If you’re serious about your coffee, we guess you’ve got a reliable grinder sitting on your kitchen counter right now.
However, regardless of how good it might be, as with any electrical appliance, it could stop working at any point and without warning. There’s also the chance that you might be staying somewhere without a grinder, too. And what about the possibility that you tend to buy pre-ground coffee but mistakenly bought a bag of whole bean coffee instead?
Regardless of the circumstances, if you have access to water and some whole coffee beans but no obvious way to grind them, you’re not going to be able to enjoy a cup of good coffee. This is a situation that can present itself more often than you might have considered. That’s the most frustrating experience for a coffee lover.
Thankfully, there are ways around this frustrating issue. This guide will show you how to grind coffee beans without a grinder using 7 kitchen tools that you’d find in the house.
Choosing The Right Tool For Grinding Coffee Beans
The aim is to change your whole beans into fine particles so that water can contact more surfaces of them. This process results in extracting flavor from the ground beans during the brewing process.
With that in mind, take a look in your kitchen to see what other tools might be a good fit for the job.
Another thing to consider is the need to find a tool that will grind to as close to your desired consistency as possible so that you can brew coffee that is at least some way similar to the quality a proper coffee grinder provides.
Alternative Tools To Grind Coffee Beans Without A Grinder
1. A Blender
A blender will operate in a similar way to a blade grinder, chopping the coffee beans into tiny pieces. If you have a blender with a “grinder” setting, that’s even better. However, even if you don’t, you can achieve your desired results by adding a small amount of beans and using short spells of power to grind them. Once you’re happy with the consistency, remove them, and add another small portion of beans.
How To Grind Your Coffee Beans Using A Blender
- If your blender has a grind setting, select that. If it doesn’t, choose a medium speed instead.
- Place a small amount of beans into your blender and attach the lid. Don’t empty as much coffee into it as you would in a grinder, as it’s not designed to handle those amounts without liquid.
- Begin grinding until you achieve the consistency you’d like.
- While grinding, move the blender from one side to another. This will allow all the beans to move to the blade, leading to a more consistent grind.
- Remove the coffee grounds and repeat the process until you have as much ground coffee as you require.
Blenders work most efficiently when you add liquid to move around whatever solids are in it. Because of this, if you grind too many coffee beans in one go, you can overwork both the blades and the motor.
Similar to blade grinders, using a blender to grind coffee will lead to inconsistent grind size. However, it’s a relatively hassle-free way to grind coffee beans without a grinder.
2. A Food Processor
Food processors work in similar ways to blenders, and like them, they represent one of the better alternatives to a coffee grinder. Not surprisingly, you won’t get as good results as you would using a proper coffee grinder, but it will suffice in an emergency.
Using a food processor to grind beans will give similar results to using a blender. However, you’ll need to use more beans because your food processor’s circumference is likely to be wider than that of a blender. Aim for double the number of beans for the best results.
How To Grind Your Coffee Beans Using A Food Processor
- Add the number of coffee beans you require to the food processor and attach the lid.
- Using the pulse setting, grind the beans in 3 to 5-second spells.
- Continue doing this until your grind size is consistent.
- If necessary, angle your food processor until all the grounds are a consistent enough size.
A food processor operates in a similar way to a large blade coffee grinder. You’ll struggle to get grounds as consistent as you would with a burr grinder, but it is one of the better alternatives to using a specialist grinder. Using a food processor you can easily get ground coffee in a medium or medium fine grind size for your drip coffee maker, while if you prefer French press or cold brew, they can make coarse grinds too.
Tips: If you want to grind beans mechanically using a blender or food processor, remember to check the manual before you do to ensure the warranty covers you.
3. A Mortar and Pestle
The mortar and pestle are a tried and trusted, centuries-old means of grinding medicines, spices, and herbs into powder, and it will work for grinding coffee beans as well.
Using a mortar and pestle involves manually bashing and rolling the beans to get a consistent grind. It’s an excellent method of achieving different grind sizes, from the coarse grind size needed for a French press to Turkish coffee’s very fine grind size.
How To Grind Coffee Beans Using A Mortar And Pestle
- Add a small number of coffee beans to the mortar, but don’t fill it.
- Using your dominant hand, hold the pestle. Use your other hand to secure the mortar.
- Begin using the pestle on the coffee beans to crush them on the mortar base. After you crush the beans, roll them around the mortar with the pestle to achieve your required consistency and texture. Make sure you don’t overdo it, though, or they’ll turn to dust so fine you will not be able to filter it.
- Carry out these steps until you have enough coffee grounds.
A mortar and pestle are not one of the more common kitchen utensils, so you may not even have one unless you’re a chef or pharmacist. However, as well as being efficient for crushing products such as black peppercorns and herbs, they are good at grinding coffee too, so having one to hand for emergencies is worthwhile.
4. A Rolling Pin
The majority of people already have a rolling pin and some Ziploc bags, so this is a handy means of grinding coffee in an emergency, regardless of the rolling pin you have – from a conventional wooden one to a stainless steel pin or a marble one. A Ziploc bag or freezer bag is useful for this method as putting your beans inside and sealing it before you get to work will help prevent mess.
How To Grind Coffee Beans Using A Rolling Pin
- Measure the desired amount of coffee and place them in your Ziploc bag.
- Shake the beans so that they are as evenly spread across the bag as possible, seal the bag and place the bag flat on the kitchen work surface.
- Start slowly rolling the pin over the bag from one side to the other.
- Continue doing this until you have consistently sized coffee grounds.
Using a rolling pin requires some elbow grease, mainly if your coffee whole beans are not at their freshest or are lightly roasted. You’ll have to press and roll the pin quite hard to turn the beans into grounds. However, because most people have both a rolling pin and a Ziploc bag, it is a convenient alternative way to make grounds if your grinder is out of service.
5. A Hammer
Usually, hammers are needed to either smash things or bang nails into walls. However, when it comes to using one for grinding coffee, a different approach is needed. Instead, use the hammer to press the beans and crush them. After all, you don’t want dust that won’t filter – you want coffee grounds.
How To Grind Coffee Beans Using A Hammer
- Measure out your beans and place them in a Ziploc bag. Press the air out of it, then seal it.
- Wrap the bag in a sizable dish towel or paper towels. Hammer the coffee beans gently and evenly to break them into relatively large pieces. Be careful not to destroy the beans.
- Press and crush the broken coffee beans until you achieve a decent consistency.
Using a hammer is best for achieving a coarse grind size suitable for French press coffee. However, you’ll need more control to get a medium size if you’re grinding for pour-over coffee.
6. Meat Tenderizer
You can use meat tenderizers for grinding coffee beans in the same way you’d do so with a hammer. This kitchen tool is a small metal hammer best suited to flattening and softening meat.
The tenderizer’s head has two sides that are flat and have small spikes or bumps. Because of this, it is more efficient for grinding coffee beans than a conventional hammer. The biggest drawback is it’s not a particularly common product to have and certainly less common than a standard hammer.
How To Grind Coffee Beans Using A Meat Tenderizer
- Measure out your beans and place them in a Ziploc bag.
- Empty the Ziploc bag of air to avoid the risk of it popping, then seal it.
- Place a large dish towel around the freezer bag to avoid puncturing it when crushing the beans.
- Begin hammering the beans gently and evenly.
- Check the progress after every few hits to ensure the beans aren’t turning to dust.
Using a meat tenderizer is a more efficient way to grind coffee than using a conventional hammer. You can similarly grind the coffee using other utensils with a flat surface area, such as a butcher knife or a steel pan. If you are outdoors, even a rock or brick and a freezer bag can work.
7. A Hand Mincer
Hand mincers share similarities to old metal pencil sharpeners in the way they operate. Also known as meat grinders, you would usually use a hand mincer to cut various meats and vegetables. However, you can also use them for grinding coffee, and it’s not difficult to see why.
Hand mincers are either made from plastic or stainless steel, but regardless of the material yours has, it will have a blade inside it. You add your coffee beans and begin using the hand crank to start grinding the coffee.
How To Grind Coffee Beans Using A Hand Mincer
- Measure desired amount of coffee beans and set up the device on your table.
- Position something that can catch the coffee grounds, such as a jug, cup, or bowl.
- Begin turning the hand crank and slowly add your beans into the mouth of the grinder.
- Any large pieces can be sifted out and placed back into the mincer a few more times if necessary.
One issue with this approach is that you’re not likely to have a hand mincer if you don’t do much home cooking. However, if you do have one, it’s a surprisingly easy way to grind coffee beans. Just be prepared to put the larger pieces through the mincer a few times to achieve the consistency you need.
8. Go Out And Ask For Help
If none of these ideas of grinding coffee beans without a grinder sounds workable to you, just hop in your car and drive to the nearest grocery store or coffee shop with a grinder, and ask them to grind your beans for you. They may charge you a small fee to do this or ask you to make a purchase, but it is worth considering if you don’t want to grind coffee without a specialist grinder.
Now you know how to grind coffee beans without a grinder. As this article has explained, there are at least seven ways to grind your beans. Alternatives such as a food processor or a blender offer the easiest and best coffee grinding solution, while the other manual methods take more effort, time, and patience.
However, whichever coffee grinder alternative you opt for, you can rest easy in the knowledge that you’ll still be able to enjoy a cup of coffee, even without a proper coffee grinder.
Having said that, if you are using any of the methods on a day-to-day basis, you should consider investing in a decent burr coffee grinder for making consistent, hassle-free, and high-quality coffee.