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Your beloved coffee maker, conveniently sitting on your kitchen counter, silently waiting for the next time you’ll brew coffee through it. Sure, your brewer always saves the day by providing you a hot cup of coffee when you need one. But one question still lingers – are coffee makers safe? Even coffee machines that brew coffee at 200 degrees?
Yes, coffee makers are generally safe, especially if you maintain them properly i.e. clean them on a regular basis.
And according to relevant studies, certain coffee makers like some portafilter espresso machines seem to release larger amounts of metals, such as Nickel, Zinc and Manganese (1).
Generally speaking though, you’ll have to consume quite a lot of these metals in order to experience any harmful health effects.
Also, researchers also state that any potential health concerns are totally avoidable.
All that’s needed is to employ an adequate rinsing routine, especially after you decalcify your coffee machine.
As you can see, some studies show that portafilter machines (i.e. espresso machines) release more metals than pod or capsule machines.
But hey, that doesn’t mean that you should completely write espresso machines off if you’re a sucker for espresso.
If you decalcify your machine frequently and follow the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions, you should be fine.
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What Is The Healthiest Coffee Maker?
Generally, the healthiest coffee maker that you can get your hands on would be a coffee maker with little to no plastic in it.
That’s because when in contact with hot liquids (e.g. water), plastic can release chemicals like the harmful BPA (Bisphenol A).
So, a prime example of a healthy coffee maker is the Chemex pour-over glass coffee maker , which is the #1 best selling pour-over coffee maker on Amazon.
Not only does it have a stellar rating, but the real beauty of this coffeemaker is the fact that it’s actually made of glass.
And not just any glass, a non-porous Borosilicate kind of glass that doesn’t absorb chemicals or odors.
On top of that, the pour-over brewing technique is quite simple and pretty similar to regular coffee machines in terms of convenience.
This makes it ideal for brewing healthy and yummy coffee.
In short, Coffee makers that aren’t made of plastic (pour-overs, french presses, stainless steel percolators etc.) will be a healthier option!
Unfortunately, since we live in such a fast-paced world we sometimes tend to sacrifice health convenience.
Indeed, single-cup and drip coffee makers are quite popular because they offer great ease for making a quick cup of coffee.
Ironically, these coffee machines are almost entirely made of plastic.
That same plastic that can potentially leach certain chemicals into your beloved coffee.
Why Are ‘Plastic’ Coffee Makers So Bad For Your Health Though?
Because the hot liquid (water with coffee) that goes through the plastic tubes in such machines might trigger the release of harmful chemicals from the plastic.
And guess where these chemicals go to – your cup of coffee!
One such dangerous chemical is Bisphenol A or simply BPA.
BPA chemicals are very widespread and you can find them in most hard plastic bottles, such as bottled water.
This rather unpleasant chemical is considered an endocrine disruptor, meaning that it can mess up your hormones.
Now, according to research, Bisphenol A (BPA) plays a role in several awful and even dangerous conditions like (2):
- Male and female infertility
- Breast cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Precocious puberty
Sure, it’s almost impossible to avoid plastic nowadays because plastic is cheap and we’re literally surrounded by it.
But you have to properly take care of your coffee maker by cleaning it regularly.
Otherwise, you’d be probably better off just getting something along the lines of a pour-over or a french press coffeemaker that doesn’t have any plastic in it.
Can A Coffee Maker Make You Sick?
Yes, your coffee maker can potentially cause harm if you don’t clean it properly and frequently.
One of the reasons for that is mold and bacteria build-up.
Mold and dampness go hand in hand and coffee machines provide the perfect conditions for mold to grow.
The water temperature inside a coffee machine never reaches the boiling point, while bacteria and mold thrive in warm and humid areas, making for a perfect match.
I’ve also written a pretty detailed article that answers the question whether or not coffee makers kill bacteria, so don’t forget to read it!
According to relevant studies, the most notable adverse health effects related to mold, are respiratory (3), such as:
And of course, mold spores can also provoke allergic reactions.
That’s why it’s paramount to never neglect your coffee maker’s maintenance.
If you want coffee with a superb flavor and great taste, your coffee machine has to be clean and mold-free.
How Can You Know That Your Coffeemaker Has Germs And Mold Inside Though?
The easiest way to tell that your coffee machine might have mold (or bacteria) growing inside is to judge the taste of the coffee that comes out.
If your cup of coffee tastes off and even bitter, then the most likely reason for that is mold.
That’s assuming that you haven’t played around with the coffee-to-water ratios.
For instance, using more coffee grounds and less water will result in a more bitter coffee.
So, How Can I Clean My Coffee Maker And Get Rid Of Any Mold Buildup?
The easiest way to clean your coffee machine and eliminate the bacteria, mold and germs is by using vinegar.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Fill the water reservoir with half vinegar and half water (50/50)
- Run as many brewing cycles until the water tank empties
- Throw out any water-vinegar mix that’s left in the water reservoir
- Pour one or two mugs (around 8 oz/250 ml) in the water tank
- Run one or two cycles with water only or until the vinegar smell diminishes
Alternatively, you can just use a commercial coffee cleaner and don’t forget to check my post about what’s in a coffee machine cleaner!
Listen, this will not only give you a tastier and healthier coffee, but it’ll also extend the life of your coffee machine.
Thus, cleaning your coffeemaker periodically is a total win-win situation if you truly cherish your health and your daily dose of caffeine!
What About BPA Free Coffee Makers – Are There Any?
Of course, there are!
As I previously mentioned, anything that’s plastic-free is more than welcome.
This means that coffeemakers made of glass or stainless steel are practically BPA free, thus perfectly safe to use.
And to make your life easier, we have compiled some of the best and top-rated, BPA free coffee makers on Amazon right now:
- Chemex Classic Series, Pour-over Glass Coffeemaker, 3-Cup
- Cuisinart DCC-3200 Programmable Coffeemaker, Stainless Steel
- Large French Press Coffee Maker – Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel
- French Press Coffee Maker Large 34 Ounces Strongest and Thickest Glass
Even though I’ve thrown one of those modern, high-tech coffee makers in the mix, the others are either a pour-over or a french press.
But they all have one thing in common – they’re all BPA free!
It’s all about glass or stainless steel here and not plastic, which as you already know can leach harmful chemicals into your coffee.
As a general rule of thumb, always go for coffee makers made of glass or stainless steel if you want a bpa free product!
Just keep in mind that you probably won’t come across a coffeemaker with a huge ‘BPA-FREE’ sign on it.
That’s why your best bet is to simply look for anything that says ‘glass’ or ‘stainless steel’, instead of plastic.
Regardless of whether it’s a regular, plastic coffee maker or not, every reputable coffee maker comes with specific maintenance instructions.
That’s meant to ensure that you’re not drinking potentially harmful coffee, so you should be fine even if you have a coffee machine that screams plastic!
Is a Stainless Steel Interior Coffee Maker A Better Option Than Glass?
It’s totally up to you to decide which option is better since both are plastic-free.
In a nutshell, if you prefer pour-over coffee then a glass pour-over coffee maker will be your thing.
Alternatively, if the French press is your thing, then your best bet would be an all stainless steel coffee maker.
And here are a few great stainless steel interior coffee makers that you can get via Amazon:
- Frieling Double Wall Stainless Steel French Press Coffee Maker
- Bialetti Venus Stovetop Espresso Coffee Maker
- Presto 12-Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Maker
Basically, coffee makers made entirely from stainless steel are simpler and more basic than their modern, Keurig-style counterparts.
But not having to deal with unnecessary bells and whistles ain’t a bad thing per se.
In fact, I believe that a regular french press offers pretty identical convenience, compared to a fancy coffee machine.
However, it will have zero plastic parts, meaning that you won’t have to worry about any chemicals ending up in your cup of coffee.
In conclusion, it’s safe to say that coffee makers are totally safe to use (pun intended), assuming that you maintain them properly.
Even the ones made of plastic can be harmless as long as you clean them periodically, mainly by running a vinegar/water mixture through the system of your coffee machine.
Nonetheless, you can always opt for a stainless steel or glass coffee maker.
That is if you want to completely avoid the chance of any chemicals making their way into your coffee.
But do you personally believe that coffee makers are safe to use?
And what’s the coffeemaker that you’re currently using made of (e.g. plastic, stainless steel, glass etc.)?
Let me know by leaving a comment in the comment section below!
Last update on 2020-09-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API