An image of a dirty and moldy Starbucks cold brew machine has baffled members of the r/starbucks Reddit community this week after an employee said she returned from a two-week break to find it that way.
User Hazel (u/Hazel_is_Trans) revealed later in the thread that she addressed the issue with the store’s group chat, informed her store manager, and was making attempts to clean it herself, stating that it was not the first time she had come back from vacation to find a mess.
Another barista reassured cold brew lovers on the thread that this is not a common occurrence.
“The norm is that cold brew is made daily and that machine is emptied and cleaned every time it’s made,” u/PotatoLaBelle explained. “Those grounds have to have been sitting in there untouched for at least a few days. You haven’t been drinking this.”
Others pointed out that the part of the brewing machine shown in the picture was not a part that coffee touched. “This is the brewer,” u/CalebJMalcom shared. “The coffee empties into containers below it.”
They speculated that workers must have filled the coffee containers and walked away without cleaning out the grounds compartment, noting that, “How you go two weeks not brewing more cold brew is baffling in itself.”
Other users responding to the thread urged Hazel to report the situation to a store manager, or to take it a step further and notify a local health department.
Employees claiming the hailed from licensed Starbucks stores shared their frustrations with not being able to give proper time and attention to cleaning.
“The first store I worked at was licensed, and they never let us clean our ice machine,” one wrote. “I still panic every time I see a dark spot that looks like mold in the ice machine at the store I’m at now.”
Another user revealed the struggle to wipe down dishes and other surfaces with thin, ineffective cleaning rags at their licensed store.
“Those milk pitchers were BROWN. Definitely haven’t been cleaned in a very long time,” they lamented.
Licensed stores, according to a Starbucks assistant store manager replying to the thread, partner with the company to sell menu and merchandise items, like Target.
Redditors praised Hazel for taking charge of the situation upon returning to the store.
“Not even funny how some stores are carried on the back of one employee,” one stated.
“I’m so sorry you have to deal with that kind of environment,” another user added.
The Daily Dot reached out to Hazel via Reddit direct message.