If you are a coffee lover, you surely know that when it comes to the taste of coffee, several factors play an essential role. Besides having a good coffee machine, it is maybe even more important to have a coffee grinder. If the coffee grinder is not well-maintained, oils and small particles will cling to every nook and cranny of the grinder. Over time, it will affect the grinder's performance. Also, many people use grinders, not only for coffee but for spices, too. If you don’t clean it the right way and often, your coffee will develop a poor taste over time.
There are a few different ways when it comes to how to clean a coffee grinder. First, let’s take a look at how to clean blade grinders. Although they are not created mainly for coffee, many people use them to brew their favorite morning drink.
The Process of Cleaning a Coffee Grinder
To clean a blade grinder, take around 20-30 grams of uncooked rice; make sure it’s dry and put it in the grinder. Turn on the grinder and let it run until the rice becomes very small, like a powder. Then, just dump the rice powder, unplug the grinder, and wipe it with a damp towel. Repeat this process every time you think that your grinder needs cleaning, to make it perfectly clean.
However, blade grinders are not ideal machines for grinding coffee. The main reason is that they produce uneven grounds. That’s why people prefer to use conical burr grinders. They work on a slightly different principle and therefore provide a much more consistent grind size than blade grinders do. Instead of having blades that chop the coffee beans, they have a fixture of inner and outer burr. The distance between the inner and outer burr will affect the grind size. Cleaning burr grinders may vary by model, but basically, the process is very similar for every device.
How to Clean the Hopper
Most burr grinders hold beans in some kind of a hopper. At first, you should take out the hopper and wash it by hand. Don’t forget to clean the lid, too. While the hopper is out, you should turn on the grinder for a few seconds, to remove any remaining coffee. However, some grinders won’t be able to run while the hopper is out. Also, remove any rubber or plastic that comes in contact with coffee while grinding, and also wash those parts by hand.
Cleaning the Inner Burr
Next, you should remove the inner burr, which can be slightly more complicated, and require a tool. Clean both the inner and the outer burr with a stiff brush, to remove any stuck coffee. After all the coffee is removed, use a dry brush to wipe all the oils that are left by the coffee beans. Then, after the parts you washed by hand are completely dry, just reassemble the grinder.
However, if you don’t feel comfortable about disassembling a coffee grinder, you can always use cleaning tablets. They completely clean the grinder and remove any coffee and oils left. To use cleaning tablets, just put the recommended amount in the grinder and turn on the grinder. After the tablets have fully run through the machine, put 30 grams of coffee grounds in the grinder, and turn the grinder on again. Then, just discard the remaining coffee and tablet and wash out the bin. After that, your burr grinder will be completely clean, fresh, and ready to use.
Do You Need to Season Your Coffee Grinder?
An interesting thing that some people do after cleaning the grinder is seasoning. However, this step is completely optional. If you want to season the grinder, just run a few spare beans through it. This will make a subtle difference to taste when you want to make coffee the next time.
Extras for Cleaning
It is also useful to have wooden toothpicks around you when you do the cleaning. They are very helpful at cleaning those hard-to-reach spots. However, you don’t want to buy cheap ones, since they might snap off while cleaning, only causing you more work and trouble.
Basically, cleaning the grinder is a straightforward process, even if you have to disassemble it. If you haven’t cleaned the grinder for a long period of time, you might have adapted to the changed coffee taste over time and can’t discern any difference. However, you will notice a big difference right after you clean the grinder and brew the first cup of coffee.
There isn’t any specific rule about how often should you clean it, because it mainly depends on how much you use your grinder. If you do happen to notice any bad smells or a slightly different taste coming from your coffee, it’s definitely cleaning time. So grab your gear and use the tips above to get your coffee grinder back to a tip-top condition in no time.