If you want to brew the best possible coffee at home, there is no doubt that using a high-quality burr grinder is a vital part of the process, as it’ll allow you to grind to the precise size you need for your chosen brewing method.
However, not everyone has the resources to buy one. Other options include pre-ground coffee, blade grinders, and makeshift alternatives such as a mortar and pestle. But how about using a blender?
Typically, blenders are used for making drinks like smoothies, but are they able to grind whole beans? And what results can you expect if you try?
This article will look at whether blenders are appropriate for grinding whole coffee beans, offering tips and alternatives so you can decide if it’s worth trying. Let’s get started.
Can Coffee Beans Be Ground In A Blender?
Of course, the first thing to determine is whether it’s even a good idea to attempt to use a blender for grinding beans. The answer is that as long as your whole bean coffee becomes grounds in the appropriate size for your brewing method, there’s nothing to stop you from using a blender.
When coffee is turned into grounds, there are more contact surfaces for the hot water to extract the coffee flavors. However, while there are many ways to achieve this, there are good reasons why decent coffee grinders are the best option.
Firstly, we need to ascertain how the grind size and consistency affect the quality of the beverage.
When you’re brewing coffee, if you have a mixture of finer grind and coarser grind, the former will be over-extracted and bitter, while the latter will be under-extracted and sour, leading to a bad cup of coffee. Therefore, you need an even extraction with a consistent grind size for the best flavor.
The grind size will differ depending on the brewing method. Burr grinders let you adjust the distances between the burrs, meaning you can get a Turkish coffee fine grind at one end of the scale and coarse grinds for French press coffee at the other. In between, you can get medium grind sizes perfect for your drip coffee maker. Blade grinders and blenders can’t do that. So, while you can use a blender for grinding your beans, it’s not the ideal solution.
Can A Blender Grind Coffee Beans?
Most countertop blenders have a powerful motor and blades in different shapes. When you turn the blender on, the blade will begin spinning rapidly. Any coffee beans that hit the blade will be chopped randomly into different sizes. The longer the process continues, the finer the grind size will be.
Freshly roasted beans are brittle, and most blenders can grind them easily, meaning you won’t need an expensive blender. However, handheld blenders can’t blend beans and other dried goods without some liquid.
The Pros And Cons Of Grinding Coffee Beans In A Blender
- Using a blender means you can grind beans without needing a separate coffee grinder, saving countertop space and money.
- You can enjoy freshly ground coffee instead of stale coffee. Remember that coffee goes stale rapidly after turning into coffee grounds because the increased contact surfaces are exposed to air and moisture.
- Blenders are easier to use than most burr grinders. Burr grinders require adjusting to the correct setting, whereas blenders usually just need to be loaded and then switched on.
- Blenders typically have more grinding space than blade grinders, so you should be able to grind larger batches.
- It isn’t easy to get a uniform grind size. You will also often get a layer of fine dust at the bottom of the blender and on the wall of the jar, as well as visible larger chunks.
- You will be unable to control the grind size – a crucial aspect of brewing a delicious cup of coffee.
- Depending on the blender’s power, it may struggle to grind very dense light roasted beans. Still, grinding coffee beans shouldn’t be an issue with all but handheld blenders as they have sharp blades that can chop the beans into smaller pieces.
- However, that can shorten the blade’s longevity, as most blenders are equipped to blend softer goods such as fruit.
- Blenders are noisy when grinding beans.
- A blender to grind coffee beans will likely make a mess in the jar due to the static, making pouring out the grounds and cleaning the blender more difficult.
- You’ll be using guesswork to determine the approximate grind size as it’s based on the time you blend rather than the precise grind setting of a good burr grinder.
How To Grind Coffee Beans With A Blender – The Best Practice
If you plan to grind beans using a blender or a food processor, there are several ways you can get a better consistency. Let’s take a look at them.
- Ensure sure the container is completely dry.
- Using the Pulse button, start with a slow speed and gradually increase it. This can help protect the motor and prevent the bottom beans from being chopped into an unusable dust-like size.
- Remove the container from the blender’s base and shake it to redistribute the grounds for better consistency.
- Repeat steps one to three several times until you have the desired consistency.
- If you have a fine mesh strainer, sifting the ground coffee can filter out the boulders.
- Always pulse intermittently. Although tempting, the beans’ oils can overheat if you grind continuously, reducing the flavor.
Other Ways To Grind Coffee Beans Without A Grinder
If you’re serious about brewing the best coffee at home, a high-quality burr grinder is vital. However, as we’ve explained, even a blender can grind coffee if that’s all you have to hand. Nevertheless, there are other ways to grind beans at home too.
One way to grind your coffee beans is using a mortar and pestle. Another is to place the beans in a Ziploc bag or a plastic bag, seal them, and then roll them into smaller pieces with a rolling pin. You can even wrap the beans in a cloth or parchment paper and hit the beans with a hammer or meat tenderizer.
While all these methods will work, they are manual, take a lot longer and a bit of elbow grease, and the results will be inconsistent. Therefore, they’re probably best for a brewing method that requires a coarse grind size, like cold brew coffee.
Is Grinding Beans With A Blender Better Than Using Pre-Ground Coffee?
Of course, it’s one thing being able to use a blender to grind your own coffee beans, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a good idea. So, does freshly ground coffee with inconsistent grind sizes make a better cup than pre-ground coffee?
Pre-ground beans are ground by a commercial grinder that offers much more consistency than blenders, blade grinders, or makeshift manual alternatives. That means they’ll offer consistency in every cup. Of course, using pre-ground beans means you won’t have control over the grind size, but you can buy coarse coffee grounds for French press or cold brew, medium grounds for drip coffee makers, or even espresso grounds for espresso-based drinks in an espresso machine.
A blender has the advantage of letting you grind your beans freshly. However, often the grind size will be too random, meaning a cup you make today could taste quite different from the one you made yesterday. Also, very fine coffee grounds can get away from the filter if you’re using a French press or brewing drip coffee, leaving you with a distinctly muddy beverage.
In our opinion, a blender can grind for drip coffee if you’re prepared to make an effort, or you can make strong coffee with milk seeing as, once milk is added, the coffee taste is somewhat masked. You can also grind for pour-over or French press using a blender as they are more forgiving to grind size. Indeed, this can even be a better option than using pre-ground coffee. However, using a blender to grind good espresso grounds is almost impossible.
Using a blender for grinding coffee beans is fine if you have little alternative. It may even be preferable to use a blade grinder as you’ll likely be able to grind larger batches using a blender.
Nevertheless, it is far from the optimum way to grind beans. After all, you won’t have the option of finding a precise grind size setting offered by a burr coffee grinder. Meanwhile, it can often be a messy, stop-start process that involves a lot of guesswork.
Other problems can also come from the blades weakening over time while they are noisy when grinding beans. Still, if you can get past those issues, you can make good grinds for more forgiving brewing methods, including drip coffee and French press.
As a means of beginning your grinding experience, using a blender isn’t a bad option. However, if you want to step up your domestic-brewing game, eventually, we’d recommend you invest in a decent burr grinder to see consistent results – and far more delicious coffee.