My Coffee Is Foul – 10 Symptoms Of Keurig Sickness

mold in coffee maker

Is My Keurig Making Me Sick? 

I’ve been asked if there are symptoms of Keurig sickness that someone should be worried about. I’m not sure where the notion that Keurigs make people sick came from. 

But, I would say that drinking coffee brewed in a Keurig is as safe as coffee brewed in any machine.

It’s what could be growing inside them…

There are toxins produced by mold that could be growing inside your Keurig that can make you sick, though. And this goes for mold that builds up in any coffee maker. 

So this isn’t just a Keurig problem. 

In fact, one study of dirty household items and appliances ranked coffee makers as one of the nastiest items in your home. 

In addition, 50% or more were found to have mold, fungus, yeast, bacteria, and even fecal matter lurking in their water reservoirs and surfaces.

What Causes Mold To Grow In A Keurig? 

Mold is everywhere; spores love warm, humid, and wet environments. And Keurig coffee machines fit the bill. If a Keurig remains uncleaned or damp for more than a few days, mold might already be growing inside. 

Mold spores can also be present in any whole bean or ground coffee you have bought. If it was not correctly processed, dried, and stored before packaging, then mold spores could have already hitched a ride. 

How Do I Know If My Keurig Is Moldy? 

We might want to blame a funky-tasting cup of coffee on lousy water or the coffee brand, but there is a good chance mold is the culprit. 

Mold grows fast and is typically visible or has a musty odor from your Keurig coffee maker within 2-3 days after brewing. 

The initial stages of mold growth might not be easily visible. But a musty smell or taste can be a sign of mold growth. If you see floating black specks in the water reservoir of the K-cup holder, that could be an early sign of mold.

Sometimes you might notice black specks in your freshly brewed coffee.  

If those specks are not crunchy, they are not grounds. So, toss that cup out just in case and clean your machine. 

Also, if you are traveling, always peek inside the machine in your room before brewing. You might be unpleasantly surprised to find what is living inside. I have seen mold often. 

If you see the residue of any sort, clean it thoroughly, or ask the hotel for a clean unit. 

mold on whole coffee beans
White mold growing on whole coffee beans

What Does Keurig Mold Look Like? 

Newly forming mold can be hard to spot. It’s either invisible or can appear like tiny black specs at the start. 

White dusty mold can appear on dry coffee and whole beans that have not been processed or stored in a dry environment. This mold is white and dusty and has a musty smell. 

The mold that has had some time to form inside your Keurig or coffee cup looks like greenish, grey, yellow, fuzzy blotches. 

It smells even nastier and mustier than the white mold often found on dry coffee. 

So, if you notice mold in your Keurig after brewing or your coffee smells musty or tastes unusual, toss it out and clean your machine.

Where Does Mold Grow Inside A Keurig? 

Mold is at home in moist, humid, and warm environments. Coffee machines tick all those boxes. 

The water reservoir and internal tubing are the typical places mold like to grow in the case of Keurig and similar machines.  

You will also see it happen where there is a coffee residue left behind from a previous brew. 

And if you forget to discard a used k-cup, you have another prime breeding environment. Mold can form inside and get into the cup holder from there. 

Mold growth is inevitable if this stuff is not kept clean.

Is Keurig Mold Dangerous? 

It can be If you have a mold sensitivity. Symptoms of sickness from mold in Keurig coffee makers, if touched or inhaled, can feel like allergies. 

Remember that the same mold that grows in coffee can also be found in other foods. Fruits, cereals, grains, beer, and wine all harbor this.

There are more than 1 million fungi (mold) species, and about 300 are dangerous. Coffee can host Penicillium and Aspergillus, which produce the mycotoxin, Ochratoxin A. 

Note: 

Blue cheese fans rejoice. The Penicillium (Penicillium roqueforti) in cheeses does not produce mycotoxins. It just gives the cheese that “off” taste some of us like. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the FDA consuming large amounts of this toxin can cause long-term issues such as liver or kidney damage. And also heart failure and neurological impairment. 

But before we cause alarm bells and panic about what’s in your morning cup of java, processed coffee does not contain levels of mycotoxins likely to cause significant concern. The levels produced by mold in coffee are low. 

Check out the cited sources section at the end of this article if you want more of the science details. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Keurig Sickness? 

In most cases, mold exposure from coffee brewed in your Keurig is not an emergency. 

But if you are at risk because of an existing health condition or mold sensitivity, check with a doctor. 

Typical complications from mold exposure include: 

  • Rashes 
  • Irritated Eye 
  • Sneezing 
  • Coughing 
  • Headache 
  • Runny nose 
  • Congestion 
  • Sore throat 
  • Heartburn 
  • Upset stomach 

What Do I Do If I Drink Mold From A Keurig? 

I don’t personally know anyone who has keeled over from drinking some moldy coffee, but we all have different sensitivities. 

If you experience weird side effects like shortness of breath or dizziness, it’s best to connect with a doctor. 

It’s better to be safe than sorry. 

This news video goes into detail about what is growing inside coffee machines and how to take care of it.

How Do I Keep Mold From Growing In My Keurig? 

Proper storage and keeping things clean are your best defense against mold. 

Keurig Cleaning: 

Cleaning is the key to preventing mold growth in a Keurig. Remember to use clean products to clean with. 

Funny sounding, I know, but do not use a dish sponge, towel, or anything that has already been used.

Scrubbing with those will potentially make things worse.  

They are about as dirty as it gets and can transfer germs and bacteria to your machine. 

And keep the Keurig dry. As mentioned earlier, mold loves a moist environment. So keeping things dry can go a long way to preventing mold growth. 

Coffee Storage: 

Whole roasted coffee beans can last several weeks if the container remains unopened. After that, they do not go bad, but they lose freshness. 

Ground coffee, on the other hand, loses its freshness in about a week. Brewing coffee that isn’t fresh can make it taste funny and is sometimes mistaken for moldy coffee.

Unfortunately, whole bean and ground coffee can already grow mold. The processes don’t get rid of all of it, and it could have picked up mold traveling on its way to the store.

You might not be able to see it. But you can be sure it’s in there somewhere. So storage and use are essential to keep it from getting out of hand.

The best way to prevent mold from growing on your coffee is to keep it in an airtight container, out of sunlight, and in a cool, dry place. 

Don’t freeze it or keep it in a refrigerator. The humidity inside a fridge might spur mold to grow.

How Do I Clean Mold Out Of My Keurig? 

There are a handful of simple things that you can do to reduce the likelihood of mold growth.  

Keurig Cleaning Routine: 

After each brew: Remove and trash the K-Cup. Then dry the K-Cup holder. Moist coffee grounds inside a K-Cup can grow mold in a day or two. 

The mold can spread into the cup holder. So you could have a cup full on your next brew and not even know it. 

Weekly: Wash the removable parts in soapy water. Rinse and let them air dry. Alternatively, wash them in your dishwasher on high. That typically does an excellent job of killing most of the bacteria and mold at the same time. 

Monthly: Run a brewing cycle of equal parts white vinegar and water through your machine. Do this once or twice. Follow that up by brewing cycles of only plain water to remove the vinegar taste. This will also help decalcify the inner tubing and keep your machine fresh. 

Final Thoughts – Is My Keurig Making Me Sick?

keep your coffee tasting fresh without mold
Long-term or serious health problems are unlikely. Enjoy your coffee…

No, your Keurig isn’t making you sick. Mold can form in any coffee maker regardless of brand. Toxins from mold growth might cause some mild side effects, but there is not enough to worry about.

If you feel foul after drinking coffee from your Keurig, it’s most likely due to an upset stomach or heartburn. Eat something along while having your coffee. This can help put that to rest. 

Keep your machine clean, store your coffee correctly, and brew before the “use by” date. This will ensure that you have a good coffee experience. 

So, would I toss out all my coffee and stop drinking? Nope, not me. 

Brew on my friends.  

Christopher Mize
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