Did You Know You Can 'Season' Your Coffee Grinder?

We've all heard of "seasoning" a cast iron skillet for easier cooking, or adding seasonings to a recipe to enhance food flavor. But who knew there was such a thing as seasoning a coffee grinder? A lot of people, apparently.

Seasoning is a thing. It's common practice amongst coffee professionals such as Coffee ad Astra, which advocates it for breaking in the burrs of a brand-new coffee grinder or for periodic seasoning throughout a grinder's useful lifetime. Accumulation of oils and other coffee-bean debris can eventually affect the grind size of beans and how the liquid eventually distributes into your cup.

A good time to season it is just after conducting a thorough cleaning of coffee grinder components such as gears and metal burrs, according to Prima Coffee Equipment, which calls it "re-seasoning" the inner workings. Not only does the process reset the machine for proper operation, but it also adds a touch of oil to help prevent oxidation and rust build-up.

Here's a look at seasoning a coffee grinder and how to do it in your own kitchen. 

Seasoning your coffee grinder for smooth operation

Tino Franzini from Ceado, an Italian company that manufactures coffee grinders, gives a simple primer on seasoning a grinder. In a YouTube demonstration hosted by Whole Latte Love, he first debunks the notion of traditional food seasonings being involved in any way, shape, or form – please, no rosemary, basil, or peppercorns in your coffee grinder! In the world of coffee apparatus, seasoning simply ensures the metal burrs of your coffee grinder perform as intended. Franzini compares the burrs of a grinder to teeth and the seasoning process to polishing those teeth, thereby improving the friction factor for a more consistent flow of coffee.

To season a grinder, make sure the inner parts have been thoroughly cleaned, per Prima Coffee Equipment, and then toss in some whole roasted coffee beans. Some professionals, including Franzini, recommend using several pounds of coffee per seasoning session. However, Prima indicates a much smaller amount — roughly 3 to 5 teaspoons. Grind the beans as usual before putting the clean, seasoned machine back into service. It's a simple extra step to keep coffee flavor and consistency flowing into your cup on a daily basis.