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Thread: Cleaning Grinder Produced Great Shots For a Month

  1. #1
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    Cleaning Grinder Produced Great Shots For a Month

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I have had a compak k3 grinder for about 2 years which as served me well. I cleaned it with Urnex Grindz Grinder Cleaner. For about a month after that, I got incredible shots off my Silvia....They had tiger stripes, molted look, and great creama. Different beans every week. They were aesthetically beautiful. But then after about a month the shots went back to what it was before(not that great). I am wondering, why did cleaning the grinder produce such good shots? And how would I make this consistant without spending the money on Urnex to clean the grinder every month? I only use it once a day for myself to give an idea on the use.

  2. #2
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Why cant you just clean it yourself? Pretty straight forward to remove and clean burrs, just remember the top burr carrier has an anti clockwise thread.

    Cheers
    Yelta likes this.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Artman is correct, a manual clean will be even more effective than using Grindz.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Artman is correct, a manual clean will be even more effective than using Grindz.

    Is there a tutorial to this? I am scared I will mess up the factory adjustments. Would I use a vacuum cleaner? How would I remove the coffee oil residue?

    Thanks,
    -Darin

  5. #5
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    Don't worry there aren't any factory settings so to speak, just a zero point (where the burrs touch).

    The K3 is a pretty easier grinder to clean. Remove the two portafilter holder rods, these are actually screws that hold in place the front plastic fascia. Next there is an hex screw on the adjustment collar, remove that. You should now be able to unscrew the upper burr set by turning the collar clockwise (coarse), it'll take a decent amount of time, there is a lot of thread.

    Then thats pretty much it, you now have access to the burrs and grind shute, just use a brush, or vacuum cleaner, i use an air compressor as it's lightning fast and hassle free (just remember to close your eyes). It's really just a fine cake of coffee oil, not hard to clean.

    Reassemble and away you go!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Autti View Post
    Don't worry there aren't any factory settings so to speak, just a zero point (where the burrs touch).

    The K3 is a pretty easier grinder to clean. Remove the two portafilter holder rods, these are actually screws that hold in place the front plastic fascia. Next there is an hex screw on the adjustment collar, remove that. You should now be able to unscrew the upper burr set by turning the collar clockwise (coarse), it'll take a decent amount of time, there is a lot of thread.

    Then thats pretty much it, you now have access to the burrs and grind shute, just use a brush, or vacuum cleaner, i use an air compressor as it's lightning fast and hassle free (just remember to close your eyes). It's really just a fine cake of coffee oil, not hard to clean.

    Reassemble and away you go!
    Thanks! What about removing the coffee oil residue on the burr set?

  7. #7
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    A) I would be guessing (without seeing and being able to check personally) that whatever happened in your system to reduce the quality of your shots so much a month after cleaning, had not much to do with the cleaning. The diff in the resulting wet coffee, between cleaning or not cleaning out one of these grinders, especially in home use, just cant be THAT significant.

    B) I dont encourage end users to dismantle the equipment unnecessarily or otherwise and

    C) If you want to "clean" the grinding chamber occasionally just run it out of beans and suck it out with a vaccum cleaner.

    D) What "oil residue" on the burr set (see below)?

    E) The best way to manage the grinder is to be logical in your approach. Dont use oily beans, dont allow oily beans to sit in the hopper indefinitely, dont allow any beans to sit in the hopper indifintely, place only enough beans in the hopper for the current "sitting"; run the beans out from time to time. Use a paint brush or similar to brush leftovers around and out of the inlet to the grinding chamber (bottom of the hopper, top of the grinder body), suck out with a vacuum cleaner from time to time.

    F) As an example. I use a large cafe sized grinder in my professional cupping set up. The above is all I do, but I do run the beans out all the time because I am always changing from origin to origin..... The grinding plates (burrs) on this grinder are exposed at the top (I could stick my finger in if I was Crazzzzzy) when you remove the hopper, and there is NO oil residue that can be discerned when managing my grinder in this way.

    G) "Cafe" (eatery with a coffee machine) grinders on the other hand may well need to be thrown into a bucket of acid (figuratively speaking please) from time to time, because they are not well managed (understatement of the century) and beans are left to sit forever in the hopper and inlet. But that should not be the modus operandi of anyone participating in this site.

    Hope that helps,
    Attilio
    very first CS site sponsor

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fresh_Coffee View Post
    "Cafe" (eatery with a coffee machine) grinders on the other hand may well need to be thrown into a bucket of acid (figuratively speaking please) from time to time, because they are not well managed (understatement of the century) and beans are left to sit forever in the hopper and inlet. But that should not be the modus operandi of anyone participating in this site.
    One clear indication that a cafe cares and understands about looking after their equipment and hopefully making good coffee as a result is when they limit the quantity of beans kept in the hopper, they don't keep the doser full of ground coffee but only grind as they need it, and near the end of the day they shut off the hopper 'gate' so when they get to closing time there are no beans in the burrs and very little grounds in the doser. Ideally they then empty the hopper into a suitable sealed container and dump the unused grounds. But unfortunately I see a lot of cafes that actually top up their hoppers at the end of the day, and leave the doser chock full of grounds all the time.
    Because we have a lot of machines and grinders in storage (some are ours, some belong to the several coffee companies we work for) I have seen what happens to a grinder that has not been cleaned out before putting in storage. The grounds absorb moisture from the air, and after several months turn into coffee-coloured cement that takes a lot of work to clean out properly, and often leaves the burrs rusty afterwards. But if you take a few minutes to dump out any beans in the hopper, grind out what is left between the burrs, empty the doser and use a quick puff of compressed air to dislodge any remaining grounds, the grinder can sit on the shelf for a year if necessary and be ready to go at a moment's notice after dusting it off.

  9. #9
    Senior Member CafeLotta's Avatar
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    A build up of grinds inside the grinding chamber can restrict the path out of the chamber into the chute and cause grinds to be in the chamber longer than they should be. This may cause inconsistent grind size and possibly heating of the grinds thereby affecting the quality of the brew. I have just had this same situation with a different brand grinder we also own. Dramatic change in quality once the restriction was cleared.

    The K3 has a small plastic V shaped clump breaker installed at the cutout of the grind chamber that feeds grinds to the chute. The 2 fingers of the V should be pointing down the chute but either way seems to be an area that can collect grinds.

    I purchased a used Wega mini-instant 5.8 which is supposed to be a rebadged Compak K3.

    When I dismantled it for cleaning before use there a couple surprises. I suspect the original owner had shoved a brush up the chute to dislodge trapped grinds and in doing so had unwittingly pushed these 2 little fingers in towards the grinding chamber. When the burrs turned they pushed the fingers back towards the chute but left an obstruction to grinds entering the chute which now had a very small opening as well.

    The result was a build-up of old grinds in the grind chamber as well as poor grinding performance I would say. It really stank of stale coffee. The worst of this was a ring of hard caked on grinds on the side walls and to a lesser extent the bottom of the grind chamber. When removed there was substantial pitting under where the caked on grind build up had been.

    I'd suggest these grinders need a regular cleaning regiment. The best way is to remove the top burr/carrier for cleaning access as per the manual, if you're comfortable doing this.
    The plastic clump breaker should be checked to ensure it isn't causing an issue if caked-up or inadvertently pointing the wrong way.
    The manual does say not to adjust the grind collar unless the grinder is on otherwise clogging may result.

  10. #10
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    Certainly, partially blocked grinding chambers will create havoc on the grinds, and fully blocked grinding chambers can and will damage the grinder itself. But I would like to mention your experience is a great example of forum influenced self fulfilling prophesy.

    Client buys grinder. Gets on a forum. Forum "research" leads him to go crazy keeping it "clean" for fear of ending up drinking "rancid coffee oils", pokes things into where they shouldnt go, disassembles, puts "rice" through, removes or replaces grinding burrs, etc etc etc. Client does this and causes himself (in your unfortunate case the subsequent owner) some problem that wouldnt otherwise (and shouldnt) have occured.

    A well looked after grinder of this type, in home use, with minimal cleaning not involving disassembly or removing the top plate mount, or poking things into places where they shouldnt go, will *seldom* require any form of service or disassembly, and the grinding plates will usually see the owner out.

    Hope that helps.

  11. #11
    Senior Member CafeLotta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fresh_Coffee View Post
    Certainly, partially blocked grinding chambers will create havoc on the grinds, and fully blocked grinding chambers can and will damage the grinder itself. But I would like to mention your experience is a great example of forum influenced self fulfilling prophesy.

    Client buys grinder. Gets on a forum. Forum "research" leads him to go crazy keeping it "clean" for fear of ending up drinking "rancid coffee oils", pokes things into where they shouldnt go, disassembles, puts "rice" through, removes or replaces grinding burrs, etc etc etc. Client does this and causes himself (in your unfortunate case the subsequent owner) some problem that wouldnt otherwise (and shouldnt) have occured.

    A well looked after grinder of this type, in home use, with minimal cleaning not involving disassembly or removing the top plate mount, or poking things into places where they shouldnt go, will *seldom* require any form of service or disassembly, and the grinding plates will usually see the owner out.

    Hope that helps.
    I totally agree about not poking items into the grinder carelessly in an effort to clean it and am not a fan of putting anything other than coffee beans through it.

    With the K3 I have even seen photos in a review (see below) where these seems to be a ring of grinds left on the sidewalls. I can't see how this can be spotted or easily removed without pulling off the top burr carrier which the manual gives directions on how to do. The little plastic clump breaker can't be inspected properly without doing this either.

    compak k3 residue.jpg

    I agree if people don't follow instructions correctly or are not capable of following them, there could be issues. The person I bought it from doesn't appear to have opened it up to clean in the 1 1/2 years they owned it and probably weren't warned about shoving something too far up the chute to dislodge built up grinds. Once you are aware of this you can avoid the problem. If you roast your own and occassionaly use dark roasts with oilier beans as we do, I think a regular thorough clean is essential.

    I won't foget the smell of rancid coffee in the used grinder I bought for quite some time. It really took your breath away and almost cost me my lunch!



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