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Beautiful new coffee grinder woes...

My husband bought me a lovely burr coffee grinder for Christmas, just what I had been wanting. But alas! It makes a horrible mess and spews coffee grounds all over the counter! (Well, okay, that's an exaggeration, but it is quite annoying!) It seems to be getting worse. The plastic cup that the grounds go into seems to be developing a static charge that causes the grounds not to just go neatly into the bottom of the cup, but to cling to every surface, and then jump off when I pull the cup out.

I'm not really a neat person, so wiping up the grounds every time I make a cup of coffee is not really the solution I am looking for. I'm much more into system change and prevention... Any advice?? What can I do about this static problem??? Other ideas? (I'm thinking of putting the whole thing on a tray, but the little cup slides out, and the lip of the first tray I tried blocks it...)

It's a Starbucks grinder, bean reservoir on top, grinder cup at the bottom, don't know if the brand makes any difference.

Thanks for any ideas.

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  1. I have been having the same issue! Here is a post I made over the summer... not many answers...


    1. Thanks, ponyboy. I guess there is no problem so seemingly obscure that it hasn't happened to many others before.

      I'm wondering, apropos of the humidity comment, if my problem has gotten significantly worse since the weather turned bitter cold, and the humidity presumably went down in my house. And so maybe this is really seasonal?? Can anyone comment on this? (Anyone in Seattle, say, not having this problem because it is always humid?)

      I don't know about the zapper thing. Laundry dryer cloths, I can try that. Removing the cup s-l-o-w-l-y, can't promise to remember that before the first cup of coffee, but thereafter, yeah.

      Glad to know I'm not the only one, anyhow!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Anne H

        I don't think this problem is that obscure. I really like my Capresso burr grinder, but yes, it does seem to suffer from "static cling", the other thing I noticed is that the "cup" that receives the ground coffee tends to "wiggle out" of its slot when the grinder is running (probably due to some vibrations) and that allows for the grinds to sneak out and cling to the outside of the cup and the grinder, so I usually try to use my finger to push the cup up tight in its slot, but that is not a perfect solution.

        Seems to me that the real solution would be for the manufacturers to use a three prong power cord, and ground the whole machine.

      2. My otherwise lovely Melitta does that too. I always though it was the reason it was on sale on slickdeals.net for $5, but I guess it's not the only grinder that does that. I don't mind; it forces me to wipe the counter.

        1. If you can't find a solution here, you might want to try searching or asking over at coffeegeek.com. It's a very useful site.

          1. My burr grinder does the same "static" thing, but does not spew coffee all over, so I have just lived with it.

            1. I have the same static problem. I thought it was because I had bought one that was more inexpensive but maybe it's a more universal problem.

              1. Static goes with the territory. (It's actually a serious issue in grain mills where static discharge has the potential to cause serious explosions, but those conditions basically cannot happen during home use.) It should ease up a little when the weather gets warmer and the air more humid, but it happens even in fairly humid conditions.

                As for the spewing, that sounds like a design flaw. Unfortunately there are a lot of indifferent burr grinders on the market and they're not all created equal. One thing to look for is accumulations of very fine bits in any cracks or crevices that may prevent the cup from seating fully in it's "slot" and/or blocking the hole/chute from the burr area into the holder. You shouldn't have to brush it constantly, but you do need to clean out the burrs and associated areas with a stiff brush or something once in a while.

                1. I've seen this happen with big commercial grinders. The only good solution is to ground it. If you have access to the metal frame on the grinder you could run a wire to the ground opening in your outlet.

                  1. How many consumer-use grinders have any metal at all in the frame or for that matter, anywhere but the mechanical and electrical components themselves? I suppose if you could ground the burrs it would indeed solve the problem, but realistically that's not feasible even for the geeks among us who're capable of taking appliances apart and getting them back together in the first place. ;)

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: MikeG

                      The following don't just have metal in their frame they have ground plugs:
                      Bodum Antigua
                      Ranchilio Rocky
                      All Barazza grinders
                      Keep in mind burr grinders only have one moving part and can be easily taken apart to clean and change the burrs. It's not like taking apart your car or even a toaster but I could see how it could intimidating for some ;)

                      1. re: cheapertrick

                        well, I have a Baratza and it has static cling.
                        IME it's 95% about the beans. Some roasts get zero static cling. Most of the darker, oilier roasts I prefer have static. But it doesn't help that there's always a bit of grounds that stays up in the mechanism and removing the cup jostles them down and onto the counter and the hopper slot.
                        Chronic coffee grounds mess. Someday I'll find the perfect size tray to go under my grinder and that will at least contain most of the mess.

                    2. I know they *can* be taken apart (I've taken my 20 yr old Braun apart a couple of times over its lifetime), but if you really want to get into soldering ground wires onto the motor frame and running a new cord just to avoid the relatively minor static issue, you're a much better (or at least more persevering) person than I. LOL

                      The ones that are grounded, do they bother to ground the motor/burr assembly, or is just for user-safety?

                      1. I just read (in another chow thread) that keeping coffee beans in the freezer can contribute to the static.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Mawrter

                          I have the same problem with my Starbucks burr grinder and I keep the beans in a cannister under the counter. The problem is worse with the finer grinnds.

                        2. The brand DOES make a difference, but the Starbuck's burr grinder seems to be one of the better moderately priced ones. They seem to have updated the unit late last year, so you should verify that you have the current model or get them to exchange it if you don't.

                          You will get more static if your beans are stale (which happens within a couple of weeks) or your grind is very fine. If you let the ground coffee "rest" in the hopper for a few minutes and then scoop it out slowly, you will get less static.

                          You can find info about this on sites such as sweetmarias.com and coffeegeek.com

                          Some brands are appalling. I briefly had a DeLonghi model that sent grounds flying for several feet when the hopper was removed. Others are much better. But pretty well all burr grinders create at least some static.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: embee

                            For years, I had precisely your experience with a DeLonghi burr grinder. Last summer, I bought a Baratza Solis Maestro burr grinder, expecting to endure similarly far-flung experiences in the drier months; but so far, well into this winter with my dry kitchen, I've had refreshingly minimal static problems.

                          2. I've found that letting the grounds "rest" is my best solution. If I grind when I set the water to heat, five minutes later when I make the coffee, the static is not as bad as it would have been if I ground and used immediately. And yesterday, I ground some beans, got distracted, and didn't make coffee until this morning. No static at all. Not that this is a perfect solution! (And by the way, I can verify the frozen beans = more static comment above. I used to keep beans in the freezer, and the static was awful, in my old non-burr grinder.)

                            1. I have had one of the great old-fashioned looking Kitchenaid burr grinders with the glass jar for several years and have tried everything to deal with the grinds making a mess on the counter, sticking to the output "chute", etc. By chance, I found that when we use a particular coffee, there is no static whatsoever. There is a group of stores here in Atlanta called Harry's Farmers Market which is owned by Whole Foods. Their store brand gourmet coffee is "bulk" in wooden barrels that you scoop into sacks and pay by the pound. When I use this and only this coffee we don't get any static mess when grinding. I use a 1/2 and 1/2 mix of their expresso roast and decaf expresso roast and it makes great coffee. I wish I knew what causes this. I have seen them fill their barrels and the coffee they were pouring in the barrels was in sort of gold foil 5-pound bags. I have tried the bulk coffee at regular Whole Foods and we get static mess, Starbucks, mess, various Trader Joes coffees, mess.

                              1. >> The following don't just have metal in their frame they have ground plugs:
                                Bodum Antigua
                                Ranchilio Rocky
                                All Barazza grinders


                                But isn't this just for the electrical components? Is the chute grounded as well?

                                1. -----

                                  Unfortunately there isn't a practical way to totally rid plastic and-or metal components of static electricity even if the appliance is fully grounded. It would probably take a total submersion in deionized or distilled water to pull off such a feat.


                                  1. Thats what I thought. I have a Cunill El Cafe Tranquilllo grinder that I use. Built like a tank with lots of metal and grounded also. But I still get static cling. Not much, though...

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Jimmy Buffet


                                      Jimmy, I kind of suspect the roasted beans being dry and all, develops its own static charge. It would be self defeating, or even downright nasty and dangerous, to water down the beans before grinding.


                                    2. I have the Bodum Antigua and the same static problem. I've had the grinder for years and when it was new did an internet search on solutions to the problem. One was to put a few droplets of water in the bean hopper. I tried it and it really does reduce the static. I have seen others say this is dangerous, but I don't really see how and I've never had a problem. I only flick a couple of droplets and it does not seem to impact the grind. I only use this grinder for drip coffee or french press as it does not grind fine enough for espresso.

                                      1. A far simpler solution is to steam the beans for a few seconds before grinding. This brings a little oil to the surface and completely eliminates static, even with beans from the freezer (I store my beans frozen to keep them fresh). I put them in a small wire mesh basket to steam them for about 5-10 secs. It may make them clump a bit in the grinder hopper, especially if you get them too oily, but that doesn't hurt and it's far easier to nudge them in the hopper than it is to deal with static.

                                        1. I've had a Capresso burr grinder for about a year. When I first had it I don't remember it having static problems. In fact, when I read about static problems with other grinders I thought I was lucky. But then, for some reason, the Capresso developed them. When I read your post I thought perhaps I'd bought it in warmer weather and the problem got worse with dry indoor heated air, but when I looked back I see that I bought it in February. So I have no idea. I'll double check later, but I think it does have a 3-prong plug. The static makes it require more cleaning, and I found recently that it wouldn't grind, probably because of too much buildup. I had also been storing it in a base cabinet near my dishwasher, and I wonder if the humidity was getting to the less-than-clean mechanicals and gumming things up.

                                          1. The way the bean is processed is applicable. I have a Solis Maestro burr grinder that is fine with locally roasted beans, but when I use Trader Joe's nitrogen-packed beans the static electricity is a problem. My grinder is two-prong.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Yadda

                                              I also have a Solis Maestro grinder. I always had problems with static. Solis was eventually bought (I think) by Baratza. They released a revised grounds cup which has a special coating inside of it to prevent static. I purchased a replacement from them for $10 and woallah! no more static. Here's the link in case you're interested: