If you have started noticing that the quality of your coffee has been going down the hill, characterized by a significant change in flavor, then it may be time to check your coffee grinder. So, what does the grinder have to do with the quality of the coffee? Well, everything. With continuous use of the grinder, the blades slowly begin to change and their efficiency is demanding.
Do coffee grinder blades get dull? Yes, they do. As mentioned, the coffee grinder begins to experience changes. One of the changes is that the blades became dull. Ideally, the change is slow and gradual but you can pick it from the weird taste of your coffee. Dull blades cannot properly grind the coffee beans, therefore, hindering the experience of all the coffee flavors and oils. The result oddly tastes coffee. The solution to dull blades is either replacement or sharpening of the blades.
Keep reading to find out more about signs of a dull coffee blade, how to sharpen dull coffee blades, how to clean your coffee grinder, tips for maintaining your coffee grinder, the difference between coffee burrs and coffee blades and other coffee grinder related questions.
Signs of a Dull Coffee Blade
As mentioned above coffee blades get blunt with time. This is fuelled by the fact that in the process of grinding, coffee beans may be mixed with small rocks and hard objects that are difficult to grind and make the blades dull. So how can you tell your coffee blade is blunt or dull?
- Feel the Edges of the Blades
The easiest way to tell if the coffee grinder blades are dull is to run your finger through the edge of the blades. Be gentle when running your fingers to avoid any accidents. If the blades are not dull yet, they will feel sharp with defined edges.
- Having to Grind to Finer Texture
Ideally, coffee blades tend to produce fine coffee grounds. This can be attributed to how fast the blades move. In fact, for beginners, it may be difficult to control how the coffee blades work resulting in extremely fine coffee grounds.
However, when the blades become dull, they lose their precision and sharpness. As such, the grounds produced are course, creating the need to have to grind the coffee to be fine.
- Grounds Produced in Clumps
When the blades start to get dull, the grounds are produced in clumps. Note that this clumping does not affect the flavor, taste, or quality of your coffee. It, however, can be taken as an early sign that the coffee blades are becoming dull.
Another sign that your coffee grinder blades could use some sharpening is the inconsistency in the grounds. When the blades are dull, their sharpness is compromised. As such, the blades do more of crashing he coffee beans than slicing them resulting in grounds of all sizes.
Therefore, if you notice that the grounds are everywhere in terms of size, you may want to sharpen or replace your coffee blades.
How to Sharpen Coffee Grinder Blades?
Now that you can tell if your coffee grinder blades are dull, what is the next step? For starters, you could sharpen the blades or even replace them if the damage is extreme. The following is a simple guide to sharpening your coffee grinder blades
Step1: Pour some rice into your coffee grinder
Step 2: Grind the rice for about one minute just like you would do with the coffee beans
Step 3: Discard the grounded rice
Step4: Unplug the coffee grinder
Step 5: Use a damp cloth to wipe the coffee blades then dry them using a dry cloth.
How to Clean Your Coffee Grinder
Coffee contains oils, flavor, and other components. It is normal for traces of this content to be left behind in the coffee grinder. With time, the traces of oil and flavor become stale and affect the taste of your newly grounded coffee. This necessitates the need for cleaning your coffee grinder regularly. That said, the process of cleaning your coffee grinder is the same process of sharpening your coffee grinder blades.
This is where the rice comes in; when you grind the rice in the grinder the starch in the rice will absorb the oils left behind. Ones you are done grinding, you can use a soft brush like this to wipe off the remaining residue. Alternatively, you can use bread instead of rice.
Tips of Maintaining your Coffee Grinder
Other than sharpening and cleaning your coffee grinder, the following are other maintenance tips you could use to extend the life of your coffee grinder and blades
- Do not grind spices in the coffee grinder
It is common to use coffee grinders to grind spices. This does not make it right, especially for coffee junkies. The thing is the oils that give the spices their definite aroma remain in the coffee grinder. When next you are grinding your coffee, the spice’s aroma contaminates the coffee beans and you end up with a weird taste in your coffee. Therefore, if you are serious about cooking, invest in a mill to grind your spices and a coffee grinder for exclusively grinding coffee beans.
- Do not grind non-coffee objects
As mentioned before, other objects can find their way into your coffee beans. These objects can sometimes be hard to grind. So to be safe, make sure you inspect your coffee beans before grinding them.
Other than foreign objects, look out for grinding unroasted coffee beans. The only thing you should be grinding is whole roasted coffee beans.
- Invest in high-grade Coffee Beans
As we started, we mentioned that one of the quickest ways to notice that the coffee grinder blades are dull is through a change in the flavor of your coffee. This may not be the case if you tend to use low-grade coffee beans.
Low-grade beans are harvested from farms that do not pick evenly ripe cherries. Therefore, since the coffee beans are not even in terms of weight and density when they are grounded, they tend to have a significant variation in one ground. With this, you can hardly tell if the issue is in the dullness of the blades or the low-grade beans.
- Use the Coffee Grinder in upright Position
When grinding make sure the coffee grinder is upright and not in angle. If you use your grinder when in angle, you exert different pressure in the blade. As such, the blades wear out differently resulting in inconsistency in your coffee grounds.
Difference between Burrs Coffee Grinder and Blade Coffee Grinders
We have discussed blade coffee grinders at length. So is there a difference between the blades and burr coffee grinders? Yes, there is a difference
To start, burrs are made of ceramic or stainless steel, which explains why they have a longer life as compared to coffee blades. Also, due to the material used, the heat produced by burrs does not alter the taste or flavor of the coffee grounds while the heat produced by the coffee blades alters the original taste of the coffee.
Second, coffee burrs tend to produce uniformly grounded coffee grounds. The uniform grounds extract at the same time reducing a balanced brew and in turn, spoiling the best coffee experience. Coffee blades on the other side produce grounds of all shape and size. Their precision cannot be compared to that of burrs. Therefore, coffee grounds from blades is bound to be unbalanced and not one of the best experience.
Another difference is that burrs allow you to adjust to the texture of coffee grounds you are looking to achieve. However, when using coffee blades this not an option. In fact, due to the speed of the bales sometimes you may have no control over how fine the grinds end up.
What is the best grinder for coarse grounds?
If you are looking for coarse grounds of coffee, use a burr and not coffee blades. Burrs have serrated plates which will help in crushing the beans to precision. Besides, a burr is best for this work since you can adjust it o the texture you want.
On the other hand, when using coffee blades you will have to constantly pause it to feel the texture of coffee which can be a tad of work. Even with all this work, course grounds are not guaranteed, you may end up with fine grounds. So, be safe than sorry and go for the coffee burr grinder
Related Article: HOW MUCH DOES A GOOD COFFEE GRINDER COST?
Can I clean my coffee grinder without rice?
Yes you can, this is the traditional way of cleaning your coffee grinder
Step 1: Unplug the coffee grinder
Step 2: Dismantle the grinder. The removable parts of the grinder are dishwasher safe. You can place them in the top-rack if the dishwasher. Besides, if you do not have a dishwasher, you can clean these parts using warm water and soap.
Step 3: Using a soft brush or cloth, remove the coffee grounds particles from the blades of the grinder and the lid.
Step 4: Once you are done, use a damp cloth to wipe the coffee blades.
Step5: Dry the coffee grinder completely before placing back the lid
Step 6: The last step is to clean the base of the grinder. Do not put the grinder in water since it is an electrical appliance. Use a damp cloth to wipe it.
Is a dull Coffee grinder Blade Final?
No, if your coffee grinder blades are already dull and you do not have time to sharpen them, you can use the following techniques to brew a decent cup of coffee.
- To get the full profile of the coffee, grind the beans immediately before brewing.
- When grinding press the lid tightly to the body of the grinder.
- Use short bursts each lasting only a few seconds. This prevents the coffee from burning.
- Stop to fill the texture if your grounds.
- If you want course grounds you could grind for about 7-10 seconds and 10-15 seconds for medium grounds