How To Clean a Coffee Grinder
If you appreciate the delicious taste and aroma of freshly ground coffee beans, then you understand the importance of cleaning a coffee grinder.
Freshly ground beans are an essential ingredient in the best cups of coffee, so if you’re a die-hard bean lover, you probably thrash your grinder. What many people don’t realize though, is just how much keeping your device free from dirt and grime can affect your coffee’s flavor profile.
Maybe you’re thinking you don’t know the first thing about removing gunk from that coffee grinder? No worries, it’s a straightforward process that virtually anyone can accomplish. You just need a little time, supplies, and a few simple tools.
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Necessary Coffee Grinder Maintenance
Why does that grinder need to be cleaned? The obvious answer is because it’s dirty, right? Well, yes, but there’s more involved in cleaning a coffee grinder than just that.
Over time, coffee oils and particles build up in a grinder and its composite parts. It doesn’t take much grime to negatively impact any appliance and how well it performs. Your machine may not grind as quickly or as smoothly, or you might notice uneven grinds or that your grinder has difficulty chewing through a large number of beans.
Besides affecting a grinder’s performance, that grime buildup can affect how each cup of joe tastes. This is especially true if you change roasts without removing traces of the previous roast from your device. You may also notice a smell that can get more rancid over time.
If you don’t already have a maintenance schedule for your coffee grinder, those clues should tell you that it’s time to give it some TLC.
How Often Should a Grinder Be Cleaned?
The short answer to this question is: “it depends.” And it does. As with the differences in how to clean a coffee grinder, it depends on what type of machine you have along with how often you use it. Obviously, a machine that is used daily will probably need to be cleaned more often than one that’s used once or twice a week.
If you use a blade coffee grinder, you should dust off any obvious grinds after each use. If the grounds bin and hopper are removable, those should be rinsed out and allowed to dry after each use. At least weekly, wipe the device off, and again when you change roasts. Deeper cleanings should be done every two to three months. If you notice a smell coming from your grinder, carry out this maintenance more often.
With a burr coffee grinder, the basics are recommended weekly. Dust off areas you can see to remove grinds or fines and wipe down. Like a blade grinder, more thorough cleanings should be done every two to three months. If you use grinder cleaning tablets, use those once or twice a month.
A manual coffee grinder doesn’t require as much time to clean as an electric one. You should dust off the device each time it’s used and rinse out its grounds container. Once a month, do an in-depth cleaning that involves taking the machine apart and looking for hiding places with dust or grime.
What You’ll Need For This Tutorial
Now that you’re ready to learn how to clean a coffee grinder, check and make sure you have the proper tools and supplies for doing it. Also, always read the instruction manual that accompanies your specific model before starting!
Blade Coffee Grinder
- About ¼ cup of uncooked white rice
- Small bowl
- A damp cloth or paper towel
Burr Coffee Grinder
- Soft brush
- Wooden toothpicks and/or cotton swabs
- Small bowl
- Soapy water
- Damp cloth
- Extra coffee beans for seasoning your grinder
Manual Coffee Grinder
- Pliers and screwdriver
- Baking soda
- Small bowl
- Paper towel
How To Clean Your Electric Blade Coffee Grinder: Step by Step Instructions
A blade coffee grinder usually can’t be completely taken apart, but it’s really quite simple to give it a good cleaning.
Collect all the aforementioned supplies.
Measure out approximately a quarter cup (about 20 grams) of dry, uncooked rice. Remove the lid from its hopper and pour the rice in evenly.
Run the machine just as you would grind coffee beans. Pulsing repeatedly in short bursts may be more effective than continuously grinding. Repeat this process until all rice has been ground into a fine powder.
Once that rice has been ground into powder, remove the grinds container and dump the rice into the trash. Take a good look at the device. If you notice that rice is sticking, or there is still some residue, repeat the process.
Once the appliance appears free from coffee, rice grinds, and powder, unplug the machine. Use a damp cloth or damp paper towel to wipe out the inside. It may be helpful to hold your grinder upside down and shake it gently, as this will dislodge any debris.
If the grinds catcher and hopper are removable, wash each with soapy water, then rinse completely. Once those are fully dry, reassemble your grinder so it’s ready for another round.
How To Clean Your Electric Burr Coffee Grinder: Step by Step Instructions
Like a blade grinder, it’s not possible to fully disassemble an electric burr grinder. Getting into it is definitely more labor-intensive than with the blade grinder, but goes more smoothly once you’re familiar with the device. Unlike the blade grinder, rice is not your burr device’s friend, and it’ll just make more work for you.
If you prefer to skip the whole manual cleaning a coffee grinder thing, grinder cleaning tablets are a safe alternative that can be used. Cleaning tablets may not get your machine squeaky-clean, but when used once or twice each month, they will do a decent job.
Make sure you have all the necessary tools and supplies close by since this process is more complex.
Remove the hopper and run your device for about five to ten seconds to dislodge coffee remnants from the burrs. Note: some burr grinders will not run unless the hopper is locked into position.
Unplug the machine. Do not attempt to do anything more than wipe down the outside and remove the hopper and grinds container with the machine still plugged in.
Detach any removable plastic or rubber parts that have contact with coffee beans and hand wash these. The grounds bin and hopper should also be washed by hand.
The inner burr is usually removable, so that should be removed next — you may need a screwdriver or pliers. Once that’s taken out, turn the grinder upside down and shake gently to dislodge any coffee remnants.
Use a brush to dust off the inner and outer burrs and loosen any stuck grounds. Wooden toothpicks or cotton swabs are excellent for reaching the nooks and crannies!
A dry cloth should be used to carefully wipe the inner and outer burrs to remove any oils left by the coffee beans. If the removed burrs are ceramic, you can rinse them with water or use a damp cloth. Never use water on stainless steel burrs!
If space permits, using the hose attachment from a vacuum with its crevice tool is a great option for removing stubborn bits of dust or debris. Be sure you don’t accidentally catch any loose parts!
Allow all parts that have been washed by hand to fully dry before reassembling your grinder.
Once the appliance is put back together, doing a quick grind with some spare coffee beans will get rid of any lingering residue or odors.
How To Clean Your Manual Coffee Grinder: Step by Step Instructions
Unlike electric appliances, most manual grinders can be taken apart completely for cleaning. With a little effort, you can reach virtually every part when cleaning a manual coffee grinder.
Start by removing the handle, grounds catcher, and the hopper’s lid. If the hopper is removable, go ahead and remove that, too.
With most manual grinders, you can unwind the adjustment knob and then remove the burr. A screwdriver or set of pliers may be needed. The more parts you can remove from your device, the better you’ll be able to go over every part of it.
Use a brush to dust grinds off of each individual piece. If the burrs are ceramic, you can use a cotton swab with soapy water to rub off the grime. A paste made from baking soda and water is also effective at removing oils and residue. As with other grinders, if the burrs are stainless steel, water should not be used.
Continue using cotton swabs or a damp cloth to remove oily residue on parts that are not metal or stainless steel. The grounds catcher and hopper, if removable, can be washed by hand with soapy water.
Let all parts dry completely before you put your manual grinder back together.
Wrapping It Up
Periodically cleaning a coffee grinder is an integral part of keeping your machine at the top of its game. Just like any other kitchen gadget, these devices require a little maintenance now and then to keep on keeping on.
It’s really not a difficult task, although it will take some time and effort. Using a few supplies you likely have handy already will remove the gunk, oil, and coffee grounds that can build up in your grinder.
Remember, that time-consuming deep clean isn’t needed too often. In between full cleans, regularly wiping down the outside of the device, dusting off coffee grinds, and rinsing out the hopper and grinds containers will keep your grinder in top form.
Still have questions? Check out the FAQs below.
Cleaning a Coffee Grinder FAQs
Can You Wash a Coffee Grinder?
Most coffee grinders are not completely washable, but they can all be cleaned to some degree. Removable hoppers and grounds bins can be washed by hand, plus a brush can be used for removing coffee bean dust.
Can a Coffee Grinder Be Used for Wet Grinding?
While many of these devices are suitable for grinding other dry substances such as nuts, they are not suitable for grinding wet substances or liquids.
How Long Does a Coffee Grinder Last?
With proper care, a quality coffee grinder should last about five to seven years.
Why Is My Coffee Grinder not Working?
The most common reason is that the grinder has become clogged with coffee grinds and dust. Unplug your appliance and give it a thorough cleaning.
How Do You Clean with a Coffee Grinder Tablet?
It varies slightly by the brand of grinder cleaning tablet, but it’s pretty simple. Follow the directions for how many grinder tablets to use, place tablets in the hopper, and grind as you would with coffee beans.
Can You Wash a Ceramic Burr Grinder?
If necessary, yes, you can. Ceramic burrs will not be damaged by water, although we don’t recommend fully submerging them.