When it comes to drinking coffee, most coffee enthusiasts prefer grinding their own beans. Not only does this guarantee a more fresh and authentic cup of coffee, but you also get to enjoy the full experience of brewing coffee. However, as good as freshly ground coffee tastes, it’s not all fun and games. After sipping on your beverage, you’re left to deal with a dirty grinder that needs to be cleaned. So how often should you clean your coffee grinder?
You should aim to clean your coffee grinder once a month or more depending on how often you grind coffee in it. Coffee grinders at coffee shops will need to be cleaned much more frequently than at-home coffee grinders that aren’t used as much.
If you’re wondering “how often to clean a coffee grinder”, “how to clean a blade grinder”, or “how to clean a burr grinder”. Then you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’re providing answers to all these questions and more, as well as offering a step by step guide to properly clean your coffee grinder.
Do You Need to Clean Your Coffee Grinder?
When it comes to cleaning your coffee grinder, you don’t have to take it apart to scraps so you can scrub every inch. I mean, if that’s the kind of deep cleaning you prefer, then it’s totally fine! But be sure to consult your owner’s manual since it can be complicated to put your grinder back together.
However, the thing that really matters in cleaning a coffee grinder is getting rid of any oil build-up. You may find oil accumulating in the dosing chamber (where the coffee grounds go after grinding) or in the hopper (where the coffee beans are stored).
Author Note: Why should you clean that oil? Well, oil build-up turns sour and stale over time if you don’t do something about it. This will badly affect the way your coffee tastes.
How Often Should You Clean Your Coffee Grinder?
While it’s true there’s no definite answer to the question of “how often”, there are 2 ways that can help you decide whether or not it’s time for your grinder to get some cleaning therapy:
- A set cleaning schedule – coming up with a time schedule for cleaning your coffee grinder, say once a week, will help you keep it in top condition and save you the hassle of having to think about the task. The schedule should be based on the amount of coffee you go through, so the more coffee you grind, the more frequent the cleaning sessions.
- Visual appearance – visually checking on the condition of your coffee grinder can be an effective way to know when cleaning is due. Keep an eye out for oil build-ups on the surfaces, this is your queue to start cleaning.
How to Properly Clean a Coffee Grinder
Items You Will/Might Need
- Your not-so-clean grinder.
- A soft cleaning brush or toothbrush – this will help remove stubborn grinds from hard-to-reach spots. You can use just about any brush as long as it has soft bristles and can fit into the tricky crevices of your grinder.
- A microfiber cloth – this will make sure you don’t leave behind any fiber debris.
- Some grinder cleaning pellets – you may not need these every time, particularly if you’re only doing a light clean, but grinder cleaning pellets work like a charm for the times you want to opt for more thorough cleaning.
- Some cotton swabs – these can also be a useful tool in your next cleaning session. Cotton swabs offer a nice middle ground between soft brushes and toothpicks in terms of reach and size.
What’s more, they’re usually quite flexible so you can use them to clean the chute (the place through which the coffee grounds exit the grinder). The chute is a crucial spot to keep clean if you like oily, dark-roasted beans.
- Some wooden toothpicks – if you’ve got some toothpicks lying around, they can also help you clean hard-to-reach areas. Don’t use the cheap ones though, these will snap off while cleaning and just create a bigger problem
- A screwdriver in case you have to detach some parts.
Steps to Clean the Dosing Chamber
Since the dosing chamber is the place where the ground coffee gets dumped, it’s probably the place that’ll get oil build-up more quickly. If you have a dosing chamber with screws on top, you need to remove them first before you can move on to completing the cleaning steps below.
- Turn the power off the grinder and unplug it from the wall.
- Use the dosing handle to empty out the dosing chamber.
- Vacuum any residue through the top of the chamber.
- Wipe down the inner side of the dosing chamber using a cloth damped with hot water.
- Use a lint-free cloth to dry the walls of the chamber. Make sure it’s dried all the way before going back to grinding coffee.
Steps to Clean the Hopper
Author Note: Unless you like sipping on sour or muddy coffee, you really should never be okay with having a hopper that’s caked in rancid coffee oils. I mean, think about your guests and all the good coffee you’re missing out on!
For starters, you should always wipe the hopper out using paper towels before refilling it with coffee beans. Not only will this help cut down the build-up of coffee oils, but it’ll also reduce the frequency of having to remove the hopper for a deeper clean.
When it’s time for a thorough clean, though, you can follow the steps below:
- Turn the power off the grinder and unplug it from the wall.
- Close the slide typically located at the base of the hopper to prevent any beans from spilling and creating a mess all over the place when you lift the hopper from the grinder.
- Empty any residual beans into an airtight bag or similar container.
- To get rid of the beans at the top of the grinder, you’ll have to scoop them out. Make sure the power is disconnected to avoid accidents.
- Remove any remaining beans and residue that you can’t scoop out from the top of the grinder’s blade using a vacuum.
- Using warm water and a mild detergent, wash the hopper to remove coffee oils from its lid and surfaces. Handle the parts carefully to avoid breaking the plastic.
- Set the hopper aside and let it dry overnight. Make sure it’s dried all the way before putting it back on the grinder.
- Once back on the grinder, refill the hopper with beans and open the bottom slide to let the beans fall into the grinder.
- Replug the grinder and switch it on.
Steps to Clean the Blades
The safest and most convenient way to clean your grinder’s blades is by using some cereal-based pellets. Not only are these pellets designed to rid you of unwanted oils and odours, but they also save you the trouble of having to take the grinder apart to thoroughly clean the blades.
With a one-time cleaning every month generally being enough, here’s how you to use these pellets:
- Remove all coffee out of the hopper. Make sure it’s really empty.
- To the empty hopper, add 1 capful of pellets if you’re cleaning a smaller grinder or 2 capfuls if you’re working with a larger grinder.
- Adjust the grinder settings to medium and allow the machine to grind the product.
- Empty the doser and brush away any residue left behind.
- Add some beans and grind a portion to re-season the grinder.
- Reset the grinder to your preferred settings and you’re all set.
How to Clean a Blade Grinder Using Rice
In blade coffee grinders, there’s a motor that rotates 2 or 3 blades in a confined area. This operation will pulverize just about anything you put inside, including spices, grains, and seeds.
Author Note: Generally speaking, blade grinders aren’t the best option for grinding coffee beans as they often produce uneven ground. But if that’s what you’re working with at the moment, then you should still try to keep it as clean as possible.
The following method uses rice to clean a blade grinder. The reason behind this is that oils should cling to the rice, leaving behind a thin dusting of rice powder that’s much easier to cleanout. Here are the steps:
- Add about ¼ a cup of dry, uncooked rice into the hopper.
- Switch on the grinder and let it run until the rice turns into a fine powder.
- Turn off the grinder and dump the rice powder into the trash can.
- Unplug the grinder from the wall and wipe the inside using a damp cloth.
- Repeat these steps whenever your blade grinder needs a clean.
Can You Use a Dishwasher to Clean Your Coffee Grinder?
Generally speaking, you can clean some parts of your coffee grinder in the dishwasher. The bean hopper and the grinding chamber are usually safe for cleaning in the top rack of your dishwasher, but you should still check your owner’s manual for any special cautions or instructions.
Never clean any electrical components or metal burrs in the dishwasher.
There you have it, a full guide on how often to clean a coffee grinder and the correct way to do it. Whether you go for a set cleaning schedule or rely on visual inspection, be sure to remove those oil build-ups as soon as possible.
Stay caffeinated friends!