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Thread: Seasoning new grinder burrs.

  1. #1
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    Seasoning new grinder burrs.

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hey

    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
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gustopher View Post
    Hey

    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
    Is this still a good way to season burrs ?

  3. #3
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    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
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buderim11 View Post
    Is this still a good way to season burrs ?
    Never found a need to "season burrs" Bud, waste of beans, time, and effort, just go to using them, and make minor adjustments as the sharp edges are knocked off, they will season quick enough.
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    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.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Lyrebird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post
    From what I've read elsewhere in poked rice ...
    What I want to know is how you poke rice.

    The mind boggles.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyrebird View Post
    What I want to know is how you poke rice.

    The mind boggles.
    I order it pre-poked and then I just read it

  8. #8
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    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
    noun: season; plural noun: seasons

    • 1.
      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


      • archaic
        a proper or suitable time.
        "to everything there is a season"


      • archaic
        an indefinite or unspecified period of time; a while.
        "this most beautiful soul; who walked with me for a season in this world"






    • 2.
      North American
      a set or sequence of related television programmes; a series.
      "the first two seasons of the show"




    • 3.
      a period when a female mammal is ready to mate.
      "the bitch can come into season at irregular intervals"





    verb
    verb: season; 3rd person present: seasons; past tense: seasoned; past participle: seasoned; gerund or present participle: seasoning

    • 1.
      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"









    • 2.
      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"





  9. #9
    Senior Member woodhouse's Avatar
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    https://youtu.be/tiqjf8-yuR4

    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.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Lyrebird's Avatar
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    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.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Lyrebird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beensean View Post
    What does “season burrs” mean? Is a grinder like a carbon steel wok? Cast iron like Le Creuset? Does it cook?
    It is entirely possible that the answer to all those questions is yes.

    "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.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyrebird View Post
    * This is the source of the varnish like material that accumulates on coffee gear that isn't scrupulously cleaned.
    Certainly not on the burrs of any grinder I have owned.

    The burrs on a coffee grinder don't even approach the temps we see on cookware, a wok in particular, thank goodness.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Lyrebird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    The burrs on a coffee grinder don't even approach the temps we see on cookware, a wok in particular, thank goodness.
    Oxidative polymerisation will occur at room temperature, it's just a lot faster at high temperatures. I use pure tung oil as the finish on my bikes, it cures by oxidative polymerisation: takes a day or more at 20 odd degrees, can be accelerated by "rubbing in" vigorously enough to heat the contact area.

    Metal ions can also serve to accelerate the reaction, some of the commercial "tung oil" finishes incorporate this to make them easier to use.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyrebird View Post
    Oxidative polymerisation will occur at room temperature, it's just a lot faster at high temperatures. I use pure tung oil as the finish on my bikes, it cures by oxidative polymerisation: takes a day or more at 20 odd degrees, can be accelerated by "rubbing in" vigorously enough to heat the contact area.
    Perhaps so, however it certainly doesn't occur on grinder burrs.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Lyrebird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    it certainly doesn't occur
    We can't be certain without testing. It doesn't have to be visible to be there: the surface layer on a seasoned cast iron pan is not apparent to the naked eye.

    I didn't say that it does occur, just that it could.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyrebird View Post
    We can't be certain without testing. It doesn't have to be visible to be there: the surface layer on a seasoned cast iron pan is not apparent to the naked eye.

    I didn't say that it does occur, just that it could.
    I see where your coming from Lyrebird and I like your train of thought, most are inclined to accept things at face value without any thought or reasoning whatsoever.

    Facts, and of course alternative facts, ain't necessarily so.
    Alternative facts.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by beensean View Post
    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.
    G'day beensean

    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.

    TampIt

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    Thanks for all the answers , not having to do anything suits me ...

  19. #19
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    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.

    Mal.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    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.
    Mal.
    Of course they use tool steel Mal, as I said in another thread, a lot of misinformation and alternative facts come to the surface at times, I'm unsure whether the people that pedal this stuff truly believe what they say, or is it simply mean spirited brand bias? perhaps a good dose of both, either way, it's not difficult for any thinking person to sort the wheat from the chaff.

    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.

    bias.gif
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Of course they use tool steel Mal, as I said in another thread, a lot of misinformation and alternative facts come to the surface at times, I'm unsure whether the people that pedal this stuff truly believe what they say, or is it simply mean spirited brand bias? perhaps a good dose of both, either way, it's not difficult for any thinking person to sort the wheat from the chaff.

    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.

    bias.gif
    I stated "mild steel (or a selection of other "far too soft" materials)" - please read it carefully before commenting. As I have no way of testing what the old "mafiosi metal" was, I can only repeat it is far too soft to do the job for the long term. BTW, a medical refractometer has born that out half a dozen times. Whatever they use, it is not up to the job - simple.

    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.

    TampIt
    Last edited by TampIt; 2nd February 2019 at 03:03 PM.

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    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post

    No, I just stated the facts. Neither you or Yelta has done that to disagree with me, and then to misquote me on top of that - not good enough.

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    Senior Member woodhouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    No, I just stated the facts. Neither you or Yelta has done that to disagree with me, and then to misquote me on top of that - not good enough.
    it’s not a disagreement, it’s an ‘alternative agreement’.
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    Please clarify - are you saying that you apply Tung Oil to your bicycle? Which parts of the bike? Thank you.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shortie View Post
    Please clarify - are you saying that you apply Tung Oil to your bicycle? Which parts of the bike? Thank you.
    Google Lyrebird Bicycles, very interesting

  27. #27
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 338 View Post
    Google Lyrebird Bicycles, very interesting
    Well done 338, somewhere in the recesses of my brain I recall a mention of wooden bicycles being made in Australia, didn't put two and two together though the clue was there, I also wondered about the application of Tung oil (a timber finish) to a bike.

    So now we know, looks like you've been outed Lyrebird.
    Lyrebird.jpg
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  28. #28
    Senior Member Lyrebird's Avatar
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    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:
    Mounted

    Back to something close to the topic, yes I use Tung oil on the wooden surface of the bike tubes:


    Tung_Euky
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by buderim11 View Post
    Thanks for all the answers , not having to do anything suits me ...
    Cheap quick-cooking rice, the running-in of the disks is fine!

    I also clean mij grinding chambers with these rice



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