How (not) to clean the burrs

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
millmountain
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#1: Post by millmountain »

Cleaned the Niche Zero today after about 3-4 kg and absent-mindedly took it to the sink and used soap and water. Then a niggling in the back of mind mind said, "Uh, wait. Why was it I've never done this before?" Too late, so I did a quick search and the first explanations were that the burrs rust very easily and are "a nightmare" to dry properly.

I toweled it off and figured water might have penetrated a bit into the screws and metal-plastic edges, so I took the hair dryer to it and then put it in the oven at 60°C (140°F) for a little over half an hour. (In the lab we typically dry things at 80°C for 1 hour, but I don't know the polymer type and wanted to avoid any degradation.)

Next time I will remember just to use a toothbrush and paper towels, but are there any other reasons not to use soap and water? I started grinding again already; is there still something else I could do? First person to say, "Spray it down with WD-40!" gets an award...

NicoNYC

#2: Post by NicoNYC »

I wouldn't worry too much about having done damage. In fact, I bet the coffee you ground afterwards soaked up any traces of water in the burr teeth, and applied a light sheen of coffee oils to the surfaces. Most everything else in the grinder is aluminum or plastic. The only spot I'd be maybe concerned about is where the gearbox shaft meets the inner burr - water could get trapped in there and surface rust might bind the burr to the shaft? But that's really worst-case speculation.

Did you pull the burrs out to clean? It's pretty easy to take them out (you can leave the top burr screwed to its carrier) and get into the teeth with a toothbrush, get a little brush down the exit chute and into the corners of the grinding chamber. There was a whole thread where people debated the merits of cleaning vs. not, and how often.

If you wanted to clean the burrs w/ soap and water while they're out, it's overkill but sure. Maybe if you accidentally ground some flavored beans or something? When I sharpen woodworking tools (all high-carbon tool steel) they get wet (sharpening on a waterstone, or dipped in water to cool them if I'm using a grinder) and promptly dried (w/ no oil or wax or anything applied after).
LMWDP #718

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Randy G.

#3: Post by Randy G. »

WHAT!?!?

Let me repeat..

WHAT!!??
You took an electrical appliance and cleaned it with soap and water? Not with a damp rag, so with some sort of household cleaning product for surfaces, but with enough water that it got inside the roaster?
I am shocked. Glad you were not. Sounds like you unplugged it first at least.

EDIT:
- addendum - Did anyone else do what I did? Read the post, thought 'troll,' then looked over to see if the "POSTS:" value was 1 or 2?
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jpender

#4: Post by jpender »

I was thinking it was just the burrs. Did you really stick the whole grinder into the sink and then into the oven?

Probably it's okay but it was probably okay before you did anything.

malling

#5: Post by malling »

Randy G. wrote:WHAT!?!?

Let me repeat..

WHAT!!??
You took an electrical appliance and cleaned it with soap and water? Not with a damp rag, so with some sort of household cleaning product for surfaces, but with enough water that it got inside the roaster?
I am shocked. Glad you were not. Sounds like you unplugged it first at least.

EDIT:
- addendum - Did anyone else do what I did? Read the post, thought 'troll,' then looked over to see if the "POSTS:" value was 1 or 2?
:lol:

I think op means the burrs unless op put the grinder in the oven :lol:

txxt
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#6: Post by txxt » replying to malling »

The OP says "it" implying they're putting the whole thing into the sink and then the oven.

I think this is the first time I've maybe felt it appropriate to post a response of just "lol" on HB and then leave it at that. However I will add that I'm surprised the grinder wasn't damaged.

lomolta

#7: Post by lomolta »

Haha same. Just LOL.

@OP, was it only the burrs or the whole damn grinder in the sink?

thoang77

#8: Post by thoang77 »

malling wrote: I think op means the burrs unless op put the grinder in the oven :lol:
I too thought it was just the burrs until I re-read it and they said they were concerned about the screws and metal-plastic edges, which just the burrs don't have... so I'm not really sure what I believe it was. I wonder if they've ever washed their toaster

millmountain (original poster)
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#9: Post by millmountain (original poster) »

:lol:

I should rename this thread "Trouble with pronouns." Glad it was entertaining.

I did reread before posting, but missed specifying the "it," which grammatically refers to the whole grinder, but in my mind referred only to the lower burr. So I only washed the lower burr with soap and water. It does have screws and a plastic part attached.
NicoNYC wrote:There was a whole thread where people debated the merits of cleaning vs. not, and how often.
If it's the one I'm thinking of, I posted there that I enjoy cleaning the Niche, when I can make time for it. It takes me much longer than others, apparently, because I'm careful... except when I start to wash parts with soap?

Thanks for the replies.

malling

#10: Post by malling »

millmountain wrote::lol:

I should rename this thread "Trouble with pronouns." Glad it was entertaining.

I did reread before posting, but missed specifying the "it," which grammatically refers to the whole grinder, but in my mind referred only to the lower burr. So I only washed the lower burr with soap and water. It does have screws and a plastic part attached.


If it's the one I'm thinking of, I posted there that I enjoy cleaning the Niche, when I can make time for it. It takes me much longer than others, apparently, because I'm careful... except when I start to wash parts with soap?

Thanks for the replies.
What I thought, you wouldn't damage the burrs by washing them en soapy water, there is in fact one who advised for such practices and found that with washing them occasionally he found the taste cleaner and with higher extraction. Personally I don't do it as I find it pointless, a good brushing and some none abrasive cloths do the trick.

You probably right you would not harm them by putting them in the oven at low 60-80c temp. Many burrs has part of their manufacturing seen both much higher or much lower temperatures, for example the Diamond inside see -193 degrees Celsius, so I honestly would not be worried about it.