How to clean a coffee grinder (burr or blade)

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If you are serious about your coffee, then you should also be diligent about keeping your coffee grinder clean.

If you don’t clean your grinder regularly, coffee will build up and can lead to:

  • premature motor failure
  • rancid oils ruining the taste of your freshly roasted beans

Who would want that?

Below is our step-by-step guide on how to clean your coffee grinder and keep it performing at its best.

What you’ll need:

  • A clean cloth
  • Toothpicks
  • cotton swabs
  • A soft bristle brush
  • Coffee grinder cleaning pellets (or rice, as an alternative)
  • Dish soap and hot water

What are grinder cleaning pellets?

Grinder cleaning pellets are specially designed for this task.

The pellets are made from grains and cereals, have no flavour or odour and won’t affect the flavour of your coffee.

Can you clean a coffee grinder with rice?

Yes, you can use rice to clean a coffee grinder, but it’s not recommended by most manufacturers.

You run the risk of starchy flavours being left in your grinder, or worse yet, rice that is too hard can damage the burrs or other internal components.

If you do choose to use it, make sure to use white rice only; brown is far too sticky and will clog up your grinder.

Step 1: Add grinder cleaning tablets (or rice)

If you have grinder cleaning tablets, simply add them to the hopper in line with the instructions on the packet.

Grinder cleaning tablets are available online or in stores. They’re made of food-grade materials and specially formulated by manufacturers to remove oil, dirt, and coffee residue from your grinder.

Step 2: Run the grinder with the cleaning tablets

Run your grinder for 30-60 seconds until all of the tablets have been ground up.

Discard the ground cleaning tablets.

Step 3: Unplug your coffee grinder

Before you begin cleaning your coffee grinder, make sure to unplug the power cord.

Also, be sure to find a clear space on your benchtop so you have room to work.

Step 4: Remove the hopper and upper casing

To get started, you’ll need to remove the hopper and upper casing. The hopper holds all of the whole beans that are used in the grinder, while the upper casing is a removable plastic or metal cover that holds the hopper in place.

To remove both of these parts, pull up on them or twist (method will depend on your specific model of grinder) until they separate from the grinder.

In some cases, you may need to use a coin to loosen the hopper and casing before they can be removed. Simply insert a coin into one of the provided slots, then twist it counterclockwise until it unlocks.

Step 5: Clean the hopper

  • First, wipe any loose grounds from the hopper with a dry towel.
  • To get rid of stale grinds and oily residue, use a damp cloth.
  • If there is still oily build up inside your hopper, wash it with warm soapy water.
  • Completely dry the hopper.

Step 6: Pull apart the burrs

Breville Smart Grinder Pro Burr

To properly clean the burrs, you must first pull them apart.

Separating the burrs is critical to ensuring that they get cleaned completely and that no old coffee or oil is left behind.

The process for removing the burrs will be dependent on your specific appliance.

To take the burrs apart, simply rotate one of the burrs a quarter-turn counterclockwise and then pull it straight up.

The two pieces should separate easily and allow you to wash them individually.

Step 7: Clean the burrs or blades

To remove residue from burrs, simply use a soft bristle brush (such as one used for cleaning bottles) or a cotton swab to wipe away any grounds present.

A pressurised air tool can be handy if you have one.

Also note that while some people recommend using water on burr grinders to deep-clean them, we advise against it.

Keep in mind that at some point you’ll need to replace your burrs to keep your grinder operating at its best.

Step 8: Clean the feeder channel

Next, you’ll want to clean the feeder channel and any other internal parts you can easily access.

The feeder channel is a small passage that feeds coffee beans into the grinding mechanism.

To clean it out, use a soft brush or cotton swab to remove any stuck-on grounds or oils.

Step 9: Reassemble the grinder

  • Carefully place the upper casing back on top of the lower casing.
  • Secure the upper casing to the lower casing.
  • Re-insert the hopper into its proper position.
  • Make sure all parts are secure and in their proper places.

Step 10: Wipe down the outside

You can now wipe down the outside of your machine with a damp cloth, but if there’s any grease or residue on the outside, you may need to use soapy water. Don’t use abrasive cleaners or chemicals.

Make sure to dry the outside of your grinder before using it again.