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How to clean coffee grinder parts

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Dean Cartwright

01st Feb 2023

4 minutes for reading

Cleaning your coffee machine will be a standard daily routine, but when was the last time you attended to your coffee grinder? Your grinder is subject to contamination with stale grounds and rancid oils, so make sure you clean it frequently. We explain how to clean coffee grinder parts properly.

Safety first!

Before explaining how to clean coffee grinder parts, we must emphasise that electric grinders should be turned off and unplugged from the mains before cleaning. We’ve heard horror stories about engineers getting injured while putting their hands inside coffee grinders, and while most models have safety features that prevent this type of accident, the safest course of action is to unplug it completely before cleaning.

Cleaning the coffee bean hopper

The easiest part of a coffee grinder to clean is the hopper. Since no grinding is done in this part, you can simply remove the hopper, empty it and wash it with mild soapy water.

While you’re at it, it makes sense to remove the grind chamber and any plastic or rubber components that sit between the hopper and the grinding mechanism because these can be cleaned with water and mild detergent too.

How to clean coffee grinder burrs: method 1

The most common method of cleaning grinder burrs is to remove the inner burr, using a screwdriver if necessary, and to thoroughly scrub both inner and outer burrs using a dedicated coffee grinder cleaning brush; this is an angled brush with stiff bristles. A toothbrush is OK as an alternative but won’t be quite as effective, so will require extra time and patience.

Take your time to remove coffee grounds from the burrs, using a toothpick or similar implement if there are areas where your brush can’t dislodge the debris.

Use a slightly damp flannel or towel to wipe down the inner burr and any other metal components you had to remove. Let these dry thoroughly before reassembling the grinder. Damp metal components will rust, shortening the lifespan of your grinder.

For the same reason, avoid using a damp cloth internally. Instead, use a dry cloth to wipe out the inside of your grinding mechanism. This can take a long time because, as any experienced barista will tell you, coffee grounds have a habit of getting in the most awkward places. A microfiber cloth can speed up the process as it can attract the grounds.

How to clean coffee grinder burrs: method 2

If you want to know how to clean coffee grinder burrs without removing the inner burr, there is a way: using grinder cleaning crystals.

This is simply a case of emptying the hopper, replacing the beans with commercially bought grinder crystals, and running the machine until the crystals have passed through.

The downside of this method is that you will need to run more beans through afterwards just to get rid of the crystals, leading to some product wastage.

How to clean coffee grinder blades

If you have a blade grinder, you can use either cleaning method detailed above, but it may not be possible to detach the blades (models vary). Some people recommend filling a blade grinder with rice and running it, allowing the rice to absorb the coffee oils. While this can be a handy time-saver for blade grinders, you should never use rice in burr grinders.

Stock up on barista cleaning products today

Did you know that Cartwright Coffee offer a selection of quality barista cleaning products to help you care for your commercial coffee machines and equipment? Take a look at our range of cloths, brushes, chemicals and other products. If you need any further advice on cleaning, read through our blog articles or contact us directly.

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