Stop Use of Lead-Releasing Chemicals to Clean Latte Machines


Target: Bonanza Coffee Heroes, Berlin Café

Goal: Reduce lead consumption due to espresso machine cleaning practices

A recent study by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment in Berlin has found that high-end espresso machines can release large amounts of lead into coffee drinks, 100 times the amount recommended by the European Union. The machines were found to release the lead residue for days after being cleaned for limescale, the white chalky substance that often coats well-used kettles, hot water boilers, and similar machinery.

Even a few days after the espresso machines had been cleaned, tests showed that the espresso brewed in the machines still contained five times the recommended amount of lead. Researchers believe that the cleaning products used to eliminate calcium carbonate, the main component of limescale build-up, is the reason behind the increased presence of lead. The research team has expressed that expensive, pump-driven espresso machines found in many cafés pose a serious health risk to consumers, an issue that must be addressed.

Though home espresso machines do not contain nearly as much lead after cleaning, chemical cleaning can, and should, be avoided by using a simple concoction of lemon and vinegar. If only cafés, like Berlin’s most popular café, Bonanza Coffee Heroes, would adopt safer and chemical-free cleaning methods in their kitchens, then perhaps lead would no longer come in our coffee. Demand that Bonanza, and other cafés around the world, adopt healthier cleaning procedures to protect their devoted customers from potentially deadly lead consumption.


Dear Bonanza Coffee Heroes,

Please stop using chemical-based cleaners to clean your espresso machines, and other brewing machinery. Recent studies performed by Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment in Berlin have shown that chemical-based cleaners used to eliminate limescale build-up, primarily comprised of calcium carbonate, are to blame for extremely high instances of lead in coffee drinks after cleaning. Lead is found in drinks brewed in the machinery for days after the cleaning, with 100 times the amount of lead recommended as the safe consumption threshold by the European Union having been found in drinks brewed by espresso-makers after cleaning.

These findings are frightening and potentially life-threatening for customers in the long run. Please adopt safer, healthier cleaning practices by using a simple combination of lemon juice and vinegar to scrub your espresso machines clean. Without the chemical agents found in cleaning solvents, lead will not be released into the espresso drinks you serve to your customers. Protect the health of your devoted customers by switching to natural cleaning products—you could be saving lives.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Frettie via Wikimedia

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