Why Breville Espresso Machine Not Grinding – Troubleshooting Guide

We all know that the grinder of your Breville espresso machine is the engine powering that great espresso. What could possibly make it suddenly stop grinding?

Your espresso machine might not be grinding because you’re using the wrong grind settings, there’s an espresso bean issue, the grinder’s parts are worn-out, or it’s not turning on. To fix this, use the correct setting, change the beans, replace worn-out parts, or check the machine’s connection.

This article discusses four common reasons why your Breville espresso maker is not grinding. We shall also offer some quick solutions to help you fix the problems. Additionally, you’ll find four tips to help maintain your espresso machine.

1. You Are Using the Wrong Grind Settings

The first reason your espresso machine may not be grinding is that you set the incorrect grind size. 

The machine forces a certain amount of boiling water through coffee beans using pressure, giving off a smooth and creamy shot. Setting the grinder to the correct pressure level will achieve this – this is the function of the grind size select dial.

On your Breville espresso machine, you will find the grind size select dial at the top left area of the machine. The dial contains various grind settings and controls the pressure required to produce a proper espresso.

The amount of pressure the machine uses is proportional to the selected number on the dial. In other words, the higher the number, the higher the pressure, and vice versa. So, if you set your grind size to a low number, it uses low pressure. This might be the reason why it’s not grinding your coffee beans.

You can watch this explanatory video from Lifestyle Lab to learn more about Dialing in Breville Barista Express:

How To Fix?

Usually, a new Breville Express comes with a default grind setting. So, if you discover that your select dial is at a lower setting, turn the dial to a higher one to increase the grinding pressure. A grind size of 5 is ideal for the best espresso texture.

Read: Why Breville Espresso Machine Not Pumping Water? – Troubleshooting Guide

2. The Espresso Beans Are Too Dry, Oily, or Old

Another reason your Breville espresso machine might not be grinding is due to the quality of your espresso beans. Espresso beans with the following qualities can prevent the espresso machine from grinding: 

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  • Dry
  • Oily 
  • Old or stale  

Beans absorb moisture from the air around them if left on top of each other for too long, so it’s essential to store them correctly. 

How To Fix?

Use high-quality beans that have been recently roasted. This is because if they are too dry, oily, or old, it will not only make grinding difficult, but also affect the taste of your espresso.

I recommend storing your coffee beans in an airtight container and keeping them in a cool, dry and dark place. 

Also, grind your freshly-roasted espresso beans as soon as possible after roasting, as this will help to maintain the freshness and prevent any degradation process from occurring during storage or transportation.

Read: 4 Common Ninja Coffee Maker Problems

3. The Grinder Burrs or Bearings Are Worn-Out

Breville Espresso machines have burrs which are the cutting surfaces of your grinder. They are flat and sharp to allow for smooth blending of the espresso beans.

However, they can become blunt and worn-out after using them for some time. After a while, the grinders start making rattling sounds, stop producing great-tasting coffee, and finally give up. Thankfully, this issue is easy to fix. 

How To Fix?

There are two things you can do when your burrs are worn-out. You can either sharpen them using rice or replace them.

To sharpen your Breville espresso machine burrs using rice:

  1. Turn the machine off, and unplug it from the socket.
  2. Allow it to completely shut down (this should take about 20 seconds).
  3. Clean the grinder and blades.
  4. Wipe the blades with a damp cloth to remove loose pieces of ground espresso, and gently dry them with a dry cloth. 
  5. Pour a cup of uncooked rice into the grinder.
  6. Turn your espresso machine on again and grind the rice.
  7. Turn off the machine, remove the rice, and wipe the blades again. They should now be sharp once again!

While you can use grinding pallets for this purpose, rice is more cost-effective and readily available at home. 

Another option is to replace the burrs. While this might sound like an expensive fix, you’ll save quite a bit of money over time by replacing it every couple of years.

Worn-out blades or worn-out bearings cause friction when the moving parts against each other, causing heat buildup inside the machine, and this can destroy machine components. This could leave you with no choice but to replace the entire machine. 

I recommend changing your burrs at least once every year for personal use. However, you should consider changing them twice a year if you run a coffee business.

Read: Cuisinart Coffee Maker Troubleshooting

4. The Machine Is Not Turning On

If your grinder isn’t working, it could be because the machine hasn’t been plugged in or switched on properly, or it is in sleep mode.  

If this is the case, then you are not far from resolving the issue.

How To Fix?

  • Check that the espresso machine is plugged in. Ensure that the plug is not loose in the socket.
  • Turn it on to check if it is working. Sometimes, you might forget to switch on the machine.
  • Check if it’s in STANDBY or sleep mode. This usually happens within an hour of not using the machine. Exit this mode to resume grinding.

Read: 4 Common Keurig Coffee Maker Issues

4 Tips To Maintain Your Espresso Grinder

Improper maintenance can affect how well the machine works and how long it lasts. Here are some tips for keeping your espresso machine in top shape:

Check the Burrs

The grinding burrs should be sharp and rust-free to grind your espresso beans effectively. It’s worth checking them once a month to ensure they’re in top condition. 

You should also sharpen them regularly, and consider replacing them if they are broken. You can do this yourself or call a Breville technician to do it for you. 

Descale Your Espresso Machine

Over time, build-up from the minerals in water can cause your espresso machine to become clogged and not work efficiently. This is especially true if you live in an area with hard water. 

Descaling your espresso machine is an excellent way of clearing out all the built-up minerals. You can buy descaling tablets online or from specialty coffee equipment stores, and they are relatively inexpensive. 

Impresa Products Descaler from Amazon comes in a handy two-pack and will effectively remove limescale and mineral deposits.

How to descale your espresso machine will depend on the descaling product you use but most products require you to insert the descaler and run water through the machine. 

Clean and Maintain Your Breville Espresso Machine Regularly 

Cleaning your espresso machine regularly helps to prevent a build-up of espresso grounds, and helps the parts to work optimally. 

You can clean your espresso machine using an espresso machine cleaner. Urnex Espresso Machine Cleaner from Amazon comes in powder form, and helps remove stains and old espresso grounds remnants. 

Using an espresso machine cleaner is easy and you can simply place it where you normally put your espresso grounds and run a normal cycle. 

Maintaining your espresso machine can also help prolong its life. This involves replacing worn-out parts and calling a Breville machine specialist if you feel uncomfortable doing it yourself. 

Read: Why Is My Ninja Blender Power Light Blinking? How To Fix?

Conclusion

When your Breville Espresso Machine isn’t grinding beans properly, it could be due to various causes: 

  • You are using the wrong settings
  • The espresso beans you’re using are too oily, dry, or stale
  • The grinder burrs or bearings are worn-out
  • The machine isn’t on properly

Thankfully, fixing these issues is simple and, as long as you maintain and clean your espresso machine regularly, it shouldn’t give you problems.

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