When Should I Replace The Burrs On My Coffee Grinder?
Even if you have the most durable burrs on your coffee grinder, after bags of coffee and time, you will eventually end up with dull burrs from grinding repeatedly meaning it’s replacement time for the burrs on your grinder.
You might notice some signs of wear that will indicate you in need of a replacement, some of these signs can be dull edges, a bad tasting cup of coffee and uneven grind sizes.
However, so as you can go into further detail about figuring out when it’s time to replace the burrs on your coffee grinder, we have put together a short yet informational guide below which will make you an expert when it comes to coffee grinder burrs.
What Is a Coffee Grinder Burr?
A burr coffee grinder crushes coffee beans with its edges through a small gap in between the two burrs of the grinder, you can also buy a blade grinder, which rather than crushing the coffee beans, these manual coffee grinders cut them into small pieces instead, however, this can lead to a bitter coffee flavour, which is often why they are cheaper.
When choosing a burr coffee grinder, you will be faced with the decision of choosing either a flat burr style or a conical burr style. Flat burr coffee grinders use it’s two flat plates to crush the coffee beans and travel to the outside of the chute, these produce more uneven coffee grounds but isn’t that noticeable.
Conical burr coffee grinders use more of a grind chamber which is funnel style and crushes the coffee beans down this chute till it is the perfect grind size.
What Are They Made Of?
As well as the two types of coffee grinder burr you can get, they can also be made with two different materials which can impact your grind quality.
Stainless steel manual coffee grinders come very inexpensively and are a popular burr grinder choice for the average type of coffee drinker, however, these steel burrs can result in the coffee overheating during the grinding process, which will affect the taste of the tasty coffee, but is not that noticeable unless you are a coffee professional.
Ceramic coffee grinders on the other hand produce a better quality of coffee as these coffee grinding burrs avoid the possibility of burning your beans, these are often more expensive because of this advantage.
Signs It’s Time To Replace Your Coffee Grinder Burrs
Now you know some more about burr grinder types and how they can impact the quality of the cups of coffee you produce, we will list out some common signs to look out for that can indicate your burrs require a replacement.
It’s Producing An Inconsistent Grind
One of the surest signs your burr grinder needs a replacement is when it is starting to produce an imbalanced coffee consistency. Once the sharp edges of your burr grinder are worn down, they will smash the coffee beans rather than grind the fresh coffee, resulting in inconsistent and coffee with variances in taste.
Large inconsistent grind size can give sourness to the cup of coffee while a small inconsistent grind size means bitter types of coffee flavours from the imbalanced coffee.
There Are Clumps Of Ground Coffee
When your burr grinder starts producing clumps of ground coffee rather than it coming out in a ground powder, this is a rule of thumb to show that your burrs need replacing. Clumps of ground coffee beans can be broken up by your hands but will affect the taste of the coffee quality, especially in espresso flavour.
You’ve Got Dull Burrs
An easy way to figure out whether or not the burr grinder needs replacing is by feeling it.
To do this, simply take apart the equipment, wipe down the ceramic burrs or steel burrs with a paper towel and feel the edges to see if they are worn or still sharp like they were when your first go them.
You are Having To Grind Your Coffee Beans Finer
As the edges of your burrs become dull, you might find yourself grinding your coffee beans on a grind size finer setting to compromise and achieve the same results as you would of when your burrs were sharp.
For example, maybe if you use a setting number 8 for medium consistency, you might find yourself using a setting sick now the burrs on your grinder have become dull.
How Long Should Coffee Grinder Burrs Last?
It is difficult to give an exact answer as to how long your burr grinder will last you, as it differs according to the range of grind you do, the beans you use and how often.
But on average, a stainless steel burrs grinder will last you grinding 500-1000 pounds of coffee, while a ceramic burr grinder can last you 1000-1500 pounds. This means around 5-7 years, and ceramic burrs will always last you longer, hence why they are more expensive.
Tips For Increasing The Lifespan Of Your Burr Grinder
As we have mentioned above, no matter the quality of your burr grinder, they will need replacing in the future, but luckily there are some tips and tricks you can do so as your burr grinder can last you a full 5-7 years of grinding.
- Never grind non-coffee items – Don’t be tempted to grind spices or nuts in your coffee grinder as this will impact the quality of your burrs, always look out for rare stones in your coffee beans too as these can impact the sharpness of the burrs.
- Grind upright – Grinding your beans upright is very important to protect the burr shaft, grinding at an angle will not only give you imbalanced coffee but damage the grinder too.
- Clean it after use – To avoid oils and micro-grounds building up on your burr grinder you can make sure to clean it after every use with a paper towel.
Frequently Asked Questions About Coffee Grinder Burrs
Are blade grinders good?
Blade grinders are not a bad option for the average coffee user but can overheat your beans due to the stainless steel material.
How much will a burr coffee grinder cost me?
A ceramic burr coffee grinder can cost you around £30 due to the higher quality while a stainless steel burr grinder will on average cost you about £15 depending on the size and brand you buy.
Does the quality of grind affect the taste of coffee?
Yes, how well your coffee is ground will affect the taste of the coffee, for example, imbalanced inconsistent ground coffee can give a bitter taste, while overheated coffee can have similar results too.
Overall, figuring out when to replace the burrs on your coffee grinder is down to personal judgement, such as noticing if the burr edges are dull or if the quality of the taste is declining in your cup of morning coffee.
We always recommend going for more expensive ceramic burrs if you want to achieve the best-tasting coffee possible from your beans and avoid the potential of overheating them during the grinding process, do remember to clean your grinder after every use too so as you can prolong its lifespan.
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