Worms in coffee makers. Myth or reality?

There is growing concern among consumers about the increasingly frequent “testimonials” from users who have found maggots in a Nespresso coffee machine, a Dolce Gusto coffee machine, or even worms in coffee capsules. And we put the word “testimony” in quotation marks because you don’t have to do an exhaustive search on the web to realise that most references on this subject are located in particular areas, and they all have certain things in common.

There is no amount of information that allows us to deduce that we face a widespread problem. Moreover, the few real cases (whose explanation we will see later) are mixed with hoaxes, false emails or chains of distorted information, which take advantage of the sensitivity of users to these issues. For unknown reasons, some people try to damage the sale of capsule coffee machines and coffee capsules.

In this post, we will try to shed some light on this problem, or myth, of worms in coffee machines. In the most rigorous way possible, we intend to inform and reassure the concerned reader who has come to these pages eager for truthful information about this concern.

Where does the myth of worms in coffee machines come from?

Well, contrary to what some people think, the legend of maggots in coffee machines (Nespresso, Dolce Gusto or any other brand) comes from reality. Yes, they are real events, which have a logical explanation, but they are not attributable to any coffee machine, much less to any particular brand or model.

What happens is that the story becomes an urban legend and has been used (perhaps intentionally) as a weapon to discredit certain companies or specific coffee machines. It has led to a proliferation of Internet searches for “maggots in the Nespresso coffee machine“, “worms in the Dolce Gusto coffee machine“, “worms in the Nescafé“, and the like.

The snowball is getting bigger and bigger; cases appear in well-known sites or websites with a broad audience. History is peppered with some real testimony (however isolated it may be) et voilà! We have already served our urban legend for the remains.

Check this thread from reddit.com:

Just removed the little base that collects spilled coffee from our keurig in order to clean it and found 20 or so small white worms that I’m assuming are bug larvae crawling around inside. What are they? And how do I make sure something like that doesn’t happen again?

They were maybe grain of rice length and about half the width, if that. We live in the hot and humid south so we have some small fruit flys and other small bugs in the home from time to time, but no major issues. Could a fly have laid eggs in the base of the machine?

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Can worms be raised in a coffee machine?

Yes, they can grow and develop in any environment where the conditions are right. For example, typical office coffee machines, which have a compartment where milk powder is stored, often play a leading role in many worm-related events in coffee machines.

Automatic coffee machines always have problems with this type of compartment, favouring a warm and very humid atmosphere (the way a coffee machine works). Everything can be grown in them if you don’t take particular care with the cleaning of the coffee machine.

Whether due to a deficiency in the food product or bad practice when cleaning/maintaining the coffee maker, the organic residues left by the milk can lead to the development of some larvae. Similarly, certain powdered products (milk, cocoa, ground coffee) should never be filled to the top in this type of machine precisely to avoid creating humidity in them.

For this reason, the maggots in coffee usually appear or end up falling in the tube through which the milk is served. This means that the problem does not usually affect users who serve themselves black coffee.

Who’s to blame for the worms in the coffee?

To sum up: in a very high percentage of cases, the appearance of worms in a coffee machine is usually related to a problem in the cleaning or maintenance of the coffee machine. Nothing more, nothing less. In no case is it a problem of this or that coffee machine, or of this or that brand.

Similarly, there are known cases of vacuum-packed products (ground coffee, soluble, powdered milk) that have developed offspring of this kind, probably due to a defect in the packaging process.

And, to finish, we have to say that this type of worm problem in coffees are as infrequent as any other health problem related to the food industry. There are very few cases about the total daily consumption of these products worldwide. But, of course, the experience is unpleasant, and users who complain – with good reason – do so with all the noise in the world.

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