Coffee grinding question
April 16, 2007 4:51 PM   Subscribe

Home appliances filter: A friend was kind enough to give me a gently used burr grinder to replace the horrible blade grinder I was using to grind coffee beans for my first brew of the morning.

It works great and I am getting a much more even grind, but the problem is with the plastic hopper that the ground coffee goes into. An enormous amount of coffee adheres to the side of the hopper, and I am thinking that some kind of static charge is to blame. This seems to be a waste of good (and expensive) coffee so does anybody have a solution to this to help me prevent the ground coffee sticking to the side of the hopper or is this just a good, but cheap design?
posted by 543DoublePlay to Food & Drink (12 answers total)
The grinding process itself produces the static. I just scrape/knock mine off.
posted by unSane at 4:57 PM on April 16, 2007

use a rubber spatula to get it off.
rubber spatulas will one day rule the world.
mmmmmm, rubber spatulas...

alternatively you could line it with coffee filter paper..... but i love the rubber spatula far too much to support that idea.
posted by taff at 5:12 PM on April 16, 2007

You'll just have to deal. I have a small brush I use to get it off.
posted by Roman Graves at 5:23 PM on April 16, 2007

Best answer: Static is definitely an issue, but I would also make sure to use a clean paper towel and clean out the hopper once a week. The darker the roast, the more oil is on the outside of the bean, which causes the beans to stick to the side of the hopper (leaving a thin oily film) and stick to each other. When the coffee is ground, it too will naturally stick to the inside of the hopper.

In addition, if you can help it, don't store the beans in the hopper overnight. Always seal them in an airtight container and only grind what you need each morning. This has several benefits: 1) Your beans last longer (as the hopper is not airtight). 2) Coffee oils don't accumulate in your hopper. 3) It prevents your from grinding too much coffee (and wasting it). You eventually learn exactly how many beans you need for your daily ritual, making you more economical.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 5:24 PM on April 16, 2007

I put one or, at most, two drops of water in with the whole beans. I put a lot of coffee through, so I'm not sure if there would be any risk of rust if you didn't use it as often.

Also, give the plastic container a good whack with your finger before you pull it out of the grinder.
posted by tayknight at 5:59 PM on April 16, 2007

The next step, of course, is to point you at the Aerobie Aeropress coffee maker and the 110 page thread on CoffeeGeek discussing it.

I haven't made a drop of coffee in anything else since the day I got mine. The inventor dropped into Metafilter a while back to discuss it but I can't find the thread.
posted by unSane at 6:13 PM on April 16, 2007

I've had this problem with some burr grinders in the past due to the particular kind of plastic used. You should contact the manufacturer to find out if this is a known problem - they may replace it for you.
posted by Caviar at 7:03 PM on April 16, 2007

My burr grinder does the same thing. I use a linden brush to remove the accumulation once a week or so. I found that the one thing that exacerbated the problem was a thorough cleaning with soap and water. Dry cleaning with a cloth or brush only has reduced the charge in the plastic. (Or allowed a permanent grime to build up which resists the accumulation.) Unlike as noted above, I do leave beans in the hopper as it as least as airtight as the bag in which they are sold and a pound of beans disappears each week anyway. (I read that one week is considered the best-used-by limit on roasted beans. Mine come from a roaster about two hours away.) I also give the bin a sharp rap each morning when emptying.

Maybe I grind enough that I don't look at the dust as a waste of coffee. I grind in my woodshop (so as not to wake the wife and boy). Being surrounded by cutoffs and sawdust reminds me that every process involves some waste product. Cheers.
posted by Dick Paris at 7:23 PM on April 16, 2007

Funny, I was just researching this very thing today as my burr grinder does the same thing but with the added bonus of spewing the grounds all over the counter when I pull the plastic tray out. From what I've read, it's just as said, static electricity is a problem with a lot of grinders, particularly cheaper ones that have a greater proportion of plastic parts. Some suggest letting the ground coffee sit in the bin for a few minutes, allowing the static to dissipate.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 8:07 PM on April 16, 2007

I take the hopper with lid off of the machine and smack its bottom on the counter a few times. Works for me.
posted by stavrogin at 8:38 PM on April 16, 2007

The mechanism is pretty much the same as helicopter blades charging up by swooping through the air, if anyone's interested.
posted by unSane at 9:00 PM on April 16, 2007

Burr grinder here too. I just whack the hopper a few times with my knuckle. Gets most of the dust out.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 9:53 AM on April 17, 2007

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