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How to Grind Coffee Beans

The final taste of your brew depends on how and when you grind your coffee. It is heathy to grind your coffee just before using it. At times you may grind more coffee than is required for one-time drinking. But do you know that storing coffee grounds expose it to distortion? Your coffee grind could as well go stale. It is, therefore, advisable to freshly grind your coffee. This can be done at the comfort of your house either by using a grinder or by improvising. In this article, we highlight various ways on how to grind coffee with and without a grinder.

Read our last guide about the How To Roast Coffee Beans.

How To Grind Coffee Beans Without a Grinder

Grind Coffee Beans Without a Grinder

Lack of a grinder or a faulty grinder shouldn't deny you the opportunity to enjoy a freshly brewed cup of coffee. Using some simple kitchen tools already in your collection, you can prepare a fresh coffee grind using your bare hands and elbow grease. If you apply the kitchen hacks following every step correctly, you can get the texture and consistency produced using a grinder. However, this doesn't provide the perfect cup. It saves you the hassle of running out to go and purchase a grinder. It also spares you from using pre-ground coffee or finding a coffee shop. Some of the popular methods of how to grind coffee beans without a grinder include:

How to Grind Coffee Beans with a Blender

The blender's blades chop the coffee beans in a manner closer to that of a blade grinder. A blender may not have a consistency like that of a burr grinder, but it is a quick hack! Most blenders have a "grinder" setting that is designed for coffee use. Do not run the blender continuously when grinding; use it in short but quick bursts. This helps minimize overheating of the coffee beans as the blender blades rotate at high speeds. Overheated coffee beans' oils produce a bitter-tasting and harsh beverage. Ensure you thoroughly clean the blender after that so that it does not take on the taste and smell of stale coffee.

To effectively grind coffee beans using a blender, follow the following steps.

  1. If your blender comes with a "grinder" setting, select it. If it does not have, use a medium to high-speed option.
  2. Pour a handful of coffee into the blender jar and cover the jar.
  3. Grind your coffee beans to your desired consistency, with the "on and off" technique, crushing in short but fast bursts.
  4. As the blender is still grinding, keep tilting it from one side to the other. This helps to get the hefty coffee chunks on the blade path and ensure that all beans have been ground for a more excellent outcome.
  5. Empty the jar and add another scoop of beans and repeat the procedure until you get enough amount of coffee grind that you require.

How to Grind Coffee Beans with a Mortar and Pestle

The mortar and pestle are famous for crushing things. The apparatus uses both hammering and twisting motion. The method gives a variety of grinds, from fine to coarse, depending on how you would like the texture of your grind to be.

Steps to follow when grinding coffee using a mortar and pestle include:

  1. Put a handful of coffee beans in the mortar. It should not exceed ¼ full for perfect control since you can always grind more than one batch.
  2. Using your more reliable and stable hand, hold your pestle, and use the other to hold the mortar.
  3. Using your pestle, firmly press down and crush the coffee beans in a twisting motion to crack the beans.
  4. Using your pestle, roll the coffee grinds in the mortar until you get the desired texture for your grind.
  5. Empty the mortar and keep repeating the process until you have prepared enough coffee grind.

How to Grind Coffee Beans with a Hammer

Grind-coffee-beans-with-hammer

A mallet or hammer can easily crush your coffee beans, and if you are not careful, it can also break your hand or kitchen counter, so use them with a lot of caution. The longer you crush your beans, your grind gets more consistent and becomes more excellent. Due to the jerky, and explosive effect of the hammer, do not expect to manage to brew a barista-like espresso with these coffee grounds. This technique gives a medium to coarse grinds suitable for Chemex, drip coffee, or cold brew.

For this, you will need a: Hammer or mallet, freezer bag, Plastic Ziploc bag, or parchment sheets and a large chopping board.

Steps to follow when using a hammer to grind coffee beans include:

  1. Fill the plastic Ziploc bag with coffee beans, or put your beans between two parchment sheets and fold over the edges to prevent spillage.
  2. With your hammer, firmly press down the beans to crush them until you get the consistency you want without hitting the beans.
  3. Crush on one side of the bag, and turn your bag to move to the other side.

How to Grind Coffee Beans with a Knife

Grind-coffee-beans-with-knife

The ideal knife for this technique should be a broad knife with a stiffer blade, like a butcher's knife. The best way to do this is by using the flat of the blade, which gives more leverage and has a more significant surface area, unlike the edge. Crushing beans using the flat of the blade gives you reasonable control and allows you to get a medium or medium-fine coffee grind.

What You will need: Wide knife, large chopping board

Steps to follow when grinding coffee beans using a knife include:

  1. Put a handful of coffee beans on the chopping board.
  2. Place the wide, flat surface of your knife on the beans and cover with a kitchen towel or a paper towel to secure the beans and prevent spillage.
  3. With your palm on top of the blade, press hard to crack your beans. Avoid striking the blade to prevent the beans from bouncing and straying away.
  4. Hold the handle of your knife on one hand and pull the blade slightly towards you as you keep pressing with the other hand. The force you apply, together with the motion, makes the grind finer.

How to Grind Coffee Beans with a Rolling pin

How to Grind Coffee Beans with a Rolling pin

A rolling pin can crush and grind beans simultaneously, giving a more consistent texture. This technique yields a finer coffee grind compared to some other methods. Using a rolling pin requires a little elbow grease and a keen eye to ensure evenness. This kitchen tip can produce a medium-fine or fine grind.

What you will need: A rolling pin or a robust cylindrical object, a wide chopping board or counter space, a parchment paper, or a plastic Ziploc bag.

Steps to follow when grinding coffee beans using a rolling pin include:

  1. Put a reasonable amount of coffee beans in the plastic bag or between parchment paper sheets and fold the edges to prevent scattering on the ground and place the bag flat on the chopping board.
  2. Using the pin, press down to crush your coffee beans.
  3. Roll your pin over the bag pf coffee as you press down hard enough to further break the beans.
  4. Keep rolling the pin over the coffee grounds until you get the consistency you need.

How to Grind Coffee Beans with a Food Processor

A food processor is like a bigger version of the blade coffee grinder, which is not good enough like a burr grinder for evenness of particle sizes. This method works almost the same way with the blender. It is a quick hack to save you the morning hassle of rushing to replace your broken grinder just to have a cup of fresh morning coffee.

 

Steps to follow when using a food processor to grind coffee beans include:

  1. Put a handful of coffee beans into the processor jar and cover it tightly.
  2. Use the "on and off" method on your processor and grinding in short bursts. Tilt the processor occasionally from one side to the other as you grind to make the bigger portions of the coffee beans to reach the blades.
  3. Once your grind has achieved the desired consistency, empty your processor and add another scoop of coffee beans. Repeat the process above until you have prepared enough grind for your morning coffee needs.

How to Grind Coffee Beans with a Meat Tenderizer

A meat tenderizer is used to soften and flatten chunks of meat. The head of the tenderizer consists of two flat sides with spikes or little bumps that can easily grind coffee beans.

Steps to follow when grinding coffee beans using a meat tenderizer include:

  1. Pour a handful of coffee beans in a Ziploc bag, and zip it.
  2. Cover the Ziploc bag in a dish towel so you will not puncture it with the meat tenderizer.
  3. Using the tenderizer press to crush the beans, but be careful not to hit the bag.
  4. Keep pressing to make the beans as evenly grind as possible and keep checking your progress too.

How to Grind Coffee Beans with a Grinder

For people who do not have any experience with coffee grinders, it can be very confusing. You can use three leading coffee grinders to grind coffee beans; blade grinders, burr grinders, and manual grinders.

Blade Grinder

grind coffee blader grinder

A blade grinder could be compared with a hammer-mill. It has propeller-shaped cutting blades. It can be described as a machine that finely chops and mixes materials using its high speed rotating cutting blades. To get consistent grinds using a blade grind, you will be required to do it in spurts instead of grinding in one go. A blade grinder is relatively cheaper compared to a burr grinder and manual grinders.

Pros:

  • It is cheap
  • Takes up a minimal space
  • It is fast and gives quick grinds
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Noisy when grinding

Burr Grinders

burr-grinder

This is a vintage coffee grinder made up of two rotating abrasive surfaces, commonly known as burrs. This actually leads us to the origin of the name burr coffee grinder. Coffee beans are crushed in between the burrs, a few bean seeds at a time, to form fine coffee grinds. There are two types of burr grinders, conical burr grinders, which are used on low speed, and flat burrs used on all qualities of grinders. They serve the same purpose, and the distance between surfaces is adjustable. This helps to achieve different sizes and textures of coffee grinds.

Burr grinders are preferred over blade grinders because the coffee beans are evenly ground and tend to have a uniform size. Coarser grounds are easily and perfectly ground using a burr grinder. This makes it ideal for French presses and drip overs. Burr grinders cost a little more than the blade grinders.

Pros:

  • Adjustable grind settings
  • Built-in timer
  • Quiet compared to other coffee grinders

Cons:

  • Not easy to clean
  • Retains and spills out coffee grounds.

Manual

Manual grinders have almost no difference with electric counterparts. They are equally good and come in handy to save the day, especially in areas without electricity. The grinders can produce quality coffee grounds at a lesser cost. The hand-powered grinder has an added advantage over the electric ones since they generate lower heat. Unfortunately, the adjustable burr in the manual grinder is not very stable. They also tend to move in your hand, making it difficult to achieve a consistent grind.

Pros:

  • Can be used anywhere
  • Quiet
  • Long-lasting
  • Adjustable settings

Cons:

  • Time-consuming
  • Not easy to clean.

Types of Coffee Grinds

Types of Coffee Grinds

The question of how excellent your coffee grind will be is defined by your method of coffee brewing.  The tools you use for your grinding process determine the kind of coffee particles you will produce. Quality coffee beans have a sheen on them, and as you grind your coffee beans, that sheen tends to disappear since the particles are too tiny to reflect. Coffee grinds are classified according to the size of the particles produced after grinding.

Here are the major coffee grind particle sizes.

Extra fine grind.

It is also known as Turkish coffee grind. It is rare to find, especially in local stores and groceries. Its texture is similar to that of wheat flour or powder. To produce a consistent ground, a Turkish coffee grinder is a MUST have tool. This grind is suitable for Ibrik coffee.

Finely Grind Coffee

This is the most common grind size that you will always get from your local stores and coffee vendors. It has a consistency that is finer than the table salt. The coffee oils are not visible, but the coffee grind will stick on your fingers when you touch it. Moisture retained in the coffee beans during the roasting stage is ground into the coffee particles. Fine grind is best for expresso brews, the AeroPress, Moka pots, and stovetop espresso.

Medium- Fine Grind Coffee

This is best for pour-over coffee or drip coffee. It can be found in your local grocery store or coffee shop. This coffee is finer than sand particles but not as smooth as the expresso grind. When you touch it, it tends to somehow cling on your fingers. This grind is brewed using a cone-shaped drip maker, or an AeroPress with around three minutes of brew time.

Medium Grind.

This grind has a particle size and consistency, which is similar to that of regular sand. It acts as a pacesetter for testing your coffee grounds. This particle size suites flat bottomed coffee makers, siphon coffee brewer, an AeroPress above three minutes, or a cone-shaped drip coffee maker.

Medium-Coarse grind.

This grind is neither quite medium, nor is it coarse. It is a striking semblance with rough building sand. It is suitable for clever drip, café solo brewer, or Chemex brewing method.

Course Grind Coffee

It is popularly known as the French press grind. It looks more like sea salt, and it should be the easiest to identify. It also has a low surface area compared to finer grinds. It is best brewed using coffee cupping or tasting, French press, or percolators.

Extra coarse grind.

This is the coffee grind with the largest coffee particles. This is mostly produced using conical burr grinders. It is extremely coarse and is suitable for a cold brew or cowboy coffee drink. This can be achieved using a manual burr grinder or an electric coffee grinder.

FAQs

What Kind of Grinder Should I Use At Home?

Coffee grinders are not expensive, but a burr grinder is the best option for domestic coffee grinding needs. A blade grinder is cheaper than a burr grinder, but it is not good enough. Blade grinders do not give uniform particle sizes. The blades spin very fast, chopping the beans and also generates heat that destroys the coffee texture making it oily. If you enjoy outdoor activities in places without electricity, a manual grinder is the best.

Can You Grind Coffee Using a Blender?

The answer is, yes, you can. As discussed in the article, using a blender to make your coffee grind is a quick kitchen hack to save the day. But just like a blade grinder, the results are not the best. A blender chops the coffee beans, which gives uneven particle sizes. The speed of the spinning blades also produces heat that extracts oils from your coffee beans. A blender should be used when you do no really have a grinder or when your grinder is not functioning.

How Much Coffee Can One Grind at a Time?

Since you want to have fresh coffee grinds every time you brew coffee, it is wise to grind just enough coffee for one-time use. You will be tempted to grind more, but remember that this exposes your grind to distortion. Storing grind coffee could make it lose its flavors, and in extreme cases, the grind can go stale.

How to Sharpen Coffee Grinder blades?

You can remove the grinder blades and sharpen them manually.

Here is another quick hack that you can use to both sharpen and clean your blades. Take some amount of uncooked rice and pour in your grinder until the blades are covered and grind for about a minute. Empty your grinder and wipe off the blades with a wet cloth and dry using a paper towel. This serves to clean and sharpen your blades.

Which Coffee Grinder is the Best?

The three common types of coffee grinders include; burr grinders, manual grinders, and blade grinders. Blade grinders are cheaper compared to burr and manual grinders. However, they're not the best since they unevenly chop coffee beans instead of grinding them into a consistent grind. Manual grinders are reliable in places without electricity.

Conclusion

Not having a grinder should not stop you from enjoying a cup of fresh coffee brew since you can improvise and grind your coffee beans. There are several ways to grind your coffee at home without a grinder, but the mortar and pestle hack wins. It gives you more control and ensures consistency. A burr grinder gives finer results compared to the blade grinder. It ensures the evenness and consistency of your particles. When it comes to coffee grinding, consistency is the end game!

References

Coffee grind size: Cnet

Blade vs. Burr vs. Manual: Delishably

Categories Coffee
Danny Hills

My future starts when I wake up every morning. Every day I find something creative to do with my life.

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