Guide to seasoning your grinder and burrs

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
chaosrex

#1: Post by chaosrex »

I can't find one. What seasoning should I use? Salt, pepper, some good steak seasoning mixes?

I kid but really, I have a general idea of what burr seasoning is, run coffee (not spices) thru the grinder to work whatever magic that does, coats the burrs with coffee and oil and wears down the imperfections. But I've yet to really see a real guide on what one might actually do.

What coffee should I use for this? Should I go to a big box store and just buy the cheapest coffee beans and run those thru? Is there some places I can go and beg for stale coffee beans. Not sure if ya'll noticed but coffee ain't cheap.

Does the roast matter?

Do the burr styles (flat vs. conical) season differently?

How much coffee should we actually be running thru? I hear various amounts, 1 lbs, vs 15 kg.

Do the different materials require different amounts, different roasts etc?

I have my 2nd electric grinder coming soon and I want to get it setup as best I can but don't really have the answers to the questions above and would love some direction here. I did search thru the FAQs and How-Tos but grinder seasoning doesn't seem to come up as it's own topic.

N714

#2: Post by N714 »

It depends on the burr material and the coating of the burr. Some requires much more than the other

I think if your grinder produce great coffee you should just use it as is and see how it improves over time.

emradguy

#3: Post by emradguy »

First off, it's not required. Many of us do it when purchasing a new grinder or installing new burrs in an old grinder, but it's a choice. From a functional standpoint, you're simply decreasing the grind setting drift you'd see if you didn't do this. In other words, if you choose to not season your burrs, you'll be making adjustments to grind setting more frequently than if you do...until the burrs are "seasoned".

I personally, would recommend seeing if a local roaster has some unsellable beans laying around they'd give you for this purpose. If not, you'll have to make a purchase. Even though part of the process is coating the burrs with coffee oils, I'd avoid anything super oily. Likewise, I'd avoid anything with added flavoring, such as almond, vanilla, cinnamon, hazelnut, etc. Maybe it doesn't matter, but I personally prefer to find the cheapest and freshest medium roast beans I can. I figure, if the beans are rank, I don't want them in my grinder at all, even if I'm just going to toss the output in my garden. But, alas, I actually repackaged them and gave them to our cleaning lady. She was very happy! Last time, I picked up a couple of 1kg bags of medium roast Honduran beans from Costco. They actually weren't all that horrible, and didn't cost me an arm and a leg. The time before, I found some cheap medium roast beans at Target that had a far future sell by date.

Depending on how much seasoning you're going to do, you want to do the first part of it at a coarse grind setting, and gradually work your way down into the fine range. I don't think you need to get all the way into espresso grind, maybe stop around Moka pot. The finer you go, the longer it will take. Also, don't overheat your motor. If you've been at it 5 to 10 minutes (depending on the grinder), give the grinder a break and let it cool down.

chaosrex (original poster)

#4: Post by chaosrex (original poster) »

I appreciate the info. Much more detailed than what I'd found elsewhere. Thank you.