There are two types of coffee grinders that you can choose from: blade grinder and burr grinder. Blade grinders have rotating blades like a propeller, and they can grind spices, nuts and coffee beans; however, it’s widely used for grinding coffee beans.
Burr grinders are like those manual vintage coffee grinders, but with an electric motor inside. They have two abrasive surfaces, known as burrs (see photo below), that grind the coffee into a very fine powder.
If you use a blade grinder, you might notice that the blades lose their sharpness. When the blades become dull, the grinder won’t be able to grind the beans properly, which will drastically affect the coffee size of grind and taste.
Therefore, it is very important, even mandatory, to have nice and sharp blades in your grinder. There are a few ways of sharpening blades in your grinder, so let’s check them out.
Sharpening Coffee Grinder Blades
The simplest and easiest method is to use rice. Just take one cup of the uncooked rice and put it into the grinder.
Then grind the rice for 60-70 seconds and turn the grinder off. Take out the rice and wipe the blades with a damp cloth first, then with a dry cloth. Some people actually use grinder cleaning pellets instead of rice for sharpening the blades. However, because of its material and solidness, rice is a much better choice.
While sharpening the blades, rice will also do the cleaning and remove any oils or coffee hiding in the nooks of a grinder. However, if you want to do only the cleaning without sharpening the blades, then you can use pellets instead of rice. It’s up to you.
You can also remove the blades from the grinder and sharpen them manually, although it might require the use of some tools.
Also, don’t forget to unplug the grinder, instead of just turning it off to prevent any injury. The grinder engine is pretty powerful and rotates at a top speed. When you remove the blades, the sharpening process is like sharpening the knife. If you have never done that before, it might require a bit of trial and error until you get the desired results.
Basically, just begin by running one of the blade edges on a sharpening stone or a similar material that you choose. Of course, be sure to keep the angle of the blades consistent. When you think you have finished with that edge, turn the blade over and sharpen the other side.
Usually, each blade will have two back, and two front sides and a grinding machine will have four blades in most cases. Repeat the same process for all sides on each blade, and your grinder will be as sharp as new. Of course, be sure to run the blade away from your body to prevent any injury. Also, sharpen the blades whenever you notice a decrease in performance.
Here is a great short video with tips and tricks on how to get an even grind with a blade grinder.
Rules When Sharpening Grinder Blades
When sharpening grinder blades, always wear protective gloves, in case the blade slips from your fingers. Although the blades are not super sharp, they are sharp enough to cause damage.
Also, the foremost rule is that you actually never slide the sharpening stone over a blade, but a blade over the sharpening stone. That way, you will create heat and friction needed to sharpen the edge. If you slide the stone instead, you will do the same thing, but the effect will be much less powerful since you can’t do that at the same speed.
As mentioned, the most recommended technique is to slide the blade away from the body. It is not only necessary because of safety, but influences the actual sharpening process, too. It’s much easier to get the desired heat and friction when sliding the blade away from the body.
If you prefer, you can just remove the blades and buy new ones. Usually, you can find them online, at a cheap price, but be aware that not every model uses the same blades. If you are not sure or have questions, it is most recommended to contact the manufacturer about all the info.
As you can see, sharpening coffee grinder blades is not a big deal. The most important thing is actually not to injure yourself. In the end, don’t forget that dull blades might not only decrease performance but will affect the taste of the coffee, too.
Dull blades won’t be able to cut the beans properly, so instead of a fine powder, there will be small chunks that have a significant effect on taste.
These are the best methods of sharpening grinder blades, so depending on your skills and what you find to be the easiest, the final decision is up to you. So what are you waiting for? Sharpen those grinder blades and get grinding again!