Your coffee grinder has been functioning perfectly for months, grinding your beans precisely, consistently and efficiently for well-balanced coffees or espressos. All of a sudden, it has stopped dead in its tracks. We often field the call where the customer reports that their grinder's motor is running, but it’s no longer dispensing any coffee into the burr chamber. Or their coffee beans aren’t feeding down into the burrs. The likely issue is that your grinder is jammed. Not to panic - this is actually a fairly common troubleshooting issue we run into.
YOUR GRINDER IS PROBABLY NOT BROKEN
A coffee grinder generally stops working because it’s clogged with coffee grounds, not because it’s broken. Not surprisingly, a grinder’s job is to break down whole coffee beans into smaller particles, which can get stuck in both the lower and upper burrs, which are the steel, titanium or ceramic mechanisms that grind the beans, as well as other difficult-to-reach places in the machine. But even if those particles don’t ruin a machine initially, you’ll eventually start hearing a harsh whirling sound coming from the grinder – this can mean a broken part or even a dead motor.
THERE’S MORE THAN ONE WAY A GRINDER CAN BECOME CLOGGED
When a grinder is jammed, generally the motor won’t be able to spin the burrs to grind the beans. It often results in a "humming” sound. This can happen for a couple of reasons:
- Coffee oils and debris can easily build up in the burrs if they have been left to collect over time
- The burr chamber can become jammed if the burrs are set too fine for the grinder to force the beans through the machine
- By holding the portafilter too close to the discharge chute, the peak of the pile of coffee grounds can become lodged in the chute opening and cause a blockage
GRINDER CLEANING IS SIMPLE - FOLLOW THESE STEPS
- Turn it off and unplug it.
- Remove the hopper and grind chamber. Wipe these out with a lint-free cloth or coffee filter to remove any coffee dust and oil buildup. (Don’t use a paper towel, as it will leave lint.) If there is stubborn oil residue, you can clean these components with mild soap and warm water. Make sure to immediately rinse them so soap flavors don’t contaminate them, and fully dry them so they don’t get the burrs or motor wet, which could cause corrosion.
- Remove the outer burr by gently twisting it until it lifts out of the grinder. Leave the inner burr in place, as it’s much more difficult to remove.
- Clean both burrs, as well as the chute of all coffee particles, dust, and oils. Any place you can see or reach should be cleaned. A vacuum, compressed air, toothpick, brush, and lint-free cloth can all be helpful with this step. (Make sure not to vacuum up or lose any loose screws)
- Reassemble your coffee grinder.
- Grind 10 to 20 grams of coffee.
GENERAL GRINDER CLEANING SCHEDULE
- Dust-Off Excess Grounds: Every Day
- Wipe Out the Hopper and Grind Chamber: Every 1 to 2 weeks
- Deep Clean: Every 3 to 6 months