Freshly brewed coffee is delicious, but old coffee taste is less delicious. Coffee leaves oil behind on anything it touches. If left to build up, this oil will go rancid and develop a bad smell, or “stank”, to use the proper industry term. So, keeping your brew gear clean is pretty important. Luckily it’s pretty easy; a rinse after use goes a long way towards eradicating the problem and any long term issues can be avoided by following some simple steps. I’ll break the following suggestions down by the different types of brewers, as some of them present unique issues.
Pourovers (e.g. Kalita Wave)
These are the easiest to keep free from stank. A simple rinse and wipe after each use should keep them clean, followed by a detergent/dishwasher clean at the end of each day. Always rinse your brewers after using detergent on them, as a soapy taste residue can be left behind. Also, beware of the rifling on a V60, and the bottom of a Chemex as places where grime can potentially lurk.
Clever Coffee Dripper & Aeropress
Immediate rinsing is even more important on these devices. The rubber parts of the brewer are more permeable and have the potential to absorb the odour of the coffee they’re in contact with. If you’re vigilant with it however, this shouldn’t be a problem. Your CCD also needs to be disassembled to be cleaned thoroughly. Simply push down on the rubber stopper from the top and pull the base piece out. You can then remove the rubber gasket, scrub all the pieces with detergent and reassemble. If you do notice any stank, a soak for an hour in Espresso Clean should fix it (or for home check out the Cino Cleano version — same product, same company, branded differently for the domestic market).
Dirty plungers are a pet hate of mine. If I have to use one at a friend’s house, expect to see me muttering to myself and scrubbing away at the sink first. The different pieces of metal and mesh in a plunger are a great trap for both coffee grime and grounds. To clean, first disassemble the filter part (there’s normally a screw in the bottom.) Then give everything a good scrub in soapy water. Pay special attention to the mesh and the curly “spring” part around the edge, you’ll need a scrubbing brush for this. Now put it back together. You remembered how, right? This should probably be done daily, but weekly is more realistic.
The rise of batch-brewed coffee in Australia has unfortunately been accompanied by (in some cases) a rise in dirty-airpot taste. Keeping these guys clean is really important. They should be rinsed with hot water after each batch, and cleaned with Cafetto or a similar cleaner at the end of each day. To do this, simply fill the pot with hot water and a scoop of the chemical and soak for five minutes. The straw needs to be soaked too. Rinse thoroughly after soaking — and your coffee should be delicious.
Here’s to the end of stank and the rise of delicious tasting fresh coffee — every time!