When learning how to clean a coffee grinder, it’s also best to know what you must avoid. After all, you want to make sure that you don’t damage your coffee grinder while also extending its lifespan and overall effectiveness.
However, there’s a problem. There is more than one type of coffee grinder out there, and how you clean it will vary depending on the model you use.
Why Water is Not Enough to Clean a Coffee Grinder
Aside from hygiene, regularly cleaning coffee grinders will lead to the grinder itself being able to work efficiently for a longer period of time.
The problem with coffee beans is that coffee dust will get everywhere. This builds up over time, and the grinder will stop working. It basically clogs up both a burr grinder and a blade grinder.
You may think that you can clean your grinder with just water. However, there are different reasons why this is not the case.
Switching to new beans for lunchtine coffee.
Had to clean out my grinder. Surprisingly simple.
Had to reset the grind size again but learned how to do it. So was easy enough
— Robert H Mullarkey (@Robert1988UK) June 8, 2021
Some Grinder Parts Need Special Cleaning
When attempting to clean your coffee grinder, using water all the time is not enough. Yes, it may wash away those coffee grounds, but there’s more to it than the remnants left behind by the coffee beans.
Water will remove the surface particles, but you have to consider something else when cleaning with water. You should only ever use water with a blade grinder rather than a burr grinder which we will explain later on.
Coffee Beans Leave Behind Oils
Coffee beans will leave behind oils that have been released when the grinder smashes up the coffee beans. These oils will be everywhere from the blades to the outer burr, the inner burr, and all over the surface of the grinder. You need to look at removing those oils, so a quick clean with water will not suffice.
Oils from coffee beans will eventually spoil your coffee. It builds up a residue, and that’s not something you can get rid of with water or a paper towel. So instead, you need to look at doing something else.
@SamThonis gotta clean that burr grinder. Take out the rancid oils.
— Sam Sparks (@sdsparks) October 19, 2015
You Should Deep Clean Your Coffee Grinder
What we recommend is a deep clean of your grinder. You want to get rid of that coffee dust followed by the oils, and a brush won’t do the job.
So, what is the best approach for all of this? Well, we have to look at both the blade grinder and burr grinders. This is thanks to them grinding coffee in different ways, while there are also different parts to consider.
Cleaning a Blade Grinder
Cleaning a blade grinder is relatively straightforward. You need to scrub the blades, but there are fewer spaces where coffee dust can build with this grinder.
Wash it after every use to stop any build-up. You can use soap and water to get rid of the oils, but make sure you rinse them well afterwards.
Site note: must teach Nick how to clean the blade grinder. Rancid coffee oils ahh noes!
— Lex Morabito (@MorabitoLex) July 21, 2008
Cleaning a Burr Grinder
While cleaning blade grinders will be easy, the same cannot be said for a burr grinder. So at that point, you need to do something a bit different to get the grinder as clean as possible.
Tools in Cleaning a Burr Grinder
When dealing with a burr grinder, you need to remember that you have an outer burr and an inner burr. That means there are many more components to be cleaned with this grinder than with any other options.
To correctly clean a burr grinder, you need to begin by removing all those coffee grounds left behind. The easiest way to do this is by using a soft brush.
A brush will get into all those burrs and remove most of the ground coffee that didn’t quite make it into your coffee machine.
There are various cleaning tablets out there, sometimes referred to as cleaning pellets. Drop them into the burr before it’s switched on, and the tablets are swirled around and smash into the burrs. They are often for more of a deep clean, but if you plan to use cleaning tablets, then use a good make.
The problem with the likes of a burr grinder is that it does come with several hard to reach spots. Getting everything out of your coffee grinder is clearly important, even more so with a burr grinder.
This is where a toothpick can come in useful when trying to clean your coffee grinder.
Burr grinders have so many small parts where coffee can become lodged. So, get to work picking away at those spots with the toothpick.
I cleaned the coffee grinder, a meticulous task involving toothpick, patience & respect
— moonboy 🌘 (@auzen92) June 5, 2017
What You Should Not Use
Some places will mention throwing some rice grains into the mix when you want to clean the grinder. We aren’t saying that rice will not blast off those coffee grounds and even mix up the oil left behind, but we do not recommend it for one good reason.
Rice grains are harder than cleaning tablets. They will smash into the burr, and they can even damage the motor of the grinder.
Also, don’t forget that rice is starch. As a result, it can leave behind some of its own remnants, and they can be difficult to get off either the burr or the blade.
The Cleaning Process for Burr Grinders
So, what about the actual cleaning process? Keeping your grinder clean is essential if you want to continue using it for some time, but thankfully cleaning grinders is not a difficult process. To clean those grinders correctly, follow these simple steps.
Step 1: Brush the Coffee Dust Away
The first step is to brush away as much of the coffee dust as you can manage. That’s where this soft brush will come into its own, as it does remove so much of the excess in a short period of time.
Remember to keep on wiping the brush to prevent you from smearing the coffee dust all over the grinding mechanisms.
After you have brushed the burrs, you can move onto the next step.
Cleaning out the grinder & just blew coffee dust straight into my eye. 2 thoughts: ow ow ow ow ow and guess I'm wearing my glasses today…
— Maretta Winter (@mjohnson11573) February 24, 2011
Step 2: Get Right into the Burrs
The next step is to really get into the burrs, and this will take some time. Remnants of beans can get between the burrs, and trying to just wipe them clean won’t do.
If possible, remove the burrs, but don’t wash them. This can remove all of the particles, but the ability to do this will vary according to your machine. Again, check the manual to see exactly how you do this with your model.
Remove the hopper as well as the burrs. This will also make it substantially easier for you to eliminate all the dust with a quick wipe.
Step 3: Give Your Grinder a Good Shake
Once you have managed to remove the hopper and burrs, get your grinder, turn it upside down, and give it a good shake. Check out how surprised you are with the number of particles that fly out just because of this simple shake.
Step 4: Get the Brush
This is another point where you will use that brush to help get rid of the rest of the ground down coffee dust. Use the toothpick to get into all corners and edges, as the oil and grinding remnants will get everywhere.
— Kaitlyn Chandler (@Kaitlyntoast) June 27, 2013
Step 5: Give it a Wipe
After you have finished brushing everything down, you need to give all of the parts of the grinder a good wipe. You may as well wipe the outside of the machine as well, and pay attention to a feeder tray as dust will get in there as well.
You may want to use a slightly damp cloth in order to try to remove some of the oil.
Warning: Do Not Use Water
In case you forgot, do not use water with this type of grinder. The burrs and hopper need to be kept dry, so running them underwater is not advisable. The best you can do is a slightly damp cloth and nothing else. Washing it all will potentially damage the different parts, so please avoid it.
Step 6: Put it All Back Together
The final step is to put everything back together again as your grinder is almost ready to be put back into operation. Then, add in the hopper as well as the burrs.
The entire process should not take you too long to complete. However, the difference it makes to your ability to produce some amazing ground coffee will blow your mind.
Start Your Daily Grind with Fresh Grounds
Now you know how to clean a coffee grinder. The only thing you then have to do is to put some coffee beans into your grinder and see how well the grinding mechanism is then working. By all accounts, you should now be able to have a wonderful cup of coffee, and not one that is stained by the old oil from all those previous grinds from weeks ago.
How do you clean your grinder? How often do you clean it? Tell us all about it in the comments below.