I love my coffee just as much as the next mom, but was recently seriously turned off with the household task of coffee brewing. It’s not because I’ve been bullied by my kids who inundate me with meaningless (to me) statistics about the evils of caffeine, telling me it’s one of the top three most highly addictive drugs in the world (as if my demitasse dealer and I didn’t already know that!).

It’s not because I am growing concerned with the perils of coffee that is not Free Trade and the impact of my addiction on the economies of more than a few small developing nations (I’m on a first name basis with the Costa Rican Minister of Export).

No. I’m considering giving up coffee because I recently de-scaled my coffee machine.

I found this coffee machine de-scaling product in my pantry while cleaning out the stale chips.  And anyone who truly knows me knows that no potato chip has ever gone stale in my household.  Never, ever.  So it my afternoon project took all of 10 seconds and it was not long before I came across this mysterious package, and thought “What the heck? I didn’t know you had to clean out a coffee machine!”

So the adventurous one that I am, I followed the instructions as indicated.


As I poured out that first pot of my Great Canadian De-scaler Brew …

I just about tossed my tostidos in the sink! Holy putrid pot of puke!

From my beloved coffee pot which on any other day serves me my morning elixir of patience and perseverance, now spilled a light brown semi-solid, semi-liquid something interspersed with specks of old coffee grinds and a slimy film that made me think BP was done wreaking havoc on the Gulf of Mexico and now decided to flow unchecked into my white porcelain sink and down into my septic tank. I haven’t seen anything that disgusting since I ripped a Bioré deep cleansing pore strip off my nose! This brew was so repugnant I quickly looked around to make sure that Environment Canada (or the EPA) was not looking over my shoulder (and we know THAT was wishful thinking on my part too, for no one is looking over my should while I’m at the kitchen sink. Never, ever).

As I dabbed a cold compress gently to my forehead and cheeks, I focused on my breathing, and slowly I recovered.

“Are you okay?” my husband asked as he passed through the kitchen.

“Fine! Just fine!” I lied.

Not fine,” I thought to myself, “I’m totally going to have nightmares over this …” and I consulted the bottle once again.

“Repeat if necessary”

As I carried the no longer functioning coffee maker to the end of the driveway in the latest chic HazMat wear, I asked cheerfully to my homebrews, “Anyone for Starbucks?”

27 Responses to Just another, average home-brewed natural disaster!

  • Well I know there’s a lot of yuck deep in MY coffee pot, but I never heard of a “descaler” and don’t know where to buy one (them?)?? Still, I think even if the Loch Ness Monster walked out of my coffee pot, I wouldn’t give it up. 🙂

  • Loved the Loch Ness monster comment…

    Astra, Lisa’s right. I’ve seen the weirdness that comes out of my coffee pot and I just shut my eyes. After all, we’re still upright and functioning. Generations of people have survived the sludge. You’ll forget about it. Maybe you already have 8).

    Fix any coffee yet??

    • Sludge!!! THAT’S the word I was looking for when I was writing this. You must have had or been a mechanic in your past 😉
      And you’re right – it’s true. I’m submissive addict. Just brewed a fresh pot.

      • Think of all the bugs we’ve consumed at cookouts, cat hairs that get into everything including food, etc. So what’s a little coffee sludge, eh? Keeps that immune system on its toes… 8)

  • Ewwwww. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I’ve had these little surprises in other parts of my kitchen, so I can relate. I’d be more suspicious of the Starbucks coffeemakers, though!

  • We use a cup of vinegar in a pot of water to clean our coffee maker. Just run it through once, then rinse by running two pots of clean water through the maker. We should do this once a month or more often, but I never remember that often. You’ve just reminded me to do it, so I’m getting the vinegar out right now!

    We can see when pink stuff is growing in the reservoir, and at that point, it’s definitely time to clean.

  • Tante Daina here iin Tucson: I laughed unto tears about this one – and then peered suspiciously at the drip machine on the counter here in Tucson…thoought about all my machines back home – the little Dolce Gusto I got for ten bucks at V V …why had its owner given it up so readily?…what was the white blotchiness encrusting the bottom of that espresso pot I got in Italy…? I realized a sobering truth. I have NEVER drained a bottle of Chardonnay and found anything objectionable iin the container. Never…ever…

  • “what doesn’t kill you, will make you stronger”, as said by my daughters hockey coach as he ate a junior mint that fell on the locker room floor. And if THAT didn’t kill him, your coffee should be fine! (long live Timmy Ho’s!)

    • I have a hard time breathing the AIR in locker rooms let alone TOUCHING anything that falls on the floor. As he says, ‘what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’ and we’re not dead yet 🙂
      Thanks for popping in!

  • Your writing sucks, said no one, EVER. NEVER! I worship your Wordness! Thankfully I’m not a coffee drinker, so I will pass on your generous offer to brew me a cup when I move in.

  • Sounds absolutely lovely, but I would agree with Nadine Feldman. Who cleans out the Starbucks coffee machines and how often? I’d rather know what I was drinking at home, sludge and all.

  • Astra, This is why I don’t drink coffee on a daily basis. I even have a coffee maker but it’s there for when I have house guests. And, on the occasion that I do crave a cup, I head to my nearest Starbucks. Problem solved!

  • Oh my. Sounds like you had something of a surprise hiding in there. Must say that I love the comments, especially the one about nothing bad ever being found in a bottle of wine. Great blog you’ve got here.

  • Absolutely loved this. I agree, I probably would have been wigged out by the sludge too but knowing me I’d crank the pot up the next day.

  • Astra, while you’re funny as heck, the thought of you carrying out a “dead” coffee machine almost made me cry. May it RIP! I use a Moka pot and all I ever do is give it a good water rinse. I once used soap and had soapy tasting coffee for a week. Methinks, if ain’t broke, don’t fix it! 🙂

  • I hope your coffee maker brand does not start with a “K” and make single cups of coffee. It changed my life. I haven’t descaled yet and would be crushed if my new love was a bacteria haven. At work, they use a french press. So messy, but receives rave reviews and no hidden areas for germs.

    • Not a Keurig, no, just an old-fashioned drip pot … with a few too many drips 🙁
      I’m not actually sure if the sludge was bacteria-ridden … you think I should get it analyzed??!

  • Sludge or no sludge, coffee is essential. Just think of the extra goo as a solid and add it to your breakfast! Great ( albeit gross) post!

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About Astra
Ottawa mom of 3 poking fun at myself, motherhood, and minor hockey! I am steering through life dodging stinky hockey gear and empty wine bottles.
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