How To Grind Coffee Beans Without A Grinder…6 Different Ways




How To Grind Coffee Beans Without A Grinder…6 Different Ways

Although it’s preferable to have a coffee bean grinder on hand to grind whole coffee beans, what do you do if you wake up one morning and go to grind coffee beans for your favorite morning coffee or espresso, only to find that you are in a pinch and your grinder is not working?

Or what if you just don’t have a grinder period?

No Grinder…No Problemo!

Never fear…there are several ways you can grind up those beans without a grinder!

Rest assured that there are a few different ways you can get those whole coffee beans ground without a grinder!

Although some of the options discussed below take quite a bit more effort than using an actual grinder does, if you are in a pinch and absolutely must, like me, have that morning coffee or espresso, the extra effort will be well worth it.

You may not get exactly the same perfect result you will get with the use of a grinder, although you will get the ground coffee you are searching for.

If you use one of the alternatives discussed below but find that your brewed coffee or espresso has a weaker than normal flavor, this means that the beans were ground too coarsely, thus causing under-extraction of the coffee beans.

On the other hand, if you are noticing that the coffee/espresso brewed is more strong than what you are accustomed to, you have too finely ground the beans, which causes over-extraction of coffee flavor during the brewing process.

If you have decided your budget doesn’t allow you to buy a coffee grinder at this time, read on to discover some great alternatives. Some require very little elbow grease, while others require quit a bit!

The methods listed below will generally give you a somewhat coarse grind of coffee that works best with a French press and works sufficiently for a drip coffee maker. None of these methods work well with a home espresso machine, as home espresso machines normally require a very fine grind to extract optimal flavor.




Alternative #1: Kitchen Blender (Best Option)

A standard kitchen blender is your very best alternative for grinding coffee beans if you don’t have an actual grinder. However, do be aware that with a blender, you won’t get a super-fine grind but instead will end up with a more coarse grind that works best with drip coffee makers and French presses.

A good majority of people do already have a blender, so for many people it’s an easy go-to in a pinch!

A blender will not give you the same result as an actual coffee bean grinder, although you will get a grind adequate enough to be able to brew coffee or espresso. Some blenders even have included in their features a grinder setting meant specifically for grinding coffee beans.

With the use of a blender, be sure to grind the beans in quick pulses rather than running the blender continuously for a period of time. If you do run the blender for an extended period of time while grinding coffee beans, you run the risk of heating up the blades in the blender, which in turn will overheat the natural oils in the coffee beans.

Overheating the beans/grounds will most likely result in coffee that has a harsh, bitter flavor.

Additionally, you should grind only a small amount of whole coffee beans at a time, 1/4 cup at most.

It’s important to slightly tilt your blender while grinding the coffee beans.

One other very important thing to note…If you do use your kitchen blender for grinding coffee but also plan to later use the same blender for other foods or beverages, the blender should be THOROUGHLY cleaned after grinding coffee beans, or you risk adding the flavor of coffee into whatever you grind next. Although the flavor of coffee is absolutely spectacular, it is not so much if you include it in your next strawberry daquiri! It is recommended that you run the blender after grinding coffee with a warm soap/water mixture, with a thorough rinse afterward.

In summary, a standard kitchen blender is my #1 go-to option if you don’t have a coffee grinder.

Summary…How To Grind Coffee Beans In A Blender

    1. Select the grinder setting if your blender has one…if not, select a medium speed.
    2. Dispense a small amount of whole coffee beans into the blender (about 1/4 cup at most) and place lid on. Coffee beans DO tend to fly out of the blender without the lid, so this part of the process is very important.
    3. While holding onto the blender, tilt the blender slightly to allow the larger pieces of ground coffee bean to move into the path of the blade, to allow for a less coarse grind.
    4. Grind the beans using short bursts of power (pulses) rather than running the blender for an extended period of time.
    5. Pour the ground coffee out of the blender and continue adding smallamounts of beans and grinding, until you have the amount of ground coffee desired.

Alternative #2: Food Processor (Second Best Option)

If for some reason you don’t have a blender but do have a food processor, then a food processor will suffice for grinding coffee beans, although like a blender, you will end up with ground coffee that is much more coarse than it would be had you used an actual coffee grinder.

To grind coffee beans with a food processor, the only thing you will need is the food processor itself. Place a few small scoops of whole roasted coffee beans into the bowl/bucket of the food processor, secure the lid of the food processor in place, and, like with a blender, use a pulse technique to grind the beans. After doing a few pulses, shake the food processor to loosen and move the larger pieces of coffee bean to the bottom, and again use the pulse technique to further grind down the pieces of coffee beans into smaller pieces.

Continue the above until you have achieved your desired grind.




Alternative #3: A Mallet, Meat Tenderizer, or Hammer

Your next best option for grinding whole coffee beans, if you don’t have a blender or don’t want to use your blender for grinding them, is to use some kind of mallet/hammer-type object.

Using a “tool” like this will give you a coarse to medium grind like that you will get with a blender. This type of grind also works best for drip coffee makers and French presses. This method definitely won’t produce the fine grind necessary for home espresso machines.

A mallet, hammer, or even a meat tenderizing hammer can also be used to grind coffee beans.

For this method, you should place a cutting board on your counter top.

You will also need a gallon-size freezer Ziploc baggie that is resealable. This will stop the beans from flying all over the place during the grinding process.

It is important that after placing the coffee beans in the Ziploc baggie, you press out as much air in the baggie as is possible, in order to prevent popping the baggie like a balloon.

After the beans are placed in the Ziploc baggie and the baggie has been sealed, grab a kitchen towel and wrap the baggie with the coffee beans in it inside the towel. This should prevent you from puncturing the baggie when you are grinding the beans.

After doing all of the above, use your mallet tool to press firmly down on the coffee beans. You should NOT actually hit/hammer on the beans. Instead, use some elbow grease to press firmly down on the beans.

Summary…How To Grind Coffee Beans With A Hammer

  1. Gather together a hammer or mallet type of tool, a gallon-size Ziploc baggie that seals shut, a cutting board, a towel, and whole roasted coffee beans.
  2. Place the coffee beans into the baggie and seal the baggie shut.
  3. Place the baggie containing the coffee beans onto a cutting board on your counter top.
  4. Wrap the baggie with the coffee beans in a kitchen towel.
  5. Use the hammer/mallet to press down on the beans. DO NOTactually strike the baggie/beans like you would when hammering a nail.
  6. Work from side to side until all whole beans have been broken apart.

Alternative #4: A Rolling Pin

My next go-to for getting those ground coffee beans, if you don’t have any of the above items, is to use a rolling pin.

Using a rolling pin to grind coffee beans can result in a finer grind than the above two options, but it will require more elbow grease than the above two ways.

To use a rolling pin, you will need a Ziploc baggie (a large gallon size that zips shut is the best) or two pieces of parchment paper, a rolling pin (or any other object that is shaped like a cylinder, such as a bottle of champagne or wine), and a somewhat large cutting board.

First, place coffee beans into the Ziploc baggie or in between the pieces of parchment paper.

If you are using a Ziploc baggie, prior to sealing it, force most of the excess air out of the bag after you have added the beans. This will prevent the Ziploc from bursting during the grinding process.

Next, lay the baggie containing the beans flat on the cutting board that has been placed on the counter. The cutting board will prevent you from damaging your counter top.

Press the rolling pin (or other cylindrical object) firmly down onto the top of the beans/baggie and roll the rolling pin to begin grinding.

Continue pressing firmly and rolling the rolling pin over the ground coffee. Although you won’t get a grind that is as fine as that you would get in a grinder, continuing to roll the rolling pin over the ground coffee bean pieces will cause the pieces to become smaller (finer).

Summary…How To Grind Coffee Beans With A Rolling Pin

For using this method and for best results, use a small amount of coffee beans at a time. Filling the mortar (bowl) part only about 1/4 full will give you the best results. If you don’t have enough grounds after the first round, repeat until you do have the amount of grounds that you need.

After pouring coffee beans into the mortar, hold the pestle with your dominant hand, and hold the mortar in place with your nondominant hand.

  1. Gather together a rolling pin, a gallon size Ziploc baggie that seals shut or two pieces of parchment paper if you don’t have a baggie, and a somewhat large cutting board.
  2. Place the cutting board on your counter.
  3. Place the roasted coffee beans that you want to grind into the baggie.
  4. Remove the extra air in the baggie and seal the baggie shut.
  5. Place the baggie of coffee beans on top of the cutting board.
  6. Grab your rolling pin and begin rolling while pressing down firmly to begin the grinding process.
  7. Continue rolling while pressing down firmly until you have achieved the level of grind desired.

Alternative #5: Mortar and Pestle

Chefs and even pharmacists have, for many years, used a mortar and pestle to grind up herbs and medications. This method allows you the ability to end up with a wide range of different grinds from coarse to fine.

For using this method and for best results, use a small amount of coffee beans at a time. Filling the mortar (bowl) part only about 1/4 full will give you the best results. If you don’t have enough grounds after the first round, repeat until you do have the amount of grounds that you need.

After pouring coffee beans into the mortar, hold the pestle with your dominant hand, and hold the mortar in place with your nondominant hand.

Use force to press the pestle down on the coffee beans, which will cause them to break into pieces.

Once the beans have been somewhat crushed, use the pestle to roll the coffee around in the bowl, applying pressure to further break down the beans into a finer grind.

Once you have the grind consistency you want, pour the coffee grounds into another container and repeat the above until you have sufficient coffee grounds.

Summary…How To Grind Coffee Beans With A Mortar and Pestle

  1. Get out your mortar and pestle and fill the mortar (bowl) with whole roasted coffee beans.
  2. With the pestle, firmly press down onto the coffee beans to break then down into coarse coffee grounds.
  3. Continue to roll the coarsely ground coffee in the mortar, continuing to apply pressure to further break down the beans into a finer grind.
  4. When the grounds reach a grind consistency that you can use, pour the grounds into a separate container and add more beans, if needed.

Alternative #6: A Butcher Knife

Another doable option that works if you are in a pinch is to use a butcher knife that has a somewhat wide blade. This method is, however, probably the least doable option of all of them and you may cause whole coffee beans to fly all over the place if you don’t use the correct technique.

You should never attempt to cut the beans with the sharp part of the blade.

Instead, using a knife to grind coffee beans involves laying the knife on its side and crushing the beans with the side of the blade.

Make sure to place the sharp edge of the knife on its side on the cutting board.

After placing the knife on its side on top of the beans, put the flat palm of your hand on top of the blade and press down on the beans firmly to crack them.

Once the beans have been somewhat broken down into pieces, use the blade of the knife to bring the pieces toward you, and then continue pressing down on the blade to further break down the pieces of coffee beans.

Summary…How To Grind Coffee Beans With A Knife

  1. Gather your coffee beans, a cutting board, and a large butcher knife.
  2. Place the whole coffee beans onto the cutting board.
  3. Lay the knife on its side with the sharp part of the blade pressing onto the cutting board.
  4. Firmly press on the side of the butcher knife to break down the coffee beans into pieces.
  5. Using the knife blade, bring the pieces of coffee beans toward you, and then continue the process of firmly pressing the pieces of beans with the side of the knife blade until you get the desired grind consistency.

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