Mail-order Coffee and COVID-19

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
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forgetcolor

#1: Post by forgetcolor »

As I just submitted an order for beans in an attempt to stave off potential shortages during this crazy time, it got me wondering... 1) could coffee beans themselves house the virus (transferred from employees during roasting/packing, for example?), and 2) would the grinding/brewing process kill it if it did?

These may not be answerable by anyone here, but I thought we might have a microbiologist among us who could engage in informed speculation.

baldheadracing
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#2: Post by baldheadracing »

1) Yes; and
2) perhaps.

However, the normal resting period for a roast should take care of it. Last I checked, three days was the estimated life of the virus 'outside,' and most seem to wait at least twice that long before brewing.
What I'm interested in is my worst espresso being fantastic - James Hoffmann

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forgetcolor

#3: Post by forgetcolor »

Ah, good point. Though now I wonder if sealed in the bag is "outside." :)

ojt

#4: Post by ojt »

I think you're more likely to catch it in grocery store
Osku

F1

#5: Post by F1 »

Wow! I mean WOW!
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thirdcrackfourthwave

#6: Post by thirdcrackfourthwave »

I am NOT a microbiologist, virologist, immunologist, public health expert etc., and I DON'T play one on the internet. . . .

CDC at this time does not think surfaces are the main way of transmission from the CDC website "It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads."

BUT not much is known about the Covid 19 virus. How long will it remain on a surface and able to infect? Based on other more thoroughly studied corona viruses like SARS and MERS. . . . up to nine days another source said ten.

If you were hypervigilant and were to order coffee, and I would if I needed some (hell I ate some tangerines I bought at the store on Wednesday,) I would take the box in, don't touch your face wash your hands and then sanitize the box--i'd use a contact sanitizer. And then wait nine days to open it up and you should be good IF (disclaimer) Covid 19 behaves like other corona viruses. Freezing may extend the life of the virus--I'm not sure about that one so . . . . be careful out there.

Grinding will do nothing to the virus.

According to WHO 140 to 150 f is enough to kill most viruses. Seems to me like most brew temps would destroy the virus so if you wanted your coffee fresh fresh, sanitize the bag. If you roast your own you should be good. :D

baldheadracing
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#7: Post by baldheadracing »

forgetcolor wrote:Ah, good point. Though now I wonder if sealed in the bag is "outside." :)
I see the smiley, but just to be clear - when I wrote 'outside,' think of it as outside an infectious person. (The reality isn't that simple; hence the single quotation marks.)
What I'm interested in is my worst espresso being fantastic - James Hoffmann

new2espresso

#8: Post by new2espresso »

Source for 3 day survival -https://abcnews.go.com/Health/covid19-d ... d=69569397

And yes we wait 2-3 hours after a patient leaves the er room before we ask our housekeeping staff to go in.
Kind regards,
Karan

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bluesman

#9: Post by bluesman »

forgetcolor wrote:As I just submitted an order for beans in an attempt to stave off potential shortages during this crazy time, it got me wondering... 1) could coffee beans themselves house the virus (transferred from employees during roasting/packing, for example?), and 2) would the grinding/brewing process kill it if it did?

These may not be answerable by anyone here, but I thought we might have a microbiologist among us who could engage in informed speculation.
I'm just a surgeon, but I oversaw the process improvement department of a multi campus 1000+ bed medical center for about 15 years. I was also the physician who oversaw Supply Chain Mgt, so I was part of the evaluation of every surface disinfectant etc that we bought.

First, you won't get Covid-19 disease from eating or drinking a viral particle in your espresso unless it somehow survives being bathed in boiling water before floating to the surface of the food or beverage and manages to jump intact into your airway from your mouth. I believe that the only "practical" risk from beans is if you lick them all, handle them all shortly before putting a finger in your eyes, nose or mouth, or if you shove the beans into one of these places. This is a very remote possibility, as I see it.

Water over 180F will kill most viruses. I can't find a study showing that it kills Covid-19, but it is known to kill other coronaviruses so the likelihood is high that brewing espresso will inactivate it if it somehow gets on your beans.

Unless your grinder cuts down to 0.1 microns, it won't affect virus particles. They're the ultimate fines :D But once the dose is ground, a viral particle within it makes a needle in a haystack look like the Empire State Building. So it's not likely to get out of the basket and into your nose.

There are no data on surface-specific survival of coronavirus beyond a few quick studies. One showed a 4 hour survival on copper, another showed up to 3 days on other metal surfaces. A few have claimed to support a 14 day survival time on some surfaces. The simple truth is that no one knows yet.

For me, the beans are truly low risk. But each of us has to make his or her own decision.......and live with it.
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emradguy
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#10: Post by emradguy » replying to bluesman »

Ditto! Getting COVID-19 from coffee beans is the least of my worries. To me, it's the same risk as receiving any other package. Now, I did cancel my family Spring Break vacation. You are most at risk when in close proximity to other people. If they're coughing, you need to be at least 6 feet away.

Background: emergency room radiologist physician for nearly 20 years, member of regional emergency task force, including infectious disease response unit, director of disaster preparedness for my department and on hospital system disaster team, assistant chief of service.
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