of descaling solutions.  

While they are similar in nature, Calatrello and his team prefer to view routine cleaning and descaling as two distinct processes. As the article puts it, "Deep cleaning, also known as descaling, entails employing a solution to eliminate stains and buildup. This means that we are removing all traces of coffee, oil, and moisture. If you do what I've outlined above, boom. you've removed the scum In fact, that vinegar concoction can be quite useful here; unless you have a particularly stubborn stain, you won't even need to resort to expensive commercial cleaners.

Eats & Drinks with Summer Rylander

If you're out of vinegar but still want to clean your coffee maker with household items, baking soda is your best bet. Run a mixture of 1 part baking soda and 4 parts water through the brew cycle.

If you don't have any vinegar on hand, but still need to clean your coffee maker, a mixture of lemon juice (strained to remove any pulp, seeds, or rind) and water should do the trick.

Calatrello says, "Cleaning a grind-and-brew coffee maker is nearly identical to cleaning a traditional coffee maker, with one additional step." Do not fill the grinder with water or rinse its parts. Any traces of coffee or oil can be easily removed with a damp cloth. ” 

Calatrello suggests wiping the grinder parts every day if you use a dark roast bean and once a week if you use a lighter roast to prevent grounds from building up.

To keep your coffee maker in tip-top shape and to ensure the freshest, best-tasting brews, simply give it a quick rinse after each use.  

Calatrello claims that "not only will your coffee maker stay cleaner, but it will last longer in the long run." Coffee makers require regular maintenance that can be done in a matter of minutes. Deep cleaning your machine once a month will keep it running smoothly and looking like new for years to come. ”

We have some recommendations if you are looking to purchase a new coffee maker that you can count on to stay spotlessly clean and produce only the freshest coffee:

Coffee Maker, Cuisinart PerfecTemp

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Our recent testing has shown that the Cuisinart PerfecTemp Coffee Maker is the best drip coffee maker on the market due to its large capacity, straightforward design, and programmable features. Additionally, you can select either a standard or robust brewing cycle.

Espresso Maker, DeLonghi La Specialista Prestigio

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We put a number of coffee makers with grinders to the test, and the DeLonghi La Specialista Prestigio Espresso Machine came out on top. Our evaluation team unanimously praised its high functionality and adaptability to various café settings.

Food & Wine contributor Summer Rylander has also contributed to Allrecipes, Serious Eats, and The Kitchn, where she has covered a wide range of topics related to food and drink. She penned this piece after engaging in extensive research, consulting with industry insiders, and drawing on her own experience as a coffee connoisseur who owns several different types of coffeemakers.

For your comments, I am grateful.

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