The whirlpool separator, used for hot trub separation, is prevalent in the brewing industry. It is a kind of a hydrocyclone inside of which a tea leaf effect occurs, which is sediment accumulation into a cone shape at the central part of the tank’s bottom. This manner of sediment accumulation is caused by the secondary flow occurring in the so-called Ekman boundary layer. This article is a summary of the research, which has been conducted for many years and involved observation, simulation and experimental research on the recognition and formation of the secondary flow accumulating the sediment cone. Secondary flows occurring in a whirlpool were identified through CFD simulation and PIV experiments, and are presented in this paper. Based on their location and direction, an attempt to determine their impact on the separation process taking place in the whirlpool has been made. The secondary flow identification methods proposed in this paper can be successfully applied in other solutions, e. g. structural ones, which involve rotational-flow-based separation.