Coffee Crud: Bacteria in Keurig – More Nonsense

We worry about bacteria but..

We worry about bacteria but..

More Bacteria – oh no.. Wait a second.

So yet another TV station sent off samples to a microbiology laboratory to make a news story. This time they call it coffee crud, and as they struggle to pronounce the names of the evil bacteria. Then, the action item – things you can do to prevent this.

Here is the catch:

When your Keurig coffee maker is brewed the temperature is 192 degrees Fahrenheit. So what does that kill? It turns out – just about everything. If you expose liquid to 180 degrees for less than half a second you have effectively pasteurized the coffee – making it safe to drink. Whatever is growing in the coffee water – is long gone by the time it has been brewed.

Civil War And Dysentery

More soldiers died during the Civil War from Dysentery than any enemy fire. The water was filthy, so one physician discovered that if the soldiers drank coffee instead of the water they didn’t develop dysentery. Why? It wasn’t the coffee, it was the act of heating the water to where it is inhospitable to bacteria, molds, virus, and parasites.

They didn’t know about the germ theory at that time, but we do now.

Another bit of bad reporting

Yes it is. Not only do they not name the specific bacteria and say if they are bad, but they don’t follow through with some good suggestions.

First – to say you have E. coli in water sounds bad, because some E. coli cause horrible disease, although the E. coli family is so large and diverse that it is also found in every bit of soil in the world – not all E. coli are bad actors, and – by the way, you are full of E. coli – they are a happy and common inhabitant of your colon.

Bacteria Everywhere

If you have a slow news day you talk about the bacteria you find. They did this with the Mens beard and poop story.

There are bacteria everywhere – if we were to send swabs from anywhere we would hear scary bacteria from all over our bodies, our money, our kitchen utensils, and counter tops.

Bad Coffee Advise

Of course they said to use filtered water instead of tap. We pointed out in our blog post Use Tap Water For Coffee why this is better than filtered. But a brief recap: it tastes better, it has less harmful bacteria, and filters can harbor things like Listeria.

Their other advise is also not based in science.  Alas- a slow news day for them all.

Lots of reasons not to use Keurig – like you get better tasting coffee with less cost and environmental impact by using other machines (even the expensive ones). But in terms of bacteria – nothing to worry about here.

Dr. Terry Simpson About Dr. Terry Simpson
Dr. Terry Simpson received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago where he spent several years in the Kovler Viral Oncology laboratories doing genetic engineering. He found he liked people more than petri dishes, and went to medical school. Dr. Simpson, a weight loss surgeon is an advocate of culinary medicine. The first surgeon to become certified in Culinary Medicine, he believes teaching people to improve their health through their food and in their kitchen. On the other side of the world, he has been a leading advocate of changing health care to make it more "relationship based," and his efforts awarded his team the Malcolm Baldrige award for healthcare in 2011 for the NUKA system of care in Alaska and in 2013 Dr Simpson won the National Indian Health Board Area Impact Award. A frequent contributor to media outlets discussing health related topics and advances in medicine, he is also a proud dad, husband, author, cook, and surgeon “in that order.” For media inquiries, please visit

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