How To Grind Coffee Beans Without A Grinder

Vietnamese Coffee Exporter

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.

Blender

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.

Most blenders have different settings, and if you aren’t sure which one to try, then go with the “grind” setting first. Use short bursts or pulses—leaving the blender on continuously could overheat the motor. If you find the grinds settling towards the bottom and making it difficult for the whole beans to reach the blades, turn the blender off and use a spoon to remove the grounds. You can return them to the machine later if you need a finer grind.

By using a blender, you can quickly turn beans into grounds in no time. A NutriBullet, Magic Bullet, or even an immersion blender (using your hand as a cover to block any bean fragments from jumping out) can work equally well for grinding coffee beans.

Keep in mind that if you have oily beans, you’ll want to give your device a thorough cleaning before using it for salad dressing or something.

Mortar and Pestle

Probably the most time-intensive method, the mortar and pestle has been used worldwide for centuries to grind spices, sauces, salsas, and even meat. This makes it the ideal candidate for grinding your coffee beans.

The upside to this method is that you can get an even grind and a better flavour. The downside is that not only is it time-consuming to grind your coffee beans with a mortar and pestle, but it’s also energy-intensive. You’re also a lot less likely to own a mortar and pestle than most of the other tools on this list. Still, if you have one and you’re dedicated to flavour, the mortar and pestle won’t disappoint you.

Any mortar and pestle will work, but using a less porous one, such as a ceramic mortar and pestle, will prevent a build-up of bitter coffee flavour. Other mortar and pestles will still work, but ones made of some stones and wood will absorb the oils from the coffee and emit bitter coffee tastes into anything else that you grind.

Rolling Pin

The classic rolling pin is able to crush and grind beans at the same time. This helps produce a more even texture and also produces a finer grind than some other methods. Using this item does require a little elbow grease as well as an observant eye to ensure uniformity.

What You’ll Need: 

  • Rolling Pin (This can be any durable cylindrical object like a wine bottle, can of food, or wooden dowel)
  • Large cutting board or counter space
  • Plastic Ziploc bag or parchment paper

How To Do It:

    1. Place a measured amount of coffee into the plastic bag or between two sheets of parchment paper. Tip: To reduce the scattering of the grounds, fold the edges of the parchment paper over to seal them.
    2. Lay the bag flat on the counter.
    3. Using the pin like a hammer, press down to crush your beans.
    4. Once crushed, roll the pin over the beans while pressing down hard enough to crush the bean fragments.
    5. Roll the pin back and forth over the grounds until they reach the consistency you prefer.
    6. Continue rolling and crushing if the grounds are still too large.

Hammer

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:

  1. Place the desired amount of beans in the bag, similar to the rolling pin method.
  2. 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.
  3. Continuously move the crushed beans to one side of the bag to ensure a fine grind.
  4. If a hammer is unavailable, use a large knife’s fatter side (not the edge blade) to crush the grounds.

Knife

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 Grinder

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

  1. Pour a few scoops of coffee into the processor bowl and place the lid firmly on top.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?

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