Burr coffee grinders are essential for making the perfect cup of coffee. Whether you prefer an electric or manual grinder, it’s essential to properly clean and maintain it to get the most out of it. In this guide, we’ll provide step-by-step instructions on cleaning and maintaining your coffee grinder so you can enjoy delicious coffee for years.
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Types of Burr Coffee Grinders
There are two main types of coffee grinders: electric and manual. Electric grinders are powered by electricity and typically feature a hopper that holds beans ground into grounds by blades or burrs. Manual grinders require hand-cranking and typically feature a crank handle attached to a set of burrs that grinds the beans when turned.
Benefits of cleaning your coffee grinder regularly
Cleaning your coffee grinder on a regular basis can help extend its lifespan while also helping to ensure the best-tasting cup of coffee. A clean grinder is less likely to transfer flavors and odors from one type of bean to another, so you always get the purest flavor possible. By using clean burrs, your coffee will be evenly ground, producing a more consistent and flavorful cup. Additionally, regular cleaning removes residue from grinds that can clog up the grinder’s burrs over time, making it harder for the machine to do its job. Finally, regularly cleaning your grinder helps keep the thing running smoothly by removing any buildup that could cause the burrs to stick.
Cleaning your grinder is quite simple and only takes a few minutes. Check out the following guidelines, tips, and tricks to start a healthy maintenance routine for your grinder.
Signs that you need to clean your grinder
The most evident is that you have more than a week without brushing the burrs. But some signs are true red flags!
- The grinder is louder than usual: One of the first signs that your grinder needs to be cleaned is that it’s louder than usual. This could mean that coffee grounds and oils are clogging up the burrs, making it harder for them to do their job.
- The beans aren’t grinding evenly: When you pour out your freshly ground brew after you’ve made it, if you notice that the particles aren’t all the same size, your grinder needs a good cleaning.
- Coffee bean residue on the grounds drawer: When you remove the grounds drawer after grinding, there are coffee beans, or chunks of beans stuck there, so it’s time to clean your grinder.
- The grinder is having difficulty running: If you are struggling to get it started or notice that it’s not producing the same amount of ground as before, this could be a sign that the burrs need to be cleaned.
- There’s a strange smell coming from the grinder: It’s not uncommon for coffee grinders to develop a musty smell over time, which could be a sign that it needs to be cleaned.
Cleaning Your Coffee Grinder
It’s essential to regularly clean your coffee grinder to ensure optimal performance and flavor. The frequency with which you should clean your grinder depends on how often you use it, but generally speaking, it’s best practice to clean it every four weeks or so thoroughly.
- Start by emptying leftover grounds from the hopper or burrs using a brush or vacuum cleaner attachment.
- After cleaning the burrs, unplug your grinder to follow the next steps safely.
- For the exterior, use a soft brush or cloth dampened with warm water (or mild detergent) to wipe down all grinder surfaces, including the hopper. Avoid touching the burrs!
- Detach the hopper and remove the top burr for a quick and deep clean. Then, use a vacuum cleaner. Use a dedicated attachment for hygienic reasons, avoiding using the grinder one for anything else.
- If necessary, use a Q-tip dipped in warm water (or mild detergent) to scrub away stubborn residue from hard-to-reach areas like around the edges of the hopper lid.
- Once everything is wiped down and dry, reassemble your grinder according to manufacturer instructions before grinding fresh beans for your next cup of joe!
- For an extra deep clean, consider using specialty cleaning products like Urnex Grindz Coffee Grinder Cleaner tablets which help remove oils and residue from the grinding chamber without leaving any flavor residue. To use them tends to be pretty straightforward. Add the cleaning product and run the grinder as usual. Then, add a few coffee grounds to ensure the grinder has no cleaning product residues. In most cases, these products include easy-to-follow instructions nonetheless.
Can you use rice to clean your grinder burrs?
Rice has been suggested as an alternative cleaning method, but it’s not recommended for several reasons.
First, rice is too hard to be used in a coffee grinder, which can damage the burrs and cause them to wear down faster. Additionally, rice can leave behind residue in the grinder, affecting the taste of your coffee. Finally, rice particles are very small and can get stuck in the grinder, making cleaning difficult.
The best way to clean your coffee grinder burrs is by using a product specifically designed for this purpose. This will help remove any built-up residue without damaging the burrs. As suggested previously, you may also want to use a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment to remove any dust or debris from inside the grinder.
Calibration: What does it mean?
It refers to the process of adjusting the machine in order to produce a consistent, even grind size by returning the settings to their finest.
Just like any other tool that’s been used for a while, coffee grinders can drift out of calibration thanks to coffee fines and oils buildup. As such, it’s important to periodically check and calibrate your grinder to get the optimal grind for your coffee.
Calibration is a bit more difficult than simply cleaning your grinder, and it isn’t necessary to do it as frequently. If you’re a heavy user, grinding over 3 pounds – 1.5 kg- per week, you should calibrate your grinder every six months. For lighter use, you should be okay with a yearly calibration.
Check out this helpful video by Whole Latte Love explaining how to calibrate a burr grinder:
Tips & Troubleshooting
Here are some helpful tips for keeping your coffee grinder in top condition:
- Be sure not to overfill the hopper, as this can cause uneven grinding results due to inconsistent pressure on different parts of the burr mechanism while grinding – aim for about half full at most!
- Don’t press down too hard on the grind adjustment settings – just enough to keep the burrs in contact with each other. If your grinder has been out of use for an extended period, clear any old coffee grounds before resuming use. This will ensure a more consistent flavor and texture when grinding fresh.
- Avoid abusing the RDT to reduce static. Some high-quality burrs aren’t stainless, so using RDT can deteriorate them.
- Purchasing a bean brush also makes it easy to clean up any grinds left behind after each use. This will help keep your coffee-making area clean.
- If you notice any strange smells coming from your machine during operation, stop immediately and check for any blockages causing overheating – if necessary, consult with customer service before continuing use!
Conclusion: How to keep your grinder running smoothly for years
To ensure the long-term smooth functioning of your coffee grinder, it is crucial to keep up with regular cleaning and maintenance.
We hope our introductory guide encourages you to follow these easy tips, tricks, and guidelines to keep grinding tasty for years!
Coffee is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and we want to ensure you enjoy it for as long as possible. Enjoy your freshly ground coffee!