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There are few things as disappointing as doing everything right for your cup of coffee—carefully selecting the beans, measuring them properly, measuring the exact amount of water, grinding them to the perfect size, and carefully managing their extraction into water—and still getting a cup that tastes…uninspiring.

If you feel you did everything right but there’s an ashy, burnt, or medicinal taste; oftentimes the culprit is dirty coffee equipment and it might be time to learn how to clean your coffee gear. Coffee equipment cleaning easily goes by the wayside, as it doesn’t have the kind of urgency as a dirty plate or skillet does. Even still, your coffee brewing equipment is worth cleaning. The difference it will make in your morning mug should be enough to help you remember to do it on the regular. Do you want to learn how to clean coffee equipment the right way? Here’s how we keep our precious tools clean!

Make Your Mug Happy

In a few simple steps, easily learn how to clean coffee gear so that your coffee tastes as good as it should every time.

Clean Your Coffee Brewer

When deciding if you need to learn how to clean your coffee gear, our advice can be broken down into one single phrase: If brewed coffee touches it, it should be cleaned with soap and water at least once a week.

The exact same kind of soap you use on your dishes is adequate for the task of cleaning your coffee brewing materials.  Be it your Auto-Drip brewer, Chemex, French Press, Moka Pot, or your Bripe; a little soap, water, and scrubbing will go a long way. The only issue with using dish soap to clean your coffee gear is that it also requires scrubbing, and sometimes that poses a problem with brewing devices that have hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. In times like this, coffee machine cleaner is the solution. Coffee machine cleaning powder has additional surfactants that dissolve coffee oils with a good long soak. Make a solution of 1 tsp cleaning powder to 1 liter of hot water and soak your gear for 15 minutes. This generally does the trick perfectly, even for the most caked-on gunk.

Anything in your brewing arsenal that can be removed or taken apart should be removed or taken apart to scrub or soak, and if you’re fortunate enough to have a home espresso machine, it should be backflushed.

Clean Your Coffee Grinder

Grinders are likely that it’s easiest to forget to clean. In burr-style grinders, the actual grinding action happens in a chamber that is not easily seen unless you take the grinder apart, and blade-style grinders commonly do not come apart easily to be washed. However, dirty grinders will introduce off-flavors into your coffee, so if you don’t remember the last time you cleaned your grinder, now’s a good time to learn how to clean your coffee gear.

The rule of thumb for coffee grinder cleaning is that if it’s made of plastic and is removable, it should be cleaned with soap and water and allowed to completely air dry before reassembling. If it’s made of metal, it should only be cleaned with dry materials.

The Baratza grinders that we sell have removable hoppers, hopper lids, and grinds drawers, as well as a gasket that feeds beans into the grinding chamber. Each of these would be considered “removable plastic”. Once these are removed, the upper burr carrier can easily be lifted out so that it can be cleaned, and the lower burr and grind chamber are exposed allowing them to be cleaned. Baratza includes a grinding brush that’s designed to clean these, but if that has been lost, a stiff nylon bristle brush, a wooden skewer, or even a toothbrush will work great. Just make sure to keep everything dry and wipe it out with a clean dry towel or rag once you’re done.

If you find that cleaning your burrs or blades with a nylon brush and a skewer is tedious, good news! Coffee professionals agree, and as a result, have developed a far easier way. You may have heard about the hack of grinding rice through your grinder to clean it. This is technically true–it totally works–but dry rice is also very hard and will dull the edges of your burrs or blades if done regularly. You can also use a breakfast cereal well known for how it snaps, crackles, and pops to clean it, but it can also leave behind a residue that will leave the flavor of that cereal in your coffee for the next few brews. The best option is grinder cleaner tablets. These are made specifically to clean grinders and do so easily with minimal effect on the burrs while leaving behind no residue.

If you haven’t cleaned your gear recently, it can be amazing how much better your coffee will taste the next time through. If this inspired you to learn how to clean your coffee gear, the next time you taste your morning coffee try and hold onto how nice it tastes. Let that exceptional brightness, sweetness, and complexity without any ashy or muddy flavors be your guiding light to remind you to keep cleaning regularly, and to let your coffee be all that it can be.

Worth Cleaning


Chemex 6 Cup

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Black and White Encore Grinders

Baratza Encore Conical Burr Grinder

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French Press – 34 oz

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Sure! Here is approximately how long each of our package sizes lasts, based on mugs per day.

Daily Brew 12oz 20oz 5lb
1 mug / day
3 weeks 1 month 4 months
3 mugs / day
French Press
1 week 2 weeks 2 months
6 mugs / day
1 week 1 week 6 weeks
8 mugs / day
Drip Brewer
< 1 week 1 week 4 weeks

Your brew strength and mug size may vary!

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