A burr grinder is a faithful friend of any coffee lover for their daily grind (pun intended). Today, we’ll be looking at how to clean a burr grinder in 10 steps and maintain it to last longer.
But just like any other electrical instrument, burr grinders can get dirty too. So if you’re unsure about how to do it, Coffeenom has you covered.
Tools Of The Trade
You need a few tools to get the job done, so let’s gather them around for the cleanup:
- A burr grinder (You have one, right?)
- Soft brush
- Grinder cleaning pellets
- Cotton swabs
- Wooden toothpicks
- Screwdriver (For the parts you need to take apart)
- Spare beans for seasoning the grinder
Why Do Burr Grinders Get Dirty?
Considering coffee grounds can easily get stuck in the burr grinders, coffee grounds are the main culprit for any burr grinder getting dirty.
Depending on the coffee bean types you use for your brews, the coffee oils can also build up in the grinder. As you know, coffee beans contain various natural oils that give your cup of java the flavor and aroma you love.
When you use the same burr grinder for a long time without cleaning it, the natural coffee oils get stuck in the grinder, and the oil can even get spoiled over time, making your coffee taste bad.
Steps To Clean Your Burr Grinder
No matter the type of brew you want to prepare, you need to make sure your grinder is giving out peak performance to get the best out of our coffee.
And now, to answer the question that thousands of newbie coffee enthusiasts ask every day, “how to clean a burr grinder,” here are the steps.
Step #1: Unplug The Grinder
The easiest part for anyone to follow is this entire instruction. Just unplug your grinder from a power outlet.
Step #2: Pull The Burrs Apart
Not all the parts, just the ones that you can. For the more locked-down parts, you can always use the screwdriver. Just don’t get too carried away.
Every burr grinder is different, so it’s better to check what parts you can and can’t take off by hand in the instruction manual.
But even if you manage to take the hopper and upper grinding casing away, you can still access the burrs, and that’s enough to clean a few corners with the soft brush you got earlier.
Step #3: Remove All The Loose Pieces
The metallic plates accumulate in your coffee grounds. They are the ones to come off next. After you’re done cleaning them, it’s time to head to the outer burr. Remember to remove the gasket first.
It’s crucial to clean these parts in a more detailed fashion because this is where old coffee oils stay stuck for a longer time.
Step #4: Remove The Outer Burr
This is another part you can easily take out. Release the grip, and lift it straight but slow. When you remove it, you’ll hear a “click” noise.
Step #5: Clean The Outer Burr
Clean the outer burr with the soft brush. You’ll find parts where coffee grounds are caught and caked up. Use the toothpicks to poke them off and dust off the rest.
There can be coffee oils stuck in this part, so remember to get them too. Don’t use any water; wipe the oil down with a rag instead.
Using water to clean the outer burr can damage the grinder if you don’t dry it properly. And I’m sure that’s a risk no one wants to take.
Step #6: Do The Harlem Shake
Here’s a trick that may scare you a little, but you’ll be surprised at how effective it is.
Turn the entire grinder upside down, and give the bottom of the grinder a light smack. The amount of old coffee dust that comes out may leave you surprised and coughing.
Take the soft brush and carefully scrub off the rest of the coffee residues that are clinging to the insides of the grinder. The cotton swabs can help you scrub out the oil, and the wooden toothpicks can take care of the caked-up coffee grounds.
You need to pay attention to the feeder channel since ground coffee travels to the grind drawer through the chute. Therefore, the feeder chute gets dusty or clogged from leftover coffee oils very easily.
This should be enough to clean up so you can re-season your grinder. But if you’re still not satisfied yet, let’s go the perfectionist route.
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Step #7: Wipe, Don’t Wash
This is less of a step and more of a reminder. You can wipe the plastic with soap water, but make sure to dry them thoroughly before putting them together.
As for the metal parts you have to take apart with the screwdriver, only use your brush and cotton swabs for all those parts, metal parts can easily get rusted, so it’s better to wipe them all down.
Step #8: Suck It Up
If you’re still not satisfied with the combined effort of brush, cotton swabs, and toothpicks, it’s time to break out the vacuum cleaner.
When the grinder is all taken apart, plug in the vacuum cleaner, take the hose attachment and use it to slowly suck up any bit of coffee dust that you missed.
Be careful, and make sure that you have all the screws removed and placed aside before you do it. Even on the lowest setting, vacuum cleaners can create enough pressure to suck up a screw or two, and it’s going to screw your cleaner over.
Step #9: Carefully Put It All Back Together
Okay, we’ve come this far; now all we need to do is put it all back together with the same way you took it apart, just in reverse.
But before putting it all back, remember to wipe the bean hopper and grind the bin to get rid of any final portions of coffee oil build-up. Hoppers and bins of a few grinders are dishwasher safe, so make sure to check the manual for that as well.
Step #10: Grind Some Beans For Re-Seasoning
Grind a handful of beans that you already set apart once you’re finished re-assembling your burr grinder. Though you need to do this to re-season your grinder, This can serve another purpose.
If the grinder provides a consistent grind as you intended, that means your operation was a total success, and you have managed to put the grinder back the right way.
The word ‘beans” reminds another masterpiece that you will love to read.
Here check out our types of coffee beans article.
How Many Types Of Burr Grinder Are There?
Though we discussed the general formula of cleaning a burr grinder, there are different burr grinder types.
- Flat Plate Burr Grinder
- Conical Burr Grinder
As an added bonus, we’ll be discussing alternate methods to clean out each type of grinder as well.
Flat Plate Grinder
Also known as blade grinders, they have two parallel rings that are identical. These rings are serrated towards the sides.
Flat grinders are a popular choice for grinding spice. The blades grind up the spices by putting them in between and out of it.
How To Clean A Flat Burr Grinder
- Pour in 1/4th cup of uncooked dry rice in the hopper
- Run the grinder till you can get a fine rice powder
- Take the powder and throw it away
- Wipe the grinder with a damp towel
- If you find an unusual smell in the blade grinder, repeat all the previous steps.
Conical grinders consist of two burrs, named inner and outer burrs.
These grinders are ridged and designed in a cone shape so that the ridges grind the beans.
You can adjust the distance of the inner and outer burrs to adjust your grind size. No matter the grind type you are trying to get, the grind coming out of a conical burr grinder is always constant.
How To Clean A Conical Burr Grinder?
The cleaning process varies depending on the model, construction type and different parts.
- Unplug the grinder
- Remove the hopper
- Wash the hopper and the lid
- Clean up any rubber or plastic parts by hand
- Wash the bin that catches the ground coffee beans
- Remove the inner burr with proper tools
- Remove the hopper from the grinder and wash it and its lid by hand.
- Use a brush to remove the coffee dust from both burrs
- Use a dry cloth for the coffee oils stuck in the upper burr and lower burr. Don’t use water
- After you’re done cleaning, make sure to dry it all out anyway
- Once it’s all dried, put the grinder back together.
You can also apply the uncooked rice method, but it’s not recommended since rice grains are much harder than coffee grinds.
But there’s another way to clean up a conical burr grinder if you don’t want to deal with taking it all apart and reassembly. And that’s cleaning tablets.
These tablets are recommended for cleaning burr grinders with coffee dust and oil build-up, and these tablets were designed for conical burr grinders.
You only need to put the recommended amount in the hopper and pulse the tablet till it knocks out all the coffee particles from the grinder.
After that, all you need to do is re-season your clean coffee grinder with a few coffee beans.
Had fun reading about burr grinder? You will love to read our clever dripper brewing guide article.
Deep cleaning a burr grinder may be an absolute hassle, but the final result of consistent coffee bean grinds and fine-tasting coffee is worth it.
May your burr grinder live longer with proper cleanup and maintenance.
A burr grinder should be cleaned every couple of weeks.
If you clean your grinder regularly, your cup of coffee has less chance of being contaminated by old coffee dust and rancid coffee oils.
Maintain a clean grinder regularly if you don’t want old coffee dust mixing with your new coffee.
There are two burr coffee grinders: blade grinders and conical grinders.
A coffee burr grinder is a mix of plastic, metal, and rubber components.