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Weird Floaties in my Coffee


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Hi everyone! I have been having a problem with my at-home coffee for a while now and I figured you could put it to rest.

I live with my boyfriend and he has a regular 12-cup Proctor-Silex coffeemaker, the kind you have to put a filter in. It is nothing special but it gets the job done. He just bought it last year and we use it pretty much every day. We grind our own coffee that's roasted weekly for us by a friend of ours.

Now, I usually put on about 4 or 5 cups of coffee and drink them over a period of an hour or so while looking at eGullet :raz: My boyfriend, who gets up early for his 1st shift job, makes a whole pot and takes it to the newspaper with him in a big carafe to share with the people who work there.

By the time I have reached my 3rd or 4th cup, I have a weird SCUM floating on my coffee. It does not affect the taste of the coffee (I am heathen, and don't mind slightly "burned" coffee flavor). If I stick my finger in the cup, the scum doesn't separate, it just moves off to one side to make room for my finger. After a while, the scum will start to break up into little floaties which disperse themselves throughout the cup. It is very disturbing.

Is it because of the continued heat applied to the coffee? Or is it this particular coffee? The first time I noticed it, I cleaned the coffee maker, and I have cleaned it regularly since, but the scum doesn't go away. My boyfriend doesn't get the scum when he takes the coffee to work in the carafe, and I have noticed that when we run out of good beans and have to buy something shitty to last a few days :shock: we don't get the scum either.

Or is it something totally unrelated, like I don't know how to wash my coffee mugs correctly?

Sorry for the long post, but I am really sick of the phantom scum.


Noise is music. All else is food.

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Describe the "scum" more, please. Does it look fuzzy? Smooth? Is it coffee-colored or a different color? Is it like a glossy hard slick (like what happens to my tea if it sits long enough)? When it breaks up, are the "floaties" little individual particles, or are they little jagged mini-slicks? Finally, does it form in the pot too, or just in your cup?

Mind you, I don't know if I have any answers, but the answers may give someone some clues!

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

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Soiunds like build up in the glass carafe to me. If your coffee mugs look clean on the inside then they are clean (or clean enough). The glass carafes easily build up a layer of coffee oils that turn into a thin film of solid with heat. I suspect that they're coming off into your cup as the coffee cools down and then being released into the cup where they become those lovable floatie scum thingies.

First suggestion: go to Walmart or target ro some such place and get a cheap (i.e. $6 or $7 glass lined thermal carafe. preheat it with hot tap water while your coffee is brewing. Pour the coffee off into it immediately when the brewing cycle completes. You'll be amazed at how much better that second, third and beyond cup tastes 20 - 30 minutes later when you take this simple step.

The cthermal carafe should be throughly rinsed with hot water when the coffee is gone and once a week or once a month out hot, hot water and baking soda in it to completely remove the coffee oils (rinse thoroughly when done). The glass carafe that the coffee brews into won't get too mucked up when you're only brewing into it and not leaving it on the warming plate. Just clean it throughly once a week or so with dish detergent and a plastic scrubbie like a Dobie.

The coffee maker itself should require cleaning no more often than once a month or so. Just run a pot full of cheap generic white veinegar through on the brew cycel and then four of five pots of water after that to flush it.

I have a 12 cup Proctor-Silex and it makes great coffee if you make the brew in six cup batches. When you try to brew a full pot the brew cycle takes too long and quality is affected.

Last issue and a very important one: use bottled water or get a Britta or Everpur or some other filter systen for your tap or for a pitcher. It's possible that the floaties are cause by mineral deposits, not to mention that filtered water makes better tasting coffee.

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Thanks everybody.  I am drinking tea until I follow Phaelon's suggestions  :shock:

Oh just suck it up and drink the floaties.... how bad could it be? :raz:

I was thinking about this recently (an indication either of hwo excitign my life is at present or perhaps a telling commentary on my prediliction for all things coffee related). I used to get little floatie scum thigns exactly like those you describe when I was regularly using a stainless steel thermos. I rinsed it our with hot tap water upon arriving home ach day but after a few weeks the floaties would start to appear and not until I'd already had a few cup's of coffee from that day's thermos batch (which was a full quart - about five 6 oz cups). I started cleaning it once a week with a bit of boiling water and some baking soda. It was amazing what crap would come streaming out when I rinsed it.

You can buy Urnex to do the same thing but baking soda works just fine.

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Have you tried drinking your coffee with your eyes closed, or in the dark?

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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