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Clean that nasty machine!

October 11, 2005

Coffee Machine CleanerThere’s nothing worse than a funky coffee maker.

Coffee is filled with essential oils. While these are superb in the cup, when they’re left to dry on equipment, they turn into nasty, rancid, bitter oils that can render even the most finely ground, sublime bean into a hidious tasting cup of hot nastiness.

Sure, you wash out your carafe, and all of the other removable pieces, but there are still places lurking in your coffee maker where the crud builds up, and awaits its opportunity to spoil your morning cuppa.

What to do? Clean that nasty machine!


The easiest way to deal with a case of the coffee crud is by using an off-the-shelf coffee machine cleaner. I personally like CleanCaf, from Urnex, but there probably isn’t a lot of difference in most of them.

CleanCaf comes in convenient one-use packets, others come as a premixed liquid. Regardless, following the package instructions, place it in your reservoir with the appropriate amount of water, and brew up a batch of cleaner.

The soaps and solvents in the cleaner will go the same place your coffee does, and remove all of the bitter, rancid oils.

As a bonus, most good coffee machine cleaners also descale the coffee maker — descaling removes the lime and calcium deposits left behind by most water that will eventually choke the water and the life from your coffee maker.

Sure, you could use vinegar or lemon juice to descale, but the only thing nastier than a steaming pot of hot lemon juice is a steaming pot of hot vinegar. Blech! A good coffee machine cleaner removes scale without attempting to remove your sinuses with it.

After discarding the cleaner, rinse everything you can, and brew up and discard at least two batches of hot water. Afterwords, grind up some sacrificial coffee, and brew and discard that.

After that, rinse everything again, and badda-bing, your’e done!

For the price of a buck or two worth of cleaner, and a few minutes brewing up hot water, you’ve now got a coffee maker that should produce a cup as good as new.

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