No more staticky coffee grounds
November 11, 2011 11:00 AM   Subscribe

What can I do to reduce static cling on my glass coffee grinder hopper so less coffee sticks to the sides and makes a big mess?

I have a Bodum Bistro burr grinder, which I bought in part because it has a glass hopper that was supposed to reduce the problem of static cling. But it's super duper dry in the winter, and I'm having a lot of trouble with large quantities of coffee first sticking to the hopper and then when I tap it, flying all over everywhere.

Are there clever techniques that can reduce this annoyance?

I don't know if it makes a difference, but I use pretty oily french roast coffee beans.

(How do you spell staticky, anyway? The k looks wrong. Staticy is clearly wrong "stat-i-sy?". But,static-y seems like the right adjective.)
posted by leahwrenn to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
My uncle uses a clean (designated) paintbrush to sweep bits of ground coffee out of his grinder.
posted by needs more cowbell at 11:09 AM on November 11, 2011

(and this doesn't let them fly away as much as just tapping would.)
posted by needs more cowbell at 11:09 AM on November 11, 2011

I use a designated brush to brush out the excess grounds from my blade grinder. Avoid darker roasts, like Starbucks. Darker roasts inevitably have more oil on the surface of the bean. Also, the grinding itself seems to generate static--there's nothing you can do about that.

As previously suggested, find a coffee purveyor that sells beans whose optimal flavor is brought out with a lighter roast. Second, wipe the hopper clean occasionally (weekly). A paper towel should work. After each grind, use a brush to clean things up a bit.
posted by Hylas at 11:25 AM on November 11, 2011

Are you keeping the coffee in the freezer? I've found that frozen beans do this, but if I store them in an airtight container at room temperature the problem goes away. I keep most of my beans frozen but store a weeks worth on the counter for this reason.
posted by cosmac at 11:37 AM on November 11, 2011

I do exactly what cosmac does, and I have problems with static.

My routine:

Remove hopper. Hold at edge of sink with mouth towards sink, tap vigorously 5 times.

Use designated brush (similar to a makeup brush) to clear grounds from hopper lid into filter. Tip hopper into filter, then brush out hopper.

posted by adamrice at 11:52 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have that same grinder, and I use a designated cheap paintbrush to sweep out the grinds. I just went to lowes and found a chip brush for $1.19 and wrote "coffee grinder" on the handle in marker. It works like a dream and have very little fly away coffee dust.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 11:56 AM on November 11, 2011

Antistatic Gun? I haven't used it outside the lab but it works great for exactly that type of thing.
posted by tchemgrrl at 11:59 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Maybe I'm a terrible person and my laziness makes me lose all my coffee-drinker points, but I just grind, dump into the filter however much dumps out, and put the hopper back in for tomorrow morning, with some of today's (and, yes, yesterday's too, I'm sure) remnants clinging to it. If too much clings and I need more grounds, I grind more.
posted by aimedwander at 12:01 PM on November 11, 2011 [3 favorites]

Perhaps cleaning after each grinding, or cleaning right before grinding the beans might help? I just saw this post today on cleaning grinders with rice. Cheap and easy!
posted by evolvinglines at 12:05 PM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

for your subquestion, it's staticky. See also: garlicky.
posted by cabingirl at 12:30 PM on November 11, 2011

Staticky is the right spelling although it's getting red-lined here.

Variation: static-y
posted by lakersfan1222 at 12:30 PM on November 11, 2011

Best answer: With our grinder (plastic hopper, not glass), waiting a couple of minutes after grinding greatly reduces static cling.
posted by nosila at 1:24 PM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

IANYBarista, but nth on the paintbrush— one with natural bristles is more resistant to becoming gross from oil absorption. Coffee oils + synthetic bristles often equals a film on the brush that attracts dirt and smells unpleasant.

As stated upthread, lighter roasts are invariably less oily (and also tend to preserve more inherent flavours in the bean), but drink what you like.
posted by a halcyon day at 4:27 PM on November 11, 2011

Since this is happening to the coffee pre-grinding, I'm not entirely convinced that the problem is static cling; I'd be more inclined to think that this much more related to the oiliness of the beans. I've known coffee purveyors that do not allow their wholesale customers to run french-roast coffee through their grinders, because of oils building up.

I agree that you should just drink what you like, but you should totally try to find some lighter (not light roasts, just lighter than french...lots of 3rd wave coffee places like Stumptown and Intelligenstia have "lighter" espresso blends, that still have a really big flavor) and see if you like it. If getting some less-oily coffee isn't an option, clean out the hopper once a week by soaking it in some warm water and Puro Caff. Works like a charm at dislodging all that grease.

If this is happening to the bottom container, one trick I've found that works is to find a mason jar lid that will cover the top of the container, and just give it a couple shakes before you dose your coffee.

Even non-french roast coffees have a ton of oil in them, but not nearly as much. Regular cleaning of hoppers will help your coffee just taste better, and it should help some of the stickiness problems you're having.
posted by furnace.heart at 5:37 PM on November 11, 2011

Response by poster: The issue is more with the coffee post-grind, not with the beans sticking in the upper container (although that's an issue also, yes).

I really don't prefer acidic coffee, so I'll probably stick to the French roast. But the coffee grinds that get all over the kitchen are getting frustrating.

There's a lot of static around because it's so dry --- I'm in Alaska in the winter, and there can be enough static that my daughter's hair can stand straight out from her head, which is pretty impressive.
posted by leahwrenn at 5:45 PM on November 11, 2011

The problem is with the bin that catches the grounds, not the hopper (which is the bean container on the top of the grinder). I've figured out a way to hold and tap my bin so that the grounds that would miss my coffee press instead hit and bounce off (or stick to) my hand. It's easier to dust off my hand than it is to wipe up grounds from the counter, and setting my press in the sink isn't always an option.

Coffee acidity does not always depend on the degree of the roast. I don't like acidic coffee either, but I prefer light roasts, and there are plenty that aren't acidic. I do have much more of a problem when I grind a dark roast (the Sumatra beans I buy can be very oily), but even the light roasts stick sometimes.
posted by WasabiFlux at 5:53 PM on November 11, 2011

I have this problem as well. First, I take the lid off the grounds container and set it on a paper towel (to catch the flyaway grounds when the lid hits the counter.) I then take a small brush and push the grounds down the side to which they are stuck. Next, I take my conical, paper coffee filter and put it over the top of the container. Flip it over with one hand (while holding the sides of the filter to the sides of the container) and tap the container with my free hand until I think enough is out. Reapply lid to container above paper towel, insert back into grinder, clean up any missed grounds and make delicious coffee....
posted by Jacob G at 7:21 PM on November 11, 2011

To combat the static cling just wipe the outside of the grinder with a wet towel before using it. That should take care of the problem.
posted by Odinhead at 10:25 AM on November 13, 2011

Response by poster: So, waiting a few minutes after grinding significantly reduces the static problem. That's fantastic!
posted by leahwrenn at 12:20 PM on November 13, 2011

Before I grind, I wet my fingers and then stir the beans around a bit -- just puts a tiny bit of water on the beans. Seems to virtually eliminate staticosity.
posted by SampleSize at 6:35 PM on November 13, 2011

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