Coffee grinders are a vital piece of machinery if you’re serious about brewing, representing one of the critical pieces of equipment you need to enjoy perfect coffee daily. However, in a similar way to other kitchen utensils, cleaning yours regularly will not only help increase the lifespan of your grinder but will also keep your brews at their best.
When doing regular cleaning of your burr coffee grinders, you don’t need anything more than a cloth or a dry, soft brush. That’s because wiping or brushing off any surplus coffee grounds or oil is sufficient to offset the decaying effects of coffee build-up. Doing this daily, weekly, or whenever you change bags of coffee will increase the grinder’s longevity, allowing it to work well for a substantial length of time.
Sometimes, though, a more thorough clean is recommended to keep your burr grinder in the best possible condition. This guide will detail how to clean a burr grinder – a deep clean.
Coffee Grinder Cleaning Tablets – A Simple Way To Clean Your Burr Grinder
Many people neither have the patience nor the time to take their burr grinder apart and thoroughly clean it. So, before we discuss taking apart the various pieces of the burr coffee grinder, let’s examine the simplest way to get your grinder clean.
Grinder cleaning products such as Urnex Grindz are really helpful. These cleaning tablets are available in pellets the size of coffee beans and are manufactured from materials that are food safe. They are specially designed for removing coffee dust and the oil-buildup from the burrs efficiently.
The grinder cleaning pellets are extremely easy to use. All you need to do is place them through the grinder and grind them like normal coffee beans.
Grind approximately one tablespoon of the pellets to a medium-fine coarseness, and let the Urnex Grindz do the rest, leaving you a perfectly clean grinder. Our advice is to take a few grams of spare coffee after this process and grind them at the same coarseness to remove any remaining specks of pellets still in the grinder. Doing this once or twice a month will keep your grinder in excellent working condition.
Here’s a simple breakdown of the steps you should take to achieve the best results:
- Empty your grinder of any coffee.
- Add the Urnex Grindz Cleaner.
- Place a capful (approximately 35-40g) in the hopper.
- Set a medium grind size and turn on the grinder.
- Remove remaining bits from the pellets by repeating the process two times with some coffee beans.
Note: Keep in mind that while Urnex Grindz pellets are also suitable when cleaning a manual burr grinder, but they are only appropriate for standalone grinders (i.e., not grinders that are part of coffee or automatic espresso machines).
Tools For Cleaning A Burr Grinder
Things you need:
- Either a brush or a soft cloth
- Some wooden toothpicks
- Grinder cleaning pellets
- A screwdriver or burr removal device
- A vacuum cleaner with an attached hose
- Extra coffee beans for re-seasoning the burrs
Note: There are different processes between cleaning an electric burr grinder and a manual one. The next section deals with cleaning an electric burr coffee grinder. If you require details of cleaning a manual burr grinder, skip it and move to the section after.
Step-By-Step Guide For Cleaning An Electric Burr Grinder
There are many types of electric burr grinders, but to illustrate how to clean grinders of this type, this step-by-step guide will use the Baratza Encore, which shares similarities with most electric home grinders used at home. For example, all electric burr coffee grinders tend to use a grind chamber for catching up the ground coffee, a detachable burr set, and a hopper for storing coffee beans.
The plastic sections of these grinders can be washed with water, while you can clean other sections with a microfiber cloth or soft brush. Depending on your grinder, certain parts may also be dishwasher safe. Consult the manual for specific information.
(1) Unplug Your Coffee Grinder
As with all electrical appliances, safety is paramount, particularly when cleaning with water, so make sure your grinder is unplugged.
(2) Remove The Hopper
Take out the hopper and, if the grinder has one, the upper grinding casing, as well as any other parts that will let you reach the outer burr. The user manual should advise the most effective ways to do this and what tools are best for the job.
To remove the Baratza Encore’s hopper, just twist it anti-clockwise.
With all the necessary parts removed, wipe the grounds bin, rubber gasket and hopper with a slightly damp cloth to dislodge the oil build-up. These parts can also be washed with weak detergent if some of the oil is difficult to remove, but ensure they are completely dried afterward.
(3) Remove The Detachable Parts
At this stage, you can remove the rubber gasket if your coffee grinder has one. If it doesn’t, simply take all the removable pieces out until the burrs are visible. Remove the upper burr. Again, because no two models are the same, please consult the manual for specific instructions on how to get it out correctly.
(4) Clean Out The Coffee Residues With a Brush
You will often find Coffee residues in the lower burrs and bean feeder. To remove them, turn your grinder upside down and begin tapping the sides – there will probably be more that falls out than you were expecting. Keep tapping the sides until no more comes out.
Some coffee residues might still be stuck. Most of the grinders come with a handy grinder cleaning brush. Using a narrow stick or a brush, poke up and down on the grounds to loosen the coffee. Finally, with a soft brush, carefully remove the remaining coffee dust and coffee grounds.
(5) Clean The Feeder Channel
An often overlooked part of the grinder while cleaning it is the feeder channel and the coffee grounds output area. The feeder channel is the chute that takes the coffee grounds to the ground chamber. A cotton swab is all you need to clean this adequately. Use it to wipe the sides of the chute, and bend it as needed to reach the areas that are hardest to reach.
(6) Optional: Use A Vacuum Cleaner
Very small particles that have interacted with the coffee oils are challenging to remove. First of all, work them loose with a small, sharp, pointed object such as a toothpick. Then, with your vacuum cleaner’s hose, suck out the remaining debris. Ensure the hose is used on the chute and grounds bin too. Now your grinder should look brand new.
Note: If you use a vacuum cleaner, be careful not to suck up any pieces of the grinder, such as loose screws.
(7) Put The Grinder Back Together
With everything clean, reassemble the grinder. Consult the manual if necessary, don’t leave anything of the machine behind.
(8) Optional: Use Coffee Grinder Cleaning Tablets
As mentioned previously, for extra cleaning, add your pellets to clean the conical burr.
9) Optional: Grind Some Coffee Beans
Before using your burr grinder, as stated earlier, we advise grinding between 10g and 20g of coffee.
One reason for this is to help you restore your preferred settings that might have been disturbed in the process of removing and reattaching the outer burr. Another reason is to ensure a thin coating of coffee oil appears on burrs. This helps prevent oxidation and rusting. Finally, doing this also helps remove any remaining specks of cleaning pellets before you go back to brewing normally.
If you have followed the instruction in this guide, your grinder should now be in perfect shape to grind beans again, whether using the Capresso Infinity, Baratza Virtuoso, Cuisinart DBM-8 or any other brand of electric grinder.
Step-By-Step Guide To Cleaning A Manual Burr Grinder
Manual burr grinders differ in several ways from electric burr grinders. One of them is that you can completely take apart most manual burr grinders to ensure an effective deep clean.
However, despite having comparatively more detachable parts, putting a manual grinder back together is more straightforward than doing so with an electric grinder, as they’re less complicated. For example, it is easy to completely take apart the Porlex Mini, meaning you can give it a very thorough deep cleaning.
(1) Taking Your Manual Grinder Apart
Find an uncluttered, flat surface. A good idea is to place a white towel or sheet on it so that your grinder parts are easy to see.
Using the Timemore Chestnut C2 as an example, remove the handle, lid of the hopper, and ground chamber. This will leave you with the primary shell and burr construction.
Remove the adjustment knob by unwinding, then remove the small pieces such as the metal washer, the rod, and the spring, and place them to one side. Take out the inner burr. At this point, you will have completely dissembled your grinder.
(2) Clean Each Part Of The Grinder
With a soft cleaning brush, remove the coffee grounds attached to the main chamber and burr set.
Some manual grinders, such as the Porlex Mini, use ceramic conical burr. You can clean these burrs with weak detergent and either a toothbrush or similar soft-bristled brush.
Once you’ve cleaned them, make sure you dry them thoroughly. For people whose grinders use a steel burr, avoid contact with water and instead clean them with a paper towel or a soft microfiber cloth.
(1)Reassembling The Coffee Grinder
The first step is to place the metal rod back through the top of your coffee grinder. Next, place the metal washer and the spring back into position. Then move the burr up the rod to the grinder’s outer burr. After this, on the rod’s thread, reattach the adjustment knob and turn it until the burrs shut completely. Finally, reopen the burrs and count the clicks to establish your preferred brewing setting.
One thing that’s likely to be apparent after reassembling your coffee grinder is the clearer clicking sound it will make when alternating between the settings. As well as adding to the longevity of the grinder, this is another benefit of carrying out occasional thorough cleans and keeping your grinder in the best possible condition.
We used the Timemore Chest C2 as our example for this step-by-step guide. However, other well-liked hand grinders, including the Hario Skerton Pro, Javapress, and even higher-end options such as the Comandante C40 coffee grinder, have a similar design. That means these instructions should be suitable for most manual coffee grinders.
Well done – you should now have a perfectly clean coffee grinder that’s in the best possible shape to continue brewing exquisite tasting coffee.
Frequently Asked Questions
All coffee grinders – whether electric or manual – tend to accumulate unwanted debris after repeated use.
As well as hindering the machine’s longevity, debris that has built up over time can also result in the quality of your brews diminishing. If you leave cleaning your coffee grinder for too long, the mechanisms may not work as well either, with clogging and even a broken motor a possibility if the build-up is particularly bad.
Rather than use specialist cleaning pellets such as Urnex Grindz, many people recommend using rice. Indeed, rice works for some machines. However, we advise against this cleaning method. The primary reason for this is that it will invalidate most manufacturer warranties if your grinder sustains damage due to cleaning with rice.
One example is Baratza, who have stated that they will not be liable for breakages caused by using rice and instead recommend using specialist pellets such as Grindz or Full Circle.
Using rice to clean your grinder can place the motor under more stress than it can cope with, as dried rice is significantly harder than the average coffee beans.
We recommend performing a light clean once a week or so for those who use their grinders daily. If you do this and combine it with a slightly deeper clean every two weeks, it should ensure your coffee grinder stays in excellent condition and performs consistently well. However, those with a particularly sensitive taste, should consider cleaning your grinder every time you replace the coffee beans.