Call for nationwide espresso standards as cockroaches infest machines
Mon, 18 May 2009 12:00a.m.
The café society is alive and well in New Zealand. But something else is also alive and well inside those impressive machines.
Dirty espresso machines are a cockroach’s version of having a tropical holiday - And we are not talking about the occasional irresponsible café owner.
One espresso maintenance business says up to a quarter of the machines serviced are infested with cockroaches.
That company is calling for a nationwide espresso standard to be introduced so coffee junkies know what they are drinking.
Caffeine culture is now worth a lot of money in New Zealand.
But what if you were getting a little extra flavour - something you had not expected and definitely had not ordered?
Unfortunately it is far more common than you would think.
The man who knows is Mike Gerbic.
He has unwrapped a machine that has come in for servicing and uncovered a family of cockroaches.
They may not be big cockroaches, but mike has no mercy - toasting them with a blowtorch.
Mike has to get in to every electrical switch to make sure he gets rid of the infestation. “Good thing with the blow torch is it doesn't harm the machine, it's just instant heat,” Mike says, as he torches a cockroach that has almost managed to get away.
When asked if he thinks coffee drinkers are aware of this problem, Mike replies, “I would say they have no idea!”
And it seems it is a common problem.
Mike says the heat coupled with the “grubbiness” or a coffee machine is a factor in why the cockroaches like them so much.
It's not that roaches actually get into your drink, but they show it has not been serviced or kept clean.
Mike will be exterminating roaches from any given machine for hours because the Cockroaches come out of every single nook and cranny.
Entomologist, or bug expert, Peter Maddison recognises one of the cockroaches as a German cockroach.
“It is female and its got an egg sack," he says.
“Each of those has 40 or 50 eggs inside it to produce lots of little baby German cockroaches.”
“They are fairly clean but they are known to spread disease around on them,” he says.
“Still not the thing you would want around food.”
If a business is found to have an infestation, and isn’t doing enough - councils can close them down.
Health inspectors are trained to spot tell tale signs but they aren’t electricians, so can not open up a machine to inspect it.
The eggs will hatch within a week and while Peter says they will be small, “they simply get bigger and bigger and then move onto other machines”.
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