In today’s episode discuss the ever-important topic of cleaning and sanitizing cold brew equipment and cold brew draft systems. Using many of the same principles as the beer industry, cleaning and sanitizing cold brew equipment should be a routine step for all those who are making cold brew. As cold brew becomes more and more popular, the process of cleaning and sanitizing cold brew equipment will become more important than it has ever been. Additionally, cleaning and sanitizing equipment is going to help cold brewers produce a more consistent product.
Highlights & Takeaways
Cleaning and Sanitizing is a necessary two step process – you can’t just clean or just sanitize – the steps should be done in order
Episode 58 Transcript
Announcer: Hey there. You’re listening to the Drips and Draughts Podcast.
Brendan Hanson: It’s funnier the second time. Isn’t it?
Cary: It is.
Brendan: As always, I’m your host Brendan Hanson. I got Cary in studio with me today in studio at the Cold Brew Avenue worldwide headquarters.
Cary: Worldwide. [laughs]
Brendan: We just recorded this intro and had to re-record it. We’re saying how crazy this past few weeks has been. We’ve been recording all these podcasts basically live and-
Cary: The day before they air.
Brendan: The day before and then yes, they go live. But today’s podcast, we’re going to be talking about cleaning and sanitization again.
Cary: Yes. We’ve done this once before. Not everyone’s favorite topic but we get a lot of questions regarding it. I think it’s one of the most important things you-
Brendan: Good topic to cover.
Cary: Right. You got to take care of — especially with food.
Brendan: With the rise in cold brew, I think it’s even more important to cover now. This year, I think we’re seeing a lot more people get into cold brew, hearing a lot of start-ups, lot of small people just doing farmers market type stuff, and boardwalk type stuff, and beachy areas. I think cleaning and sanitization is an area that deserves a lot of attention.
Brendan: If you’re looking for links or show notes from this episode, you can find those by going to dripsanddraughts.com/58. Let’s get into today’s episode.
Announcer: Thanks to our sponsor Cold Brew Avenue. The first stainless steel cold brew system that has reinvented how you cold brew. Easily brew up to 50 gallons using their 100% reusable stainless steel filter system. Visit them at coldbrewavenue.com to learn more.
Brendan: All right. Let’s start talking about cleaning and not the type of cleaning, not cleaning your room.
Not cleaning the house but cleaning your cold brew equipment.
Cary: I think last episode we announced this new cleaning system.
Brendan: We used the cold brew cleaning kit.
Cary: I guess we officially announced it via newsletter this week. And yes, already getting it out into people’s hands. It’s a great product. It’s a new product developed by Urnex which comes in a cool little caddy. It comes with both the cleaner and the sanitizer as they — we’ll get more into it later on but they basically go hand in hand.
Brendan: As long as we’ve been selling cold brew equipment, we’ve been selling cleaners and sanitizers but in talking to people — I’ve talked with a lot of people who buy a sanitizer and they just use their sanitizer over and over and over. The problem is that’s not cleaning the system.
Cary: That’s not cleaning, yes.
Brendan: With our stainless steel filter, some people would see residue build up after time and poor drainage. They weren’t cleaning all the coffee oils out. They were sanitizing everything but in order to sanitize something you’ve got to clean it first. It’s a two-step process.
Cary: Right. We have that noted right here on the caddy, “An unclean surface cannot be sanitized”. Sanitizer is only going to sanitize your clean your surfaces. If you have build up or anything like that it’s going to do anything.
Brendan: Right. We’re excited. We partnered up with Urnex on this. We are private labeling these cleaners and sanitizers. They can be bought in the caddy or we’re selling them individually. If you happen to need more cleaner or need more sanitizer, you can pick them up individually. They’re sold in — what is this? It’s about a liter, 32 ounces.
Cary: It’s 32 ounce bottles, yes. They’re like the typical sanitizer bottles, the larger ones where you squeeze it up into a little measuring cup up here so you grab half ounce, ounce whatever and then you mix that into your solution. They’re both concentrates you mix into a few gallons of water and use it as a cleaner, a sanitizer. As long as you’re putting it into a clean system or a keg you can reuse that put it into another clean keg, into another clean keg. Sanitizer can be used quite a bit. The cleaner only so much as how soiled your system is and you don’t want to be reusing that.
Brendan: With my kegs, I typically rinse them out when I’m done using them. I’ll move cleaner between kegs if it’s not a dirty dirty.
Cary: Right. Yes, if it’s not caked.
Brendan: Yes, exactly. You can get a lot of use out of both of these I think. We’re going to talk about scheduling or consistency at which you should clean and which you should sanitize. But before we get into that, let’s talk about the differences because I think that’s an area where people get confused when somebody hears sanitizing. A lot of people, which we’ve learned, just think clean it, rinse it out maybe some soap and water to clean it and they consider that sanitized, that’s not the case.
I pulled up a couple definitions of cleaning and sanitizing. This was from a food safety website. Cleaning, cleaning is the process of removing food and other types of soil from a surface such as a dish, glass, cutting board or in our case cold brew system, draft system, keg, et cetera. Cleaning is accomplished using a cleaning agent that removes food, soil, rust, stains, minerals or other deposits.
The right cleaning agent must be selected because not all can be used on food contact surfaces. That’s a very good point. Urnex has developed this cleaner specifically for cold brew so it helps in breaking down the coffee oils and it helps– it’s obviously a food-safe cleaner so we’re excited to start using this.
We’ve used this quite a few times already. We got a sample a month or two back, or probably more than that now.
Cary: Months ago, yes.
Brendan: Time is just flying. Cleaning is obviously a very important step in making your cold brew and one step further with our stainless steel cold brew systems and the reusable filters. A lot of people are used to just throwing their filters away and replacing their filters. Whereas with our systems, those filters are going to be in and they need to be reused time and time again. Cleaning those and keeping those clean helps keep the flow of your cold brew going.
Let’s see, next up sanitizing. Sanitizing is the process of reducing the number of microorganisms that are on a properly cleaned surface to a safe level. A safe level is defined as 99.999% reduction of the number of disease microorganisms that are of public health importance. Sanitizing is accomplished by using either heat, radiation or chemicals.
Brendan: I don’t think we got a lot of people sanitizing by radiation.
Cary: Oh man. Heat makes sense. I think most coffee people that we talk to-
Brendan: Aren’t aware of sanitizing because of the heat.
Cary: Because they use heat typically to brew their coffee. Radiation, we can get into that a little bit. But they say here you can use ultraviolet radiation to kill microorganisms and bacteria. I don’t think that’s really accessible.
Brendan: Yes. I don’t know ultraviolet. Can’t you but ultraviolet light systems?
Cary: You can. I’ve seen them for your hotel pillows and stuff. Kill all the bed bugs. You can wave it over there.
Brendan: I wonder that would obviously make larger equipment, sanitizing that a lot easier. However, You’ve always got the valves and, the tubing, the pipes.
Cary: Areas that liquids will get into better.
Brendan: It can’t necessarily get light into.
Brendan: That’s where chemicals come in handy. I think that’s probably the most common way to both clean and sanitize, it is with chemicals.
Cary: Right right.
Brendan: Those are the two main things. As cold brew becomes more and more popular, I think we’re going to see a lot more emphasis on both cleaning and sanitizing the equipment that it’s made in. As well as the equipment that it’s served from and transported in such as bottles, kegs, cans, growlers. We see all this in the brewer industry.
I printed up an article from Craft Beer and Brewing Magazine by Jester Goldman it’s called Keep it clean, a simple sanitation guide. He just goes through all the things that we’ve always talked about and a lot of the things that we’ve brought from our home brewing background into our cold brewing background.
We’ve always taken all these steps when cold brewing. I don’t know if there’s anything we want to note on here. As we look through this.
Cary: Before we jump over to that real quick, back on the sanitization sheet here, the factors for sanitizing. I thought that these were great points and it just reiterates cleaning again. There’s three factors you take into account when sanitizing the concentration. Obviously, we have a concentrate here and you dilute it to a certain amount. The insufficient amount of sanitizing agent will result in inadequate reduction of microorganisms. Too much can be toxic, so using the sanitizer the right amount to make sure your stuff sanitized. Temperature as long as you’re in a room temp range it’s got a really big range there so it’s not a huge deal. And then contact time which is kind of cool, this new sanitizer has a much less contact time than a lot of the other ones we’ve used. So that’s a huge bonus to this I think it’s a one minute contact time.
Brendan: It says just at least one minute.
Cary: Right, they just reiterate again basically the length of time like it doesn’t matter how long it is in there as long as you’re doing the recommended or minimum time, if your equipment is not clean enough. Again if you don’t clean well enough, sanitizing for 24 hours still isn’t going to be good enough.
Brendan:Right, yes and then this other article, it’s geared to our home brewers but I think it would make a lot of sense for coffee people to go over this. We’ll put a link to this in the show notes. It’s got a section in here Sanitization or Sanitation versus cleaning. I think this, it kinda talks about what one is and what the other one is, we’ve just addressed. But yes one line here says, “You need to remove dirt and other deposits from your equipment so that bacteria have nowhere to hide and your sanitizer can do its job.” And then goes on to say, “That’s why you should follow a two step process of cleaning your equipment first and then sanitizing.”
Brendan: Yes, it’s just so important and he goes on to talk about the equipment. You already know the baseline fundamentals, everything that touches your work with beer needs to be sanitized. And I think that’s where coffee people need to start coming in. Especially people who are going to be kegging it, and trying to store their cold brew for more than a couple of days. It becomes more and more important that you’re using clean and sanitized equipment.
Cary: Absolutely, and you know that’s another thing we brought over from the beer world in manufacturing our stainless steel cold brew systems. Stainless is a material that cleans really easily, it doesn’t scratch like a plastic does. If you’re cold brewing in plastic vessels and you get a gouge in there, or scratch that’s areas where bacteria can harbor.
Brendan: Yes it’s not easy to get a brush and get like go fill it with cleaner or sanitizer, but yes it could be a lip on it.
Cary: Exactly, I mean that’s something we’ve dealt with when we started home brewing beer. We were doing it in plastic buckets and we were very aware of that and made sure not to scratch anything. And just knew that plastic has a shelf life.
Brendan: Yes, actually he mentions that in his article he says, “Finally, some items have a limited useful life in your brewery.” Or cold brewery in this case and he goes on to say, “Plastic items in particular, should be replaced periodically. Fermenter buckets and bottling spigots can get scratched.”
So the scratches are what you’re worried about if you’re home brewing or cold brewing that’s where you can run into problems. Yes, we’ll put a link to this article. It’s a great little article and anytime you see beer equipment pop-up you can replace that term with your cold brew equipment and kind of just adapt this to coffee.
Brendan: All right. What do we got next? We’ve got this handy chart we’re putting together about when or how often you should clean?
Cary: Yes, we get asked this a lot. You know people will call us and say, “How often do I clean my draft system or kegs? When one keg is empty do I have to clean it or can I just fill that up with cold brew again?” This chart kind of walks you through everything, your kegs, your draft system, your cold brew system. How often you should clean it and sanitize it. It’s just a cool little guide that will be included in our cold brew cleaning kit here.
Brendan: Right, so should we walk through this a little bit?
Brendan: All right, so let’s just start on the outside here. The tap system, or the draft system, how often should we clean this one? Suggesting one to two times weekly. And cleaning the draft system is going to basically involve flushing your kegs out and flushing the draft lines with a cleaning agent. Followed by a fresh water rinse and flushing with a sanitizer.
Cary: Yes for everyone that’s using Cornelius style kegs, which we saw a lot of to the home, or small coffee shops, and stuff like that. Super easy to just get a clean keg, fill it with cleaner, pressurize it, hook it up to your draft system. and open the faucets up, and you have your own little cleaning keg there.
Brendan: In fact, a lot of our customers have two kegs that they keep on hand. One with the cleaner, one with the sanitizer to where they can just rinse the lines. We’re also going to be releasing that cleaning kit that it’s going to be a handy little bottle that can be pressurized and just flush the system that way. That’s recommended once to two times weekly. We have clients who do it nightly.
Cary: Yes, that’s if you’re serving just coffee, black coffee on draft. If you get any kind of milks involved or any other creamers or anything.
Cary: That’s where you got to be cleaning nightly with that stuff. I’m sure everyone knows milk will spoil bad especially if the lines aren’t kept cold. The faucets can [crosstalk] that’s stuff.
Brendan: We got to find out if this cleaner even works with like milk proteins that might involve an entirely different cleaner to flush the lines out. You got that and then sanitizing a couple times weekly. As often as you’re cleaning your lines out, if you clean them with cleaner, flush sanitizer through afterwards. You want to make sure that those things are clean and good to go.
Cary: Yes, cleaner, rinse with water, then rinse with sanitizer. Sanitizers are no-rinse sanitizer ,meaning after you rinse with it, basically let it dry and whatever little bit may be left in there once you flush it out it’s not harmful to consume.
Brendan: Right, next up we talk about daily cleaning and this is primarily your cold brew equipment. You want to make sure anytime you’re cold brewing, your equipment gets cleaned and sanitized prior to using it. If you’re going to brew a five gallon batch of cold brew, or 50 gallon batch, make sure that anything that’s going to come in contact with your coffee and your water is cleaned and sanitized.
Brendan: It also mentions kegs in here but obviously kegs only need to be cleaned and sanitized prior to being filled. Make sure you’re not reusing kegs, if you empty a keg out and you know you’re going to fill it back up, clean and sanitize it prior to doing that. Let’s see.
Cary: Last is the tap handles and faucets.
Brendan: Just on the outside right?
Cary: Yes, they’re just saying the outside, basically mixing up maybe a spray bottle of each of these to flip over. [laughs] You look confused.
Brendan: Yes I’m confused on that, ah there it is.
Cary: Yes you can fill up with a spray bottle with each of these solutions and you can just basically spray off the outside of your tap handle and faucets with cleaner. Wipe with water and then repeat with the sanitizer. That’s just good practice for anyone making food products here and serving food products. You’re not using heat so you need to make sure your stuff is clean, sanitized, and healthy for consumption.
Brendan: Yes, you definitely don’t want any problems. Which we’ve done some experiments in the past and we’ve had some problems with coffee going sour on us. Actually, we have a batch that we did–
Cary: Oh yes, is that a year yet?
Brendan: It’s coming up on a year, it’s going to be next week, or in two weeks. We’re going to have to try it.
Cary: Oh gosh, I’m not looking forward to that.
Brendan: One year old cold brew, just been sitting at room temperature in a Kirkland water bottle.
Cary: Yes, half-filled with air so it will be nice and oxidized [laughs] in a clear water bottle.
Brendan: Yes so I think that about does it. If you guys have any questions on cleaning or sanitizing, be sure to reach out. We want to grow with you, if something comes up that we didn’t address, let us know. We’ll try to address it. If we don’t know the answer we will reach out to somebody who does and we’ll get that figured out. One thing we didn’t mention is our new cold brew cleaning kit, it’s just called we call it The Cold Brew kit, and the cleaner is called Clearly Cold, and the sanitizer is called Complete Cafe. It’s going to come in the caddy as Cary mentioned earlier and it is going to be the way to go with cleaning your cold brew equipment and your draft systems.
Cary: Absolutely yes. Check it out I’m sure you have the links in the show notes but you can also get to it pretty easily at cbave.com/cleaning.
Brendan: Yes and we also put it on kegoutlet.com/cleaning but yes we’ll have links to that in the show notes [music] as well as everything else we discussed today. And the show notes can be found in dripsanddraughts.com/58.
Announcer: If you’re looking to learn more about cold brew or draft coffee, make sure you check out Keg Outlet’s Ultimate Guide to Cold Brew Coffee and Serving Coffee on Draft. But hey, don’t just take my word for it. Here’s Daniel Browning from Browning Beverage Company in Marfa, Texas.
Daniel Browning: And so I got on the internet, and started looking around, and I found the Keg Outlet’s Ultimate Guide to Cold Brew Coffee. Read it a couple more times than I’ve read anything in my life. That was pretty much all the research I needed.
Announcer: If you’re looking to start your journey with cold brew draft coffee, check out the Ultimate Guide to Cold Brew Coffee and Serving Coffee on Draft. A free 34 page ebook offered at kegoutlet.com. You can get there through the Drips & Draughts website by going to dripsanddraughts.com/ultimateguide.
Brendan: Right, guys. Thanks for listening today. We’re going to keep this out to a short because we got to get this thing edited and posted. And yes, we hope to see you again next Friday on the Drips & Draughts podcast.
Mentioned in this Show
Article: Keep it Clean: A Simple Sanitation Guide by Jester Goldman