The coffee grinder is the most cherished coffee equipment among coffee lovers. It allows you to brew your everyday coffee using freshly ground beans – a method that produces java with bold and robust flavors.
Quality coffee grinders often cost a fortune; hence many people worry about them breaking down a little while after purchase. So, How Long Does a Coffee Grinder Last?
The life expectancy of your coffee grinder depends on the brand, coffee beans used, roast degree, and how often you grind coffee in it.
A good quality grinder that is used regularly should last you for about 5-10 years. A good blade grinder will grind about 500-800 pounds of coffee beans before its blades begin to dull.
Burr grinders, on the other hand, will grind up to 1500 pounds of coffee before you have to replace the burrs.
So, if you’re wondering how long your coffee grinder will last, don’t fret. In this article, I’ll explain everything that accelerates the wear and tear of coffee grinders. I’ll also walk you through tips that will help you increase the life expectancy of your grinder.
Why Do You Need to Change the Burrs of Your Coffee Grinder?
If you want your burr grinder to maintain an optimum level of performance, you need to replace its burrs as often as required.
Several factors, such as rocks and unroasted coffee beans, can slowly damage the burrs of your grinder. These damages occur slowly and gradually and may not be easy to detect until it’s too late. By the time you realize that your burrs need changing, the chances are that your coffee grinder is already deteriorating, and the quality of your coffee grind has gone downhill. So, to keep up the good quality of your coffee, ensure that you change the burrs as soon as you notice them going dull.
Signs that Your Coffee Grinder is Worn Out.
While five years is the minimum estimate of how long your coffee grinder will last, you need to replace the burrs for most espresso grinders at least once or twice a year. For other retail grinders, you should change the burrs once every one or two years.
Below, I have explained some simple ways to check and confirm if the burrs of your coffee grinder need replacing.
Dull burr edges
The most obvious way to find out whether the burrs of your grinder are in good shape is to feel them with your hands. If you can remember how sharp the burrs were when the grinder was brand new, feeling them by hand is sure to tell the level of damage acquired.
If the burrs feel dull and undefined, it would be best to make arrangements to replace them soon.
As the burrs of your grinder dull, they begin mashing instead of grinding the coffee beans. The blunt edges will no longer slice through the beans; instead, they will smash and crack them into smaller sizes.
So if you want to know if your grinder still powders uniformly, crush a few beans in your grinder, then look at them closely. If the grounds are not consistent in size, it’s not a good sign. You should keep in mind that different types of grinders can produce a variety of grind sizes. So you shouldn’t stress out when you find a slight diversity in terms of the grind size of your coffee beans.
However, if your grounds are so irregular that there’s no single size comprising a major portion of the coffee, then there is a reason to worry. Replace the bars of a coffee grinder immediately to keep your grinder working properly and save yourself from drinking coffee that doesn’t taste good.
The need to grind finer.
After using your coffee grinder for a while, you may start noticing a slight difference in the quality of the grind produced in the same grind setting. If you feel like you always need to make your grind size finer to make your brew, it is a sign that your burrs are wearing out.
For instance, if you always use a nine setting to get the perfect grind for pour-over coffee, but now you use a six or a seven, it means that the bars are close to replacement time.
This happens because the burrs lose their sharpness over time; hence they do not grind with precision like before. Because of this, coffee grounds will always come out with a coarser texture than expected.
So once you start grinding final to achieve a certain level of grind texture, it’s time to replace the bars of your coffee grinder.
Lumping is the easiest tell for grinders that are wearing out, especially for those designed specifically for espresso. When grinder burrs start dulling, they sometimes dispense the coffee grinds in small clumps. Now, you can easily break these clumps between your fingers, and they don’t affect the taste of your brew. However, they are an early sign that your burrs will need replacing soon.
How to Sharpen the Blades of Your Coffee Grinder.
After using a blade grinder for a while, you will start noticing the blades losing their sharpness. When the blades become blunt, your grinder won’t be able to slice through the beans properly, affecting the size of your coffee grinds and the final test of your cup of Joe. Therefore, it is vital to have nice and sharp blades in your coffee grinder.
The simplest and most affordable method of sharpening the blades of your coffee grinder is to use rice. Take one cup of uncooked rice, put it in your grinder, and then grind for 60 to 70 seconds before turning the grinder off. Next, take out the rice and wipe the blades with a damp cloth first to remove the bits of rice, then with a dry cloth to remove the dampness from the blades.
In addition to sharpening your blades, the rice will clean and remove any oil residue or coffee grinds hiding in the hard-to-reach parts of your grinder.
You can also sharpen the blades of your coffee grinder manually; however, this method requires specific tools and a set of skills to produce good results.
How to Make your Coffee Grinder Last Longer.
Every kitchen appliance that you buy will inevitably get worn out, and coffee grinders are no exception. However, if you put a little more thought into taking care of your machine, you can ensure it stays in good working condition for longer.
Below are a few tips to help you increase the life expectancy of your coffee grinder.
· Use your coffee grinder exclusively for grinding coffee beans. Avoid putting any non-coffee items such as whole spices and nuts in your grinder. Be careful of the presence of rocks and stones that may look like beans—using your coffee grinder to grind items other than roasted coffee beans increases the risk of damage to the appliance.
· Keep the coffee grinder upright as you grind. Grinding your coffee beans at an angle can create pressure over the burr shaft, causing the grinder to produce uneven coffee grounds. Grinding at an angle is a common mistake that several coffee enthusiasts make. You should avoid it because the pressures put over the burrs will hasten their wear and tear.
· Keep an eye out for signs of wear and tear. You should regularly check for early signs indicating that your grinder’s burrs or blades need sharpening or replacement. You do not have to do this every day – a single check every two months should do.
· Clean your coffee grinder regularly. Keeping your coffee grinder clean will ensure that the flavor of your coffee remains unchanged. Cleaning removes coffee oils and grinds residues that attach to the grinder walls and turn rancid after a while. These residues not only impact the taste of your coffee but can also hinder the proper functioning of your grinder.
As mentioned above, your coffee grinder can last between 5 to 10 years, provided you take care of it well. Always look for signs of wearing burrs or blades, and replace or sharpen them accordingly to keep your grinder working properly for a long time. On top of that, please ensure that you follow the tips above to help you keep your coffee grinder working properly for longer.