03 Jun Reduce Customer Complaints: How to Clean Your Coffee Mill
Have you been receiving complaints from your customers about their coffee mills? Customers who say that after buying their mill and having it for a certain period of time, it’s just not working properly? Or perhaps they are complaining that their coffee grinders are just not functioning well, consistently, like they should be?
The problem may well be that they haven’t been cleaning their coffee mills regularly, or properly, often enough. In this article, we will offer you suggestions, ideas and tips for cleaning coffee mills thoroughly, properly, and frequently enough so that customers will soon be enjoying the quality of coffee they did when they first bought their grinders.
When coffee grinders are cleaned regularly, they can offer customers the fine, aromatic coffee they did when they first purchased their mills.
1) Why Should You Clean Your Coffee Mill Regularly?
Coffee grinders can be affected by all kinds of different things – everything from dust to bits of old beans – and they all affect the quality of the brew. They can all make coffee taste off, and perhaps even a little sour and bitter. Coffee dust, and other types of kitchen dust, makes it way into every little part of the grinder when it’s in use or when it’s stored.
So it’s important to get at every little speck of dust you can. Oils are also a big problem. Whether you use French Roast, which has a particularly oily sheen, or another flavor of coffee, oils are a problem.
All types of coffee have oils, to one extent or another. To make matters worse, oils can go rancid after a certain period, even the oils in coffee beans. And we all know how awful the smell of rancid oil is!
Wherever the ground coffee meets the grinder, it leaves an oily residue behind. If it isn’t dealt with by cleaning the grinder, that residue continues to build, layer upon layer, causing stickiness and stains. The buildup of oils that then go rancid is enough to ruin even the best cup of morning brew!
And over time, these problems can result in chips coming off the grinder and impacting its performance. Adding to these issues is that when the blade and grinding burr get covered in dust and oil, the consistency of the grounds becomes erratic; you’ll never know whether you’ll get coffee that’s too finely ground, or too “choppy.” And again, that has an effect on the quality of the coffee you make.
But thankfully, you can avoid all that by following a few simple steps – and it’s not difficult! With very little effort you can ensure your coffee grinder is clean and serving up consistent, flavourful coffee each and every time.
2) How to Clean Your Coffee Mill?
A lot of folks think that using good, old-fashioned water is the logical way to clean your coffee mill. It makes sense, right? It’s true that for mills made of ceramic, we recommend cleaning it with warm, sudsy water, using a mild soap or detergent. Use a sponge, wipe it down carefully, then let it air dry for about 24 hours and store it back in the cupboard or cabinet.
But for grinders made of other material, like stainless steel and cast iron, also the body material we suggest a different approach. It’s important to avoid letting the grinder get rusty, of course, so here are five different techniques you can try. See which one you like best, and then clean it as often as needed to give you that cup of great morning coffee.
A) A Brush: This is a great tool for using either daily, or even weekly if you’re pressed for time. Doing it daily ensures the grinder doesn’t get laden with oil residue and coffee dust to the point where the grinder no longer works to your satisfaction.
A good cleaning brush gets into every little corner of the grinder, and does a thorough job. You can buy a professional level cleaning brush on Amazon or even eBay.
But frankly, we don’t think you need to spend a lot of money on fancy tools to clean your grinder. Believe it or not, a good, stiff toothbrush is all you need to get the grinder truly clean. You can watch the video “How to Clean Manual Coffee Grinder” on YouTube.
B) A Bowling Ball: Another fast and simple way to clean your coffee mill is by using a blowing ball that has compressed air. I got this idea from one of my staff who was cleaning her keyboard this way, so I tried it on a coffee mill, and it works beautifully! The end result was much better than we anticipated.
C) Raw Rice: Grinding rice also helps remove rust and oils that can build up over time in your coffee mill. Just put 1/4 cup of rice in your blade grinder for about 60 seconds, or until the rice is thoroughly smashed. Once that happens, the oils and rust will cling to the rice. Just dump it out, and voila! A clean grinder!
D) Vacuum Cleaner: If you want to do a truly super cleaning of your coffee grinder, try using a vacuum cleaner; it gives an even deeper clean. This is a very effective method for cleaning an electric grinder, but be sure you’ve unplugged it first. Remove the hopper and any other parts necessary to access the burrs.
First, use a grinder brush to get out all the superficial dirt that’s built up on the inside. Then, use the hose attachment of your vacuum cleaner to get at any dirt that may have built up on the inside of your mill. It’s fast, easy, thorough and very effective!
Take Apart Your Grinder: Be sure to unplug it! Then, remove the hopper. We suggest that you wash it thoroughly with a mild soap or detergent, then let it sit to air dry after wiping off any surface moisture. Be sure it has completely dried before reattaching it!
Remove the upper burr. In most styles of mills, a simple twist is enough to detach the burr, and you needn’t remove the lower burr. Just give any part of it that looks a little dirty or grimy a wipe. Use your brush to get rid of all the dirt from both burrs, any oil and dust you can see and get at. If the brush can’t access certain spots, just grab a tooth pick or a thin, flexible wire and use it to get at narrow or small areas.
And remember: if you want an even deeper clean, use your vacuum hose. Then, once every part is clean and dry, put the grinder back together.
Do a cleaning cycle with 30 – 40 grams of coffee beans to get rid of any bits of cleaner left in the grinder.
3) How Often Should You Clean Your Coffee Grinder?
Many people think cleaning their coffee grinders regularly is not all that important, and they sometimes go years before doing so. Bad idea! Most grinders should be cleaned at least once a week; oils and residue build up quickly.
You can often judge whether it’s time by looking closely at your grinder. If it looks dirty, it probably is! We recommend cleaning it at least once a week. But wipe off any surface oils or dirt you notice in-between the weekly cleaning of your whole grinder.
Switching roasts make a cleaning an absolute must; otherwise, the oils from one bean will transfer to the next and give your coffee an odd, if not unpleasant flavor. But if you are using the same roast consistently, we recommend cleaning out those old oils and residue bits about at least once a week.
4) What Is The Difference Between A Blade And Burr Grinder?
Blade grinder looks a bit like a blender, as it has blades that whir and spin and chop up the coffee beans. Blade grinders are often far easier to clean. After you use it, simply give the blade and bowl a wipe with a paper towel or a soft cloth. As long as it’s absorbent, it will lift out most oil and coffee residue. If you want to do a deeper clean, just remember – you can always use your trusty vacuum hose! Check back to our section on how to do that.
Burr grinders are totally different than blade grinders, in burr grinders, coffee beans funnel down between two surfaces – the blades – and those turn and crush the coffee beans as they come through. You can change the setting so that all the coffee that “tumbles through” is the same size, which gives you a consistent grind. It’s best to clean a burr grinder every time you use it, preferably with a brush.
Many people don’t pay close enough attention to the state of their grinders, and only clean them occasionally.
But not surprisingly, ignoring the buildup of oil and coffee grime and residue is going to affect your cup of morning Joe! Tell your customer how to keeping their coffee grinder clean to ensure that their coffee always tastes good, clean and fresh. Whether you have a blade grinder or a burr grinder, maintaining it is important, taking the time to clean it thoroughly. You pay a lot for fresh beans, so be sure you’re getting the best flavor possible from them by taking good care of your coffee grinder, and keeping it clean!