A YouTube user asked us, “Why season the grinder? This is the first time I’ve heard of this, and it seems wasteful.”
This is really good because we had never covered it as such in our brew guides. And, when you Google it, this topic/practice seems relegated to the deepest, nerdiest corners of the coffee world. But it doesn’t have to be! Grinder seasoning makes a lot of sense in some day-to-day homebrewing situations, so let’s try and explain what it is and why/how/when we do it.
In this context, seasoning means grinding a few spare beans to ‘push’ through any remaining particles from previous doses.
All grinders retain a small amount of ground coffee within the burrs, which will mix and be part of the next grind dose. A tiny detail in the big scheme of things, but one that contributes towards the quality, consistency and replicability of your brews.
This is particularly relevant when we ‘only’ have one grinder at home and change between espresso and filter settings. Or when we grind individual doses of coffees with different flavour profiles (i.e. natural, washed, blend). Or when we use our grinder for the first time after a holiday.
Seasoning lowers the chance of integrating grounds from previous batches in our current dose (vastly different size, wacky process, old and stale…).
We use ~3 coffee beans for seasoning between noticeably different doses. Grind, then discard.
Yes, sounds kinda wasteful—but so is brewing an average cup of coffee you don’t enjoy drinking. We season our grinders in the above scenarios and during regular maintenance check-ups.
Just like everything else, this isn’t mandatory. How you brew your coffee is up to you. Learn, experiment, question, change, try, repeat. And enjoy!