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Thread: Cleaning your grinder?

  1. #1
    Senior Member phil_jeffery's Avatar
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    Cleaning your grinder?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Far out, it looks I hijacked my own thread in its early stages...............



    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1174962624/0#7 date=1174978354
    I have a small plastic concertina style pump that forces a blast of air down the top of the grinder which blows the chute clean.
    Ive got a lens cleaner around here somewhere that I can try. For the more hard core blow out I have used the 40L compressor downstairs!

    Quote Originally Posted by luca link=1174962624/0#12 date=1175089573
    Id bet that it was manufactured for LM by conti valerio.
    I reckon youd be dead right. That fluted glass model looks like a modernised version of the other vintage grinder LM marketed.

    Regards,
    Phil

  2. #2
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Pictures of vintage La Marzocco Vulcano

    A lens cleaner might not have enough puff.

  3. #3
    Senior Member phil_jeffery's Avatar
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    Re: Pictures of vintage La Marzocco Vulcano

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod link=1174962624/0#14 date=1175149528
    A lens cleaner might not have enough puff.
    Back in my darkroom days, I used to have plastic reagent bottles of about 1L capacity that had concertinad walls to minimise airspace. They had about a 2" cap, which wouldve been a great fit for the mouth of the grinder. Alas, all gone....

    Regards,
    Phil

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    Re: Pictures of vintage La Marzocco Vulcano

    Quote Originally Posted by phil jeffery link=1174962624/15#15 date=1175149883
    Back in my darkroom days, I used to have plastic reagent bottles of about 1L capacity that had concertinad walls to minimise airspace. They had about a 2" cap, which wouldve been a great fit for the mouth of the grinder. Alas, all gone....

    Regards,
    Phil
    I never understood that obsession with clearing out the exit chute. Yes, it looks terrible, but if you dismantle the burr set after grinding, without cleaning anything out, arent you going to find a whole bunch of coffee immediately outside the burrs? (Take a look at the two sweepers outside where the burrs sit in the seventh photo in this thread) So if you just focus on purging out the exit chute and then grind, youre only getting rid of some of the stale coffee. The only way to get rid of it all is to grind a bit to purge the coffee out.

    ... or am I jumping to conclusions/missing something/just plain wrong?

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Re: Pictures of vintage La Marzocco Vulcano

    Quote Originally Posted by luca link=1174962624/15#16 date=1175168347
    I never understood that obsession with clearing out the exit chute. Yes, it looks terrible, but if you dismantle the burr set after grinding, without cleaning anything out, arent you going to find a whole bunch of coffee immediately outside the burrs? (Take a look at the two sweepers outside where the burrs sit in the seventh photo in this thread) So if you just focus on purging out the exit chute and then grind, youre only getting rid of some of the stale coffee. The only way to get rid of it all is to grind a bit to purge the coffee out.

    ... or am I jumping to conclusions/missing something/just plain wrong?

    Cheers,

    Luca
    Word. Brushing out the chute is not only a waste of time, but futile...unless I am transporting my grinder and dont want ground coffee on my car floor if the grinder falls over.

  6. #6
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Pictures of vintage La Marzocco Vulcano

    I find that if I can brush out the chute easily with a thin artists brush.
    A final burst of the grinder usually spits another small amount of grinds which I can also brush out.
    This all goes into the basket to minimise waste.

    I know there is a very, very small amount of grinds left over because when Im cleaning the grinder I can blow those remaining bits though with my pump.
    But the amount is very minimal.
    There is also a few grinds left in the doser (it needs the sweeper tape mod).

    Yes there also seems to be some grounds stuck on the burrs that I brush loose during cleaning.

    It is very easy to get most of my freshly ground bean into my basket using a brush to clear the chute.
    I consider the amount in the chute worth reclaiming.
    If I dont it holds back the first of the next grind and that wastes even more as Id have to make sure I grind enough to clear the stale stuff.

  7. #7
    Senior Member phil_jeffery's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning your grinder?

    Luca,

    I guess the whole espresso routine is seen by the average person as obsessive. I feel that clearing the exit chute has a practical purpose however. Being for home use, I only grind on demand, so anything that stays in the chute means I end up with insufficient in my filter basket. Id rather not leave grounds in there to get stale and wasted either.

    The sweepers that you mention and the vanes on the underside (see pic) in conjunction with the motor speed do a good job of keeping that area clear of grounds to all intents and purposes; so the only bottleneck is the chute. As I mention, I use a spatula, itd just be nice not to have to.

    Regards,
    Phil


  8. #8
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning your grinder?

    I dunno - dont mean this as send-up, but to get a skerric of sienna out while shuffling to make a shot seems a short-cut to schizophrenia

    I love a bit of alliteration late at night ;)

  9. #9
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    Re: Cleaning your grinder?

    Has anyone had an experience using the Urnex product "Grinz" to clean their grinder?

    The product is a non-toxic product that goes through the grinder (inplace of the beans) and absorbs the oils.

    Thoughts appreciated.

  10. #10
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    Re: Cleaning your grinder?

    Hi Glikatho,

    Ive been researching brushes (in a different thread) but I saw your question about this particular product, and it got my attention.

    I think the correct spelling is "Grindz"

    Ive not seen it before, but on the manufacturers website it is described as:

    "The world’s first and only product for cleaning coffee grinders, Grindz™ Grinder Cleaner is a patent-pending innovation launched in June of 2005. *The product is an all-natural, food-safe, and flavour neutral combination presented in coffee bean shaped tablets. *Grindz™ quickly and effectively removes stale coffee residue and flavoured coffee odors from the internal burrs and casings of coffee grinders. *Requiring no grinder disassembly, Grindz™ users simply run the product through the machine just like coffee. "

    Sounds good to me. I like how theyve made the product into coffee bean shaped tablets. :D

    I hope that by bumping up this thread, someone may be able to comment on Grindz. ;)




  11. #11
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    Re: Cleaning your grinder?

    Ive used Grindz a few times. It does a great job of cleaning the burr teeth, far better than I could achieve myself manually. Expensive and not sure how often one would need to do it on a home grinder (once a year?). Every few months I just break down the burr carrier area, poke around with a toothpick and vacuum cleaner. Cant afford to use Grindz too often. Probably be great in a commercial environment.

    http://temesblog.blogspot.com/2006/05/cleaning-mazzer-mini-e.html
    http://www.home-barista.com/forums/urnex-grindz-espresso-grinder-cleaner-before-after-photos-t63.html
    A reply from one of the people at Urnex is on home-barista.com

    I did want to offer a few insights into our development process if you are interested... I noticed a lot of people talking about using rice or oatmeal or other organic products. Believe me, as the mad wizard behind Grindz, I personally tried (or oversaw the testing of) hundreds of items and formulations to get what we have now... The problem with some of the more traditionally mentioned items came down to three issues:
    Dust and ability to be purged,
    Chance of locking up motors,
    Ability to absorb oily residue.
    We found rice to leave huge starchy/dusty residues that just could not be removed easily. It also had a tendency to lock up the burrs if the setting was too fine or the relative humidity was too high. What Im saying is that the small particles fell between the burrs and never left. As more piled up you got a cake of rice that was strong enough to hold up the revolutions of the burrs. Of course, this causes a major risk to burning out a motor. We saw similar results with oatmeal and many other similar textured products.

    Looking to avoid this problem, we found some other products that were just way too hard. They were natural and safe, but a few even chewed up some lesser quality burrs.

    The goal with Grindz Grinder Cleaner was to find the right combination of hardness and oil absorbing properties from a number of different ingredients that all did good things when passed through a grinder. We needed something hard enough to mechanically push coffee grounds out of the crevasses, but spongy enough to absorb oily residue. Of course, it all had to fit into the grinder AND could not carry the risk of locking the burrs with the motor running.

    Hope that helps you a little in your travels and discussions. All feedback is always welcome. It helps us to make better products. We try to incorporate everything we hear back into our development process. Thanks again.

    Josh

    P.S. I noticed someone mentioning the size of the jar was too large for the home user. Partially in response, we are already in development on a consumer package that will be somewhere around 2-4 uses per jar. It might serve as both corporate sampling and a consumer resale item through some of our distributor partners (bricks and mortar or web based).

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    Re: Cleaning your grinder?

    Ive ordered some off the internet. *Should get to me at some stage, hopefully soon. *Ive noticed that theres a really rancid sort of smell coming from the grinder, which I suspect is old coffee oils. :-X

    This stuff seems very pricey, so I bought the biggest bottle there is - Ive only used my grinder for 3 weeks and it smells, so I think Ill be cleaning it on a fairly regular basis, i.e. maybe once every month. Ill report back once Ive tried the product. 8-)


  13. #13
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    Re: Cleaning your grinder?

    Ive ordered some off the internet. Should get to me at some stage, hopefully soon. Ive noticed that theres a really rancid sort of smell coming from the grinder, which I suspect is old coffee oils.
    Hi TTV8, Have you tried the Klik-Klak lid mod, it does a good job blowing the grinds out before they go stale.

  14. #14
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning your grinder?

    3 weeks?

    Doesnt sound right.

    Even if it wasnt cleaned out often, the older grinds should be pushed through by the fresh grinds and Im assuming you are grinding daily.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning your grinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by tempestv8 link=1175149027/0#11 date=1177932307
    Ive noticed that theres a really rancid sort of smell coming from the grinder, which I suspect is old coffee oils. :-X

    ...Ive only used my grinder for 3 weeks and it smells, so I think Ill be cleaning it on a fairly regular basis, i.e. maybe once every month. Ill report back once Ive tried the product. 8-)
    Im presuming your grinder was new 3 weeks ago and not 2nd hand. If the machine is fairly new, maybe the rancid smell might be something like a machine lubricant that is heating up when the machine is running?

  16. #16
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    Re: Cleaning your grinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis link=1175149027/0#14 date=1177941272
    Im presuming your grinder was new 3 weeks ago and not 2nd hand. If the machine is fairly new, maybe the rancid smell might be something like a machine lubricant that is heating up when the machine is running?
    Mmmm either that or the motor is about to depart this earth :( overheated insulation smells quite bad as well....

    But no way should there be a "rancid" smell after just three weeks..... my La Cimbali runs months between cleans other than brushing out any loose grinds and wiping any oil from the hopper...... and no rancid smell thats for sure!

  17. #17
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    Re: Cleaning your grinder?

    Ive just picked up a 4 year old grinder, and it too smells a little rancid, I suspect it has not been well maintained.
    After some basic cleaning [I have yet to remove burrs] and a lot of grinding with fresh coffee, it smells a lot better but Ill need to do a full pull apart and clean before Im happy.

    In my case the rancid smell could not be mistaken for electrical/burnout, it was definately an organic/compost like odour.

    Im really interested to hear how well GRINDZ works.

    Rice, can you elaborate anymore?
    Tempestv8, please let us know how you go.

    This may be a dumb question, but if I removed my burrs, can I just clean them with correcto [or another espresso detergent]?
    Would the strength of the solution be the same as for a back-flush clean?

  18. #18
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    Re: Cleaning your grinder?

    reubster....

    Firstly rice makes a horrible mess and will just replace one form of "gunk" with another - which you then must remove......

    When I removed the burrs I just used walm water with some detergent (and a scrubbing brush), gave them a good rinse and dried them well. Backflushing detergent should be OK but Ive never tied it (or found it necessary).

    After 4 years there would be grounds trapped under the bottom burr and in all sorts of other places if it hasnt been vacuumed out or a click clack lid used to "blow" out the loose grinds from time to time. You might also find the hopper interior, the burr carriers etc are coated with coffee oil (especially if it has been used with over roasted "commercial" coffee beans)... and all these will produce the rancid smell.

    Once cleaned a grinder shouldnt develop a rancid smell.... certainly not in 3 weeks.

  19. #19
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    Re: Cleaning your grinder?


    The grinder was clean when I bought it and it didnt smell then.

    Its definitely not melted wiring, or machine oil, but the smell of stale coffee. Maybe my tolerance is lower than most? I noticed that the last batch of beans that I put in it were *very* oily. Probably slightly on the stale side, Im guessing.

    I did think that 3 weeks is too short a time frame to require grinding, but when I take a whiff from the hopper or the doser, its not that pleasant "just roasted" smell, but a smell of stale old coffee beans, kinda hard to describe. In a way it smells "acidic" if that makes any sense.

    Anyway, Ill know once I get some Grindz and run some through the machine whether or not it is because of the old grinds or something else.

    Lawrance

  20. #20
    Senior Member Lizzie's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning your grinder?

    anyone in Perth interested in splitting (in twos or threes) *a 12 dose tub of Grindz?
    the big tub works out *to $5.50 per clean (including postage).

    PM me...

    L

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    Re: Cleaning your grinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by reubster link=1175149027/15#16 date=1177977998
    Ive just picked up a 4 year old grinder, and it too smells a little rancid...

    Im really interested to hear how well GRINDZ works.

    Rice, can you elaborate anymore?

    This may be a dumb question, but if I removed my burrs, can I just clean them with correcto [or another espresso detergent]?

    Would the strength of the solution be the same as for a back-flush clean?
    Hiya reubster,
    Grindz sounds like it would be perfect for your situation with a skanky smelling grinder. I find it to do a great job with stripping coffee oils from the burr teeth.
    For other areas, I used a strong solution of cafetto to water (1:10) and some cotton buds and toothpicks.

    Espresso machine cleaners need a bucketload of rinsing with clean water to remove thoroughly.
    re soaking burrs in cleaner:
    I wonder if soaking the burrs in espresso cleaner for long periods of time could cause pitting to the metal surface and then the onset of rust? Anyone got any opinions?


  22. #22
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    Re: Cleaning your grinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by rice link=1175149027/15#20 date=1178071814
    re soaking burrs in cleaner:
    I wonder if soaking the burrs in espresso cleaner for long periods of time could cause pitting to the metal surface and then the onset of rust? Anyone got any opinions?
    Well I wouldnt do it.... soaking PFs in cleaner starts to attack the brass over time.. They will attack metal if left soaking..... and the burrs have sharp cutting edges which would be the first to be attacked.

    I dont put quality carving knives etc in a dishwasher as the detergent will dull the edge - but hand wash them..... and I do the same with coffee burs (when required)... and because rice is much harder than coffee I wouldnt use that in the grinder either - I want to keep the edges on the burrs.

  23. #23
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning your grinder?

    I would hazard a guess and say the odours come from everything but the burrs. With constant use, they pretty much clean themselves. But surrounding areas not subject to as much friction may collect residual grounds and oils.

    -Robusto

  24. #24
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    Re: Cleaning your grinder?


    Got my bottle of Grindz and followed the instructions by placing a capful of the "beans" into the hopper and set the grind level to medium (what is a "medium grind" I dont actually know).

    It ground out all the bits of coffee grind from the burrs, but theres no way I can tell how effectively its worked without dismantling the grinder. And since I do not have the time nor the inclination to do this at this point in time, I left it.

    I did do a "sniff" test after I swept out all the Grindz grinds (which had coffee particles in it) and both the hopper and the doser now smelt a lot better.

    The rancid smell which came across to my olfactory nerves as something "acidic" has been replaced by a more muted smell, which seems more "sour" and definitely a lot closer to the smell of ground coffee.

    So I think the Grindz product seems to be working as advertised.

    Its a real bummer how expensive this product is - 480 grams of Grindz for around $60.


  25. #25
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Cleaning your grinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by tempestv8 link=1175149027/15#23 date=1178612152
    Its a real bummer how expensive this product is - 480 grams of Grindz for around $60.
    Guess you have to balance it against the time it would take you to dismantle the grinder, clean and reassemble. In my case, Ive got plenty of time to do these sorts of things and I prefer to do it myself anyway..... Horses for courses,

    Mal.

  26. #26
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    Re: Cleaning your grinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal link=1175149027/15#24 date=1178635367
    In my case, Ive got plenty of time to do these sorts of things and I prefer to do it myself anyway..... Horses for courses,

    Mal.
    Me too Mal.

    When I do service my grinder I find far more old grinds in places other than the burrs.... in fact the burrs are pretty clean.... most of the junk is around the grinding chamber, on the burr carrier (and under the bottom burr).

    Now I doubt that any cleaning agent will remove that.... my biggest worry would be it would swap some of the stale coffee with the removal agent..... which would then mix with the fresh coffee you were grinding latter..... so you really need to strip the grinder to clean out the cleaning agent ;) Either that or grind a kilo or two of beans to waste to get rid of it.

    Seems a bit pointless to me. :-/

    I just think an occasional strip and clean of the grinder is more effective.... and better value for money as well.

  27. #27
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    Re: Cleaning your grinder?

    It will be easy to distinguish the cleaning agent from the grind, as it is a different colour.

    Ill grind some beans this morning and see whether the cleaning stuff remains in the grind after the first lot of beans have come through.

    More info shortly.


  28. #28
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    Re: Cleaning your grinder?

    After putting through some Grindz, the resultant ground particles looked like an even mix of old ground coffee and this white Grindz stuff.

    I proceeded to grind some fresh beans and the first handful of beans into the hopper did push out more of the white Grindz particles out, but I was able to sweep more out of the chute with my brush.

    Which goes to show that even if Im "purging" my grind chute of old coffee grind with fresh coffee grind, there will *still* be old grind sitting there, i.e. its not a first come first served basis for the way the grind comes out of the chute.

    Anyway, after another handful of beans, the grind looked acceptably Grindz free.

    So the product seems to work, as the smell is gone, but a true test would be to inspect the burrs. But I dont have the time to do that.




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