How to Clean A Burr Grinder? | Step by Step Guide




coffee grinder, clean coffee burr grinder

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It is important to maintain and know how to clean a burr grinder to ensure you continue to make consistently great tasting specialty coffee.

Burr grinders are manufactured for a sole purpose to ground down products such as coarse salt, coffee beans, spices, dried peppercorns, poppy seeds, and so on.

The most effective way of cleaning a burr grinder is with the help of a brush and cloth, as well as removing the parts that are convenient to be removed and then cleaning them each one by one. 

A burr grinder is a hard grind mill meant for smaller food items like coffee beans or corn, which get between two abrasive revolving surfaces at a set distance and ground. 

The set distance defines the coarseness of the ground. The closer the distance between the burrs, the finer the ground obtained in the grinder. 

There are both manual and electric models available. 

Let’s take a look at how to clean a burr grinder. If we know how to properly clean, then we can make efficient use of our burr grinder and also maintain it to high performance consistently.

Why Should You Clean A Burr Grinder?

ground coffee beans spilling out of cup

A coffee bean burr grinder is taken as an example here. 

The process of cleaning varies with different models, which we shall see along with the article. A burr grinder used frequently needs a deep clean. 

This should be done at frequent intervals for efficient performance.

For instance, when the machine undergoes many uses, an oil coat forms on the hopper, grinding chamber, and burrs. 

Coffee powder and its dust tends to accumulate at every nook and corner. If you do not clean deeply, the oil can go rancid. 

This eventually begins to damage the coffee flavour, aroma and overall taste with your future brews. Also coffee dust will choke and clog the grinder resulting in the grinder to heat up. 

Fine dust getting into the nooks makes the motor overwork and results in failure. This also results in an uneven grind.

For the above reasons, a burr grinder needs deep cleaning every month or so apart from the regular cleaning post the grind. 

This is a simple and essential task, as well to ensure you make your coffee brews fresh and flavourful. 

So it is essential for efficient performance and longevity of the grinder. For the best coarse grind of coffee beans, it is best to clean the grinder timely.

Tools needed to clean a burr grinder:

  • Dish soap and water
  • Old toothbrush/cleaning brush
  • A bowl
  • Compressed air can
  • Micro-fibre cloth
  • Cleaning tablets

How Often Should You Clean A Burr Grinder?

espresso, espresso maker

It is important to understand how often you should be cleaning a burr grinder in order to clean it effectively.

In short, you should clean a burr grinder as often as given below:

  • Daily clean the extra coffee grounds by dusting off after use.
  • The grinding chamber should be cleaned every one or two weeks.
  • Wiping out the burr hopper every one or two weeks.
  • Deep cleaning of the burr grinder should be done every 3-6 months.
Loose GroundsAfter Every Use (daily)
Grinding ChamberEvery 1-2 weeks
Burr HopperEvery 1-2 weeks
Deep CleanEvery 3-6 months

It is essential to follow this timeline to keep the motor-powered to its original speed and high in efficiency. 

The above timelines can guarantee you of continuously producing the right coffee grind.

How To Clean A Burr Grinder?

coffee beans being ground in grinder

When cleaning a burr grinder, there are two primary goals to be taken care of.

  1. Eliminate the loose coffee grounds, which are easily accessible to you.
  2. Clean off the oil build-ups manually as much as possible.

Eliminating the ground coffee powder and oil build up with the help of a brush and cloth manually is the preliminary cleaning of a burr grinder. 

The secondary cleaning is removing the parts that are convenient to be removed and then cleaning them each one by one.

Hopper Removal

Remove the burr hopper using its release button. Wash the hopper with water and soap. 

This is where the exact oil build-up takes place. Remove any gaskets and wash them with water. Make use of a brush to clean the loose particles stuck on the hopper and the gasket.

Removing the loose pieces

Remove the metallic plates and bins that accumulate coffee grounds. 

Clean them. Remove the gasket of the outer burr. Each of the parts needs cleaning as they may have oil and particles built up during the grind.

Removing the outer burr

It is easy to remove the outer grinder burr. It comes out by lifting it straight out after releasing it from the grip. 

You will hear a click when the outer burr is removed.

Outer burr cleaning

Take a brush and clean the outer burr properly. There will be some parts where coffee grounds are caught up caked on. 

This grinder part has dusted coffee sticking to it and accumulated oils. So cleaning this part is essential. 

Brush them out and wipe them down. No water wash is needed, as it can also damage the grinder. 

After removing all the parts and brushing them down, you can also use a compressed can air to get rid of loose grounds from the harder reaching spots.

Run the grinder

Pulse the burr to clean out any oils, chaffs from the output chute and burrs.

External cleaning

The coffee ground bin should be cleaned appropriately. This can be cleaned with soap and water.

Put everything back and keep it dry until the next operation. 

Any moisture can result in foul smell and bacteria build-up. So the burr grinder should be dry at all times.

What Are The Different Types Of Burr Grinders?

Burr grinders are primarily of two types. They are flat plate and conical grinders.

Blade/Flat Plate Grinders

These grinders are designed with two parallel and identical rings. 

The rings are serrated towards the side facing each other. These burr grinders are a popular choice for spice grinding. They have blade(s), which tend to put spices in between and out of it.

Conical Grinders

Conical burr grinders come in two ridged burrs that are designed as a cone-shape. One is an inner burr, and the other is an outer burr. 

Both are adjustable in the distance. The ridges grind the coffee beans. This burr grinder is more complicated. 

Grinding coffee beans is done by a fixture that is adjustable into an outer and inner burr. The grind size can be adjusted by adjusting the distance of the inner and outer burr. These burr grinders give a constant grind size.

Since the operation and parts of each model are different, we will look at both of the models separately.

How To Clean A Blade Burr Grinder?

  1. About 20 g or 1/4th cup of uncooked dry rice is added to the hopper.
  2. Operate your grinder until a fine powder of rice is obtained.
  3. Remove this powder and dump it
  4. Wipe the interior of the grinder with a dampened towel.
  5. Anytime you notice an unusual smell, you need to repeat the above process.

How To Clean A Conical Burr Grinder?

The cleaning of the burr varies by model, construction type, and different parts.

  1. Remove the hopper from the burr grinder and wash the hopper and its lid by hand.
  2. Operate the burr grinder after removing the hopper for a couple of seconds. This will eliminate any coffee that remains off the burrs.
  3. The grinder should be unplugged.
  4. Eliminate any rubber parts or plastic parts that get in touch while grinding the coffee beans. Wash them initially by hand. Wash the bin that collects the coffee that’s grounded.
  5. The inner burr has to be removed, making use of a tool.
  6. Make use of a stiff brush to eliminate any grounded coffee remains that are stuck to outer and inner burrs.
  7. Make use of a dry cloth to clean the outer and inner burrs. This will help the elimination and absorption of any oils that are left behind while grinding coffee beans.
  8. It is recommended not to wash the outer and inner burrs with water.
  9. After all the washing and cleaning, dry out all the parts of the burr grinder.
  10. Reassemble the grinder after it is thoroughly dried.
  11. Now, it’s ready for reuse.

Can You Clean A Burr Grinder With Rice?

rice, clean burr grinder with rice

A common cleaning option for people is to employ rice to deep clean burr grinders. 

This is because the coffee powder and loose particles are knocked out, and the rice absorbs oil coating. 

So although you can clean a burr grinder with rice, it is important to be aware that this process has both its pros and cons. 

As pros, running rice within the burr for cleaning eliminates oil coats that have formed with time, and also the dust particles and sufficient ground are eliminated simply by running the grinder. 

Above all, it eliminates the need for reassembly as well. 

As a con, if the user manual does not recommend doing this, it is best to avoid as it can strain the motor and its efficiency. 

This is because rice grains are harder as compared to coffee beans. Rice starch can also clog the blade and does not clean the nooks and crannies of the burr grinder.

Some manufacturers such as Baratza won’t cover damage caused to the grinder when you use rice.

Our experience repairing Baratza grinders has shown that using rice or other natural materials to clean a Baratza grinder can cause mechanical damage to your grinder

  • Knocks out loose particles
  • Absorbs coffee oils
  • Eliminates the need to disassemble the grinder
  • Cost effective
  • Can cause clogging
  • Some manufactures do not cover breakages
  • Can cause mechanical damage

How To Clean A Burr Grinder With Cleaning Tablets?

burr grinder cleaning tablets, cleaning tablets, burr grinder

If you do not want to do the assembly and reassembling, then another option is to purchase cleaning tablets that are meant for burr grinders and can be put into the coffee grinder. 

Coffee grinding cleaning tablets are intended to knock out the particles lingering in the burrs and also absorb the coated oils within the burr.

Pour the suggested amount into the bean hopper and then pulse the tablet to run within the machine. 

After that, take about 30 grams of coffee grounds and pulse them in a burr grinder. Eliminate the tablet and coffee grounds residue.

Finally. rinse the bin of ground coffee.


frequently asked questions
Q: What does burr grinder mean?

A: A burr mill, or burr grinder, is a mill used to grind hard, small food products between two revolving abrasive surfaces separated by a distance usually set by the user.

Q: Which is better burr or blade coffee grinders?

A: Most coffee lovers will tell you that a burr grinder is far superior when it comes to grind size and flavour.

While more expensive than a blade grinder, burr mills are widely recognised for their consistency, quality, and overall uniformity.

Q: How do you clean a manual burr grinder?

A: For cleaning the manual coffee grinder burr and other small parts, get a bowl of soapy water and dip it in.

You can then use it to lightly scrub the micro-grounds and oils off the smaller parts with a brush or old toothbrush.

Q: Can you clean a coffee grinder with water?

A: Usually, the removable parts of the grinder are top-rack dishwasher safe (using a gentle cycle), or you can wash them by hand in warm, soapy water.

Remove ground particles from the lid and blades using a small, soft brush or cloth.

Conclusion: How to clean a burr grinder

putting roasted coffee beans into coffee grinder

In conclusion, a burr grinder should always be clean for good performance and efficiency with its grinding.

With the accumulation of coffee grounds and build-up of oils, these burr grinders tend to alter the flavour of the coffee. 

Therefore, regular cleaning and a deep clean of the burr grinder becomes essential. 

As mentioned above, the process of cleaning is not that tedious when done correctly. 

Now that we know how to clean a burr grinder, let’s get our burr back to performance, and our coffee brews fresh.

If you enjoyed this article, read more like this by checking out our Specialty Coffee Beginners Guides

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