8

My office has a Keurig machine. They work by inserting small plastic cups, called "pods", that contain coffee or other items. As I understand the machine's mechanism, hot water drips through the pod and comes out a spout at the bottom of the pod.

Some in the office may be inserting non-kosher hot chocolate pods. Does this make the machine non-kosher or can I just wipe the spout before I use it?

  • I don't know the halachic ramifications, but I do know how the machine works. The hot (emphasis on hot) coffee definitely comes in contact with plastic and metal parts that the hot cocoa ran over. (I've seen many Keurig machines which all worked the same way but I can't say I've seen every type of Keurig machine.) – Tzvi May 13 '14 at 14:33
6

So the issue is two fold: Do the contents of the pod forbid equipment, and does the process of brewing the coffee create an issue.

I have spoken with a Rabbi who is active in Kosher certification about this issue in the past. He was machmir about it (especially in my context where the hot chocolate wouldn't be Cholov Yisroel, so there was no question of the actual contents of the pod) even with regards to flavored pods, as he has seen non-Kosher flavors that are not Bottul.

Basically the main question was in the metal pin where hot water flows down into the pod to brew the coffee. His opinion was that if you could change/Kasher that pin [it is not a user serviceable part, so only try this on a machine you own] then it would be OK.

If I understood him correctly, then he is saying the pin is an Irrui MiKli Rishon - the flow of water is flowing from the heat source through the pin and touching the non-Kosher. However, once the water is in the pod, it is already a Kli Sheini, and so subsequent flow is not an issue. (Of course any residue would have to be cleaned if the pin wasn't an issue).

Others, however, may be more lenient on the matter (it seems that the OU would be included in those others - and I recognize some of the leniencies as things the Rabbi I asked simply doesn't go for). So it not an open and shut case, and is something that requires a specific question to your own Rabbi.

  • Thanks for this insight on the mechanics. It's useful info to pass on. I'm curious if someone has published any answers on this. There is always new technology!! – DanF May 13 '14 at 14:39
  • @DanF, I added a link to the OU which has a published answer. – Yishai May 13 '14 at 15:06
  • Thanks. The OU page does the job, even if I have trouble understanding some of the technical terms they use. – DanF May 13 '14 at 15:45
  • The non-kosher flavoring is not batel. A teaspoon of castoreum (look it up) in a pint of coffee can still be tasted. But the finished "non-kosher coffee" would then become batel. One drop of "non-kosher" coffee mixed with 100 drops of pure coffee is kosher. (That's what the cRc writes in their RJJ article about Starbucks; it also explains the Star-K policy below.) – Shalom Jun 14 '18 at 19:25
4

An important development on this topic. The Star-K used to say Keurig machines in a work environment were ok to use, but they have revised.

"There was a time when a Keurig machine dispensed only coffee. Currently, however, soups containing non-kosher meat can also be dispensed. Therefore, an office Keurig machine may not be used unless one can ascertain that it is being used for coffee only."

https://www.star-k.org/articles/articles/keeping-kosher/4462/kashrus-in-the-workplace-winter-2017/

My own two cents in addition - because I can never know what someone used the machine for, it seems to me I should never be using the machine at the office.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .