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How often should you clean your coffee grinder?

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Dean Cartwright

16th Mar 2023

4 minutes for reading

Every minute counts in a busy coffee shop, but taking a slack approach to cleaning your grinder will lead to a host of problems. How often should you clean your coffee grinder? This depends on several factors, including the level of cleaning required and the type of beans you use.

Three reasons why frequent cleaning is vital

The most noticeable impact of infrequent cleaning will be an unpleasant taste and smell to your brews. This is due to the oxidisation of oils that have coated the burrs or blades of your grinder. There is little point in having a grinder if the subtle flavours and aromas it unlocks from each bean are contaminated by stale oils from previous beans.

Second, any build-up, whether of dust, oils or grounds, will increase the workload on your coffee grinder’s parts. This will lead to inefficient operation and reduced lifespan, costing your business money.

Third, the longer you leave it between cleans, the more time you will have to spend in the cleaning process. A deep clean should take you less than ten minutes, but if your burrs are gunked up with a paste of hardened grounds, you will be forced to waste precious brew-selling time removing it.

Now, back to the main question: how often should a coffee outlet clean their coffee grinder?

Since most coffee shops, bars and restaurants will use standalone electric coffee grinders, this article focuses on these machines. However, the same general advice applies to manual coffee grinders.

If you have a grinder that’s built in to your coffee machine, you may only be able to access certain parts. You will probably need to use cleaning tablets for deep cleaning. Make sure you read the manufacturer’s guidelines, and follow the recommended frequency to avoid expensive breakdown.

Cartwright Coffee recommends daily dusting

It can be surprising how often clean coffee grinder parts need dusting. Just as with household electronics, the static generated by your coffee grinder’s motor will quickly start drawing in dust. Since grinding coffee beans produces a fair amount of dust, this will start to coat the motor, making it work harder.

Over time, this will reduce your grinder’s efficiency, so we recommend dusting it down with a microfibre cloth after every single use.

How often should you clean your coffee grinder hopper and grind chamber?

What type of coffee beans do you tend to grind for your customers? If you stick to high quality light and medium roast beans, you can probably leave your hopper and grind chamber for two weeks between cleans, but that’s the limit.

If you favour dark roasts (e.g., most French, Italian and espresso roasts), you should clean these parts every week because the beans will contain more oil.

Other reasons you might want to clean your hopper daily include:

  • Slippery, shiny beans (this is a sign of high oil content)
  • Flavoured beans (flavours are usually added using oils)
  • Lower quality beans (although we wouldn’t ever recommend using these!)
  • When switching between different beans

How often should you clean your coffee grinder more thoroughly?

We recommend you disassemble your coffee grinder two to four times a year (i.e., every three to six months) to give it a deep clean.

You can turn to our article on how to clean coffee grinder parts for full instructions on how to do this, but here is a summary (for a burr grinder):

  1. Turn off the power!
  2. Remove the hopper and wash using soapy water. Rinse under running water.
  3. Remove any detachable plastic or rubber parts. Wash and rinse as above.
  4. If you can, remove the inner burr.
  5. Scrub both inner and outer burrs with a stiff brush (e.g., toothbrush). You can moisten the brush with soapy water, but don’t get metal parts too wet.
  6. Knock the grinder and use a toothpick to dislodge any stubborn grounds.
  7. Wipe the burrs with a damp, lint-free cloth. Again, be careful not to wet them too much.
  8. Use a cotton bud and/or mini vacuum to clean out the grind chamber.
  9. Let all parts dry completely in the air.
  10. Reassemble the machine.

Do you need to stock up on barista cleaning products

From specialist cloths and brushes to knock out trays and accessories, Cartwright Coffee stock a selection of premium quality cleaning products. Take a look at our dedicated cleaning products page, and stock up on anything you’re short on.

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