Coffee brewers aren’t the only things in your life that get covered in coffee. Oily residue from coffee beans (the darker-roasted the oilier and slimier) and fractured debris from flying beans can get lodged, or coat coffee oils or particulate matter in all kinds of places on your grinder. Coffee grinders can get gunked up with different things that may lead to off tastes and poor brews. Coffee dust has a nasty habit of finding its way into every nook, cranny, crack and crevice of a grinder. This can lead to broken parts, decreased performance, or even a dead motor if the buildup is severe. You can delay the negative effects of dust buildup by cleaning your machine every day with a soft, dry cloth or brush. Remember to unplug the appliance before you start cleaning. You just need to remove the hopper, the upper grinder casing if applicable, and anything else you need to access the burrs. Once you’ve got those parts free, just wipe them all down or work at them with a soft brush to remove any dust or debris.
Another method for cleaning is by using a grinder cleaner that comes in coffee bean-sized pellets, rice can also be used as an alternative. You just need to run a tablespoon’s worth of pellets or rice through your grinder on medium-fine setting. You can grind a few grams of spare coffee afterwards on the same setting so it pushes out the remaining few crumbs of pellets that may be left over. Repeating this once or twice a month will keep most home grinders fit and functioning at full steam. If you do decide to use rice, we suggest using the quick-cook variety, but we’d recommend just going in with a brush if you’d rather not buy grinder cleaner.
For a really deep clean you will need to disassemble and reassemble your device. First remove any parts necessary to access the burrs, and set them aside. Clear out all the grounds and dust from the teeth and screws using a brush or wooden toothpick. You may also remove the upper burr from its carrier to clean out any dust from those hard-to-reach cracks and crevices depending on the model you are using. Suck out all the remaining bits and debris using the hose attachment of your vacuum cleaner. Before reassembling your device, wipe down the hopper and grinds bin with a slightly damp cloth to remove any oily buildup. Use a very mild detergent with more stubborn oil, just be sure to rinse the parts thoroughly and dry them before putting them back together. Remember to avoid moisture near the burrs and grind chamber, especially if you have steel burrs. You don’t want rust or corrosion anywhere near the moving parts or motor. It is advisable to grind a small amount of coffee (about 10-20 grams) before going back to brewing. Part of the reason is that when you remove and replace your upper burr, the adjustment settings can get just a touch out of place and grinding some beans will help set everything back where it should be.