A quality coffee grinder makes it simple to grind your beans daily for the freshest coffee possible. But how to grind coffee beans without a grinder if your grinder breaks down or you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have one.
You can grind coffee beans in a blender, and it won’t require much effort. You probably have a blender sitting in one of your kitchen cabinets.
Using a hammer is a handy way to ensure the beans are crushed pretty well. It’s not too time-consuming either. As you break down the beans, the grounds will become finer and finer.
Similar to the rolling pin technique, place the beans inside a bag and smash them. Use low to medium pressure so that the bag is less likely to pop while grinding your beans. You should not be striking the bag as you would with a nail.
How to Grind Beans with a Hammer:
- Place the desired amount of beans in the bag, similar to the rolling pin method.
- Crush the beans with the hammer but do not strike them as you would strike a nail. Instead, use the same method as the rolling pin, pressing down firmly on the hammer.
- Continuously move the crushed beans to one side of the bag to ensure a fine grind.
- If a hammer is unavailable, use a large knife’s fatter side (not the edge blade) to crush the grounds.
Grinding coffee beans with a knife takes time, but you can do it. Use a proper, large chef’s knife for this.
It’s not ideal because you’re essentially just chopping the beans, and getting them all to a uniform size is tough. But the truth is, most blade grinders chop the beans as well.
The other frustration with using a knife is that particularly hard coffee beans, such as a lighter or medium roast, could eject sideways as they’re chopped. They may end up on your counter rather than your chopping board, and you’ll have to gather them before the next round of chopping.
Darker roasts are softer and are more likely to remain in one place as they’re chopped.
If you get too obsessed about uniform grind size, you could be there all day. Remember, this is an emergency—you might have to accept a less uniform grind, but you can still get your caffeine fix!
Spice grinders are used to grind cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg, and pretty much any other spice you can imagine. Because they have powerful blades to cut up hard seeds and other plant matter, they are a great substitute for a coffee grinder.
Like coffee grinders, spice grinders can be motorized or manual depending on your tastes. While a burr grinder would be ideal, most spice grinders will work in a pinch. If it’s an automatic grinder, make sure to pulse your coffee beans if possible for a more uniform grind. If you are using a manual grinder, grind your beans like normal.
While spice grinders can grind the coffee, it isn’t highly recommended because the residue of spices can change the flavour of the coffee, although if it’s all you have, it will do.
A Food Processor
Like a blender, this is a larger version of the blade grinder – you know, the kind that isn’t as good as a burr grinder for consistency of particle size or adjustability. However, this is all about survival, so if you’re stuck in a vacation rental with no way to make coffee grounds apart from a Cuisinart, here’s how to preserve your sanity without having to resort to the drive-through espresso stand every morning.
How To Grind Coffee With A Processor
- Pour a few scoops of coffee into the processor bowl and place the lid firmly on top.
- Use the “pulse” technique on your processor, grinding in short bursts. For best results, tilt the processor slightly from side to side while grinding; this causes the larger portions of the beans to move into the blades.
- Empty the processor, add new beans, and repeat until you reach the desired amount of ground coffee.
That pulse technique is key to making a decent cup of coffee (if not a great cup of coffee). Grind in short, successive increments, and shake your blender in between grinds. Turning on your machine in short, quick bursts will coarsely grind up the beans closest to the blades, and then shaking will allow the larger pieces to fall closer to the bottom blade. Again, this isn’t optimal, but we’re talking about life and death here, right?