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Sep 5, 2010 07:05 AM

Do flavors really stay in burr grinders even after beng washed?

From what I've "heard", most people use separate grinders for their coffee and their spices. The point of which is to keep flavors from mixing?
Is this really necessary?
I'd rather not buy a second one if I can help it..... Does anyone use theirs for both coffee and spices?
Does the cleaning method of grinding rice or bread work any better than just soap and water?
Thanks in advance.

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  1. Do you really want coffee scented spices or spice scented coffee after going to all the trouble to grind your own coffee and spices?

    Spice oils and coffee oils are nearly impossible to clean out of most spice grinders. Fresh coffee beans and fresh spices will leave a lot of residue behind that a normal "wash" will not remove.

    Have you considered a Mortar and Pestle for your spices?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Sid Post

      "Do you really want coffee scented spices or spice scented coffee after going to all the trouble to grind your own coffee and spices?"

      No, I don't.

      "Spice oils and coffee oils are nearly impossible to clean out of most spice grinders."

      But that's what I don't get - if that's true, wouldn't I then need a separate one for each spice?

      "Have you considered a Mortar and Pestle for your spices?"

      Yes, that was my "Plan B" - which might soon become my "Plan A"

      1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

        Similar spices could share a grinder but, it's a whole lot easier to just use a Mortar and Pestle. I got tired of having a nice row of small grinders lined up on the counter - I wanted my counter space for something else.

    2. I have a blade grinder. I will tell you that it is extremely difficult to remove the spice favor. Do you store your spice in a container like glass jar or tin box? Have you ever tried to wash these containers? You will not easily get the scents out from them even they are smooth flat surface. You will have difficulty to get scents out of your grinders with all the corners and turns.

      1. I run about 1/3 cup rice through the grinder after I finish a bag of coffee. The rice picks up the oils and helps flush out the old flavour. Then when I start a new bag, I send through a few sacrificial beans to take out the residue rice.

        If I were going to use my coffee grinder for spices (which seems a bit overkill to me; I've never had that much to grind), I'd flush it every time I changed ingredients.

        1. First off, you never ever wash a burr grinder of any sort, but I think "most people" are talking about those blade mills for coffee. The kind that have a couple of blades inside that whir around and chop up your coffee beans. A burr grinder uses steel "gears" to crush the coffee. I've never heard of anyone using their burr coffee grinder for spices. Coffee mills? Yes! By all means. However, most black pepper mills are burr grinders, and they come in all price ranges. They work nice for some spices, not so great for others. I have half a dozen that I keep filled with a variety of pepper corns, from Tellecherry to Tasmanian pepper berries. I *think* pepper mills should do a good job with cloves and juniper berries. I plan on trying them out but keep forgetting to stick another pepper mill in the old shopping cart.

          The coffee mills do a pretty good job of "grinding" spices, even though they really just chop fine, no grinding involved. You know, the kind that have a clear plastic top and a button you press to make them run. Compared to burr coffee grinders, they are VERY inexpensive. I have one I paid under $20.00 for that I keep for spices, especially blends. You cannot put the whole thing in the dishwasher, or put water inside it. I clean mine with paper towels. Just wipe out the inside with a dry paper towel first, then some fairly firm taps against my wood cutting board while holding it upside down to dislodge anything hiding in the seams. If I've done something very strong and I'm concerned about flavor carry-over, I simply process some rice until it's pretty much powder, then some kosher salt to polish the interior, then let it sit open for a day or so. Works every time!

          9 Replies
          1. re: Caroline1

            Thanks Caroline. My bad - I have a Cuisinart blade mill.... thought it was called a burr grinder.

            1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

              I use instant rice through my burr grinders to clean them of old coffee oils. I use a little blade grinder for spices. It's hard to really clean the scent out of them between spices but the rice will work to absorb some of the oils left behind. It can get into the little nooks that you can't get to with a brush. With spices usually if the grinder is relatively clean the new spice will cover any lingering scent of the last spice ground.

              1. re: scubadoo97

                Need to know what type of spice grinder do you use. I have cloves and have not found anything with good reviews for those type of spices. Krups coffee bean grinder approx $20 has terrible reviews. I do not mind even using a manual type burr spice grinder if I can find one that can be relied on. Please need some good ideas. Already buying a Microplane rounded one for nutmeg.

                1. re: Tinker

                  I use a Baratza Virtuoso for my coffee beans because it provides uniform grinds. I use a Cuisinart blade grinder for spices since uniformity isn't as important and the blade & cup portion can be removed and washed.

                  1. re: pabboy

                    Do you have the model number on the cuisinart blade grinder?
                    . One I read not good reviews on.

                    1. re: Tinker

                      Grind Central Coffee Grinder DCG-12BC

                      It's def no the greatest but it does what I need. I will not buy another one though.

                  2. re: Tinker

                    My current blade grinder which I use for spices is a Toastmaster. It does a very good job of grinding the spices that I use most often. I have not had an need to grind cloves in it but I doubt it would have difficulty in turning them into a powder.

                    1. re: Tinker

                      How about a mortar and pestle for cloves? Recipes rarely call for a large amount of cloves, A M&P is the easiest spice grinder to clean.

                      1. re: paulj

                        I probably would save some money, paulj. I actually have one right on my counter but it seems when I use it everything tries to stick to the bottom of it and have to peel it out. I may just go in there and check this out. Thanks a million.