Nov 5, 2009|
Question

Drear Dr.Brew,

We have a nationally branded coffee outlet on campus, and it seems that when the coffee grounds are still hot and steaming after brewing, they are put into the trash. The trash can is not covered, and an unpleasant smell seems to permeate the air throughout the store. Some of our customers have likened it to "sewer gas." We've checked our plumbing and traps, and those don't appear to be the problem.

As I've looked at the Web for insights, everybody seems to think that coffee grounds are the panacea for eliminating unpleasant smells, while I am having this experience of unpleasant smelling coffee grounds. I've noticed similar smells in other branded stores, so it doesn't seem to be only at this store. Is it unusual for hot steaming coffee grounds to emanate an unpleasant odor?
Nelson Hard
UDS Contract Administration
Answer

Nelson,

I have waited a few days before responding to gather some feed back from visitors in my beverage lab. There are many days when 20 plus pounds of hot brewed grounds are placed in the lab refuse container. The only comments received is "your office smells like coffee".

I don't know if the stores use a scent-treated plastic liner, this may react to the coffee's moisture and heat. The strongest possibility is the refuse containers may need a good scrubbing. The moisture and heat may be emphasizing odors from previous spills.

Happy Brewing,
Dr. Brew

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