The Coffee May Be Safe, But Your Office Coffee Machine May Be Loaded with Bacteria

By Mike Pomranz |

Bill Varie / Alamy

Hold off on your spit take. A recent study has shown that the coffee that comes out of your office coffee machine (at least the ones made by Nespresso) is perfectly safe to drink. But you may want to avoid licking the coffee machine itself (I know, you’ve been tempted)—those things could be filthy.

Researchers from the University of Valencia in Spain recently published a study looking at the bacteria contents in Nespresso machines in both home and office settings. What they found is as gross as it is probably unsurprising: a “significant bacterial diversity” featuring 35 to 67 major types of bacteria accumulating in the inner drip tray.

The good news is that outside of being mildly disgusting, these flourishing bacterial colonies don’t seem to provide any actual health risks as long as you stay clear of that filthy tray. “The coffee from these kind of machines is perfectly safe,” study co-author Manuel Porcar told Fast Company, later adding, “I want to stress that bacteria accumulate in the leach tray, not in the coffee itself…. Nespresso coffee is microbiologically flawless.”

That said, their research also found that the bacteria accumulation was not necessarily a result of who was using the machine, but inherent to its design and, therefore, needs to be attended to. “The tray containing the wasted capsules should be cleaned with water and soap, or a few drops of bleach,” said Porcar.

The study serves as a reminder that just because a machine seems like a miracle worker when it comes to spitting out coffee, you shouldn’t wait for a miracle to make sure the thing gets cleaned.

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