Unless you're spending all kinds of cash at your local coffee shop every morning, you've probably become fairly acquainted -- if not best friends -- with your office's shared coffee machine (that is, if you're lucky enough to have one). As you stand, half-awake as your coffee brews, there's a good chance you're not thinking about the filth and germs lurking inside the very machine that provides you with the piping hot mug of caffeine you need to get through the day, right? But, according to a recent study, it's there.
In what's been deemed the "first systematic analysis of coffee machine-associated bacteria," researchers at Spain's University of Valencia found something you might say is "a bunch of nasty ass germs," but what they describe as "significant bacterial diversity." To be exact, the scientists examined 10 Nespresso machines in home and office environments and detected as many as 67 major types of bacteria living inside the drip tray where the discarded capsules land, according to a report by Fast Company's Co.Design.
By all means this is disgusting, but don't just spit out a brown cloud of coffee all over your coworkers just yet. As one of the study's authors explains, they found that the coffee is just fine.
"The coffee from these kind of machines is perfectly safe," Manuel Porcar, co-author and biology scholar, told the publication. "The tray containing the wasted capsules should be cleaned with water and soap, or a few drops of bleach. I want to stress that bacteria accumulate in the leach tray, not in the coffee itself. Nespresso coffee is microbiologically flawless."
Although it seems like you're not at a particularly huge risk of getting sick from your office's coffee machine, the study strongly suggests such machines should receive frequent cleanings and maintenance to help prevent the rapid growth of bacteria. But this could lead to some uncomfortable questions you might not feel like dealing with before you've had your coffee -- who's going to clean the damn thing? Who cleans it now? Has it ever been scrubbed down at all? So many questions. You should get a cup of coffee to really ponder it all.
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Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and fearlessly used the office coffee machine this morning. Send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.