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Coffee Grinder Hygiene


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#1 =Mark

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Posted 30 December 2002 - 11:35 AM

I have a new coffee grinder that claims the cup and cover are dishwasher safe. This got me to wondering how often do folks normally wash their coffee grinders? It would seem overkill to run the dishwasher every day just to clean the grinder. Is it necessary to clean them after every use?
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#2 Fat Guy

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Posted 30 December 2002 - 12:19 PM

I've never cleaned mine other than with a damp paper towel.

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#3 Peter B Wolf

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Posted 30 December 2002 - 12:25 PM

I've never cleaned mine other than with a damp paper towel.

How do you get the Mustard flavor out, after grinding those little buggers?
Or worse, the stickyness from Christmas Poppy Seeds?

(Just Kidding) :laugh:
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#4 Timo

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Posted 30 December 2002 - 12:29 PM

I've heard you really have to clean the things out a lot. Supposedly, leftover grounds can go bad in the grinder, thus contaminating every batch :shock:
Needless to say, ours hasn't been properly washed for atleast a year... maybe two. This could be the reason why I consider starbucks to even have good coffee...
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#5 Dave the Cook

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Posted 30 December 2002 - 12:40 PM

I suspect you guys are talking about burr grinders, since most blade grinders don't have a removable cup. I've resisted getting a burr grinder, as I am (so far) successfully avoiding becoming a coffee geek.

But I do have two blade grinders -- one for coffee and one for spices (take that, Peter!) For cleaning them, I picked up a tip from Martha Stewart. She suggests tearing a few pieces of white bread and whizzing it for a few seconds, then whisking out the crumbs with a pastry brush. The bread thing is usually a kludge, but the brush works very well. I do use the bread in the spice grinder when I've done something particularly, um, persistent, in aroma or oiliness.

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#6 Lord Michael Lewis

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Posted 30 December 2002 - 12:43 PM

I've never cleaned mine other than with a damp paper towel.

That's an interesting way of recycling. Most people just throw their used paper towels away.

#7 =Mark

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Posted 30 December 2002 - 01:03 PM

I suspect you guys are talking about burr grinders, since most blade grinders don't have a removable cup. I've resisted getting a burr grinder, as I am (so far) successfully avoiding becoming a coffee geek.

Actually mine is a blade grinder. A Kitchen Aide Cobalt Blue.

It does have a removable cup reminiscent of a stainless steel blender.
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#8 Rail Paul

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Posted 30 December 2002 - 02:07 PM

For the burr and the blade grinder, same solution

Handful of dry rice, whirred / ground to powder, and brushed out. Especially effective with the burr grinder
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#9 MHesse

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Posted 30 December 2002 - 08:02 PM

When I worked in an oil refinery, we used to clean the big (50,000 HP) air compressor blades with walnut shells.

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#10 jaynesb

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 03:51 PM

I've found that those brushes that you buy for baby bottles work well for brushing out my burr grinder. (The brushes are no longer needed for their original purpose.)

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#11 CSASphinx

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 04:04 PM

Ah, hitting a topic of slight marital discord at our house.

I like to give a rough clean to our grinder every time I use it. My wife does nothing to get the excess, essentially overground coffe out. If she makes the coffee three days straight there is a ring of scudge below the blade, at the junction of stainless steel and plastic AND coating the plastic cup.

How does she live this way?

That said, I do what Steve does: damp paper towel to remove the accumulated flotsam, dry one to, well, DRY it.

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#12 andiesenji

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 10:36 PM

The absolute best way to clean a blade type grinder is this way, and it works better than Martha Stewart's - I have been doing this since before Martha was ever heard of. I used the same routine to clean my blender between grinding dry stuff (washing was not an option because it would take too long to dry and I needed it to grind something else.)

Place two heaping tablespoons of dry baking soda in the grinder. Add 3 broken saltine crackers.
Apply the top and run the grinder, shaking it up and down and turning it upside down and back a couple of times (holding the top on, of course).

Dump the powder out and wipe with a dry paper towel.

This will remove oils from grinding coffee beans and spices, will polish the interior and will also kill any lingering odor from spices or coffee, etc.

This works and is simple. Grinding raw rice is really tough on the blades and will dull them ater a time.

I collect antique electric appliances and I use a barely damp cloth and dry baking soda to remove the burnt on grease that in some cases is nearly 80 years old. This is the only thing I use because it will not scratch or dull the chrome on these early beauties.
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#13 jsolomon

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Posted 12 August 2004 - 05:08 AM

Oats work well, too, and are gentler than rice. But, the baking soda is a new twist. I like it.

Alas, I have come to the conclusion that until I purchase a burr grinder, simply tapping it to get as much coffee out as possible is good enough for me.

But, the last time I was in a dentist's chair, my old roommate from college (now in residency for maxillofacial surgery, where I happened to be having a filling replaced) came over and told his "favorite" story about me. This would be the one where, after a hard night of cramming for a Japanese final, chugged about 1/2 a pot of 3-day old, cold, percolated coffee to be able to make it through the final.

So, I suppose my cleaning tastes can be filed under "philistine".

Edited by jsolomon, 12 August 2004 - 05:08 AM.

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#14 phaelon56

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Posted 12 August 2004 - 06:02 AM

For those of you on this thread who've mentioend that you're consideringpurchase of a burr grinder.... I'll sing that tired old song once again... all burr grinders are not created equal. Check the pinned coffee topics index in this forum for the grinder thread.

Espresso bars ans cafes that follow rigid process control typically clean their grinders quite throughly on a daily basis. My small commercial grinder only grinds a few doubels each day and I never use dark oily beans. The only cleaning I've done is with a brush but it's still spotless after two years of use.

#15 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 06:31 PM

This morning I cleaned my Rancilio Rocky grinder using Grindz, made by Urnex. I got this from wholelattelove.com, but it's available from other online coffee equipment suppliers, too. However, wholelattelove.com sold me a one dose jar of it to try for about $7.50 rather than making me buy the four dose pack listed on their website for just under $30.

Mind you, this Rocky is at least seven years old; the build date was 1999. I bought it used. While I give it rather light use - about a pound of beans every ten days - it has seen some oily beans over the years, and I decided to try out the Grindz to see if it would help the beans flow more smoothly through the machine and improve the flavor of the french press coffee I make each morning. I also thought it may be time for a set of new burrs, but also hoped the cleaning with Grindz might improve the grind size consistency if the burrs were actually in good shape.

I did a thorough preliminary cleaning below the bean hopper screen and then ran the Grindz through, followed by an equal amount of beans twice. Then brushed out the chute and doser.

The first bean grinding showed grounds much, much more consistent is size than before, with little or no fine coffee mixed in with the coarser grind. So my burrs appear still to be in great shape.

The first pot of french press this morning after the cleaning produced a smoother tasting coffee. More than noticeable improvement.

wholelattelove.com recommends using the Grindz treatment four times a year, and I think I'll try that routine unless the treatment three months from now shows no particular effect. In which case I'll space the treatments a little further apart to find the optimal timing for my level of grinder use.

#16 scubadoo97

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 08:27 PM

I recently purchase instant rice to clean my burr grinders. I was told this is the best type of rice to use. I have to admit that I felt very self conscious buying instant rice.

#17 JoshRountree

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 10:23 PM

I have a burr grinder, and brush it out after each use which gets most of the grounds out. I have been thinking about using Grindz to clean it though.

My grinder stays fairly clean on its on. I do this by only using/buying local roasted beans that have been roasted less than 2 weeks before use. I usually buy light to medium roasts and that helps to keep it cleaner too, in my opinion.

#18 melkor

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 11:16 PM

Fresh beans won't keep your grinder clean. Just disassemble it from time to time and clean it. The grindz stuff works, but no better than using a brush.

#19 earlgrey_44

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 11:00 AM

I agree with Mr. Solomon. I finally disassembled my Rocky after a year and a half or two years of use. (Too long really but better late than never). :rolleyes:

The burrs themselves were clean and uncaked, but the feed areas between the burrs and the chute were pretty ugly.

It was easy to take apart and put together again, and easy to brush and wipe anything that could not be removed and rinsed.

No need to buy anything really...

#20 jayt90

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Posted 03 February 2008 - 11:13 AM

I clean up the burrs in my KA-9 with barley every two or three months. It lets me know with uneven grinding and poor bean feeding. I wipe down the funnel (bean oil residue) and it is fine. I can't get to the burrs without disassembly, but the barley (whole grain,not pearl) seems to clean them nicely.

#21 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 10:03 AM

I agree with Mr. Solomon. I finally disassembled my Rocky after a year and a half or two years of use. (Too long really but better late than never).  :rolleyes:

The burrs themselves were clean and uncaked, but the feed areas between the burrs and the chute were pretty ugly.

It was easy to take apart and put together again, and easy to brush and wipe anything that could not be removed and rinsed.

No need to buy anything really...

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I think your experience may actually support using some material to clean by grinding it, such as the Grindz. (I have no experience with Barley or know anything about the pros and cons, so can't speak to that.) I also waited way too long to clean mine and think it's more likely I'll take a few minutes once every three months to use the Grindz than take the Rocky apart to clean it. Guess it depends whether you really like to tinker with your equipement. Obviously, I could, but don't.

#22 cdh

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 10:45 AM

In the course of my beer brewing adventures, I've discovered that running something like malted barley through my flat-burr coffee grinder (Saeco MC2002) does a fantastic job of getting it sparkingly clean. Since I don't want the malt turned into flour, I crank the burrs wide open to the point that the clicky indicators of position stop clicking... running a half pound of grain through gets all of the coffee build-up gone.
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#23 Chris Hennes

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 10:49 AM

In the course of my beer brewing adventures, I've discovered that running something like malted barley through my flat-burr coffee grinder (Saeco MC2002) does a fantastic job of getting it sparkingly clean.  Since I don't want the malt turned into flour, I crank the burrs wide open to the point that the clicky indicators of position stop clicking... running a half pound of grain through gets all of the coffee build-up gone.

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Do your run a "sacrificial" batch of coffee through when you are done? I'd be concerned my coffee would wind up tasting like barley... I stick to the disassemble-and-brush strategy.

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#24 cdh

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Posted 14 February 2008 - 11:27 AM

Nope. I've never noticed any off flavors after grinding malt. It blows itself clean... no malty residue left over.
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#25 Darren72

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 02:12 PM

My Rocky is making a strange noise and I'm hoping you can give me a little guidance about the cause and what I should do about it.

The noise sounds as if the lower burr is grinding on something. That is, I've removed the top burr. I've cleaned out as much of the grinder area as I can. Then, with the top burr removed, when I give the grinder a little bit of juice, I get a slightly high pitched noise that sounds like that lower burr is grinding against something. I've tried running some Grindz tablets through the grinder and that doesn't help. I have not tried to take the lower burr off. Any ideas?

#26 barrett

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 10:25 AM

Cleaning the plastic bits with a little warm water and a wipe is a nice touch. Not all parts are dishwasher safe - some melt, and especially on commercial grinders can be very expensive.

Clean your hopper with just a little warm water, maybe some soap, and towel, it'll keep that oily residue off. That residue eventually becomes quite permanent, and it smells like nasty, stale coffee.

And if you're in a cafe, and the grinder hoppers are caked black with coffee oil, try the juice.
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#27 Darren72

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 12:45 PM

My Rocky is making a strange noise and I'm hoping you can give me a little guidance about the cause and what I should do about it.

The noise sounds as if the lower burr is grinding on something. That is, I've removed the top burr. I've cleaned out as much of the grinder area as I can. Then, with the top burr removed, when I give the grinder a little bit of juice, I get a slightly high pitched noise that sounds like that lower burr is grinding against something. I've tried running some Grindz tablets through the grinder and that doesn't help. I have not tried to take the lower burr off. Any ideas?

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Just a follow-up about my experience. I took the grinder to an authorized repair place. Turns out a bearing of some sort (I don't remember) needed to be replaced. Now the grinder is as good as new.

Also, earlier when I wrote that I give the grinder some "juice", I meant that I press the grind button.

#28 PandoraLost

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Posted 26 July 2009 - 07:32 PM

The strategy I employ with grinders (after years of experience at Starbucks, I know, groan), is to wipe the parts that are ready-to-hand frequently, and once a week or so, take the whole glorious mess apart, clean individual parts with a damp paper towel, then a dry paper towel, reassemble, and make sure it still functions.

Alternately, with the large commercial grinders, a vacuum worked well for everyday cleaning. I wouldn't recommend rice, because it dulls blades and messes up the burrs. Oats might be better, but I'd be a bit skeptical about oat bits getting stuck. Your best bet is to take it apart and wipe it down. If you've got a LOT of oil buildup, a mild acid solution works well (such as vinegar and water).

#29 David A. Goldfarb

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Posted 26 July 2009 - 08:22 PM

I clean up the burrs in my KA-9 with barley every two or three months. It lets me  know with uneven grinding and poor bean feeding. I wipe down the funnel (bean oil residue) and it is fine. I can't get to the burrs without disassembly, but the barley (whole grain,not pearl) seems to clean them nicely.

View Post


I've had this grinder for several years, and it grinds well if it's kept clean, but the cleaning process is tedious, and I had to figure it out on my own by trial and error. If it isn't cleaned, the grind becomes too fine and somewhat uneven, and it tends to spray coffee grounds all over the counter. When it's clean, the grind is even over the whole adjustment range, and most of the coffee drops straight down out of the spout, so you can grind directly into an espresso filter basket without getting coffee everywhere.

I downloaded the most recent manual several months ago, and it seems they've redesigned it to make it easier to disassemble, but the version that I have was clearly not meant to be user serviceable. There are no instructions for disassembly in the original manual.

The first step is to remove a set screw on the back, which requires a Torx bit (the newer version uses a standard Philips head screw).

Then there's a left-hand threaded acorn nut that holds down a round metal apron that guides the beans into the funnel, and to unscrew this nut, you need to keep the burrs from moving. To do this, I insert a wooden skewer into the spout where the ground coffee comes out to hold the bottom burr while unscrewing the acorn nut with a socket on a T-wrench. On the newer version, the funnel/adjustment ring simply screws out. Once that and the small metal piece are removed, the funnel, which is also the grind adjustment ring, can be unscrewed, and you can access the burrs.

I brush them out and remove caked on coffee with the same wooden skewer used to stabilize the burrs in the earlier step.

To calibrate the grind adjustment ring, the instructions for the later version of the grinder apply to the earlier version. The manual can be found here--

http://shared.whirlp...g200&siteCd=KAD

Edited by David A. Goldfarb, 26 July 2009 - 08:25 PM.


#30 weinoo

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 07:05 AM

I give my Rocky a really good cleaning every 2 months or so. The instructions offered by coffee maven Mark Price, on coffeegeek.com, are where I learned the technique I use...click for instructions.
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