Hotel room coffee makers may not be as clean as you'd like, according to a study from the University of Valencia.
“We sampled the coffee waste reservoir of 10 different Nespresso machines,” the 2015 report’s authors wrote. “Our results reveal the existence of a varied bacterial community in all the machines sampled.”
Some of the bacterial strains found in the machines can be linked to illnesses like urinary tract infections and pneumonia.
While the Nespresso machines used for the study were sourced from home kitchens or communal academic spaces, we don't think it's too big a jump to apply this to a hotel coffee maker. Thoroughly cleaning a coffee maker doesn’t just mean running it once or twice without a pod. Like with any appliance, frequent cleaning is crucial. Nespresso machines come with detailed instructions for diligent (and regular) care. And as SmarterTravel noted, a deep cleaning with vinegar is the only way to kill off mold and bacteria.
According to the researchers, Nespresso machines — which are popular amenities in high-end hotels — were selected for the experiment because of their “popularity” and “standard nature.”
“Our results show, for the first time, that coffee leach from standard capsule machines is a rich substrate for bacterial growth,” the report stated. “The presence of bacterial genera with pathogenic properties and the fast recovery of the communities after rinsing the capsule container, strongly suggest the need for frequent maintenance of the capsule container of these machines.”
The results of this study make a strong case for visiting a local café on your next vacation.
And if you do use that in-room coffee maker, be sure to carefully clean the machine before brewing your morning java.