How To Clean a Coffee Grinder…Easily! :: Coffee Tips

how to clean a coffee grinder

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Whether you own an el cheapo blade grinder, or a top of the line espresso grinder, one thing is true for both: you have to keep it clean!  A dirty grinder will negatively affect the flavor in the cup, but how much effort is needed to keep your grinder clean? Not much if
you follow my simple instructions! Coffee’s flavor is derived from the flavorful oils that are released when the bean is ground. These oils build up inside of your grinder’s hopper, burrs, and dosers. These oils

breville coffee grinder

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quickly become rancid when left exposed for any length of time. In addition to this, every grinder retains a residual amount of coffee inside. (this is why I like to grind a handful of throw-away beans before I grind for my drink. This will flush out the old coffee) This method is not recommended by the manufacturers, and I don’t recommend it for ceramic burrs. I’ve never had any issues with using this method with any grinder with metal burrs. If you are apprehensive about putting rice into your grinder, I suggest using a product called GRINDZ, which will do the same thing. So, how exactly do we effectively clean the coffee grinder? Here’s how…First, you’ll need

  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 stiff toothbrush
  • other stiff bristled brush / paint brush
  • clean damp cloth
  • dirty grinder

Here is the step by step instructions on how to clean a burr coffee grinder;

  1. Place about 1/2 cup of white rice into the grinder and cycle through at the finest setting
  2. If your grinder has a hopper, remove it, and use your brush to get any hard to reach areas, then wipe with the damp cloth
  3. remove any loose parts inside of the grinder and attack the exposed parts with the appropriate brushes
  4. If your grinder is small enough, you can tilt it over a trash can. Alternatively, you can do this cleaning outside and use a can of compressed air, or just close your eyes and blow really hard. That was a joke 😉
  5. Wipe any accesible areas with the damp cloth, even if they appear to be clean.
  6. Reassemble the grinder, ensuring any removed pieces get wiped off.
  7. Cycle the remaining 1/2 cup of white rice through the grinder (note how much cleaner the rice appears) If the rice is still dirty looking, run another cycle of rice
  8. Grind about one cup of coffee beans that you don’t mind throwing out. This removes the residual amount of rice from the inside of the grinder.

Here is a step by step instructional on how to clean a blade type coffee grinder;

  1. Fill ‘grinder’ with rice just covering the blades.
  2. Pulse the blades for about one minute.
  3. Remove rice and wipe inside of grinder with the damp cloth

Now don’t let the simplified cleaning process for the blade grinder lure you to purchase one. Why? You will NEVER ever experience a truly excellent cup of coffee until you invest in a burr grinder. Now there are all sorts of burr grinders out there, and they are most certainly not created equal. There are a few for less than $50, and you might as well grind the beans with your teeth, because they are not very good. The purpose of a grinder is to precisely and uniformly grind the coffee beans. Blade grinders will always produce a sub-par cup of coffee simply because it is impossible to achieve a uniform grind size. Large chunks of coffee will not release their flavor, while the fine dust like coffee grounds will give away more flavor than they should, resulting in a bitter taste every time. You can buy a fairly priced coffee grinder, such as the Breville BCG450XL, which I have personally used for a year. This grinder retails for $149, but goes for about $90 or so, and is very well built. (Today it was listed at $85!)  It does a great job of grinding coffee for everything from french press to fine. It does have espresso and Turkish coffee settings, but it will not deliver consistent results at this degree. I highly recommend this grinder for those of you who are new comers to the world of specialty coffee. A decent grinder is a huge step in your journey to greater coffee knowledge, and subsequent enjoyment!

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  • Tcashin07

    I don't clean my grinder too often (except brushing it out when switching settings), but i do have grindz cleaner that i have used a couple times..
    the directions for grindz are for a medium grind setting, not fine..
    has anyone tried grindz on a finer setting to see if it is any more effective?
    When i run out of grindz i will probably just use rice.. it makes sense that it would work just fine, from what you argue. inert enough flavour as well that it wouldnt much effect the subsequent brew i figure.

  • I've heard pretty good things about the 'Grindz' cleaner, but it really does do the same thing that the rice does…just costs more money! The rice will slightly effect the flavor, but you can counter this by throwing in a handful of cast beans that you won't mind trashing. Thanks for commenting Tcashin 😉

    • alula

       I’m a fan of ground rice for interesting desserts so will try the coffee-scented ground rice rather than throw it away. One tablespoon of ground rice will thicken one cup of liquid; you heat them together and stir constantly till boiling. Simmer a few moments, still stirring, then pour into a bowl. It thickens a little on cooling. I’d try milk (?almond milk might be nice) sweetened, scented with cinnamon. Perhaps some chocolate melted in once cooked…orange zest too…

      • Alula- I wouldn’t recommend re-purposing the rice for any food.  This is because the coffee that is trapped inside of the grinder is likely rotten/rancid/stale.  There are oils in the coffee that collect inside of the grinder, and they spoil.  You may be able to use it for fertilizer. 🙂

  • A great step by step explanation. Thanks!!

  • Kalhoun

    I think we will try this today. Thanks for the tips!

  • Deborah Gillespie

    I did know about cleaning my coffee grinder w/rice….but didn't realize there was such a difference between blade and burr grinders. Well, I know what goes on my Christmas wish list this year! 🙂

  • You are welcome Janet, and thanks for the compliment 🙂

  • You are welcome Janet, and thanks for the compliment 🙂

  • You are welcome Janet, and thanks for the compliment 🙂

  • You are welcome Janet, and thanks for the compliment 🙂

  • You are welcome Janet, and thanks for the compliment 🙂

  • It's a fast and easy way to improve your coffee's flavor. Thanks for visiting!!

  • Yes, Deborah! A burr grinder is infinitely better than a blade type coffee grinder. It is a MUST have for any coffee lover C(_)

  • Tom

    Off to clean my Baratza after work 🙂 Thanks Nate. Love your new coffee shop!

  • Clean that grinder Tom! …. PS….I'm not the one with the store, you're thinking about Mike at Daily Shot of Coffee 😉 I will have one soon enough, he beat me to it! lol

  • Thank you for the info. I honestly wouldn't have thought of having to worry about oils or a rancid grinder. I haven't taken the leap into grinding my own coffee yet but was given a blade grinder so I hope to take that leap soon.

  • You can find basic grinders that will work well for most home coffee grinding purposes for as little as twenty dollars, but some high end models can cost hundred of dollars. Two of the most popular brands are the Braun coffee grinder and the Kitchenaid coffee mill.