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What to Do When Your Espresso Grinder is Jammed

Your espresso grinder works hard day in and day out to grind whole beans into the fine grounds that are necessary to make flavorful espresso beverages. The coffee grinder is an essential tool for baristas, which is why it can be heart-stopping when it suddenly stops working. Before your team panics, stop to evaluate the issue. More often than not, what may seem like a broken product is just a jam that can be easily fixed. The first step is to invest in a high quality grinder–and we have plenty of them at Voltage Coffee Supply. Regardless of which model you have, here’s some insight into why clogs happen and what you can to do to fix and prevent them: 

Why Do Clogs Occur in Espresso Grinders? 

If you hear that the motor in your espresso grinder is running but it’s unable to dispense coffee into the burr chamber, that’s a solid indication that it’s just clogged and not broken. There are several reasons clogs occur, including: 

  • Coffee grounds in the burrs causing the clog. Since the espresso grinder’s job is to turn whole beans into much smaller particles, these pieces sometimes build up or get lodged in the upper or lower burrs (the metal or ceramic parts that grind the beans). 
  • The portafilter is too close to the discharge chute. When the portafilter is held too close to the discharge chute, it’s easy for the coffee grounds to cause a blockage in the chute opening. 
  • The burrs are set too fine. If this is the case, the burrs will be unable to push the beans through the machine. 

How to Fix a Jam

Once you’ve determined that a jam is likely, you can take the following steps to remedy the issue and help prevent future clogs. For a visual step-by-step guide, check out this video. 

  • Power down the machine and unplug it. 
  • Remove the grind chamber and hopper. With a lint-free cloth, carefully wipe away coffee dust and/or oil buildup. If oil residue is significant, use warm water and mild soap to remove the buildup. Be sure to rinse and dry them immediately to avoid leaving behind a soapy flavor or corrosion. 
  • Take the outer burr out of the machine, leaving the inner burr in place. Then, clean both burrs and the chute (as well as any other areas you can reach). A can of compressed air, toothpick, or small brush are helpful tools to include in this step.
  • Reassemble the machine and grind 10-20 grams of coffee as a test. 

Regular cleaning and maintenance are essential for keeping your machine working its best. If a jam does occur, the guidelines outlined here will help your team quickly resolve the issue. Although cleaning is important, a high-quality espresso grinder is an asset that’s well worth the investment. If you’re on the hunt for a great product, we carry a plethora of options. From new and innovative grinders like the Mahlkonig E80 Supreme Espresso Grinder to classics like the Mazzer Super Jolly Electronic Espresso Grinder, we’ve got it all at Voltage Coffee Supply and are happy to work with you to find the best fit. When you’re ready to learn more, please contact our team.

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