Welcome back coffee lovers!
This month I am going to be talking about grinder maintenance. This is a topic that I find a lot of coffee shops ignore due to a lack of training or pure neglect. I will be going through the key aspects and what to look out for to keep that grinder running efficiently.
As you would have seen, there is an array of grinders on the market today. Pop into your local café and you may see several on their counter, which are all used for different tasks. Typically, the most common grinder will be the espresso grinder, which is the workhorse of them all and this will need constant maintenance to upkeep consistency and prevent any unwanted breakdowns.
At Artisan our espresso grinder is the Simonelli Mythos 1, an absolute beast of a grinder. Ours works day in and day out with no trouble at all, provided that we follow the maintenance schedule. So, what needs to be done to keep your grinder running efficiently? Let’s break it down:
Cleaning the burrs: Burrs come in a variety of metals, coatings as well as different sizes. Effectively they all do a very similar job, which is to break down the whole beans into a uniform size, which will enable the coffee particles to dissolve at an even rate. Because espresso is a fine grind, this causes the coffee particles to clump up, often around the burrs and the distribution shoot (the bit where ground coffee falls out). When this happens then problems start to occur, this could be anything from coffee spraying everywhere to the grinder overheating. Once a week the burrs should be opened, cleaned and re-seated, this will prevent any of those annoying situations.
Removing the base plate: Now due to the unique build of each grinder they all work slightly different but one to keep an eye on is to keep the base plate clean. The moving burr sits on the base plate, which rotates to grind the coffee and usually those small fines end up behind there. This eventually builds up into a super hard cake and causes friction, which results in the grinder having to work harder which often leads to overheating or machine failure. This should be done every 2-3 months depending on how busy your shop is. Simply remove the plate, clean with a brush, wipe down and replace. Once this has been done your grinder will run as if it was new!
Burr Replacement: Every manufacturer will have a specific ‘lifetime’ for the burrs, which is usually calculated in Kgs / Lbs. This can easily be calculated by looking at your monthly coffee consumption and then referring to your manufacturer’s guidelines. I always check the condition of the burrs when opening the grinder on a weekly basis. It is always a good habit to look out for any chips or damage as this can easily happen. I also run my finger around the burr in a circular direction to feel if the burr is still sharp. If the burr feels ‘dull’ or ‘rounded’ there it is recommended to replace the set. There are super easy to replace, which can be done by removing three screws, it’s as simple as that.
There are a lot of videos of YouTube as well as forums that have a load of information on how to strip and maintain specific grinders. By following these steps, you will improve your grinders efficiency as well as improve the flavour of your coffee.
Until next month.