Disgusting studies: Germs in coffee from the machine collect like in the drain

Disgusting studies: Germs in coffee from the machine collect like in the drain

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Hygienic risks: Drainage germs lurk in the coffee machine
For coffee lovers, the research results of a German student might sound anything but appetizing. As part of his thesis, he discovered that coffee machines can be a source of microorganisms and that bacteria can also be found in brewed coffee.

Germans love coffee
Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in Germany. Every German citizen drinks an average of over 160 liters per year. The stimulant has long been considered a health hazard, but today we know that the popular hot drink is healthier than is often assumed. However, studies have shown that there can also be germs in coffee that sometimes harm health. The bacteria get into the drink via the coffee machines.

Bacteria in coffee
What the student Jan Schages found in his thesis in the food science course at the Rhein-Waal University of Applied Sciences is truly not appetizing.

In the master thesis under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Dirk Bockmühl, professor of hygiene and microbiology at the Faculty of Life Sciences, Schages determined the hygienic risks consumers face when consuming coffee from fully automatic coffee machines.

"It was clearly shown that the coffee machine can be a source of microorganisms and, above all, that bacteria can also be found in the brewed coffee afterwards," says a statement.

Germs from the drain
“The bacteria colonize, among other things, in the water-carrying elements (hoses and water tank) of the fully automatic coffee machines. There they form a biofilm, among other things, ”explained Schages.

According to the information, this slimy biofilm consists of bacterial colonies, on which further germs then multiply. “You know such biofilms from the drain when you clean them,” says the graduate.

Such pathogens can be found wherever it is humid and warm.

Clean coffee machines regularly
"Although there is currently no evidence of a health hazard from contaminated coffee, it is advised to clean the coffee machine regularly," says the university's press release.

And: "According to the results of the study, even a high coffee temperature also protects against a high germ load."

It is advised not only to clean the machine's water tank regularly, but also to fill the tank with fresh water every day. It is also important not only to empty the coffee grounds container, but also to make it really clean.

In addition, if possible, the coffee brewing temperature should be increased so that the germs in the coffee are reduced.

"On average, these temperatures are between 60 and 63 degrees Celsius," says Schages, according to the RP. It would have been shown that a small increase to 68 degrees Celsius kills a large part of the germs.

Health impairments caused by bacteria
Previous studies also found that coffee machines often have unsanitary conditions. A study by scientists from the Universidad de Valencia (Spain) showed that Nespresso coffee machines are often contaminated with bacteria.

Among other things, the researchers found germs from the group of enterococci and Pseudomonas. The former are especially dangerous for people whose immune systems are already weakened and for young children.

You are at risk of urinary tract and gastrointestinal infections, which can be accompanied by symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

The pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa can do little to healthy people. But for certain high-risk patients whose immune system is already weakened, the germ is a serious health hazard.

Reusable cups as an alternative to "coffee-to-go" cups
In his master thesis, Jan Schages also devoted himself to the use of reusable cups as an alternative to so-called "coffee-to-go" cups.

"It could be demonstrated that the possible microbial contamination from reusable coffee cups is negligible compared to the possible risks of a poorly maintained machine," says the message.

Philip Heldt, who accompanied the project from the Consumer Advice Center in North Rhine-Westphalia, welcomes these findings and sees this as confirmation that the use of reusable cups will continue to be promoted for ecological reasons. (ad)

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