In order to understand the development of the microbial population within a hot-drinks vending machine a new machine was placed in a staff area of a university campus vending only hot chocolate. The machine was cleaned weekly using a detergent based protocol. Samples from the mixing bowl, dispense area, and drink were taken over a 19-wk period and enumerated using plate count agar. Bacillus cereus was identified using biochemical methods. Vended drinks were sampled at 0, 3, 6, and 9 min after vending; the hot chocolate powder was also sampled. Over the 1st 8 wk, a significant increase in the microbial load of the machine components was observed. By the end of the study, levels within the vended drink had also increased significantly. Inactivation of the automatic flush over a subsequent 5-wk period led to a statistically but not operationally significant increase in the microbial load of the dispense area and vended drink. The simple weekly clean had a significant impact on the microbial load of the machine components and the vended drink. This study demonstrated that a weekly, detergent-based cleaning protocol was sufficient to maintain the microbial population of the mixing bowl and dispense point in a quasi-steady state below 3.5 log CFU/cm2 ensuring that the microbial load of the vended drinks was maintained below 3.4 log CFU/mL. The microbial load of the drinks showed no significant changes over 9 min after vending, suggesting only spores are present in the final product.