When you are really into coffee (like really, really into it) you start to notice the little things that contribute to a good brew. Things like well stored coffee, water temperature, filtered water, clean equipment and the weather can play a role in your extraction and your end result.
You can have all those things correct and ticked off but without a good, clean, and well maintained grinder you will never have “the perfect” brew.
A looked after grinder can make or break your cup and can be the deciding factor between a good brew and a bad one.
Grinders come in all shapes and sizes and their quality varies. It is a well known fact that burr grinders are the go to in the speciality coffee industry. Burr grinders are highly regarded due to the fact that you can adjust the grind settings to cater to your brew method. They are also known to be the most reliable grinders when it comes to producing a uniform texture throughout. No more chunks of bean or uneven grounds!
Today’s post will focus only on burr grinders today. I will be talking about them in a general sense in the hopes that the advice and tips I can offer will apply to most variations out there, both home and commercial use included!
Cleaning process and Tools
Daily cleaning of the exterior parts of the grinder tidy is a good start. Brushing coffee grounds away and dusting in between any cracks to prevent any residue build up is a super easy task that can be done very day, even just in passing.
Cleaning your grinder is the most important thing you can do to promote its long longevity. The frequency of how often it requires cleaning depends on the usage:
- High – used many times during the day (basic clean down when you’re finished)
- Medium – used 1-3 times a day (clean it at the end of every week)
- Low – clean at least once a month.
Required cleaning accessories:
- Cloth that doesn’t leave any lint or fabric bits behind (Microfabic cloth)
- Soft brush (paintbrushes work great!)
- Harder brush (toothbrushes, baby!)
- Hot water
- Screwdriver incase you need to take some bits apart
- Some spare beans for “seasoning”
- Tooth picks
Again, you know your grinder and how much you use it so you should be able to tell when it needs a proper clean.
The Cleaning Process
For the real cleaning follow the next basic steps. You can find more in depth videos and guides online should you need them!
- Purge your grinder – Lock your hopper off from your grinder by engaging the hopper shutter. This means you can use the grinder but no more beans will be filtering through
- Place a container under the exit chute for the ground coffee and hold down the dosage button. Do this until you can hear, and see that no more coffee is coming out of the machine. Dispose of those excess grounds. Once you have purged the grinder of any extra coffee so now you can turn it off.
- Take off your hopper, empty your beans into a sealable container, and set that aside
- With a soft brush and a dry cloth dust down the inside and the outside of the hopper and its lid.
- For stubborn residual coffee bits and oils that won’t come off you can use warm water and give them a good wash
- Reassemble once components are completely dry
- Take out and separate your burrs. It is important do not to get these wet so a simple brush down will do
- Use the soft brush to start should coffee residue hang around use a hard brush
- Once you have your burrs and your hopper are clean you can set both aside
- Start by using your hard brush and scrub around the inside of the grind chamber.
- This will loosen out any coffee grounds stuck to the walls and in the crevices.
- Continue the same process with the inside the exit chute and all around the port-a-filter holders. Remember that your brushes are to be kept DRY throughout.
- Once all of this has been brushed, use your hoover and go in to suck up all the grounds you have just loosened
- Follow up cleaning the hard to reach areas like cracks and crevices. This is where the ever so useful tooth pick and Q tip come in handy.
- Using the tooth pick go along all the little cracks and corners and clear them of residue.
- The Q-Tip will provide more flexibility in reaching places a tooth pick won’t (i.e. cavities and holes in the machine)
- Dust everything off again with the soft brush and take your cloth to dust the outside.
- Hoover once more to finish up and make sure all your parts are truly free from coffee oils, dust and grounds.
- Gently reassemble the grinder, ensure your components are are sitting right before placing the hopper back on.
Seasoning the Grinder
Seasoning refers to the preparation of the grinders for its next use and ensures the taste of your coffee is at its highest standard.
Make sure your hopper is empty but is not locked off from the burrs. Turn it on and throw a handful of beans into the hopper and grind away.
Now you have done that, you can return your stored beans to the hopper. Fill the hopper up!
You should now be ready to go! Hopefully you have an easy calibration and a delicious brew at the end of this.
So if you find and pleasure in brewing and tasting exceptional coffee, then knowing how to look after your grinder is one of the most important skills you can learn. You never know when you might need a magic brew.
Take pride in your cup, and do whatever it takes to bring out the best of your beans. It also goes without saying that good quality beans will help look after your grinder. It’s a mutual relationship.
There’s a lot of cleanings and maintenance tips out there when it comes to grinders.
There is an endless source of it online so if the above steps don’t apply to you I am sure something out there will!
Now, if you haven’t cleaned your grinder already, off you pop!!!