I've been working as a barista and coffee roaster for a while now and thought I'd pass on a helpful tip for seasoning new grinder burrs. Wearing new blades can be a real pain in the arse, more so in a domestic setting, needing you to pass 5-25kg of coffee through depending on blade type (my experience is mostly with mazzer grinders).
The trick we used as was passed onto us from our machine mechanic was uncooked rice. Being harder yet still grind-able seasons those blades much faster. we would use 4-5kg for a robur, 2-3kg for a major or a kony and 1-2kg for a SJ or a mini. adjust the grind a few notches courser than usual and give them a good clean afterwards.
hope that helps
From what I've read elsewhere uncooked rice is significantly harder than roasted coffee and is not good for your burrs. If you are seasoning a commercial grade grinder it may work as described above. Putting uncooked rice through a domestic grinder is asking for trouble as the burrs themselves and the parts that hold the burrs won't be anywhere near as strong as a commercial grinder (with a few notable exceptions
Last edited by level3ninja; 28th January 2019 at 07:44 AM. Reason: Autocucumber
What does “season burrs” mean? Is a grinder like a carbon steel wok? Cast iron like Le Creuset? Does it cook?
If you are not in commercial setting, I see no particular reason to blunten the burrs to minimise differences from one grind to the next. Passing 25 Kg through a grinder by using it would take me a year or two!
Instead of using rice, maybe grinding fine gravel would “season” burrs faster. You know it makes sense.
This topic was discussed at length a few years back, unfortunately I cant locate the thread.
The term season was one of the points discussed.
We all know exactly what is meant by the term, however as discussed previously, a more meaningful term is probably running in or bedding in, I'm sure others will have different opinions.
Dictionary result for season
noun: season; plural noun: seasons
each of the four divisions of the year (spring, summer, autumn, and winter) marked by particular weather patterns and daylight hours, resulting from the earth's changing position with regard to the sun.
- a period of the year characterized by a particular climatic feature or marked by a particular activity, event, or festivity.
"the rainy season"
synonyms: period, active period, time, time of year, spell, term, phase, stage "the rainy season"
- a fixed time in the year when a particular sporting activity is pursued.
"the English cricket season is almost upon us"
- the time of year when a particular fruit, vegetable, or other food is plentiful and in good condition.
"the pies are made with fruit that is in season"
synonyms: available, obtainable, readily available/obtainable, to be had, on offer, on the market, growing, common, plentiful, abundant "strawberries are in season"
antonyms: out of season
- a time of year traditionally adopted by the English upper classes for a series of fashionable social events.
noun: the season
a proper or suitable time.
"to everything there is a season"
an indefinite or unspecified period of time; a while.
"this most beautiful soul; who walked with me for a season in this world"
a set or sequence of related television programmes; a series.
"the first two seasons of the show"
a period when a female mammal is ready to mate.
"the bitch can come into season at irregular intervals"
verb: season; 3rd person present: seasons; past tense: seasoned; past participle: seasoned; gerund or present participle: seasoning
add salt, herbs, pepper, or other spices to (food).
"season the soup to taste with salt and pepper"
synonyms: flavour, add flavouring to, add salt/pepper to, spice, add spices/herbs to; Moreinformalpep up, add zing to
"remove the bay leaves and season the casserole to taste"
- add a quality or feature to (something), especially so as to make it more lively or exciting.
"his conversation is seasoned liberally with exclamation points and punch lines"
synonyms: enliven, leaven, add spice to, enrich, liven up, animate, augment; Moreinformalpep up, add zest/zing to
"his albums include standard numbers seasoned with a few of his own tunes"
make (wood) suitable for use as timber by adjusting its moisture content to that of the environment in which it will be used.
"I collect and season most of my wood"
tl;dw fresh burrs are so good at cutting beans that they don’t produce the fines required for espresso, and you should keep old coffee for putting through grinders to slightly dull the new burrs. also a refractometer helps to figure out when you’ve put enough coffee through so you take just the right amount off the sharp edge.
On the other hand the very sharp burrs on my new Vario produce a higher extract than the "seasoned" burrs on my old Sette as measured by my Atago refractometers. It might go up further with "seasoning" but since it is already close to 24% I can't see it going far.
"Seasoning" iron or steel cookware is the process of coating the iron / steel with unsaturated oil which then oxidatively polymerises in place forming a surface layer which is largely impermeable to oxygen. Since the oils in coffee are also capable of oxidative polymerisation*, it is possible that the same process is responsible for seasoning burrs and all the stuff about dulling the edge is wrong.
* This is the source of the varnish like material that accumulates on coffee gear that isn't scrupulously cleaned.
Metal ions can also serve to accelerate the reaction, some of the commercial "tung oil" finishes incorporate this to make them easier to use.
Facts, and of course alternative facts, ain't necessarily so.
I was going to stay out of this one, however finding Yelta and I actually agree that seasoning the burrs is a total waste of time and effort I cannot resist.
There are only 2 potential reasons to season the burrs at all.
1) The factory is too slack to clean up their work on the burrs. A lot of my least favourite traditional grinders fall into this camp.
2) 90% of the above are also using mild steel (or a selection of other "far too soft" materials) which means the burrs are only on a slightly delayed one way trip to the nearest landfill.
One famous commercial grinder takes about 10 to 15Kg of coffee beans to bed the burrs in properly (mentioned in the first post, no wonder people are looking for short cuts). After 80Kg the particle spread has become so poor that you have to replace the burrs (again, at a significant cost) to get a decent cuppa. It is true that the motor will continue to spin the burrs for a few hundred years after that, however espresso drinkers will not want to drink the resulting cuppa. Contrast that with one of the old Mahlkoenig EK43's great, great grandfather (and probably a few more greats) from the mid 80s. It has done several tonnes and still has a narrow particle spread. The burrs were replaced "sometime in the late 90's" and it made virtually no difference. Or try my ceramic burred ("lasts three times longer than our tool steel" according to Mahlkoenig) Mahlkoenig Vario - over 200Kgs and neither my refractometer or blind taste testing can pick a difference between that one and my other "15Kg gen2" or my newer gen3 - which would be lucky to have done 5Kgs by now. Difference between Swiss engineering and what we used to call "mafiosi metal" from Italy.
My take - if they tell you the burrs need running in then you can work out if you want to use something from the 1950s or go a little more current.
Thanks for all the answers , not having to do anything suits me ...
None of the burr sets I've had tested (Rockwell HRC) have measured lower than 54 and that was only one set; most measure above this by a significant degree. Converting these test results into a comparable single scale such as the Brinel Hardness Scale, this equates to ~700-800HB for the burr sets I had tested and when comparing this with the typical hardness for Mild Steel of ~120HB, it is quite obvious that burrs manufactured by all of the well known and highly reputable manufacturers, such as Mazzer, Macap, LSM, Rancilio and others, who all use high grade Tool Steel, not mild steel, will last at least as long as the manufacturers state in their published specifications.
Fortunately the consequences of making a decision based on this information are not exactly catastrophic, once people have come to understand that there is more than one way to skin a cat they are able to come to their own conclusions, sadly it's usually only the gullible and/or newcomers to an interest that are the most susceptible to this sort of propaganda, once better informed they are able to make their own choices based on facts rather than being swayed by targeted, tendentious information.
If a something is repeated frequently and continuously a good percentage of people will believe it whether it has any basis in fact or not, we only have to look to one of the current world leaders to understand this.
The same thing happens with chef's knives - my Felix Solingen set (German - spelt something like that from memory) is a really hard variant of stainless steel - it even lists the %ages on the blade if I recall correctly. It holds its edge a lot longer than most other so called "chef's knives" (some of which plainly aren't really a chef's knife at all). I have seen some wannabees critisise it because they try to sharpen it with standard gear and naturally they cannot get a proper edge. Softer steels sharpen really easily and lose their edge far too quickly - just like some burrs I know...
Bias - not supported by facts - just like your post.
Last edited by TampIt; 2nd February 2019 at 03:03 PM.
Please clarify - are you saying that you apply Tung Oil to your bicycle? Which parts of the bike? Thank you.
So now we know, looks like you've been outed Lyrebird.
No problem, I wanted to use "Lyrebird Cycles" as my username but was concerned that it would breach the rules (specifically no business names except for sponsors).
My avatar was a giveaway anyway, it's the design file for the headbadge decoration:
Back to something close to the topic, yes I use Tung oil on the wooden surface of the bike tubes: