Grind consistency is quite important when it comes to coffee. Particle size affects the way the water extracts flavor from the coffee.
For instance when using a blade grinder, it will create coarse and fine particles. As water flows through the coffee it will flow quickly over coarse particles and slowly through fine particles.
This means some of the coffee will be over-extracted and some will be under-extracted. This affects the flavor of the coffee. This is why most coffee enthusiasts recommend a burr grinder.
On the off chance you don’t have a coffee grinder on hand. Let’s explore a few different ways to grind coffee without a grinder.
1. Food Processor or Blender
With a style that is similar to a blade coffee grinder, a food processor or blender can be used to grind up coffee beans. There are even some blenders that come with a “grinder” option specifically made to grind coffee beans.
However, I have found that it is much more difficult to get any better than just a medium choppy grind when you grind coffee beans using this method.
Start by adding a small number of beans, using the “grind” setting to blend if one is available. Grind only using small bursts and do not allow the blender to chop exponentially. Doing so will heat up the beans and release natural oils that will affect the coffee’s taste in a negative way.
How to Grind Coffee Beans Using a Blender:
1. If you have a blender with a “grinder” setting, use it. If it doesn’t, use one of the higher speed settings.
2. Pour a small number of coffee beans into your blender and then firmly put the lid on top. Make sure the lid is on securely since the beans have a tendency to fly around.
3. Pulse the blender to grind the coffee to your desired consistency. While grinding, slightly tilt the blender from side to side to chop them evenly.
4. Empty the blender and add new coffee beans, and repeat steps 1-3 until you have enough ground coffee.
2. Pestle and Mortar
With a pestle and mortar it can be hard to get a consistent grind that is any bigger than dust. However, it does make for a very interesting option for anybody wanting to make a coffee powder for Turkish coffee. There are also a range of different grind options that are possible.
You just need to be prepared for it to take forever. Preventing the coffee beans from jumping out of your mortar bowl as you are crushing them can also be annoying.
Using a ceramic set is recommended since it’s more resistant to the oils of the coffee.
How to Grind Coffee Using a Mortar And Pestle:
1. Fill the mortar up with a small number of coffee beans. I’d only recommending filling the bowl about 1/4 of the way. You can always grind more beans.
2. Use your dominant hand to hold the pestle and the other hand to hold the mortar in place.
3. Use the pestle to press down forcibly and use a twisting motion to crush the coffee beans.
4. After the beans are crushed, roll the coffee around in the bowl using the pestle until you reach the desired texture and consistency.
The pestle and mortar was far less barbaric, but when you’re out of options, just crush it with a hammer. This method is self explanatory. Grind your beans by smashing them with a hammer or mallet.
Place the coffee beans in a plastic bag, something tougher than a basic freezer bag works best. I also encourage you to use a towel to cover the bag so the hammer doesn’t tear the bag. Then start hammering away.
You can use a meat tenderizing mallet or something else that has a blunt, flat, large head works best. However, any kind of hammer-like tool works.
It won’t give you the fine grind that espresso requires. However, for a French press it will work fairly well.
Things You Will Need
- Large cutting board
- Parchment paper or plastic Ziploc bag
- Hammer, Meat Tenderizer, or Mallet
How to Grind Coffee with a Hammer
1. Fill up your plastic bag with your coffee beans, or put the beans in between the two parchment paper sheets with its edges folded over.
2. Press down firmly using your hammer to crush the beans, until they are the desired consistency. Just don’t smash the coffee beans!
3. For a grind that is more consistent, start to crush on one side of your bag and then move over to the other side gradually.
4. Rolling Pin
Just like the crushing the coffee in a plastic bag with a hammer, you could substitute a rolling pin instead.
Things You Will Need
- Parchment paper or plastic Ziploc bag
- Rolling Pin (It can be any cylindrical durable object such as a wooden dowl or can of food)
How to Grind Coffee Beans With a Rolling Pin
1. Put the coffee beans in between the parchment paper sheets or inside a plastic bag.
2. Lay the bag or sheets on a counter.
3. Use your rolling pin to press down and crush the coffee beans.
4. After the coffee beans are crushed, roll the pin across the beans while pressing down on them hard enough to crush the fragments of beans
5. Roll your rolling pin back over the grounds until you reach the desired consistency.
If you don’t have any of the other tools above, almost all households have a knife. Though, i’m not telling you to chop up the coffee beans into your desired grind size.
Instead, find a butcher knife that has a longer blade and then use the knife’s flat side for crushing the beans. This is similar to how you would crush a clove of garlic.
What You Will Need
- Cutting board
- Ziploc bag
- Big butcher knife
How to Grind Coffee Beans with a Knife
1. Put the coffee beans in a ziploc bag and then place the bag on the cutting board.
2. Lay the knife flat on top of your coffee beans. Place paper towels or a kitchen towel over your knife, to prevent coffee grounds from flying away.
3. Put your palm flat on top of the blade of the knife and firmly press down to crack the coffee beans.
4. After the coffee beans are broken, keep pressing down on your knife blade, and slightly pull the blade toward you to make an even finer grind.
While you can’t achieve uniform precision that most coffee demands, any of these five options will work in a pinch. Our favorite alternative is the pestle and mortar as it offers the most control over the grind.