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How to Grind Coffee Beans Without a Grinder


How to Grind Coffee Beans Without a Grinder

You’ve opened a brand new bag of whole bean coffee and you can’t wait to dive into a rich, bold cup of the world’s finest Arabica beans. However, you double-take as you tragically discover your coffee grinder is kaput — or worse, you remember that you don’t own a coffee grinder at all. What’s an espresso or coffee addict to do?


Below we break down how to grind coffee beans without a grinder so you can grind your coffee for espresso or drip coffee with basic kitchen items any home will likely have. With our quick guides you’ll know how to grind coffee beans no matter what grind texture you need.


How Can I Grind My Coffee Beans Without a Grinder?


Here are our top two most effective methods for grinding coffee beans without a grinder:


  • Use a Mortar and Pestle — A mortar and pestle is one of civilization’s original kitchen tools because it is simple and effective. Grinding coffee beans with a mortar and pestle gives you the most control over the size of the grind, allowing you to grind coarse French Press grounds or ultra-fine grounds with confidence.

    Fill the mortar about one-fourth of the way with coffee beans. Hold the mortar in place with one hand and use the other to grind the coffee beans with the pestle — using force, press down on and crush the beans with a twisting motion.

    Once the beans are crushed roll the pestle around the mortar with a firm, circular motion to get the desired consistency and ground size. For the most control, only fill one-fourth of the mortar at a time. If you need more grounds empty the mortar when finished and repeat the process as necessary.

  • Use a Blender — In a bind you can use a blender. A blender will function similarly to a blade-type coffee grinder. Some blenders include a “grinder” setting specifically for this situation!

    To begin, select the “grinder” setting or one of the higher speeds. Pour a small amount of beans into the blender and firmly secure the lid. Grind your beans by grinding only in small bursts — if you keep the blender running you can overheat the oils of the beans, which will result in a bitter cup of coffee.

    Blend the beans using this on-and-off technique and gently tilt the blender from side to side while grinding to move the larger chunks into the path of the blade. Once you reach the grind you want empty the grounds and repeat as needed.


How Fine Should You Grind Coffee Beans?


The coarseness or fineness of your grounds completely depends on how you plan to make your coffee. French Press coffee demand coarse grounds, Moka pots and espresso machines need fine grounds, and certain methods like pour over coffee necessitate medium grind coffee.

You should choose the method of grinding your beans based on how fine or coarse you want the grounds to be. For the most control go for the mortar and pestle method.


Can You Brew Coffee With Whole Beans?


Technically, you can brew coffee without grinding the beans at all. However, because the surface area of a whole bean is remarkably smaller than grounds of the same size the brewing process takes longer. Like, way longer. 


Many coffee experts agree that you can cold brew whole bean coffee overnight, and some intrepid coffee enthusiasts devised a recipe for brewing whole bean coffee in one hour. However, for your regular cup of morning coffee stick to grinding, whether you own a grinder or are becoming fond of your mortar and pestle. 


Does the idea of grinding your coffee beans without a grinder exhaust you? Just stop by The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® near you to enjoy a freshly-brewed cup of coffee featuring beans from all over the globe hand-selected by our Coffee Master.