Coffemaker odor - options?
March 4, 2004 7:38 PM   Subscribe

I have a fairly new, but well used, coffeemaker that uses a thermal carafe and cone-shaped plastic filter holder. The carafe also has a plastic valve/lid, and the most relevant parts of the machine, where the coffee is poured through, are all plastic. This plastic, unlike stainless steel, absorbs the odor and color of coffee and I can't seem to get rid of it. The reason it's a problem is that the coffee that now pours through has a hint of this odor with every cup, and I have a sensitive palette. What are my options?

Or palate...whoops.
posted by SeizeTheDay to Home & Garden (17 answers total)
So let me get this straight...your coffee smells and tastes like coffee? And this is a problem? ;)

Do you put white vinegar through your coffeemaker regularly? That might help.
posted by biscotti at 7:52 PM on March 4, 2004

Plastic is, unfortunately, a bit porous, as are the rubber seals used in most Thermos-like carafes. Eventually any plastic surface will suffer this problem, even with frequent and thorough cleaning. I've had good luck removng discoloraton with peroxide products like OxyClean, and removing most of the unpleasantly aromatic residue with long detergent soaking. Even so, plastic has a limited lifespan for coffeemaking use. You can extend that lifespan with a good cleaning regimen (especially taking care to wash soon after using everything involved), but not indefinitely.
posted by majick at 8:21 PM on March 4, 2004

I second using white vinegar to keep the coffee pot fresh. Maybe you should try soaking the carafe in vinegar and then running plain water through it several times to try to destinkify it? That's what I would try.
posted by catfood at 8:44 PM on March 4, 2004

I had a plastic Nalgene bottle that had absorbed some really nasty odors that refused to budge with normal cleaning. I soaked the whole thing overnight in white vinegar, and the stink was magically gone. Try giving the whole kit and caboodle a good soaking in vinegar.
posted by bonheur at 8:53 PM on March 4, 2004

Growing up my mom used the same plastic jug for kool-aid for about 15 years. Any time I think of kool-aid now all I can taste is this weird amalgam of every single flavour mixed together.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:15 PM on March 4, 2004

One problem my bro-in-law had was that his coffemaker, no matter how much vinegar we ran through it, still made slightly sour coffee. One trick that *did* work, however, was putting a pinch of salt in the grounds. Removed all sourness.
posted by notsnot at 10:23 PM on March 4, 2004

Switch to a French press. Its a mess to clean every time, but the coffee is great and there's no plastic.

I am not bothered at all by ghost flavor in my coffeepot. But I only use dark roast coffees and brew it quite strong. But the only plastic involved is the filter basket.
posted by Goofyy at 10:51 PM on March 4, 2004

You should get rich, and then get one of these.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:58 PM on March 4, 2004

Feh. Only Americans could buy a coffee maker like that. French press good. Espresso good. Fully automatic bad.

Vinegar? Ewwwww.

Glass and metal are the only proper substances for coffee making. Rubber and plastic are for seals and handles respectively.

Real men pour hot water on to the grounds in a ceramic jug and spit out the chunky bits.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:22 AM on March 5, 2004

French press good. Espresso good. Fully automatic bad.

I second that: cheap plastic + hot liquid = not good. If you have a sensitive palate, try a French press, a vac pot, or brikka (Turkish coffee), or better yet: get a decent espresso machine! If you want more info, subscribe to news group (or find it on Google Groups) and ask around: they love questions like: "What's the best coffeemaker under 10 $???"! ;)
posted by NekulturnY at 5:34 AM on March 5, 2004

Response by poster: I have a press, and my next purchase will be an espresso machine, though I haven't really looked around yet. I'm currently unemployed and therefore have very little disposable income. I simply wanted to extend the life of my current coffee maker. Thanks everyone for their suggestions!
posted by SeizeTheDay at 7:35 AM on March 5, 2004

I simply wanted to extend the life of my current coffee maker.

SeizeTheDay, I feel bad that we're inundating you with suggestions for a new coffeemaker, but I'm afraid I'm going to make the situation worse, not better.

My mom is a very serious coffee geek (buys special coffee via mail order and everything), and she actually does second (third? tenth?) the white vinegar suggestion for cleaning the plastic parts of your current coffeemaker. Buy the big gallon jug size, and then soak the plastic bits for a while (ideally 12 hours +) ... she says keeping it in the fridge while it soaks will help too.

Glass and metal are the only proper substances for coffee making.

She asked me to tell you that she thinks you should buy a Chemex Coffee Maker ... no plastic, no press-bits, just glass and a filter and a bit of wood for a handle.... She swears by hers.
posted by anastasiav at 8:37 AM on March 5, 2004

Switch to a French press. Its a mess to clean every time, but the coffee is great and there's no plastic.

Funny, I switched to a plastic french press because I've broken so many glass ones. But I guess this explains the popularity of glass over plastic.
posted by scarabic at 10:38 AM on March 5, 2004

Yet I use the French press.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:22 AM on March 5, 2004

I'm quite serious about making coffee in a ceramic jug or pot, which you probably already have. You'll have to be careful about not getting too many grounds in the coffee when you pour, but otherwise, it's an oldie but goodie.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:26 PM on March 5, 2004

Chemex. I had forgotten that, haven't seen one in years! This is a good solution. Shouldn't be expensive, so long as you manage not to break it. It is less messy than a French press, since you use filterpaper.
posted by Goofyy at 11:02 PM on March 5, 2004

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