Are rancid oils and old coffee grounds tainting the flavor of your freshly-brewed coffee? It probably depends on how long it’s been since you cleaned your coffee grinder. Mugs and brewers aren’t the only things that need cleaning. Coffee grinders need a good wash every now and then too.
As coffee beans are ground, they deposit oils and microscopic particles onto the burrs. Both of these deposits can negatively impact later brews as stale particles and rancid oils collect on new coffee beans and travel into your final mug.
If you open up the burrs and can feel a light layer of grime on them, you’re likely not getting the quality coffee you deserve. If there’s a heavy layer of grime, you probably haven’t been for a long time.
Luckily, there’s an easy fix: Clean those burrs.
Cleaning manual coffee grinders is something I’ve grown accustomed to. Having owned many, I am well acquainted with the process and have picked up some tricks along the way. No matter the grinder you own, the feeling of putting together a clean grinder is satisfying as all the pieces slide into place smoothly.
Let me walk you through the journey. It only takes a couple minutes every month to keep your grinder at peak condition so it doesn’t taint your coffee and functions with peak performance.
For this blog, I’ll be using our own JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder, but most grinders are constructed similarly. If you have a different grinder, you may have slightly different parts, or they may come out in a different order, but the general steps will be the same.
Disassembling Your Grinder
Start by taking the grinder apart. Do this over a flat surface without much on it. You can place a white towel under the grinder to make the parts easily visible and keep them from getting lost.
For the JavaPresse, start by taking off the handle, hopper lid, and ground catcher. What remains are the main shell and the burr construction.
Unwind the adjustment knob and set it aside, then pull out the inner burr. The inner burr has a centerpiece that can be pushed in and removed as well.
From there, pull out the metal washer, the spring, the plastic washer, and the rod from the opposite side. You now have a fully disassembled hand grinder.
Now you can give it all a good cleaning.
How To Clean The Grinder
The handle and hopper lid just need to be rinsed well in most scenarios. These parts just need a basic cleaning. The grounds catcher can build up oils overtime though, so give it a quick scrub with soapy water, rinse, and dry well.
For cleaning manual coffee grinder burrs and other small parts, get a bowl of soapy water and dip a Q Tip in it. You can then use the Q Tip to lightly scrub the micro-grounds and oils off the smaller parts.
I don’t suggest using the dishwasher to clean any part of the grinder. Finding the smaller parts if they move around would be a nightmare. Just stick to a gentle handwash.
When you’ve gotten around to every piece, give them all a quick and careful rinse (beware the bottomless drain) and dry them thoroughly with a clean rag. You don’t want any extra moisture or tiny food particles hanging around when you put the grinder together.
If you’re a visual person and want to see this process before your own eyes, check out this video of our Chief Brewing Officer, Raj, cleaning his JavaPresse grinder:
Putting The Grinder Back Together
When it’s all said and done, reassemble the grinder by first reinserting the metal rod through the top of the grinder. Then slide in the plastic washer, the spring, and the metal washer.
Make sure to fit the centerpiece back into the inner burr, then slide the burr up the rod into the outer burr. Place the adjustment knob on the thread of the rod and twist it until the burrs are completely closed. Now you can open up the burrs, count the clicks, and find the right setting for your brewer like usual.
You’ll notice that the clicks your grinder makes when switching settings are more audible and that the adjustment knob feels more secure. That’s another benefit of keeping your grinder clean and in top-notch condition.
Sadly, most folks are using grimy grinders that are slowly tainting their coffee more and more - and they don’t even realize it. You, however, are free of this burden.
Your grinder is squeaky clean.
Way to care for the tools that empower you to drink excellent coffee and live a flavorful life. Your manual coffee grinder will thank you in return by grinding coffee with precision and without depositing gross oils and grounds into your mug.
If your grinder isn’t performing as well as you wish (or you don’t even have a manual grinder), you should check out the JavaPresse Manual Grinder. We designed it to be affordable, light, and effective. It’s already revolutionized the coffee of thousands around the world, and I know it can do the same for you.
Oh -- and we're giving away burr grinders for FREE when you try out a bag of coffee from the JavaPresse Coffee Club.