As mentioned before, grinding fresh beans every time that you brew coffee is essential for brewing a great cup of coffee. With that said, cleaning your coffee grinder is an extremely important task. A grinder that is used daily should be cleaned at least once a month. Not cleaning a grinder can affect the consistency of the grind, and it can significantly stale and degrade the flavor of freshly ground coffee. Now, this cleaning process can be used on pretty much any burr grinder, but since I use a Baratza Encore, that is what I will specifically be talking about.
What You Will Need:
- Baratza Encore (or another burr grinder)
- Full Circle Coffee Grinder Cleaning Tablets (30-35 grams)
- Coffee Beans (30 grams)
- Washcloth, Soap, and Water
Step 1: Measure Cleaning Tablets and Pour into Hopper. The recommended amount of Full Circle Cleaning Tablets is 1 cap-full, or 30-35 grams. As I want the tablets to last awhile, and it seems to do the job, I use 30 grams. While a scale is not completely necessary for this process, they are extremely beneficial for brewing coffee, as mentioned in an earlier post, and also provide at least some consistency when cleaning. Anyway, after making sure that the grinder hopper is completely empty, pour the correct amount of cleaning tablets into the hopper.
Step 2: Grind Cleaning Tablets. Before grinding any of it, make sure that the grind setting is set to 30, as recommended by Baratza. Then, with the hopper lid on top and the grounds bin in place, use the pulse-grind button to grind all of the cleaning tablets. In my opinion, pulse grinding seems to let the tablets settle a bit, soaking up more of the leftover coffee oils. Make sure that you grind all of the cleaning tablets.
Step 3: Grind Coffee Beans. Although the leftover dust from the cleaning tablets is not harmful, according to the Full Circle bottle, it is helpful to grind about 30 grams of coffee beans to remove any of the leftover pieces of the cleaning tablets.
Step 4: Discard Ground Cleaning Tablets and Ground Coffee. That pretty much says it all. Remove the grounds bin and discard the grounds.
Step 5: Wash Grinder Parts. After grinding the cleaning tablets and the coffee beans, I like to hand wash the hopper, including the lid, the grounds bin, and the silicon seal. This not only removes the leftover cleaning tablet dust, but it also removes any old coffee oils or fines that get stuck in them. Be sure that all of the pieces are dry before putting the grinder back together.
Optional: If you have a lot of oil buildup on your burrs, it may take more than a cap-full of cleaning tablets. Personally, I use a stiff brush (my Baratza came with one, though something like a toothbrush would work pretty well for this) to remove heavy oil buildup. Make sure to remove the “Removable Ring Burr” for better access to the “Center Cone Burr.” Honestly, not because I need to, but because I am a perfectionist, I use a brush and a dry cloth nearly every time that I clean my grinder.
Honestly, if you do not want to fork over money for cleaning tablets, simply using a brush and a dry cloth will do a great job. Cleaning tablets, though, not only remove the oils, but they allow for a very quick cleaning.
Here is a before-and-after picture of the last time that I cleaning my grinder: