Coffee Grinder Service & Repair
Two important, often neglected, requirements for good espresso are a quality grinder and soft, good tasting water. Let’s discuss the grinder.
The coffee making process consists of moving water through ground coffee, you should pay close attention to those two items. Regardless of how much money you spend on an espresso machine, using improperly ground coffee and/or bad tasting water will produce lousy tasting coffee.
A grinder’s sole function is to produce consistently sized grounds. Without that consistently sized ground, your high dollar coffee machine will never make a great cup of coffee. There are numerous, quality commercial and home grinders that produce great coffee grounds. However, you won’t find a good, new, commercial grinder for $150 or a good, new, home grinder for $25.
Once you’ve adjusted your quality grinder to produce the grounds which best suit your coffee, don’t assume that setting will never change. You will find that humidity effects your espresso shot time. Higher humidity usually requires a little finer grind, while lower humidity may require a slightly coarser grind.
The grinder burrs are what actually cut the bean and they have a finite lifespan; as the burrs wear, you must adjust the grind setting to maintain the same grind. Depending upon several variables [cutting area (i.e. 58mm, 63mm, 71mm), shape (flat or conical), and the manufacturing material (steel or ceramic)], burrs will grind anywhere from 600 to 40,000 lbs of beans before requiring replacement. Check the manufacturer’s literature to find your model’s burr rating.
Here are the manufacturers’ recommended burr ratings for some of the more popular commercial grinders:
|Manufacturer||Model||Burr Size Flat (F) or Conical (C)||Burr Life (in lbs of coffee)|
|Bunn||Entire G Series||40,000|
|La Marzocco||Swift||64mm F||3,300|
|Mini E||64mm F||880|
|Super Jolly||64mm F||880|
Some recommended grinder do’s and dont’s:
- Particularly for home machines, do not let the same beans sit in the bean hopper for several hours or even worse, overnight. Besides adversely affecting the bean taste, bean oil will coat the inside of your hopper and burrs. Oil covered burrs are dull and will not grind properly.
- For commercial shops, disassemble the bean hopper, adjustment ring and top burr at least weekly. Wipe the bean oil from the bean hopper (do not use a scratch pad as it will permentantly damage the hopper), clean the burrs and the area surrounding the bottom burr.
- Clean the burrs before grinding a different type of bean. Don’t forget to remove the previous bean grinds from the coffee chute (the area underneath the burrs to where the grounds emerge) and doser. It’s hard to evaluate a new roast if the grounds contain remnants of the previous bean.
- When cleaning your burrs, lightly run your thumb against the sharpened edges. If the burrs are sharp, they should grab your thumb; as the burrs dull, they will feel smoother.
- Look at your coffee grinds periodically. If the burrs are sharp, the grinds will be the same size. Dull burrs tend to smash the coffee grounds; ensure the grinds don’t smell burnt.
- Always replace burrs in pairs.
- If you use flavored beans, the flavor oils tend to remain in the grinder long after the bean is gone. A thorough grinder cleaning is the only way to prevent your expensive light roast from tasting a lot like your daughter’s hazelnut flavored bean.
- For the best flavor, use your coffee within 10 minutes of grinding.
If you really want some detailed information regarding grinder burrs, read Nuova Ricambi USA’s Chase Lemos’ informative article.
We service grinders.
Espresso Enterprises can repair, refurbish, and maintain most popular makes of commercial coffee bean grinders. Our technicians are available for repair service and/or scheduled routine preventative maintenance.
Your coffee grinder is a vital piece of equipment— it’s important to keep the burrs sharp and well maintained.