A guide: how to clean your coffee grinder properly
Is it worth mentioning that if you don’t clean your coffee grinder often, it would add bits and pieces of old, stale coffee to your fresh coffee? That much is obvious, and that would do something awful to the taste of your brew.
In the best case scenario, you’d wonder why your coffee tastes a little different from the one you had at the cafe even though it was the same coffee beans
That is all down to the accumulation of chaff, oils and other random stuff that are stuck in the grinder. The longer you leave them there, the more it builds up and mucks up your brew.
So cleaning your coffee grinder is something you should undertake from time to time. But that begs the question of frequency. People don’t have the time to do this often. Some barely know it is an essential task until their coffee starts tasting pretty awful.
How often do you have to clean your coffee grinder?
The smart move is to do some light cleaning once every other week. Then set aside one day in a month to do some deep cleaning and maintenance.
However, there is room for flexibility here. The size of the grinder and how often it is used play a significant role in how regularly it should be cleaned. Obviously, if you use it daily, there would be a faster accumulation of dust, oils, chaffs and other residues.
Generally, you should take note of the following as a guide to when to clean your grinder:
If the grinder shows signs of slowing down, it is probably time to clean it. Accumulated oils and residues lead to decreased performance of grinders
And, as already mentioned, if you don’t like how your coffee tastes, your taste buds are telling you that cleaning the grinder would fix the issue. Even the coffee guru Will Corby, Head of Coffee at Pact, in an interview given to the Business Insider, has said “You’ve got to keep it clean,”, you must take him seriously.
How to clean your Coffee Grinder Properly
For this guide, we are assuming you have a burr grinder. Come on, if you want to be taken seriously as a barista or an aspiring coffee aficionado, you need to get one.
No disrespect to blade grinders, but it is not the coffee equipment you need.
Now, you might be thinking hot water and towels would do just fine. But that is begging for some terrible things to happen to your grinder.
The most important thing here is that moisture and water would introduce rust to the grinder. From that point on, it is only a matter of time before you’d need to get a new grinder.
So let’s get you started on how to clean a grinder!
Things you would need
- Grinder brush: they are sold everywhere; even a toothbrush would work
- Dry, clean microfiber cloth
- Vacuum cleaner or canned compressed air (both optional)
- Grinder cleaner pellets
- About 20 grams of coffee beans
- Unplug your grinder
- Remove the hopper. This shouldn’t be hard. You can wash it very well with soap and water to remove accumulated oils. Keep it aside to dry. Make sure it is completely dry before attaching it back to your grinder.
- Remove the upper burr. In most models, gently twisting and then lifting is all that is required to remove it. Many grinders include instruction manual showing how to detach the burr.
You don’t have to remove the lower burr as it is much harder.
- Use your brush to clean both burrs of all the particles, dust and oils you see. You should clean any part of the machine you can see, and the brush can reach.
If the brush can’t get into some crevices, use a toothpick or a thin wire to reach those parts.
- To clean deeper, give the burrs a run over with air from the hose attachment of the vacuum cleaner. That should remove the smallest bits the brush and toothpick missed.
- Reassemble the coffee grinder
- Run the grinder cleaner pellets through the grinder. This would further clean out any remaining coffee grounds and most importantly, soak up all the oils in the burrs.
There are many grinder cleaner pellets like Urnez Grindz Capresso’s CleanGrind Grinder Cleaner you could order online or purchase in malls near you.
Some DIYs suggest the use of rice. This is a cheap option, and it is easily accessible. But the jury is still out on the effectiveness of rice as a grinder cleaner. Some claim rice damages the burrs and leave lots of fat residues depending on the type of rice.
To be on the safe side, stick to the specially made pellets
Using the grinder cleaner pellets – how many pellets you use depends on the size of the machine. For a medium-sized home grinder, about 40g of the stuff would do. Simply run it through the grinder like you are grinding coffee beans.
Note that the pellets are made from food grade material and are completely safe. So don’t be afraid about the residues getting into your coffee. Dump the ground pellets in the trash bin.
- Now run fresh coffee beans through your grinder. This is simply to remove any lingering flavor the pellets might have left behind that you wouldn’t want to taste in your brew.
- You are done.
So there you have it!
A few simple steps about how to clean your coffee grinder: if you did it correctly, it should get your grinder working like new again.
And that funny taste you’d noticed in your coffee recently should disappear completely.
The guide above might sound like a lot at first, but after a few trials, you should be able to nail it in about half an hour tops. Optimally, it shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to clean your coffee grinder very well.
P.S. Here is a short (approx.3min) video from Whole Latte Love in case you want some visuals on how to clean a coffee grinder, it also adds an additional explanation on how to calibrate it. Enjoy!