Updated: September 20, 2021 by Owen Richardson
A true coffee connoisseur knows that the secret to the best-tasting coffee lies within freshly ground beans. For this reason, you probably already own a coffee grinder to ensure a good cuppa every morning. That said, as important as coffee grinders are, maintaining them is essential. But how many of us know how to clean a coffee grinder?
Cleaning your grinder is super important. This is because, over time, there could be built-up grounds, coffee oil, and other gunk accumulation. All this can mess with the taste of freshly ground beans, while also reducing the life of your grinder.
While there are a dozen different guides on how to clean a grinder on the internet, a lot of them tend to be needlessly complicated. They often call for expensive supplies or complicated techniques that are far beyond an average person’s expertise.
In truth, cleaning out a coffee grinder isn’t as difficult as it’s cracked up to be. It all comes down to whether or not you’re doing it with the right technique, and which kind of grinder you own.
Know Your Grinder
Before you get cranking and follow just any guide on cleaning your grinder, it’s important to know what type of grinder you own, since each kind might differ in some ways.
There are two main types of coffee grinder:
1. Blade Grinders
Blade grinders, as the name suggests, use a blade to pulverize the coffee beans.
2. Burr Grinders
Burr grinders use a pressure-induced mechanism to actually grind coffee.
Now, each of these two kinds can be manual or automatic. Cleaning an automatic grinder requires more caution, as messing up with the machinery could lead you to permanently damage your grinder.
If you have figured out your grinder type, let’s get started!
Supplies You Need
Here are some things you might need while cleaning your coffee grinder:
- A kitchen towel
- A soft brush
- Cotton swabs
- Screwdriver (in case you need to disassemble it)
- And patience (if you rush it, there’s no point in doing this)
If you want, you can get one of those grinder cleaning pellets, BUT please steer clear of using rice! That is, unless you want to damage the motor and completely destroy your grinder.
How to Clean Your Coffee Grinder
Now that we have the materials, here’s how you clean your coffee grinder.
Note: if you’re using cleaning pellets, use them at this point before you move on to the next steps.1.
1. Switch Off Your Grinder
If you own an electric grinder, this step is kind of obvious. But I’ll put it here, just in case you forget.
2. (Carefully) Dissemble Your Grinder
While this might not be possible with all models, taking apart your grinder will make it easier for you to clean it. Follow your manufacturer’s guidelines on how to do this properly.
If you can’t take it apart, just take off the detachable parts and clean them separately instead.
If you own a blade grinder, you should be able to take out the blade and wash it. After that, clean the inside of the grinder using a soft, DRY cloth, or a soft brush if you have impacted gunk.
If you have a burr grinder, take out the hopper and the upper casing of the grinder for better access to the burrs.
3. Shake it Out
Now that you’ve detached the parts, you can shake out the inside gunk by turning your grinder upside down and gently tapping it on the counter to dislodge any buildup.
You can place a kitchen towel underneath to lower the impact and collect all the gunk in one place.
4. Deep Clean It
Now that you have shaken out the major bits of lodged residue, it’s time to get some deep cleaning done.
Using a DRY microfiber cloth or a DRY soft brush, gently scrape the insides of the grinder, including the inside of the burrs. This will get rid of the smaller particles lodged within the nooks and corners. The microfiber will absorb any oil residue.
If you have smaller spaces you can’t get into using a cloth or brush, use a cotton swab to clean those little crevices.
No matter what you do, don’t use a damp cloth or brush to clean. I know it’s tempting, but it will only make things worse by creating a muddy residue that’s harder to get rid of.
5. Put It Back Together
Now that you’ve cleaned out the majority of the buildup, use a clean, dry cloth for a final wipe to make sure it’s all cleaned up.
After this, it’s time to put your grinder back together. Make sure all the parts you detached are washed and dried. Then, put them back in place and make sure you’ve properly secured them via screws (if you removed them).
6. Season It
This is an optional step and you can always skip it if you want to. Seasoning simply means running a few spare coffee beans in your grinder to give it a fresh coat of coffee oil after it was stripped clean of every flavor.
This step will also ensure that you reassembled your grinder the correct way and that you managed to clean it successfully without any damage.
Remember to use old or spare coffee beans for this step, and not your fancy ones since the ground beans will have to be thrown away.
And, you’re done!
Coffee Grinder Cleaning FAQs
How often does a coffee grinder need cleaning?
It depends on how often you use your grinder and what model you have. But generally, give it a quick clean every week to prevent build-up. Then do a deep cleaning twice a month to maintain your grinder’s health.
Can you use rice instead of pellets?
You can. I know it’s easier since you already have them. However, I do not recommend using them. They’re harder than cleaning pellets and can damage your blade or motor.
How do you clean using a coffee grinder tablet?
The instructions can vary and it’s best to refer to the manual that comes with the tablet. But generally, here’s what you do:
- Empty the grinder completely
- Add the required amount of tablets
- Adjust your grinder to the medium speed setting and grind
- Repeat the above steps a few times with spare coffee beans to purge out the tablet
It’s Time to Clean Your Coffee Grinder
There’s no doubt that a coffee grinder is crucial to great-tasting coffee. So while you’re spending all that money investing in a good grinder, make sure you’re doing what you can to get the most out of it.
A grinder with retained grounds and coffee oil will ultimately contaminate your fresh grounds, causing them to taste old and stale and negating the entire purpose of grinding your coffee every day.
To avoid that, make sure you’re properly cleaning your grinder at least twice a month. After all, we’re all here for that freshly brewed cup of joe!