You wake up dreaming about hot coffee, you head into your kitchen, pour out the coffee beans, place them in the grinder, turn it on. Nothing happens! What do you do? How are you going to enjoy your delicious coffee without a grinder? Is there a way to grind coffee beans without a grinder?
Before you have a panic attack, I have some good news. You have in your kitchen right now a handful of tools that can grind your coffee and I’m here to tell you what they are. I’ll also show you how to grind coffee beans without a grinder in six easy steps. So, let’s get started.
6 Steps to Grind Coffee Beans Without a Grinder
The following will tell you everything you need to know about grinding coffee if there’s no actual grinder around. Keep reading to find out more.
Step 1: Take Stock
There could be several reasons why you have whole coffee beans, but no grinder. Besides having a malfunctioning grinder, you could have mistakenly bought whole beans rather than pre-ground coffee.
Or maybe your friends know how much you’re a coffee junkie and gave you a bag of whole coffee beans as a present. So it’s natural to ask if you can brew whole beans and just do away with the whole grinding process.
In theory, you can brew whole beans. The problem is the coffee you’ll end up drinking won’t be enjoyable by any means.
The reason? Extraction time takes much longer with whole beans than with grinds. By the time the beans have brewed, the water temperature will have dropped significantly.
Then, what you’re left with is a much-awaited cup of cold, tasteless coffee. Nobody wants that.
Author Note: This is why the first step is taking inventory of all the things you can use to grind your coffee. You’ll be surprised that you already have several great substitutes on hand.
Step 2: Pick an Alternative
You can go to most coffee shops or your local grocery store and pay to have your beans ground. But that means you have to grind a whole bag full, and coffee grounds don’t taste the same after they’ve been sitting in your cupboard for a week.
Here are some impressive substitutes for a coffee grinder. Some even came as a nice surprise.
The first alternative grinder that comes into your mind is your blender. It follows the same principle, so why not?.
Blenders can be tricky to use when grinding coffee beans. They mainly depend on liquids to help move around solid pieces that get caught between the blades. So you’ll have to open it up and unlodge anything that gets stuck.
2. Food Processor
Using a food processor is also a good alternative to a coffee grinder. It’s quick, efficient, and does a pretty good job of crushing up the beans. NutriBullets also work great for grinding coffee.
It’s worth mentioning that both the food processor and blender can quickly turn your coffee beans into an ultra-fine grind that can’t be filtered. Make sure you check the grind consistency between each pulse.
3. Mortar and Pestle
The mortar and pestle have to be the oldest trick in the book. This way of crushing various food items dates back to the ancient Egyptians. Yet, we use it to this day and it’ll do a great job of crushing the beans into the perfect consistency.
The trick with this age-old method is that it can be easy to go overboard. If this happens, you’ll end up with fine coffee dust that can’t be filtered, which means you’ll end up drinking a cup full of mud.
4. Hand Mincer
Hand mincers are also called ‘meat grinders’. They’re used to cut up all kinds of vegetables and meat. Mincers can either be stainless steel or plastic with an inner steel blade.
5. Meat Tenderizer
Meat tenderizers are metal hammer-like tools used for flattening out cuts of meat. Each side of the mallet head is flat with small spikes.
Step 3: Choose the Right Consistency
Different coffee brewing methods call for different grind textures. Each method uses various techniques to extract the aroma and flavor from the beans. Each one also requires a specific grind consistency to achieve the perfect extraction process.
When you grind coffee beans into coarse ground consistency, they should be the size of sea salt. The best way to achieve this is to grind them with either a blender or a food processor.
This consistency is best used for:
A medium grind has the same structure as granulated sugar. The best way to get this consistency is to grind the beans using a meat tenderizer, rolling pin, or a regular hammer.
This grind is ideal for:
- Drip coffee
- Infusion brewing methods
- Pour-over brewing
Author Note: Fine grinds are used specifically for espresso in personal or professional espresso machines. They can also be used in stovetop espresso pots. They have the texture of fine beach sand.
To turn your coffee beans into this fine grind, use a mortar and pestle. You can achieve this with a rolling pin.
This type of grind is extremely powdery similar to flour or powdered sugar. It’s required for making Turkish and Greek coffee.
The best way to get this consistency is by grinding the beans using a pestle and mortar.
Step 4: Measure the Coffee Beans
Many coffee lovers wonder how much coffee beans they should grind at once. While it’s tempting to grind a large amount at once, it’s better if you grind the amount of coffee beans you’ll be brewing. This way, your coffee doesn’t lose its freshness or aroma.
The golden rule is to grind one to two leveled tablespoons of ground coffee for every 6-ounce coffee cup. This comes out to about 10 grams of coffee beans, or a little less than one tablespoon.
Step 5: Start Grinding
There are two ways to grind coffee beans without a grinder: using an electrical appliance as we mentioned above or you can do it manually. Let’s talk about each one briefly.
You only have two options here. You can either use a blender or a food processor, and both follow the same basic technique.
- Measure the amount you need depending on how many cups of coffee you’re making.
- Use the pulse setting in short bursts of power to avoid burning out the motor.
- Pulse for five seconds. Repeat about three or four times.
- Check for the grind consistency you want.
- If you’re brewing an entire pot, you’ll have to repeat this step several times.
Whichever manual alternative you go with, always keep an eye on the grind consistency for your preferred brewing method. Follow these tips for a no-fuss grinding process.
Mortar and Pestle
- Place some coffee beans into the mortar.
- Use the pestle to crush them against the bottom.
- Stir along the sides to ensure they’re all getting the same amount of pressure.
- Place some beans in the opening of the mincer.
- Place any type of bowl underneath the opening to catch the coffee grounds.
- Use the hand crank to rotate the blade.
- Sift the grounds for any large pieces that should go back into the mincer.
- Measure out how much coffee beans you want.
- Place them in a sealable zipper freezer bag.
- Squeeze out all the air before sealing the bag.
- Wrap the freezer bag in a dish towel to avoid puncturing it.
- A little bit of force goes a long way so check your progress after every couple of whacks.
- Spread out the beans to get an even consistency.
- You can also use a rolling pin by pressing down on the beans as you move it back and forth.
Step 6: Brew and Store
There are times when you’ll end up with more coffee grounds than you need for the day’s brew. The best way to keep it fresh until next time is to store the grinds in an airtight, opaque container in your cupboard.
Author Note: They should be fine anywhere between two to seven days. Any longer and you’ll risk having stale coffee due to the oxidation process. It’ll still be safe to drink. It just won’t taste as good as freshly ground beans.
A Final Note
Many of us can’t even get a proper start on our day unless we’ve had one decent cup of coffee in the morning. It can put a damper on your day if you have coffee beans and no way of grinding them.
I’ve found myself in a similar situation, and, like many of you, was panicking out of my mind. That made me want to write this ‘How to grind coffee without a grinder’ guide.
I wanted to let all you coffee lovers know out there of all the possible ways you can use to grind coffee. Whether you use an electric appliance or prefer to work your muscles and grind the beans manually, nothing can hold you back.
Hopefully, now you can enjoy your fresh coffee no matter how you grind the beans.
Stay caffeinated friends!