Dec 04, 2023

How to Clean a Coffee Grinder

If you’ve taken Wirecutter's advice to invest in a good burr coffee grinder—most experts agree it's as important as good beans—you have to learn how to clean it.

Unfortunately, it's not as simple as brushing out the loose grinds every time you use it. I got a hands-on tutorial from Kaleena Teoh, the co-founder and director of education at Coffee Project New York. She told me that even when you use grinder cleaning tablets every week or two—per her recommendation—you still need to give your burrs a scrub once a month.

If you’re busy, you can let this deep-clean slide for a few weeks or so, she said, but it really depends on how dark a roast you brew. Roasted coffee beans are covered in aromatic oils and the darker the roast, the oilier the beans are. Those oils build up with powdered coffee and coat or even clog the burr and chambers of your grinder. Teoh—and most coffee experts—like to use the analogy of an artery and cholesterol.

Coffee oils can also go rancid or oxidize within a few months, and once you acquire those bad flavors, they literally stick around. (Teoh has a grinder purposefully used with rancid beans, and trust me, the smell was not subtle.)

Here's how to clean your coffee grinder so it gives you good-tasting, consistently ground coffee for decades. (Our top pick can technically last a lifetime, which is why it's our top pick.)

Give yourself at least an hour the first go-around. Going forward, it’ll probably take less than 30 minutes.

This article was edited by Amy Koplin, Brittney Ho, and Sofia Sokolove.

Rachel Wharton

Rachel Wharton is a senior staff writer at Wirecutter covering ovens, stoves, fridges and other essential kitchen appliances. She has more than 15 years of experience reporting on food issues and a master's degree in food studies, and has helped write more than a dozen books on that topic (including her own, American Food: A Not-So-Serious History). One of her first real gigs was reviewing kitchen gadgets in less than 50 words for the New York Daily News.

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