Things You Don’t Really Want To Know

Someone close to me called yesterday with a concern. They had read a symptom-cause anecdote on the Internet. Worried if the report was as bad as they feared, their question to me was, “Should I stop looking things up on the Internet?”  

Do you really want to know how turkey ham is made? What happens to the frozen fries dropped on the restaurant’s kitchen floor? How is the turkey you ate a couple of days ago killed, cleaned, and packaged? It might be information that neither makes you healthier nor feel better. Some things, I think, might make you feel worse for learning. When should you defer from looking up the answer to that meaningless query?

I said, “Yes!”

Here I go with something I read on the Internet. We found this week a critical report about one kind of coffee machine. As it turns out, the scathing article may have some truths, and some not-so-solid information. We found this linked report from Snopes.

The whole truth seems to indict most equipment with cool water reservoirs or with residual moisture (which pretty well includes all typical coffee makers). Okay, let’s check the two coffee machines in mom’s house.

I checked and found mold on the inside walls of the cool water reservoir. Yeah, makes sense that something that stays wet and between 45 and 100 degrees can grow mold. I cleaned the parts I could reach and researched how to clean the hard-to-reach parts. Here’s a link to an article on cleaning the coffee makers. Y’all probably already do all this. It was new to us. We’re going to pick up white vinegar to run through both of the coffeemakers.

If someone offers me a cup of coffee, I’ll probably accept. I won’t ask about the machine or cool water reservoirs. Not only shouldn’t I ask, it’s something I’d just rather not know.

9 responses to “Things You Don’t Really Want To Know

  1. Jim, we have “friends” who have shared all the scathing articles on our Keurig, not only for mold, but also for economic and environmental violations. We use the white vinegar treatment occasionally and empty the fresh water tank daily after use. We also double use the K cups for a second, less strong, cup of hot. It is kind of like those articles that point out the bathroom is more sterile than the kitchen. I agree, “You don’t want to know.” Tip: While on the road in the Airstream we also use the Keurig for hot dish water without firing up the gas hot water heater.

    • Rich I was surprised to learn there seems a method to access and treat the internal tank. While we don’t prefer disposable anythings (another good reason to choose Airstream), isn’t it nice to brew a single great cup? Too, as I pointed out, mold growth is likely anywhere moisture hangs out awhile in cool to warm temperatures (neither below freezing nor above 160). Maybe it’s no coincidence most coffee makers are black or dark brown.


  2. I misspoke. Keurig mentions nothing about “method to access and treat the internal tank”. Does anyone know differently?

    The Keurig instructions mention powering off the machine, while it’s plugged in, and pressing and holding the brew button until the internal tank empties. But in another section the same document states the internal tank cannot be emptied.

  3. Carolyn Beardshear

    We use an old fashioned metal percolator on the propane stove in the Airstream. We use packets for the coffee grounds (no mess and no grounds in the coffee). It has the little glass top so you can see how dark the coffee is and yes, it takes a good while to make coffee, but it sure tastes better. It gets rinsed out and dried after every use. And when we are dry camping we still have great coffee.

  4. Then you probably don’t want to know what’s growing on the inside of your fresh water tank, do you? ;-) Just a hint: sanitize with bleach at least once a season whether you drink the water from the tap or not.

    • Exactly right! We try to keep the fresh water tank full. Only put chlorinated or brominated water in the tank. Untreated water (private wells) we add 1 tsp common bleach per ten gallons (4 teaspoons for our 49 gal tank). Every 2-3 weeks we drain the fresh water and refill with fresh treated water. (BTW, we have always used the fresh water tank for drinking water).

      We’ll do a different post about flushing the hot water tank.


  5. Jim: It is dangerous world out there and just getting out of bed can put one at risk. For the coffee solution I use single cup drip style cone filter and Peet’s Major Dickason’s coffee. That is an outstanding combination for this coffee snob. As for tanks that hold water. Do the best that you can, where you can, but remember that we have pretty good immune systems and they only stay that way if you give them work to do so a few bugs in your gut are a good thing.

    • I like it — very often I think, “How did we ever survive things we did when we were young?” Immunities! Somehow, we were immune to most anything, because we lived “out there”, doing all kinds of adventurous things. Things now legislatively labelled as dangerous, you know, like fireworks, fast go karts with no hearing protection, no seat belts, no helmets. Pellet pistols in hand, we hunted the neighborhood for squirrels. (The squirrels were, I remember, in little danger). Mixing unlikely combinations of goods from our chemistry set, with no consideration about what we were making. Well, sometimes we DID have some idea, like what saltpeter, sulphur, and carbon combined into.

      Thanks for your coffee sense – we are also purists. We’ve been making our coffee with the best Cuban-style instant espresso with half and half. A perfect early afternoon Pick me up.

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