Breville Barista Express grinder problems and quick fixes

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This guide will explain the cause of the most common Breville Barista Express grinder problems as well as give you tips on how to fix various grinder issues in this otherwise fine espresso machine.

Here is the thing: while the Barista Express is generally powerful and pulls genuinely flavorful shots, the manufacturer doesn’t seem to have done enough homework on the built-in grinder, going by the number of complaints submitted online by frustrated owners.

That should, however, not worry you since we will take you through the most notorious Breville Barista Express grinder problems and quick fixes that work.

Read on:

Breville Barista Express grinder problems and best fixes

As mentioned, it may be safe to conclude that Breville did not wrap itself with glory when it comes to the grinder.

Here are the day-to-day problems folks encounter and what to do to have the machine work seamlessly again:


Breville Barista Express grinder jammed / Breville bes870xl grinder jammed

If the grinder keeps on getting jammed, it is most likely clogged up with coffee grounds- the main victim of clogging is often the burr chamber.

The good news is your grinder is most probably not broken and folks usually troubleshoot the issue without the help of a maintenance professional.

First, let’s look at the reasons that might be causing the clogs:

  • Lack of cleaning- Debris inevitably builds up on the inside of a grinder over time, if you have not been cleaning it at the recommended frequencies. For example, parts of the coffee bean shell get stuck in between the metal sections inside there and gradually jam it up.
  • Jammed beans- Once in a while, one or two beans fail to exit the roasting chamber.
  • Wrong settings– The burr chamber could jam if the burrs have been set too fine. In this case, the grinder fails to force the coffee beans through your machine.
  • Improper operation– Also, you should not hold the Breville coffee machine portafilter very close to discharge chute. If you do, the peak (of the pile) of your coffee grounds may end up lodging in the chute’s opening, occasioning a blockage.



In general, the motor is unable to spin its burrs to grind your beans when the grinder is jammed. You’ll instead hear a “humming” sound.

What to do

To unclog it, clean the grinder meticulously.

Follow the cleaning steps below:

How to clean Breville coffee maker grinder / How to clean Breville coffee grinder

  1. Un-lock the bean hopper.
  2. Empty any residual beans out into a container.
  3. Return the hopper back in place (lock it).
  4. Run a normal grind cycle until there are no grounds coming out.
  5. Un-lock the hopper once more and set it aside.
  6. Using the handle at the top of your outer burr, proceed to turn the burr in the direction of the “ALIGN” arrow. This unlocks it to allow you remove it.
  7. Brush any grounds- use a cleaning brush- from the crevices (of the burr) and the top of your lower burr.
  8. Reinstall the outer burr then lock your bean hopper back properly in place. You should not, however, replace the coffee beans yet.
  9. Next, clean the chute- just slide your cleaning brush in to the ground s chute and move it in/out in a spiral motion. This releases any grounds still clinging inside your chute.
  10. Now replace the coffee beans in your hopper.
  11. Resume use of your espresso machine.


Breville barista express grinder making loud noise

A loud “ratchet” noise typically signals that a foreign object is lodged in grinder or other forms of blockage inside.

What to do

Immediately Switch Off the grinder, remove the hopper, and clear the blockage from inside of the chute.

Next, remove the Upper Burr and clean it as well as the Lower Burr. Refer to the cleaning instructions outlined under the section “Cleaning your conical burr grinder”.


Grinder safety clutch has activated

Reason: The filter basket is overfilled making the chute to back-fill.

What to do: Clean and clear the grinder and chamber.

No ground coffee is coming from grinder

Possible Reason: No coffee beans are in hopper.

What to do: Fill hopper

Possible Reason: Grinder chute is blocked.

What to do: Clean and clear the grinder chamber as well as chute.

Possible Reason: Water or moisture has infiltrated the grinder chamber & chute.

What to do: Clean and clear the grinder chamber as well as chute.


Breville Barista Express grinder wont start / Breville Barista Express grinder not turning on

Sometimes the grinder won’t start when you press the micro switch.

For the most part, this is caused by debris. It may also occur if the hopper is not correctly placed.

If this is the case, you may notice that the bean hopper safety inter-lock is open or both the filter size LEDs flashing (to mean the hopper is not properly in place).

What to do: Simply remove hopper, inspect it for debris and clean extensively (Empty the hopper then wipe it with some damp cloth and dry thoroughly afterwards). Finally replace the hopper the way it should be.


Cleaning  your conical burr grinder

  1. Unlock the hopper.
  2. Empty out all the beans.
  3. Proceed to replace the hopper then lock it into place. The final part is replacing the lid.
  4. Now run your grinder empty for between 5 -10 seconds.
  5. Unlock and then remove the hopper.
  6. Then unlock your Upper Burr and proceed to remove it.
  7. Using the supplied cleaning brush, brush around the Upper Burr, while making sure you clean around burr teeth very carefully. Also, clean the area right above the burrs (with the brush) rigorously. To complete the cleaning, slide the brush into your other grinding surface, cleaning the lower burr plus the surrounding chute.
  8. Replace Upper Burr, and be sure to lock it securely in place.
  9. Next, replace the hopper then lock it into place.
  10. Finally replace the beans plus the lid.

breville top burr stuck

Quick-Tip: The best and ultimately the most thorough method of cleaning burrs is by getting a vacuum (with a suitable hose attachment) and using it to vacuum up the particles on top of outer burr. Consider alternating between your cleaning brush and the vacuum to ensure that all the particles will be loosened and removed.


How to clean the coffee chute

The coffee chute also gets loads of bean pieces and suffers oily bean build-ups as other parts of the grinder.

For this reason, it is crucial that you clean it thoroughly.


  • Slide your cleaning brush – start from the bottom (of the chute) moving up into your grinder, while moving it around keenly and pushing it in/out.
  • Once done, try to run the grinder empty (for a couple of seconds) to get rid of any grinds that could still be left inside.


How to adjust Breville Barista Express grinder settings

It’s important to make sure that you get the settings right for optimal extraction of espresso.

Use the Breville barista express grinder adjustment settings to choose your ideal grind settings- from fine to coar se and adjust the quantity of freshly-ground espresso dosed into its filter basket.

·         How to Set the Grind Size

When setting grind size, ensure its fine (and not too fine & powdery).

I should mention that the optimal (and recommended) starting grind size is five(5) so ensure the grind size select dial/knob is at No. 5 setting. You may adjust as required.

Remember that the smaller the set number, the finer will the grind size be. On the same note, the larger the set number, the coarser will the grind size be.

·         How to Adjust the Grind Amount

Concerning the grind amount, it is suggested you set your dial to 3 O’clock as your starting point (for dose amount).

You can adjust it towards MORE or LESS as necessary to change the dose amount until the cap (on the tamper) is perfectly level with the filter basket rim’s top edge, AFTER tamping.

Refer to your owners manual for the complete procedure.


Breville Barista Express grinder grinding very little or no coffee

This hiccup- another of the Breville Barista Express grinder problems that can be extremely frustrating – is due to the grinder becoming clogged too.

You can recognize a clog by checking if the beans appear oily enough –they tend to either build up one the hopper walls or stick to each other.

What to do:

To clear the clog:

  1. Remove the hopper and the upper burr.
  2. Clean out residual beans, grounds, and pieces thoroughly- use a vacuum or the supplied cleaning brush.

Note: Removing your lower burr is not required here.

  1. Align then lock your upper burr securely back into place.
  2. Re-mount the bean hopper then lock into place.
  3. To help sort out the clog, we suggest you place a handful of un-seasoned, un-cooked, white rice in the hopper. You then set the system to the coarsest setting and ground the rice through the grinder.
  4. After this, clean your hopper again then repeat the grinding process- though this time you run a small number of beans through the system. This clears out the rice.
  5. These steps should successfully get rid of any clog.
  6. Adjust the grinder back to your preferred settings and resume use.


Wrap up

Try the solutions we have listed above and see if you’ll get rid of the Breville Barista Express grinder problems that are preventing your machine from making espresso the right way.

Keep in mind that these tips may not always work and the best course of action in some cases is to replace the grinder.

In fact, it is advisable to consider upgrading the grinder in due course, especially if the issues keep recurring.

Of course, some prefer to purchase an external grinder but it’s often more expensive than most of these simple Breville Barista Express grinder repair tricks.


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5 thoughts on “Breville Barista Express grinder problems and quick fixes”

  1. I have a Breville coffee maker for about three years without a problem until now. It stop grinding, but still working. I cleaned it already but perhaps not as I supposed to. After I cleaned worked very well one time only then I tried to make another cup of coffee and it didn´t work again. It just slide and does not grind any more. I will try to clean it again and si what happens. Thanks for the information.

  2. Just after one year warranty expired, the grinder amount timer stopped working automatically. Grinder can be activated and will grind but it will not stop regardless of the preset timer, meaning it has to be stopped manually. Sending it for service will cost about 60% what I have paid for it new. Can anybody offer a reasonable alternative repair solution? I am considering to stay away from Breville Barista espresso makers.

  3. Hi All
    Followed all the instructions posted above, but my grinder still grinds really fine and the adjuster wheel seems to be a little too easy to rotate. No matter what my setting the grind is way to fine….any input would be much appreciated. sending it for service would cost me about $200 in freight alone, so that’s out of the question.

  4. Hello. My grinder will only grind the highest amount of coffee even though it’s on the lowest setting. I guess it’s the setting that’s issue, I’m not sure. Not sure how to fix it.


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