The smell of freshly ground coffee is one of the small things that give me joy in life. Whether the grounds have a soft, fruity aroma or a rich, nutty scent, I love smelling fresh-ground flavorful coffee when I wake up in the morning. And for that, I need my most important piece of coffee equipment: the coffee grinder.
But if your blade grinder doesn’t give you a fine powder anymore, you aren’t going to pick up on those subtler nuances in that homemade coffee aroma. And personally, using a mortar and pestle to break up the last parts of the beans is not a relaxing addition to my morning ritual. If you’re having these issues, too, read on to find out how to sharpen coffee grinder blades.
What You’ll Need
To sharpen your coffee grinder blades using the rice method, you’ll need the following inexpensive household items:
- Dry cloths
- Wet cloths
- 1 cup uncooked rice
Step 1: Clean the Coffee Grinder
Before you start sharpening the grinder’s blades, you must ensure the blades and grinder are entirely clean. Always remember that the edges are exceedingly sharp, even before you sharpen them. To stay safe, start by unplugging the grinder from the electrical socket.
Then, using the wet cloth, wipe down the blades until there are no impurities or leftover coffee grinds on them. Then, using the dry, soft cloth, wipe down the blades again to make sure they’re dry.
Step 2: Pour In Uncooked Rice and Grind
Take the cup of uncooked rice and pour it into the coffee grinder. Turn the appliance on for roughly one minute. If your grinder has multiple power settings, you should turn it on to the medium setting. After you let the raw rice grind for a minute, turn off your grinder and unplug it.
You may have heard of sharpening pellets for your coffee grinder. Although these products work wonderfully for sharpening coffee grinders, rice grinding is just as effective as these grinder pellets, and it’s much more affordable. Besides that, almost everyone has rice in their home, making it a convenient tool for sharpening blades.
Step 3: Pour Out the Rice and Clean the Grinder
Now that you unplugged the grinder, you can pour out the ground-up rice. You can save the ground rice powder for other uses, like a thickening agent akin to cornstarch.
Grinding rice does more than sharpen your coffee grinder blades. Rice also helps get rid of stains that coffee often leaves on the sides or blades of the grinder.
Once you’ve poured out the rice, you can use another damp cloth to clean out any leftover rice particles. After thoroughly cleaning out any remaining residue, you can use the dry cloth to remove any remaining water from the blades.
After that, grind a small batch of coffee beans to confirm that the blades are up to the job again.
Frequently Asked Questions
Although sharpening the blades of your coffee grinder isn’t the most complicated task, it does have a few details that may not make sense to everyone. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions I get about how to sharpen coffee grinder blades.
How Do I Tell If My Blades Are Getting Dull?
With every use, your coffee grinder blades will become duller and duller. Noticing some of the less than obvious signs your blades are dulling can be a task in itself. Let’s go through the most common indications that the blades on your coffee grinder are dulling.
One of the first things you may notice if your blades are dulling is an inconsistent grind. You’ll find much larger pieces of coffee beans, and the grinds won’t be a uniform powder-like substance.
You may also notice clumping in your coffee grinds. Clumping is another sign of a dull blade. Dull blades can’t glide through the coffee ground easily, so they tend to clump the grinds together.
The easiest way to tell if your coffee grinder blades are dull is to run your finger on one of the blades. Before doing this, always ensure you unplugged the grinder. If the blades feel sharp and seem to have defined edges, you don’t need to sharpen them.
I Have a Burr Grinder, Will This Method Work?
A burr grinder is much different than a coffee grinder with blades. A burr grinder uses two rings with serrated edges that rotate in opposite directions to pulverize the fresh coffee beans. By pulverizing the beans in this way, you’ll have a lightweight, consistent grind.
With burr grinders, the rings that the grinder uses to make the grinds have serrated edges. These serrated edges are almost impossible to sharpen, which means the best option is to purchase a new one. Luckily, nearly all burr coffee grinder manufacturers also offer a replacement burr to their customers.
So, sharpening your coffee grinder burrs with rice doesn’t work, but you can still use this method to clean out your grinder. Rice does a great job of getting into all of the nooks and crannies to clean out the remaining coffee residue.
When you clean a burr grinder with rice, you need to ensure you clean out all of the rice, making sure not to leave any moisture in the grinder. Water can lead to rust on the rings.
Can I Sharpen Coffee Grinder Blades by Hand?
Although I don’t recommend manual sharpening, it is possible to do so. To sharpen the blades manually, you’ll need to disassemble the grinder and remove the blades. You’ll also need a sharpening stone.
Start by running the blade edge on the sharpening stone, being careful to keep the same angle, so you don’t damage the blade. Once you sharpen it to your standards, move on to the next blade. Repeat this until you sharpen each of the blades.
As you can tell, sharpening your coffee grinder’s blades isn’t the most challenging task, but it does take a few minutes of preparation. Once you gather all the necessary tools, it’s as easy as turning on the coffee grinder.
If you take the proper safety precautions—like unplugging the grinder and taking care when handling the blades—sharpening your coffee grinder blades is a breeze. If your coffee grinder isn’t giving the same fine, powdery grinds it did in the past, it’s time to start sharpening the blades!