On 24th March we held our first annual “East Anglia’s Best Barista” competition as The…
You buy a brand new, shiny coffee grinder. Grind your coffee just how you want it and serve up great brews!
Over a period of time, you notice that those great brews and smashing espressos are starting to run quicker, and taste thin and under extracted.
You’ve adjusted the grind, but still, the coffee doesn’t seem as good as before.
There could be many reasons for degrading coffee, but here I want to take you through a few simple steps that will ensure that you are getting the best out of your grinder.
And in turn, your coffee.
Cleaning your grinder regularly is very important!
This is something that is often overlooked but can have a huge impact on grind and coffee quality.
Most people are accustomed to cleaning their espresso machine at least daily but not so with the grinder.
The first thing I would recommend is to dust or brush down your grinder every day.
If you have an on-demand grinder; ensure that the grinding spout is clear too.
I always recommend grinding a couple of coffees in the morning and throwing them away, this helps to get rid of any stale ground coffee that may have got stuck in the grinder.
If you have a chamber style grinder then make sure there is no coffee left in the chamber at the end of the day.
Give the chamber a good wipe to prevent it from getting stained with coffee and oil residue too.
I would recommend wiping your hopper out if possible daily, especially with darker roasted coffees as residue coffee oil, will start to develop and stain the hopper.
If it is possible I would recommend at least once a month giving the blades inside the grinder a good clean.
The easiest way to do this is to take out the hopper and unscrew the top plate, which should have one blade attached to it.
However please make sure the grinder is switched off before you start unscrewing anything.
Often you will find, especially on espresso grinders that there will be a layer of very finely ground coffee stuck in the grind chamber and on the sides of the blades.
This will mean that the grinder has to work harder; and will not be able to grind the coffee so evenly.
Get rid of all of the old coffee using a paintbrush or a wire brush for more stubborn parts.
You should generally see a noticeable difference in your grinders performance.
The final recommendation I would make is replacing your grinder blades.
As a general rule; it is normally recommended to do this every 12months.
However, this depends upon the usage, volume, the type, and quality of grinder blades, the material the blades are made from and various other aspects.
A few warning signs to replace your grinders blades:
- You are getting a very uneven grind
- The grinder is taking longer than before to grind a standard dose
- Having to set the grinder at a very fine setting compared to before to achieve the same results
- The grinder or motor is getting hot
- The grinder sounds a lot louder than before
I would recommend that if you cannot remember the last time the blades where changed they are most probably due for a change.
What happens if you do not change your grinder blades is that they will become blunt, and will grind the coffee very differently.
Blunt grinder blades tend to smash the coffee, rather than actually cut it as sharp blades do.
This will result in a much larger spread of grind/ particle size, which will decrease the amount you are able to extract from your coffee.
In addition, the grinder will have to work harder to grind the coffee. This puts more strain on the motor and in turn generate more heat.
So effectively you end up with a bit of a vicious circle.
Keeping all of your equipment as clean as possible and carrying out regular maintenance to ensure that you are getting the most out of all of your equipment is imperative.
To not only keep them in good working order but ensuring that you, therefore, do not lose time and money waiting for repairs if your machine breaks down from lack of maintenance and cleaning.
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