Have a coffee question? Have it answered on the show, and win FREE coffee!
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
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;
- Place about 1/2 cup of white rice into the grinder and cycle through at the finest setting
- 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
- remove any loose parts inside of the grinder and attack the exposed parts with the appropriate brushes
- 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 😉
- Wipe any accesible areas with the damp cloth, even if they appear to be clean.
- Reassemble the grinder, ensuring any removed pieces get wiped off.
- 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
- 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;
- Fill ‘grinder’ with rice just covering the blades.
- Pulse the blades for about one minute.
- 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!