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Cleaning coffee grinders

Cleaning coffee grinders is easy and an essential part of maintaining a coffee machine equipment set up. This article will explain and provide all the information needed to help grinder owners get on the right side of the road.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Do not use rice to clean coffee grinders.

First of all what not to do is highlighted. The main trigger for this post is the return of a coffee myth many of us thought was dead and buried years ago. The story that it is a good idea to clean coffee grinder blades and burrs with rice. It is not.

In recent times customers have made contact whose coffee grinders have mysteriously stopped working. Also reported is the phenomenon of lesser and more inconsistent grinds.

These grinder owners read on the internet that you can safely use rice to clean coffee grinders. This simply is not true and those who continue in the belief that it is, will pay in the long term.

Read something often enough and eventually it will be seen as the truth.
Unfortunately there are many articles on the internet written purely for profit on coffee. By authors with no real experience.

Spot the obvious mistake, rice and grinders do not work well together.

Rice damages coffee grinders

Yes that is the reality. Rice is hard and at best brittle. Coffee grinders are not designed for use with rice. The grains will put strain on the motors. Blades and burrs will wear out much quicker than they otherwise would.

Ground rice creates dust, this can enter into the motor and guess what?  The motors don’t like it, consequently they can fail as a result. Most noteworthy is the fact that the majority of coffee grinder manufacturers do not cover machines for use with anything other than coffee beans and grinder cleaners. Rice is not a cleaner it’s a cereal grain and a grinder killer.

Oh yes ! that’s more like it, rice with Kala Chana, spiced with chilli powder and ginger, topped with some lightly battered fish, now you’re talking 🙂

Cleaning in situ

There are a few different in situ coffee grinder cleaning solutions out there. The best one without doubt is Pulygrind, the undisputed champion of burr and blade cleaners.

Pulygrind comes in powder form so it may be used straight from the packet without the need to adjust the coffee grinders settings. Therefore it is an ideal solution for grinders in coffee shops and for all us always too busy types.

Organic and gluten free Pulygrind comes in a pack of 10 sachets. For a commercial setting with a big footfall and high turnover, clean the blades every second day. For domestic coffee grinders once every two weeks and once a week during summer months.

The hotter the weather and the greater the volume of coffee run through a grinder, the more often the blades or burrs need to be cleaned. Primarily this is because coffee beans contain oils, the oils sit on the blades, in hot weather the oils dry out and can actually jam blades together.

Dried oil make the grinder work harder because it causes slippage on the beans, the motor therefore needs to spin for longer to grind the same amount of coffee. The dried oil will cause a bad aroma in the coffee, it will also flake making the coffee give off what are perceived as bitter notes.

Using Pulygrind.

Simply use one sachet per clean, run it through the grinder, then follow through with 14-20 grams of coffee beans and the job is complete. This magical powder strips the blades of oil and debris eliminating the need to dismantle the grinder.

Over the years  this product has solved problems where people were literally going mad trying to work out why their coffee tasted so bad, when it had previously always been great. Cleaning coffee grinders is without doubt one of the most overlooked and underestimated elements of coffee making.

Buy Pulygrind in the online shop and eliminate one of the unwanted variables in coffee making.

Cleaning coffee grinders the hard way

The other way to clean the blades on the grinder is to remove the upper blade holder from the grinder. Remove also the lower blade and scrub them both hard with a wire brush. This followed by a wipe of a decent cloth, preferably micro fibre, will clean the blades effectively.

The downside of cleaning the blades this way is the amount of time it takes up. As well as dismantling the head of the grinder and scrubbing the blades clean, time is also needed to reassemble the blades and the head. The grinder will also need to be re-calibrated.

Cleaning the burrs or blades with a wire brush is a solid approach to getting rid of the oils if the budget strings are tight.

Handy tips for cleaning coffee grinders you should adopt

As mentioned above oils from coffee beans dry up and act like glue. Run grinders dry at the end of every day.

No coffee in any form should be left in the grinder over night.  The grinder should be free from any coffee when left for any prolonged period of time, especially in warm environments.

Hoover the grinder out on a regular basis, ideally on a daily basis. This may sound extreme but no matter how posh the grinder is, it will retain some of the ground coffee in the workings. This could be in the dispense chute or along the bedwhere the blades sit.

Retained coffee will mix with newly ground coffee if left in the grinder. This will degredate the quality of the espresso. Some grinders will release these older grounds with a pat on the back and a quick spin of the blades. Regardless of that a good regular hoover out does the grinder the world of good.

Most noteworthy with regards to hoovering grinders is hoovers will eventually start to smell of stale coffee. It is therefore  ideal to keep a hoover exclusively used for coffee. A hobby hoover can be a good choice of weapon.

Buy the best espresso coffee blend for your shiny clean grinder