If you make coffee from "scratch" - grinding and brewing your own at home - then you understand the importance of your coffee grinder. It is what gives you that unmistakable fresh coffee flavor and allows you to brew from several different devices.
But, just like any other machine, your coffee grinder needs proper cleaning and maintenance to perform at its best.
Not only does properly caring for your grinder make it last longer, but it prevents the grounds and oils (which may be rancid) from prior grindings from making their way into your fresh grind and tainting the flavor.
The good news is that it takes only a few minutes or so every month to keep your grinder in top condition. It's simple, quick, and works for whatever size grinder you own.
- Grinder Cleaning Tabs
- Grinder Cleaning Brush
- Microfiber Cloth
These tools are inexpensive and will last you for months or possibly years.
- Pressurized Air
These items are helpful, but not necessary.
What about about rice?
A common method folks have used to clean grinders is to grind uncooked rice in them to soak up the oils. We highly recommend that you don't do this.
There are variations in rice and sometimes it is so hard that it can damage or strain the motor. Using a dedicated grinder cleaner will protect your grinder and is simply more effective.
This can be done about once a month in order to keep your home grinder functioning at its best.
- First, clean out all the grounds and beans from your hopper. If there are any that you can't get to, just grind them to get them out. Make sure the grinder is OFF before placing your fingers anywhere near the burrs.
- Clean out the residual oils by grinding up the cleaning tabs in your grinder. These tabs are designed specifically to soak up the oils so they can't turn to gel and become rancid. Run a few old beans through the grinder to get rid of any leftover cleaning product.
- Make sure the grinder is off. Using the owner's manual as a guide, remove the hopper and begin to disassemble the burr construction. It should be a fairly simple process. It is recommended to place the parts on a white towel to prevent them from being lost.
- Scrub the sides of the burrs with your grinder brush to remove any remaining grounds. Then scrub around the inside of the grinder to get any last remaining grounds out of the mechanism and down the chute.
- Here is where your optional tools come in. You can use the vacuum to suck up any loose grounds, or the pressurized air to blow them out of the grinder. Again, not necessary, but could be helpful.
- Reassemble the grinder in the same order that you took it apart.
Now your grinder is clean and ready to go!
What About Replacing Burrs?
Since there is such a wide variety of grinders out there, consult your owner's manual or the manufacturer to determine when the burrs should be replaced in your unit. A good rule of thumb is:
- Filter brewing grinders - up to two to three years.
- Espresso grinders - usually one to two years.
If you're not sure and you notice that the edges of the burrs don't feel very sharp, then it's probably time to change them.
Coffee grinder cleaning and upkeep is a simple, but very worthwhile task. A few minutes a month can make the difference between okay coffee and amazing coffee! Take the time to keep it clean - your brew is worth it!