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They say that if you attend college, you’ll learn more outside of the classroom than in it.

I prefer the statement to be “Live with some of your best friends in college and you’ll learn more than you ever imagined.” It was after my sophomore year of college that the five of us decided to live together. 5 Guys. 1 House. 3 Different Fraternities.

Lee University

The men of “CV” at my Wedding – Dec 19, 2008
Left to Right: Brent, Chris, Keillor, Myself, and JJ

Quick House Facts:

  • Our house was named “CV” – It became common for friends to say, “I’m heading over to CV now!”
  • It was illegal to live with over 4 people (non-family) in a house. Our landlord wanted to stick it to the snooty neighbors and signed our lease knowing he’d have 5 college guys right next door.
  • We were actually responsible kids overall — But we never had less than 8 cars parked at our house, sometimes up to 20-30. It’s what would be expected with 5 college guys, girlfriends, and other people always around.
  • We went through a coffee maker per year — JJ, the coffee king in the house, kept it running for us 24/7.

A Coffee Maker: The Most Important Appliance

You have to realize, Starbucks drinks are $4-5 a pop, which is huge money in college. Starbucks was nice on a friday after payday, or a quick date-night, but in our house, our coffee came mostly from the coffee pot. We brewed coffee night and day. I remember one particular spring day we decided to have a slip’n slide party. It was actually rather cold, so we had JJ start the coffee while the rest of us rounded up the supplies for the yard.

The slip’n slide was makeshift – metal stakes holding large tarps into the ground. It was probably 30 feet long. We had bought about 10-15 bottles of the largest AJAX dish soap we could find to be able to keep it slippery and full of suds. As people ran, dove, slid, or surfed the tarp, we would keep the water going while AJAX flew out of the bottles. It was one of the few times that the cops were called on for a noise complaint — I suppose it’s somewhat of a fair complaint, knowing that we have 15-20 people attending our “party.”

At times, the cold seemed to get to us, so people would slip into the house for a cup of Joe, to come back out ready for their turn to make a run on the tarp. We probably drank 15 pots of coffee that afternoon!

Cleaning What?

I tell you that story because we used AJAX for a slip n slide — It doesn’t mean we used it to actually clean! We were 5 guys living in a college house – We weren’t the most cleanly bunch! To be fair, we did better than many others. I’ll gladly admit that I called house meetings monthly, if not weekly, to TRY to keep the house clean. I’ll also admit that my shower was covered in mold the latter part of living in that house. College houses are one extreme to look at poor cleaning habits, but this happens in homes and businesses across the country all the same.

Keillor, Myself, and Chris about to head to inductions

Keillor, Myself, and Chris about to head to inductions

Chris Cheney posted a picture last week on our Facebook that almost made me spew vomit — It was a picture of an instant coffee maker with black grudge, possible mold growing inside of it.

This is the inside of Chris' Work Coffee Maker... See the mold on the right side? Gross!

This is the inside of Chris’ Work Coffee Maker… I’m pretty sure there is mold on the right side? Gross! Chris has since cleaned this machine!

After the intense urge to spew left me, I thought back to how our coffee pot got to be almost unbearable – sometimes looking like tar exploded inside of the lid, with possible mold festering within. Since we used it non-stop, it was hard to find time to shut her down for a little bit of cleaning. Luckily, when our coffee maker got to be that bad, JJ knew how much it affected the coffee taste and would clean it with the Vinegar process below. Not only did the coffee taste better, but I had peace of mind knowing mold hadn’t brewed in my grounds!

You may be thinking, “I know I need to clean my coffee maker, dummy!” Yet, ask yourself when was the last time you cleaned it thoroughly? You may even have a “self-clean” option — If you do, does it just brew a pot of hot water and expect it to clean your coffee maker? Think of a coffee pot like the inside of a shower (or imagine my college shower)- Always hot water, steaming, and in a closed environment. That is a recipe for growth and bacteria, not to mention coffee oils and more that can be trapped in your coffee maker.

A few years ago, I realized my coffee maker hadn’t ACTUALLY been cleaned in over a year! It had a self-clean option I’d been using that didn’t seem to do anything. JJ was there to remind me of his simple process and it made the world of difference in my coffee and my coffee maker!

So here’s all you need: Water, White Vinegar, and a little bit of time.

White Vinegar is an inexpensive and one of the best cleaners for a drip coffee maker!

White Vinegar is inexpensive and one of the best cleaners for a drip coffee maker!

1.) In your coffee pot, fill half the pot with white vinegar and half with water. (Side note: I prefer my mix stronger as I like to have no doubt it’s clean- Some people prefer 1/3 Vinegar to 2/3 Water).
2.) Place a filter in your coffee maker like you would for brewing a pot of coffee (It’s easy to want to put coffee in this filter out of habit — Resist the urge!! That’d be gross. Nothing should be in the filter.)
3.) Pour the white vinegar/water mix into the coffee maker where you add water.
4.) Let the mix sit for 10-15 minutes
5.) Now, turn on the coffee maker and let the mix filter through into the pot. After it is complete, dump the mix out.
6.) Now that the mix has been brewed and is disposed of, fill the pot completely with just water, repeating the same process as above. This will allow any vinegar smell to leave and will flush out any left over oils.
7.) Repeat step 6 one more time if you still smell vinegar.

I can never forget the memories we made living in “CV.” We became brothers and made fantastic memories. While I could tell story after story about my roommates and our fantastic experiences, I would rather you take away this simple advice: Take a few minutes and clean your drip coffee maker so that when you have friends come inside from a slip n slide party, their coffee tastes good, and your coffee maker isn’t disgusting! Even better, clean your coffee maker, then order a few bags of Mission Arabica Coffee– It’ll knock your socks off!

Have a college story YOU want to share? Have a different cleaning method that you think is better? I can’t wait to hear it!

Reference: Commercial Coffee Brewing Equipment NY | Coffee Brewing Systems.