So do you regularly drink K-cups? Keurig machines are becoming prevalent because of convenience. People enjoy the convenience of pressing one button and having fresh coffee instantly brewed.
The Keurig may seem to brew “fresh” coffee, but it is anything but that. The coffee in the pods is ground months or even years ahead in anticipation of brewing in a Keurig. Fresh coffee is best when the beans are ground right before brewing.
This also means that they are roasted just as long beforehand. This really makes you question the freshness of Keurig coffee. If the coffee is not stored properly it may even go bad!
Health risks of K-cups
Plastics used in all food packaging, but rarely does it ever get heated. When the plastic is heated small amounts of chemicals are leached out of the plastic and into your food or beverage. This is multiplied when hot water, acid, UV light, and mechanical wear is applied to the plastic. BPA is an industrial material that is used in plastics often used in manufacturing. These are often found in containers for food and beverages.
K-Cup® and Vue® packs do not contain BPA and are constructed using FDA-approved food safe materials. We also use FDA-approved food safe materials in our K-Cup® and Vue® brewing systems, and neither system contains BPA within its water paths (as of January 1, 2010 for our K-Cup® system).Keurig
Brewing coffee involves both heat and acid. Despite this statement from Keurig, all other plastics are not without risk. Plastic compounds all leach some amount of chemicals into food. It is impossible to know and maybe happening in minuscule quantities. BPA, BPF, BPS, and phthalates are plastic chemicals that all affect hormones and fertility problems. While Keurig has stated they use BPA free plastics in recent tests they have tested positive for affecting estrogen activity. Polystyrene is a possible carcinogen and has been found in tests with Keurig K-cups.
It is a stretch to say that drinking with K-cups will kill you, but for those to drink Keurig coffee every day may want to switch to a stainless steel K-cup filter.
The Effect of BPA on the body
BPA is known to mimic the structure and function of the hormone estrogen.
Estrogen is a sex hormone that promotes the development and maintenance of female characteristics in the human body. If an imbalance of this hormone were to occur it may lead to a range of health problems. This includes unwanted physical changes to the breasts, pubic and armpit hair, and regulation of the menstrual cycle and reproductive system.
One interesting study observed that women who had frequent miscarriages had three times as much BPA in their bloodstream compared to women who had successful pregnancies.
Stainless Steel Reusable K-cup Filter
By using a stainless steel filter you can reduce the amount of plastic exposure you have when using your Keurig. This filter is made of high-quality industrial grade materials and is durable enough to withstand the heat and acid of coffee.
This K-cup filter is also designed to ensure the best extraction of coffee grounds. With this filter, you will enjoy better coffee due to the better heating, extraction, and exposure to water of the coffee.
It is dishwasher safe and easy to clean. Stainless steel is much better than plastic because coffee oils are easily washed off with water and it will not get stained.
Health Effects of Aluminum Exposure
The lids of K-cups are usually made of aluminum which may have some health effects when exposed to acids and high heat like coffee. Prolonged exposure to aluminum may cause some problems in your brain. It has been linked to Alzheimers, anxiety, autoimmune diseases, and even depression.
While oral exposure is usually not a problem if ingested at high levels there may be a problem.
This is the same reason why you shouldn’t wrap your food in aluminum foil before cooking or baking. Some of the foil leeches into your food and can be problematic with spicy or acidic food at high temperatures.
Clean your Keurig!
If you don’t regularly clean your Keurig or haven’t cleaned it in a while, it is probably filthy. You may be ingesting mold and germs daily. Your Keurig may be covered in bacteria and mold.
A constantly wet and warm container makes your Keurig the perfect growing environment for mold, mildew, algae, biofilms, and many more contaminants that you don’t want in your coffee.
The internal lines of a Keurig cannot be cleaned once filled with water. As a result, you are left with a perpetually wet, warm, and dark environment. This is a breeding ground for nasty microbes that may harm your health and affect the taste of your coffee. Since mildew and mold can grow on hard plastic surfaces it makes the inside of a Keurig the perfect incubator to these germs.
While almost all coffee makers may have this problem if not properly cleaned Keurigs make is especially hard to clean the internal mechanisms of the machine.
To tell if you have mold or mildew growing in your machine is a bitter taste in your coffee. This is different than your normal bitterness in coffee and may even cause some pain in your throat or mouth. It can also cause respiratory problems and gastrointestinal problems such as bloating and diarrhea.
How to properly clean your Keurig
Here are some things you can do to minimize the risk of germs in your Keurig coffee maker.
Brew a cup of coffee with vinegar. It is a natural and chemical-free way to clean products around your house. Vinegar can remove coffee sediment build up as well as kill molds and bacteria. This should be done every month.
Fill the brewing chamber with half water and half vinegar and run your Keurig without any coffee inside. Keep brewing until all the water is used and the chamber is empty. If you haven’t done this in a while or ever, you may want to do 2 cycles before your next batch of coffee.
Then, you will want to run your Keurig empty to remove any vinegar taste to your next cup of water. Do this twice to remove any lingering vinegar.
Other Reasons Why You Should Ditch Keurig Cups
If you are thinking about buying a coffee maker that makes quick coffee without much work, forget Keurig. Don’t buy a pod coffee maker, and if you have one, we recommend getting rid of it.
At some point, convenience is not worth the health, environmental, and financial costs of K-cups.
Of course, we still love quick and easy coffee so this is what we do. Every morning I prepare a cup of coffee. I either make 1 cup or 3 cups depending on whether my father wants any.
I have replaced my Keurig with an electronic kettle with a gooseneck and a glass french press. It is extremely simple to measure out, grind, and brew the coffee, and you get the benefit of freshly ground coffee.
The whole process takes at max 5 minutes and you are left with fresh delicious coffee. The best part is you know everything that has gone into the coffee.
If the health issues weren’t enough, individual coffee pods are not cost-efficient. While they provide the convenience you are paying over $50 per pound for your coffee.
This is comparable to buying and drinking some of the best coffee beans in the world. The most high-quality beans in the world usually don’t cost as much as this. It is a no brainer to purchase the beans yourself to grind and brew a fresh cup of coffee.
Lastly, the final issue you will have to consider when buying K-cups is the environmental effect of using so much disposable plastic. Every day you would be throwing a pod into the trash or recycle bin. Even John Sylvan, the creator of the K-cups pods regrets his decision of inventing them.
I feel bad sometimes that I ever invented the K-Cup… It’s like a cigarette for coffee, a single-serve delivery mechanism for an addictive substance… They’re kind of expensive to use plus it’s not like drip coffee is tough to make.John Sylvan, Inventor of the K-cup
Today, Sylvan’s work is focused on correcting his environmental mistakes and is aiming to create a more cost-efficient solar panel.
The problems with K-cups are they are not biodegradable or recyclable. Recently, some companies have started creating some recyclable pods. At the rate they are selling the pods have become a significant source of plastic chemicals leaching into landfills, drinking water, and the ground.
Close to 10 billion pods were sold in the last year and the number only keeps rising. The worst part is most people do not know K-cups are not recyclable.
K-cups are slowly poisoning your body and the earth. Why put your health on the line for a stale cup of coffee? By drinking Keurig pods you are exposing yourself to microbes as well as dooming the Earth.
There are rising levels of BPA in the groundwater, ocean, and even places where you wouldn’t expect. Buried 30 feet under the ice at the south pole, experts have found chemicals that contribute to the health problems in Humans.