Can You Grind Coffee Beans Without a Grinder?
Is there anything worse than going to the shop, grabbing your favourite bag of coffee, only to realise you’ve brought beans rather than grounds? Or maybe you’ve woke up on a Sunday morning, only to grind your morning coffee and your grinder has stopped working.
Rather than waste all these precious beans, luckily, there are some ways to grind your coffee beans without a special coffee grinder, such as by using a blender, mortar and pestle, a hammer or even a rolling pin.
We have put together our best guide below that will explain more about how to grind your coffee beans without a regular coffee grinder, the benefits of grinding roasted coffee beans and what grind size you can achieve.
So without further chat, let’s get grinding those beans!
Why Grind Coffee Beans?
Whole bean freshly ground coffee is often known to produce the best tasting cup of coffee, this is because when coffee is kept as its whole bean the outer shell prevents the oxidation process from happening to the coffee, allowing it to keep its fresh flavour from the coffee industry, this is why you see coffee shops only grind their coffee from fresh beans rather than using ground coffee.
We have listed some more reasons below as to why you should drink from bean coffee rather than pre-ground coffee or a jar with coffee.
- It smells better – Ever wondered why a cup of coffee from the shop smells so good? That’s because they are grinding their coffee beans, when coffee is pre-ground, most of its amazing strong coffee smell already disappears during the grinding process, however, when you grind from the bean it preserves not only its flavour but its amazing coffee smell too.
- You can extract better flavour – Espressos are always made from fresh whole-bean coffee as they have had the little process done to them beforehand, when grinding your coffee beans yourself you will release some of the CO2 in them which adds to the flavour, this CO2 is always extracted before when you buy pre-ground coffee, hence why types of coffee made with beans tend to taste better.
- It doesn’t absorb flavour – When storing coffee, especially ground coffee, the moisture attraction inside can absorb some of the flavours around it, whether from the container or kitchen it is being stored in, with beans you avoid this stale coffee flavour as it stops the coffee through oxidation being limited by the outer shell.
- The bean coffee lasts longer – Coffee beans can be stored for a long time, even years, whether the drawback with coffee that is instant coffee or ground will start to taste stale within a couple of months.
Best Methods To Grind Coffee Beans Without a Coffee Grinder
Now we know why coffee beans make the best type of coffee, let’s discuss how we can grind these beans up without a grinder so as you can make that morning cup of coffee.
We have listed a few ways you can grind beans below without a proper coffee grinder and how to do them to get you started –
Use a Countertop Blender
Grinding your beans with kitchen blenders can be easily done to get the consistency you want, just make sure you have control over your blender and grind in intervals to stop the blender blade from heating up too much as this can start to cook the beans and leave a bitter taste.
Some blenders might come with a grind setting which is perfect for beans, but if not, you can use the pulse technique on the blender to have excellent control, this should only take around 20 seconds meaning you can get on with your morning commute.
You can also grind your beans up in a food processor rather than a blender if you have one which will work well, however, you might have to fill it with larger amounts of coffee as these processers tend to be quite wide, also avoid processing for too long as it can cook the beans in time and cause bitterness of coffee.
Go For a Hammer Method
Next up, you can try grinding your beans with a hammer technique. Simply place your beans inside of a high-quality plastic freezer bag on a flat surface and smash them until they start to grind up, do not strike the bag as this can cause damage to coffee, instead just hit them lightly with a light-medium pressure till they are the coffee grind size you desire.
Try a Classic Rolling Pin
Similar to the hammer method, you can also grind your beans up with a rolling pin, easily put them in a plastic zipper freezer bag as the above and roll them on a flat surface, this tends to work the best for french press coffee as it will produce the preferred consistency which is slightly rough.
You can even freeze your beans for a couple of months if you accidentally grind too many, just avoid leaving them in the freezer for a long time as this can give them freezer burn.
Mortar And Pestle
If you are looking to make drip coffee then using a mortar and pestle might be the most ideal option for you, this is because it grinds the beans smaller and finer than other methods as you have more control, but it is also a very labour-intensive process and will not grind as much as the rolling pin method.
To grind your beans with a pestle you will need to fill the mortar up to about 1/4 full, hold it with your hand and use the other hand to start the pestle grinding, you can drive down on the beans as you would with a hammer for this then start to move the pestle around in a circle for better consistency in grind.
The more you use your pestle, the finer the result of the coffee will be and the more consistent grind that you will have, this makes this method great for Turkish coffee.
Pepper Mill Grind It
A pepper mill is a great alternative to a coffee grinder if you are looking to achieve a french press consistency with your coffee beans, this is because it uses the same internal mechanisms, but can’t grind your beans very fine, so this isn’t the best DIY grinder for consistency.
Make sure to wash your pepper mill out fully first and use the rolling pin technique to reduce the size a little beforehand, as often these beans can be a little too large at first to put in a pepper mill and won’t grind in a consistent size.
Hand mincers or even a garlic mincer can work if you are in desperate need to grind your beans, this method, however, will likely take a fair amount of time/elbow grease and won’t produce anything finer than a medium consistency in grind.
Types Of Coffee Grounds
If you are planning to use the methods above to grind up your coffee beans, you should be aware of the types of grinds you will want to create according to the particular brewing process you are after to produce variants of coffee.
There are four main types of grind choose from, whether you use a food processor or wine bottle to grind your beans, however, one thing should be noted, all the methods above will create a coarse grind which is perfect for a french press coffee maker.
The Four Types Of Coffee Grounds
- Superfine grind – Superfine coffee grind has a finer grind similar to baby powder and tends to be used most commonly in Turkish coffee, the extra fine consistent grind however is not suitable for espresso.
- Fine grind – Finer coffee grounds like this are similar to powdered sugar and are of the proper consistency for espresso-making, this usual consistency also tends to have a very strong flavour and short brew time.
- Medium grind – This type of grind is the best for manual brewable consistency as has a similar texture to table salt, it’s mostly used in methods such as pour-over and can give an amazing coffee when brewed right.
- Coarse Grind – A coarse grind is most popular for coffee drinkers who drink french press, this is because of the consistency which allows the flavour to be extracted via brew methods yet stays coarse enough to not pass through metal filters, making it the best for the coffee lover people who use a french press and other manual methods.
We have also put together a shortlist of the manual techniques for grinding your coffee without a grinder above and the grind they produce so you can know the best way to be grinding your beans according to your cups of coffee.
- Mortar & Pestle – Using a mortar and pestle can create a variety of different grinds, from a Turkish coffee super fine grind to a coarse grind for french press cups of coffee, it all depends on how much you pestle the fresh coffee beans.
- Rolling pin – Not only is the one of the easiest manual methods for grinding coffee beans if you have a zipper style freezer bag on hand, but it can produce coarse, fine and medium grind allowing it to be great for espresso or even a pour-over brewing method.
- Blender – Anything from a coarse to medium grind depending on your coffee types can be from a kitchen style blender with its blade.
- Hammer – Grinding your choice of coffee beans with a hammer will produce a medium grind to coarse grind which best for brewing a french press style pot of coffee.
Frequently Asked Questions About Grinding Coffee Without a Grinder
Can I use meat grinders to grind coffee?
Yes, there is no reason as to why you cannot use a meat grinder for grinding coffee rather than cuts of meat, just make sure it is washed out thoroughly first before doing this type of process.
What water level should a french press be?
This depends on how much coffee you are making but for an eight-ounce serving you would use one cup of water and around three tablespoons of coffee.
Does grinding coffee beans take time?
No, you will be thankful to know grinding your coffee beans can become part of your morning ritual as it only takes around 30 seconds till it’s of a usable consistency! The method in which you use your ground coffee however will have variable brew time.
To conclude, if you ever find yourself with some coffee beans and you don’t have a coffee grinder, not all is lost by grinding them with the manual methods above, and you can still make yourself a good old cup of coffee.