Pro Tips for Cleaning Your Coffee Grinder

Pro Tips for Cleaning Your Coffee Grinder

Coffee grinder cleaning should be part of your regular maintenance routine of your equipment at home. We get it, it’s not sexy and feels dull, but it’s absolutely critical if you want the freshest and best-tasting coffee. Not to mention it’ll add years to the lifespan of any grinder. You’ve already invested thousands of dollars into your setup, why not go the extra mile to ensure what you’re drinking is top notch?


Follow these simple steps you can do in just minutes.


The Easy Stuff


Start by unplugging the grinder. You don’t want any accidents while you’re cleaning. You’d be amazed at some of the stories we hear at Chris’ Coffee, so make sure it’s unplugged and powered down before doing any maintenance.


Empty the hopper.


Remove any coffee beans that are still in the hopper and transfer them to an airtight container for safe storage. What happens is that over time small bits of coffee grinds and the different oils found on the beans can get stuck in the grinder’s burrs. This can result in a not-so-pleasant flavor in your coffee and can cause the burrs to lock up on you.


Luckily there’s a product made by Urnex that makes cleaning easy, by way of their Biocaf Cleaning Tablets. The tablets are all-natural, biodegradable, and phosphate-free. They’re a great cleaning solution to have handy and will save you lots of time.


Rolling Up Your Sleeves


Time to get messy.


We recommend every six months you take apart your grinder to give it a thorough cleaning inside. This involves a brushing of the burrs, emptying out the chamber, and giving it a good wipe down from top to bottom. Refer to the manufacturer's instructions for specific details.


Use a small brush to clean the burrs.


Burrs are the metal discs that grind the coffee beans and they can potentially get jammed with coffee grounds which in turn make it more difficult for the grinder to do its job – Grinding. Use a soft-bristled brush, such as a pastry brush or a toothbrush, to gently brush away any residue or buildup on the burrs. Be careful not to damage them, as this can also affect the quality of your grind.



Depending on the type of beans you’re using and how oily they are, you might not need to perform the deep clean more than twice a year. As a rule of thumb, if you’re using a very dark roast, or your grinder is being used for both espresso and drip coffee, you’ll probably want to up the frequency to every three months or so.


While you have your grinder apart, as mentioned before, it’d be wise to clean out the chamber. A simple toothbrush is fine, or if you’re looking for a recommendation you can always opt for a grinder brush. These brushes are an underrated addition to any barista’s arsenal, you’ll also be able to use them to sweep away any excess grounds that spilled onto the countertop during your grinder cleaning.


Additionally, a cheap bottle of compressed air goes a long way in clearing out hard-to-reach debris that the brush can’t get to.


Be very gentle handling all the components of the grinder while you're taking it apart and performing the cleaning. Some grinders are fitted with "fingers," small silicone flaps which help to break up clumps of coffee that fall through the chute. These can be damaged and very difficult to replace.


Cleaning The Hopper


Once you have removed the hopper, you can wash it with warm, soapy water. Make sure to clean all surfaces, including the inside of the hopper and any removable parts. If there are any stubborn stains or buildup, you can use a non-abrasive cleaner or a mixture of baking soda and water to scrub them away. Rinse the hopper thoroughly and let it dry completely before reassembling the grinder.


One final point to keep in mind.


If you’re experimenting with different beans and flavors, be sure to remember to completely empty out your grinder before you go to brew. As you’ve just learned, old and potentially stale grinds might be getting mixed into your new cup, so make it a point to perform a good cleaning if you’re making a switch.


You’re done!


Be very careful when putting the grinder back together!


Again, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for proper assembly and the correct type of lubricant to apply to the burrs when threading them back on. You could put yourself at risk of either cross-threading, or worse, having it seize up on you. Both are costly fixes. You can always give Chris’ Coffee a call if you need any assistance or guidance with assembly for a machine you’ve purchased from us in the past. We’re always happy to help!


Lastly, after everything is clean, do a couple test grinds.


Using some old or stale beans (don’t waste the good stuff on this step), grind a few shots worth of coffee through the grinder to ensure that all of the leftover cleaning residue is completely flushed out.


It might seem like a lot of work, but at the end of the day you need to treat this equipment like it’s a house, a car, or any other piece of expensive machinery. Regular maintenance and upkeep will extend its life and pay you dividends in the form of great-tasting espresso for many many years.