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Do Burr Mills "Wear Out"?
coffeeforblood
I have a Capresso burr mill and am very pleased with its performance in terms of evenness of grind. I have been using it daily, sometimes more than once daily, for almost three years. For the amount of coffee I mill, I used to set the timer dial between 7 and 8. Lately, I've observed that this is no longer adequate and I have to set the timer to 9 to mill all of coffee. So, my question is whether or not the burrs get dull and less effective over time or is something else going on? My assumption is that the burr material is so hard compared to coffee beans that they would never get dull, but maybe that was a bad assumption. Any opinions/data? Thanks.
 
BenKeith
Them coffee beans are a whole lot harder than you give them credit for. Yes, burrs do wear out, to what degree/how fast is going to depend on the material they are made of, the size of the burrs and speed at which they are turning.
I've never run one of the cheaper home machines with those little ceramic burrs long enough to even guess how long they will last. When I was just getting into this stuff, I owned a coupe of those things but it was rather quickly I realized the static and grind quality was something I didn't care to deal with so they went on the junk shelf in the garage. I usually found changes in the size grind as they were used was caused by the way they were built and adjustment more so than that little ceramic burr, but like I said, I gave up on those long before that burr wore out.

I find you have to use a new grinder for several pounds of beans before their grind quality is consistent, and then they grind good for a few/several hundred pounds, depending on the grinder.
Also, if you are grinding for espresso, you will be replacing burrs much sooner than if you are grinding for drip coffee.

Like I said though, if the grinder cost less than a couple hundred bucks, I can't speak for those.
 
Mustang967

Quote

coffeeforblood wrote:

I have a Capresso burr mill and am very pleased with its performance in terms of evenness of grind. I have been using it daily, sometimes more than once daily, for almost three years. For the amount of coffee I mill, I used to set the timer dial between 7 and 8. Lately, I've observed that this is no longer adequate and I have to set the timer to 9 to mill all of coffee. So, my question is whether or not the burrs get dull and less effective over time or is something else going on? My assumption is that the burr material is so hard compared to coffee beans that they would never get dull, but maybe that was a bad assumption. Any opinions/data? Thanks.


I can speak to the less than a couple hundred dollar grinders :)
I've had a Baratza Encore for several years and I can absolutely say that the burrs are wearing/worn out now. When it was newer I was able to get a much more consistent grind and grind much finer than I can now. I've tried adjusting grinder but I have come to the conclusion that I just need to replace the burrs.

So to respond directly to your questions,

Quote

my question is whether or not the burrs get dull and less effective over time

Yes and yes. Like BenKeith said, beans are harder than you'd think. But also remember that a kitchen knife can get dull from cutting relatively soft things, so our coffee will and does eventually dull and even wear away metal from the burrs. Especially if you get one of those pesky coffee looking rocks in your roasts.

Royce
 
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