A coffee machine needs two components to produce your cup of joe: hot water and ground coffee beans. Whether your machine has a built-in grinder or you’re using a standalone unit, failing to grind those beans will stop your coffee-making experience in its tracks.
When a coffee machine doesn’t grind any beans, check that the beans are falling from the hopper and coming into contact with the burr or blades. Next, check for clogs blocking the machine’s chutes or funnels, foreign objects jamming the grinder’s moving parts, and ensure the machine isn’t in programming mode.
Checking your coffee grinder up close can be dangerous for your fingers. So, disconnect the machine, and read through the troubleshooting tips you’ll find below.
Why Is My Coffee Machine Not Grinding Any Beans?
Troubleshoot these likely causes to get your coffee machine grinding its beans again:
Coffee Beans Not Touching Grinder Burr Or Blade
About this: Your coffee beans are stored inside a coffee hopper for added convenience. Thanks to the hopper, you won’t have to keep loading beans into the coffee maker each time you want to brew a cup.
So, whenever you run the grinder, those stored beans will fall towards the burr or blades that turn them into brewable coffee grounds.
There are no coffee machine parts that move the coffee beans directly.
Instead, manufacturers place the coffee hopper above the grinder so gravity can do all the work.
As the beans at the bottom are turned into coffee grounds, the ones above will naturally fall downward.
The issue: The first problem to consider is that the coffee beans are not falling as they should. Unfortunately, that will occasionally happen as your pile of coffee beans doesn’t collapse as the bottom ones are ground to powder.
As a result, the burr or blades of the grinder continue to turn without touching any of your coffee beans.
You’ll know this is the case if you hear your grinder working when you turn it on, yet you don’t hear any beans being broken down.
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How to fix it: Sometimes, all it takes is a little shake of your coffee machine to get the beans moving again.
Besides that, you can open the coffee hopper and stir the beans just enough that they fill the gap left around the grinder blades or burr. Of course, you should only do this when the coffee machine is turned off, so your fingers stay safe.
Lastly, you can also shake up the pile of beans by changing the coarseness settings. Temporarily choosing the coarsest settings will get the burr or blade moving enough to dislodge the coffee beans before you resume grinding.
Clogged Grinder Or Coffee Machine
About this: The coffee grounds that result from the grinding process must travel to where the brewing happens. That part of the coffee-making process occurs as the grounds fall through funnels and chutes that guide them along the way.
The issue: Unfortunately, coffee grounds are highly absorbent materials. That means they’re very efficient at absorbing moisture even when you don’t want them to.
That absorbent quality can be bad news for your coffee maker if there’s excess water inside the grinder or elsewhere in the machine.
The coffee grounds absorb water as they fall through the machine’s parts and eventually cause clogs. When those clogs become severe enough, they’ll prevent you from getting the coffee grounds you expect from your coffee machine.
You’ll know this is what’s causing your problem if you hear the grinder running and the coffee beans being broken down, yet no coffee grounds are moving through the machine.
How to fix it: The only way to solve this problem is to manually locate the clog and clean it out. The precise steps to do that will differ depending on your coffee maker model and design.
For example, sticking a brush or something similar into a coffee machine’s openings might be enough to break the clog. Meanwhile, some machines have one or more removable parts that you can quickly take out and clean thoroughly.
Foreign Object In Coffee Grinder
About this: As you read earlier, the coffee beans in your machine are stored in a coffee hopper. The hopper is designed as a storage container for your coffee beans.
However, its cover is wide enough that many other things can also fall inside. Therefore, you should be careful when filling the hopper with beans.
It would be an excellent idea to inspect the beans and keep an eye out for unwanted items falling into the hopper.
The issue: Another reason your coffee machine isn’t grinding beans is there’s a foreign object stuck in the grinder.
Unfortunately, the burr or blades of a coffee grinder are only strong enough to grind coffee beans. So, hard objects like rocks or beads will cause the grinder to stop working.
That, in turn, will prevent your coffee machine from grinding its beans.
How to fix it: The solution for this problem is to remove the foreign objects preventing the grinder from working. However, doing that poses a severe injury risk to your fingers.
So, disconnect the coffee machine from its power source and empty the coffee grinder and hopper completely. That will make it quicker for you to locate and remove the foreign object while also looking for any others.
Coffee Machine Is In Programming Mode
About this: Some coffee machines are incredibly basic and straightforward. However, some models are also programmable.
A programmable coffee machine allows you to set plenty of different specifications for your coffee brewing, such as the coffee serving size you want each time.
Programmable coffee machines will have a ‘program’ or ‘programming’ mode that’s activated by pushing a button or a particular series of buttons.
The issue: Lastly, your coffee machine might not be grinding its beans because it’s in programming mode. When that mode is active, the machine receives your input about how you’d like each coffee serving to be processed.
As such, it’s not brewing any coffee and will not activate the grinder.
How to fix it: You can resolve this issue by exiting the program or programming mode on your coffee machine. Again, the steps differ between coffee machine models.
On many models, you only have to push a dedicated button to enter or exit the mode. On others, you’ll have to press a few buttons. The user manual is your best resource for determining what applies to your model.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Below are a handful of questions and helpful answers that many users have asked:
Do Coffee Machines Have A Built-In Grinder?
Some coffee machines come with built-in grinders, while others don’t. Depending on your preferences, you can also purchase a standalone coffee grinder to accompany your coffee machine.
Is It Better To Get A Separate Coffee Grinder?
You should get a separate coffee grinder for several reasons. For example, suppose the standalone grinder needs repairs. In that case, you can send it for repairs separately while continuing to use your coffee machine.
What Is The Difference Between A Coffee Maker And A Coffee Grinder?
A coffee maker is designed to boil water and brew coffee. Meanwhile, a coffee grinder’s only job is to grind whole coffee beans to grounds according to your preferences. Some machines combine both functions, though you can buy standalone coffee makers and grinders separately.
How Do You Ground Coffee Manually?
You can ground coffee using a manual grinder. However, that will require you to physically turn a crank to produce coffee grounds. Alternatively, you can grind coffee beans manually with a pestle and mortar, a rolling pin, or even a standard blender if you have no other tools.
What Is The Difference Between Grind Sizes For Coffee?
Different coffee-making methods (e.g. coffee machine, French Press, etc.) require a different grind size to work correctly. Besides that, grind sizes also affect the coffee’s taste. Grind it too coarsely, and you’ll get weak coffee. Meanwhile, excessively fine coffee grounds can produce a bitter beverage.