How to Clean a Flat Burr Coffee Grinder (The Clever Way)

If you want to maximize the flavors of your coffee, you will need a burr coffee grinder at home. Burr grinders help to break down coffee beans into smaller bits, suitable for brewing. There are two major types of burr coffee grinders, conical and flat.

Many know how burr grinders make great coffee. However, many may not be sure of how they should clean one. How do you clean a flat burr coffee grinder?

You can clean a flat burr coffee grinder using rice, cleaning tablets, or performing manual cleaning. You may consider using rice and cleaning tablets for regular, more minimal maintenance and perform manual cleaning for a more thorough, deeper cleaning.

This article discusses how you can clean a flat burr coffee grinder. It will explore three main cleaning methods and detail how to perform them.

What Happens If You Do Not Clean A Flat Burr Coffee Grinder?

An uncleaned flat burr coffee grinder will eventually collect residue of old coffee grinds and coffee oil. The grinds may turn stale and cause the operation of the grinder to be less optimum. The oil may turn rancid. These combined can cause your coffee to taste bad.

Coffee grinders are a machine, and with machines, maintenance is crucial. This means you need to clean your flat burr grinders properly. 

Stale Coffee Buildup (Flat Burr Grinders Beware!)

One reason you should clean your flat burr grinders is because of residue. Flat burr coffee grinders tend to collect more coffee residue over time, compared to cleaning conical burr grinders

This is because of its shape. Flat burr grinders need rotational force to remove ground coffee from the burrs, while conical burrs use only gravity.

If you do not regularly clean the residue from the grinder, these residues may become stale and get mixed up with your new coffee. This means you may not get the best taste out of your coffee.

Remove Coffee Oils

If you do not clean your flat burr coffee grinder, your coffee may taste weird. This is because of the rancid coffee oils inside your grinder. 

When burrs crush and grind down your coffee beans, what happens is that it also activates and releases the oils from the coffee. This helps to give your coffee a unique taste. 

However, some of the oils also ended up on the surface of your grinder burrs. If not cleaned, these oils, over time, become rancid and may affect the taste of your coffee.

Ensures Top Performance

If you do not clean your flat burr coffee grinder, what happens is the residue may eventually cake up. These caked-up residues may reduce the burr’s performance and misalign them as they operate. 

Over time, you may wear out the blades on the burrs faster and not get the right consistency for your coffee grounds. You may need more time to get your coffee grounded as well.

How To Clean A Flat Burr Coffee Grinder

You can clean a flat burr coffee grinder using rice, cleaning tables, or manual cleaning. Rice and cleaning tablets may be easier and faster, but they may not provide good and thorough cleaning. Manual cleaning takes time and effort but is best performed after several rounds of quick cleaning.

There are two major approaches to cleaning your coffee grinder. You can take the quick route or a thorough cleaning. 

A quick cleaning can be done to ensure your machines perform well over the short term, but you should still perform a thorough, manual cleaning after several rounds of quick cleaning.


Rice helps to clean the flat burr coffee grinders quite well. It is hard to scrape up coffee residue inside the burrs and dry enough to absorb the oils. It is also cheap. In fact, rice is the cheapest and fastest way to clean your flat burr coffee grinder.

To clean your flat burr coffee grinder with rice, pour 2-3 espresso cups of dry, uncooked rice into the hopper. Turn on your coffee grinder, and let it run for several minutes. 

You may notice the ground rice coming from the bin with some brown bits. Those would be the coffee residue. The rice ground may smell a little coffee-like, too, since they absorbed some of the coffee oils. 

The issue with using rice is that dry rice is harder than coffee, which may strain your burrs. Before using rice, check with your grinder manufacturer if your grinder can handle it. 

Cleaning Tablets

Suppose your grinder cannot handle rice well. In that case, your next option is to use professionally formulated grinder cleaning tablets. 

These formulations contain cleaners, oil absorbers, residue removers, and other nicely pressed tablet-sized bits. 

You then pour these tables into your grinder’s hopper as if they are coffee beans, and you run your grinder. As the tablets get ground up in the burr, they clean your coffee grinder. 

Clearing tablets may be more expensive than using rice, but it may perform better since it is a proper solution. It is not too expensive, with brands such as Grindz costing around $2.50 per cleaning round

They are also softer on the burrs, unlike rice. This means your burrs will not be operating under stress, which may prevent them from wearing out.

Manual Cleaning

Manual cleaning takes the most effort and time but gives you the best result. In fact, cafes usually dedicate time to manually cleaning their coffee grinders. 

You will take apart the grinder, wash parts that you can, and wipe those that you cannot. Ensure you have your user guide ready. Also, remember to take pictures of the grinder before you disassemble it to help you when you put it back later. 

  1. Start by removing the hopper and the ground bin. Wash both with soap and water.
  2. Run the grinder to dislodge coffee residue off the burrs for a few seconds.
  3. Turn off the grinder. Unplug the grinder for your safety.
  4. Take apart any rubber or silicone parts that may come into contact with the coffee. Wash all of them with soap and water.
  5. Remove the upper burr. You may need a tool to do this, such as a screwdriver. 
  6. Now, use a hard brush to clean and remove coffee residue from the top and bottom burr. 
  7. Use a damp microfiber cloth, and wipe both burrs down. This helps to remove any remaining oil residue.
  8. Allow all parts to dry out before reassembling. 
  9. After reassembling, test the grinder to ensure all are in good working order.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning a flat burr coffee grinder requires careful and thorough attention to detail. It is important to take the time to do it right in order to keep your grinder running smoothly and efficiently.

Following our step-by-step instructions and taking our tips into consideration will help you achieve the best results.

Cleaning your grinder regularly can extend its life and keep it in top condition for years to come.

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