Coffee experts recommend buying coffee beans and not ground coffee, which loses flavor pretty fast. Ideally, you should grind your coffee right before brewing to enjoy all the flavors and aromas those beans have to offer.
If you’ve never done this before here’s a quick guide to get you started.
Most people grind their coffee with – you’ve guessed it! – a grinder and you should consider buying one if you’re committed to making a change in your life and only using freshly ground coffee for your favorite brew. They aren’t that expensive, anyway.
There are two types of grinders on the market – the blade grinder and the burr grinder.
Blade grinders are the most popular, cheap and small, easy to store away in your cupboard. Just like the name says, such a machine uses two blades to smash the coffee beans. Critics say they leave the grounds uneven, coarse particles mixed in with finer ones, but they serve the purpose.
Burr grinders are more sophisticated and precise, using spinning disks to turn the beans into a fine ground. If you’re an espresso enthusiast, you should definitely get one of these.
Tip: Both types of grinders tend to overheat so don’t leave them on for too long or they might scorch your coffee and add a nasty flavor to your brew.
Manual coffee grinders are a neat alternative and, contrary to what you might think, some of the best models on the market can give you a fine grind. They use the same principle as electric ones (blades or burr), only you supply the power.
Probably not your best option, but, in a pinch, there are various ways to grind coffee without a proper grinder.
Blenders are equipped with blades that make them perfect for grinding coffee. Many say they’re just as good as regular grinders. The only problem is you’ll have to clean the machine thoroughly before using it for other types of food. You wouldn’t your baby’s food to smell of coffee, would you?
Food processors can also be used for this purpose. Grind the beans in small spurts of no more than 20 seconds and check the quality of the grind. Repeat until the grounds are fine enough.
There are several manual grinding options if your grinder breaks down. It might not get you the finest grind, but it will spare you the agony of waking up to no coffee.
Here are a few things you can use in-lieu of a grinder.
Mortar and pestle. Just throw two tablespoons of coffee into that mortar and use the pestle to smash and hammer those beans until you get a decent grind.
Rolling pin. Sounds a bit funny, but if you put some beans into a resealable plastic bag and roll the pin vigorously you can get a nice medium to fine grind.
Hammer. Pretty drastic. Just make sure you do not tear the plastic bag or you’ll get a fine mess in your kitchen.
Hand mincer. Sort of old-fashioned. If you have one around the house, it’ll do the job. You could, of course, try an electric meat-grinder, but having to clean that machine every time you want coffee might be a bit too much.
A few words about coffee grind levels
There are many ways of grinding coffee, but the best would be using a burr grinder, preferably a conical model that doesn’t heat up that easy. The size of the grind depends on your brewing method. A fine floury grind is perfect for espresso, while a medium one works great for a traditional coffee maker.
How to grind coffee beans without a grinder