How to Effectively Clean a Conical Burr Coffee Grinder

A coffee grinder is an important piece of equipment in the arsenal of anyone serious about their coffee. It breaks and grinds down the coffee beans into grounds before brewing. There are two major types of grinders, conical and flat. 

With all equipment, your coffee grinder needs cleaning and maintenance. However, how do you clean a conical burr coffee grinder?

You can clean your conical coffee grinder using several methods. Using rice would be the cheapest and easiest, although it may not work with all conical grinders. A proper coffee grinder cleaner tablet works well too. You can also disassemble the grinder and perform manual cleaning. 

This article explores how you can clean a conical coffee grinder by exploring the major methods, using rice, grinder cleaners, and manual cleaning.

Why Should You Clean Your Burr Coffee Grinder?

Cleaning your coffee grinder ensures you remove any oil residue on the grinder and coffee buildup. These may turn rancid and stale and affect the taste of your brew. Regular cleaning also ensures your grinder performs well. 

Remove Oil Residue

The coffee beans go through the conical grinder and get crushed and ground down. This activates and releases the oils inside the coffee, which helps to make your coffee taste good

However, some of this oil may remain in the grinder after operating it. If not cleaned, these oils may turn rancid and affect the taste of your coffee.

Remove Coffee Build-Up

A grinder may produce coffee grounds well, but often after you operate it, some residue or coffee buildup will remain inside. Unfortunately, you cannot remove the buildup by tapping or shaking them out. 

If you do not clean the coffee buildup, they turn stale over time, which may affect your coffee taste.

Ensures Good Performance

A conical burr coffee grinder relies on gears and blades to crush, cut, and grind the coffee beans down to the consistency you need. 

If there is residue coffee buildup in your grinder, these nasties may reduce the effectiveness and performance of your machine. On top of that, it may cause issues such as misaligning the gears and blades, wearing them out faster in the process.

How To Clean A Conical Burr Coffee Grinder?

You can clean the conical burr coffee grinder using rice and grinder cleaners and perform manual cleaning yourself. Each cleaning method has strengths and weaknesses, so you must decide which suits you better.

Cleaning a coffee grinder can be a tricky business. This is because a grinder often sits on top of electrical motors, which means water-based clearing cannot be used. 

However, there are several ways you can clean your coffee grinder:

With Rice

The cheapest and easiest way to clean your coffee grinder is to use rice. It has been the traditional go-to way to perform quick cleaning of coffee grinders for a long time. 

Pour about 2-3 espresso cups of rice into your grinder, turn it on, and let it run. You may see crushed-up rice with bits of coffee buildup in the bin. You may smell some coffee on the rice too, which means this rice absorbs the coffee oils. Add more rice to the grinder if you see the need to.

Rice is a dry agent that can be grounded down by the conical grinder. While it runs inside the grinder, it scrapes and sucks up the coffee residue and oil, leaving your grinder clean and ready to make another new brew. 

Even if there are residue rice bits in the grinder, it should not affect the taste of your coffee since rice is neutral. 

The issue with rice is that it is harder than coffee beans, so you may risk wearing out your gears and blades faster. To be safe, check with the user guide or customer service to see if it is safe to use rice in your conical burr grinder.

With Cleaner Tablets

If using rice sounds unprofessional and improper, there are solutions such as coffee grinder cleaners you can use. These are usually a mixture of oil cleaners and residue removers, then pressed into small, tablet-sized bits. 

You can then pour them into your coffee grinders, run them, and watch them come out. Similar to rice, you may see bits of coffee grinds in the mixture and some discoloring of the cleaner, perhaps from the coffee oils they scraped up. 

These cleaners are better than using rice since they are professionally formulated. They should also perform better cleaning than rice. 

Another good thing about these grinder cleaners is the price. Despite their special formulation, they are, surprisingly, not expensive.

For example, a bottle of Grindz is about $24, enough to give your conical burr grinder twelve rounds of cleaning. 

Manual Cleaning

Suppose you are serious about cleaning your conical burr coffee grinder. In that case, you are left with one option, to perform manual cleaning. 

This means talking about the grinder, cleaning the parts manually, and then reassembling them back. It is the most time and effort-consuming option but provides the best cleaning result. 

Some coffee experts do recommend performing manual cleaning after several rounds of cleaning with rice or grinder cleaners. You may notice that many cafes actually dedicate time to manually cleaning their coffee grinders every day.

Steps to perform manual clearing of conical burr coffee grinders may differ depending on the model. To perform manual cleaning on your conical burr coffee grinder, follow these general steps:

  1. Remove the hopper and the ground bin. You can wash both with water and soap.
  2. Now run the grinder for a few seconds. This helps to dislodge coffee residue off the burrs. Ensure to keep your hands away from the grinder while it operates.
  3. Turn off and unplug the grinder.
  4. Remove any rubber or silicone parts that may come into contact with coffee, and wash them by hand with water and soap.
  5. Remove the inner burr. 
  6. Now, use a brush to clean and remove coffee residue from the outer and inner burr. 
  7. Use a damp microfiber cloth, and wipe at the outer and inner burr surfaces. This helps to remove any oil residue remaining on the burrs.
  8. Allow all parts to dry out before reassembling. 
  9. When reassembling, follow the user manual, and test the grinder to ensure all are in good working order.

Final Thoughts

Following these steps will ensure that your conical burr coffee grinder is clean and well-maintained. Regular cleaning is important to maintain your grinder’s performance and extend its lifespan.

Investing time in cleaning your grinder will help you get the best possible coffee results every time.

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