How to grind Coffee Beans without a Grinder

How to grind Coffee Beans without the help of a Grinder

Today we will go over how to grind Coffee Beans without a grinder. You must  grind the coffee beans before making and enjoying a cup of coffee.

The whole idea of grinding coffee beans is to get the grinder to grind the coffee beans. However, the process of grinding coffee beans does not require a grinder; it can sometimes be done with the little equipment available at home. However, one must remember that the other grinding techniques produces different results; some may produce more fine ground beans, while others may not. Moreover, apart from the standard equipment, the user will also need some elbow grease, patience and grit to grind the coffee beans by hand.

How to grind Coffee Beans without a Grinder


Grinding with a Blender


Using a blender is a good idea to get some consistency in the ground beans. However, the ground beans will not be of the same size. They will, nevertheless, be of usable consistency. Some blenders come with an in-built grind mode. If the blender does not have that mode, then a pulse mode also works equally well. If neither of these options works, then one can blend the coffee beans by hand.

It is essential to remember that blending creates heat, and the coffee beans will be cooked while blending, which is not required. Therefore, the entire process must be completed within 20 to 30 seconds. This is one of the best ways to learn How to grind Coffee Beans without a Grinder.

Steps to grind Coffee Beans with a Blender

Step 1: Select the medium-high mode or the grinder mode on the blender if it has one.

Step 2: Pour the required amount of coffee beans into the blender and close the lid shut. It is better to pour ¼ to ½ cup of coffee beans in the blender and ensure that the lid is firmly closed before use.

Step 3: With the pulse mode on the blender, grind the coffee beans for about 3 to 5 seconds.

Step 4: Repeat the process in Step 3 about six times for a maximum of 30 seconds. The blender can be tilted to the side to get more consistency in the grind.

Most importantly, the blender has to be cleaned after grinding the coffee beans. This is because the smell is likely to stay in the blender and might get mixed with other items that will be blended later.

Grinding with a Food Processor

This is one of the best options available, like the blender. Though the result may not be like what it is in a grinder, it will be satisfying once you get the hang of how it works. The results of a food processor will be similar to that of a blender. However, more coffee beans have to be put in the food processor due to the food processor’s wider circumference compared to a blender.

Doubling the number of coffee beans to be ground is a great idea, especially when there are only two people. This means the ground coffee for the next day will be ready by then. However, one must remember to keep the leftover ground coffee in an airtight container.

Steps to grind Coffee Beans with a Food Processor

Step 1: Pour the required amount of coffee beans into the food processor and shut the lid. It is better to pour about ½ to 1 cup of coffee beans and ensure the lid is closed correctly before use.

Step 2: With the pulse action on the food processor, grind the coffee beans for about 3 to 5 seconds.

Step 3: Repeat the process in the food processor for about 30 seconds till the desired consistency is achieved. The food processor can be tilted to ensure that the grounds are more consistent than before.

Grinding with a Rolling Pin

Grinding with a rolling pin is best suited for making French press coffee, where the grounds have to be coarser than what they are when used in a drip coffee. Though it is a labor-intensive process, the result will be worth the effort.

The easiest way to grind coffee beans with a rolling pin is to grind the beans while they are in a plastic bag. This prevents the beans from being scattered around the kitchen while grinding them.

Steps to grind Coffee Beans with a Rolling Pin

rolling pin

Step 1: Place the coffee beans in a plastic bag. The air has to be pumped out of the bag before pressing it with a rolling pin, lest the plastic bag tears off.

Step 2: Crush the beans in the plastic bag like one would do with a hammer to initiate the process.

Step 3: Drive the rolling pin over the plastic bag gently yet firmly, applying pressure on the beans. Gather the remnants of the coffee beans to the middle and repeat the process.

Step 4: Grind the beans to the required consistency. It is essential to be patient in the process as the process is labor-intensive.

If there are a lot of coffee beans to be ground for the week, the coffee grounds can be kept in the freezer bag for about a month. However, the freezer bag should not be held in the freezer for too long, as the ground coffee may incur freeze burn. Freezer burn is when the frozen food loses its color or suffers other damages through evaporation, facilitated by inadequate storage facilities in the freezer or lousy packing. This is a great way to learn How to grind Coffee Beans without a Grinder.

Grinding with a Mortar and Pestle

Mortar and Pestle

Grinding beans with a mortar and pestle is as labor-intensive as grinding them with a rolling pin. The mortar has to be filled with only one-third of its capacity to prevent the coffee beans from overflowing and spilling. As the method makes a smaller amount of ground coffee than in a rolling pin method, more coffee beans can be grounded if needed.

Grinding coffee with a mortar and pestle caters to different coffee needs. It can be used to make fine ground coffee required for drip and Chemex coffee and even coarse grounds necessary for French press coffee. The grinding has to be noted to ensure an even blend.

Steps to grind Coffee Beans with a Mortar and Pestle

Step 1: Fill the mortar to about 1/4th capacity in small mortars and 1/3rd capacity in large mortars.

Step 2: Hold the pestle in the dominant hand and secure the mortar with the other hand.

Step 3: Hit the coffee beans with the pestle, as one would with a hammer, before crushing the beans in a swirling motion.

Step 4: After crushing the beans with the pestle, move it in circles to get a finer grain or till the required consistency is attained.

If there are more coffee beans to be grounded, the crushed coffee beans have to be removed, and the process has to be started all over again with the fresh coffee beans. Grinding with a mortar and pestle is the best option to get ground coffee of the right consistency, texture and fineness. A mortar and pestle can produce fine ground coffee that can be used in espresso machines.

The mortar and pestle are primarily chosen because it is made to crush nuts, seeds and spices. Thus, using them to grind coffee beans is not a tedious task. While buying a mortar and pestle, it is better to buy one made from ceramic material. Ceramic materials will be less porous and will not retain the stale flavor of oxidized coffee.

Grinding with a Hammer

Using a hammer is an excellent way to ensure that the coffee beans are adequately crushed and is not time-consuming. Once the coffee beans are broken, they become finer. Like in the rolling pin technique, the coffee beans have to be placed in a plastic bag after pumping all the air out before being crushed by the hammer. Very little pressure has to be applied lest the plastic bag pops.

Steps to grind Coffee Beans with a Hammer

Step 1: Place the required number of coffee beans in the plastic bag, like in the rolling pin technique.

Step 2: Crush the beans in the plastic bag with a hammer, but do not strike them like striking a nail. Gently press the hammer against the bag and hit it gently yet firmly, like with a rolling pin.

Step 3: Move the crushed beans continuously to one side while hammering to ensure a more even grind.

Grinding with a Hand Mincer or Garlic Press

Grinding beans with a garlic press or hand mincer is slightly different from grinding the beans with a coffee grinder. The coffee beans will be placed in the area where the garlic is usually placed and then firmly squeezed out.

Given that the holes in a garlic press are slightly oversized, the process has to be repeated multiple times, sometimes taking the help of a hammer or rolling pin. This is because the ground will be more uneven and coarse in the initial rounds of crushing.

Only a small amount of coffee beans can be ground with a hand mincer at a time. Therefore, the key to grinding coffee beans in a hand mincer or garlic press is to repeat the procedure till the desired ground or consistency of the coffee grains is attained.

Steps to grind Coffee Beans with a Hand Mincer or Garlic Press

garlic press

Step 1: Put a small number of coffee beans in the press or mincer

Step 2: Firmly squeeze the instrument until all the coffee beans’ remnants have passed through the other side. This process must be repeated till the required consistency is attained.

An excellent addition to the exercise of grinding coffee beans is the professional range hood. The range hood keeps the odor of the coffee from filling the house while the grinding takes place.

Grinding with a Knife

The knife is a backup grinder for coffee beans if the hammer is not available. The most appropriate way to grind coffee beans with a knife is to use the fat side close to the handle and not the edge. This is because the sharp edge may not withstand the pressure of crushing. A blade with a larger and stiffer blade, like a chef’s knife or a butcher’s knife, can be used for the process as they provide extra leverage to improve the crushing and cracking of the beans.

Crushing the coffee beans with a fat side of the blade provides excellent control, producing ground coffee of a medium to a medium-fine grind. However, this method is best suited for those who know how to handle knives as any excess pressure on the knife would crack or even break the knife, rendering it unusable.

Steps to grind Coffee Beans with a Knife

Step 1: Place the beans on a flat surface like the cutting board.

Step 2: Place the knife on top of the beans while placing the flat edge of the knife on the board. A paper towel or a kitchen towel can be used on top of the knife to prevent the beans from flying.

Step 3: Place the flat palm on top of the knife and press the knife down onto the coffee beans. However, one should be tempted to strike the coffee beans like one would strike vegetables while cutting. This is because the beans will not cut but fly off the surface, which means more washup and the risk of losing a few beans.

Step 4: Upon breaking the beans, continue pressing down the blade on the beans, slightly pulling the blades towards oneself to get a more even grind.

Grinds of Coffee

Each coffee grinding method produces different grinds. These are classified into a coarse grind, medium grind, fine grind and super fine grind, also known as a pulverized grind. Drip coffees use a medium grind of coffee though fine grind coffees are also used.

A blender can produce medium and coarse grinds of coffee, and so does a food processor. Coarse and medium coffee grinds can also be produced by a hammer, garlic press and hand mincer. The mortar and pestle can make any kind of ground coffee, including coarse, medium and fine and super fine. The rolling pin falls short of the mortar and pestle as it can produce only three types of grounds: coarse, medium and fine.

Importance of consistency in grinding

Consistency and uniformity in grinding are among the most crucial factors in producing a good cup of coffee. A consistent grind helps extract the desired flavors from the coffee. It ensures that the tastes of the cups of coffee do not change with every successive cup. On the other hand, an inconsistent grind tends to over-extract, under-extract or not extract the desired flavors, providing different tastes and strengths for every cup of coffee.

If the grinding of the coffee beans is carried out without a grinder, it is better to grind only a few coffee beans at a time. This provides greater control over the fineness of the ground and a visual cue for the maker about the desired texture and fineness. To get a uniform blend, it is essential to go slow and repeat the same movements, irrespective of the means used for grinding.

Advantages and Considerations of Grinding by Hand

If there are no blenders or food processors in the house, or if grinding coffee beans in these electrical appliances is not worth it, then grinding by hand is the best option. Grinding by hand produces more consistent ground coffee. However, one must remember that the process takes longer than with a food processor or a blender and requires patience and effort.

Advantages of Freshly Ground Coffee

ground coffee

It is the complex compounds present in a coffee bean that give it its distinct flavor and smell. However, some of these compounds are not very stable and change quickly. Certain desirable features like the flavor and odor will be released from a coffee bean by oxidation or the interaction of compounds present in the coffee bean with the air, creating other compounds. Oxidation will cause the ground coffee to gain a new flavor and aroma depending on the roast.

Once the grinding commences, the oxidation process also starts. Therefore, the brewing process should begin as soon as the grinding concludes. Once the beans come in contact with the air, the oxygen changes their smell almost immediately by causing the solubles in the coffee to either oxidize or degrade.

The oils in the coffee beans are soluble in water. Though water solubility of the coffee beans is a welcome feature, the oils can start to dissolve even with the moisture present in the air. Even the most straightforward act of grinding coffee beans in an air-conditioned environment can sabotage the coffee beans’ integrity. Grinding will only make the integrity worse. Once the beans are grounded, the area exposed for dilution increases, thus speeding the process. Freshly ground coffee reduces the amount of coffee oil lost due to moisture exposure.

Like the coffee oils, carbon dioxide is the main component that transfers the features of the coffee oil to the coffee. Once the coffee beans are grounded, more surface area is created for the carbon dioxide to escape. The porous nature of the coffee beans already allows carbon dioxide to escape, and the grinding only makes it worse.

If one does not store the ground coffee properly, it will lose its flavor within a short while due to the loss of carbon dioxide. If the grounds are left for hours or even days, one of the essential components in a coffee bean’s flavor and smell is lost.

Our homes contain various smells that can impact the smell of the coffee beans like the smell of cut onions. One should never purchase pre-ground coffee as it can be easily affected by the various smells present in the kitchen. Keeping the ground coffee in the refrigerator might appear to be a good idea, but it is not. The cold from the fridge might neutralize one’s sense of smell. However, there are other smells present in the refrigerator, like frozen meat or frozen vegetables, that will impact the smell, and thereby the taste, of the ground coffee. Therefore, it is best to grind the coffee required for immediate serving.

The more control one has over the grinding and brewing process, the better and more desired coffee one is likely to get. When one does one’s grinding of the coffee beans, one has greater control over the ground size, which will impact the flavor of the coffee. Most coffee brewing methods like espresso, AeroPress and pour-over require different grind sizes. The pre-ground coffee comes in only ground size, which may not give the same result in the various methods used.

Pre-Ground Coffee vs. Fresh Ground Coffee

Pre-ground coffee is indeed cheaper than coffee beans and freshly ground coffee. This is because pre-ground coffee is made from less expensive coffee beans roasted and ground for a lower price. On the other hand, coffee beans are sold whole from high-end producers, single land farmers and are of a higher quality. It is the quality that justifies the high price of coffee beans.

One reason why freshly ground coffee tastes better than pre-ground coffee is often made with Robusta coffee beans. A significant amount of caffeine in the coffee beans is lost during the production process of the pre-ground coffee. This loss is compensated with the Robusta coffee beans that have higher caffeine content. Unfortunately, the flavor of instant coffee takes a toll due to this mixing. On the other hand, fresh ground coffees have a wide range of bodies, higher capacity for pleasant acidity, and more flavor compounds that can be extracted.

Pre-ground coffee dissolves easily in water and other liquids in which it can be dissolved. Therefore, one has to be careful with the amount of liquid used while making the coffee. Fresh ground coffee will never dissolve in water or other liquids. Instead, it will only cut into a fine powder that will settle at the bottom. This is because freshly ground coffee contains fibers from the coffee beans that do not let the ground coffee dissolve.

Fresh ground coffee has higher caffeine content than instant coffee. This is because the caffeine extraction process lies in the maker’s hands in the case of fresh ground coffee. However, the process lies with the manufacturing company in the case of instant coffee. Therefore, the only way to increase the caffeine content in instant coffee is to add more instant coffee. This concludes our article for learning How to grind Coffee Beans without a Grinder.