Extracting the goodies trapped inside the coffee beans by grinding them into tiny particles that are bursting with flavor and aroma is the only way to ensure a proper brew.
But what if your power runs out or your beloved coffee grinder starts malfunctioning? Should you go without your morning kick? Or are you supposed to make an annoying trip to your favorite coffee shop?
Nonsense! Even though coffee grinders are designed to granulate smoothly and effortlessly, you can do this task just as efficiently without one. Read on and learn how to grind coffee beans without a coffee grinder.
If your mortar and pestle have been sitting forgotten on the kitchen shelf because you are not an experienced cook, it is time to blow the dust off. Just as you can crush spices and herbs, you can also use this versatile appliance to grind your Java.
Although it requires some extra time and effort, mashing your coffee beans with this ancient tool gives you an immerse control of the grind and texture.
In a pinch, the process is pretty straightforward:
Tip: Using a ceramic set of mortar and pestle is preferred because it will be more resistant to the oils that will get extracted from the beans.
If you are looking for a more sophisticated way to grind your coffee, then perhaps your smoothie machine can come to the rescue. Your food blender is not just for drinks; it can also help you turn your beans into powder.
Resembling a blade grinder (thanks to its blades, obviously), grinding coffee in a kitchen blender is a simple 5-step process:
In for some real coffee experience? With this old-school technique and some elbow grease, you will learn how to grind coffee without a grinder in no time! All you need to enjoy your morning dose of energy are a rolling pin and a Ziploc bag.
Tip: If you do not have a Ziploc bag, place the coffee between two pieces of parchment paper. Just make sure to fold the edges to enclose, to avoid the beans from jumping around your kitchen.
Pepper meal grinding is another straightforward method. And you don’t even need to have a fancy and expensive mill; a cheap plastic one from the grocery store will do the job just fine.
You will need a bit more effort to mill your coffee this way, but you will be rewarded with a consistent grind at the end.
It is quite simple, actually – just empty the mill, add your beans, and grind away. Keep in mind that some of these grinders come in smaller sizes and cannot handle the large chunky beans. You might need to smash them with a hammer a bit before adding them to the mill.
Okay, so this may turn out to be a two-step grind, but the fine consistent texture will be so worth it.
Speaking of smashing the beans, the best tool for the job may be hiding in your garage. In combination with a pepper mill, your hammer will help you get more consistent grinds, that’s true, but even on its own, this utensil can be pretty handy.
If you are not a tool person, you can also use a meat tenderizer for this grinding technique. Here is how you can do it:
But that’s not even the best part. If you have some bottled-up anger you wish to release, this grinding technique can work as a free therapy session as well. Give it a try!
Tip: To prevent the hammer from tearing the bag, place a kitchen cloth on top of it when grinding.
If you know your way around the kitchen, then you are probably familiar with crushing garlic cloves with your knife. But what if I tell you that you can use this same technique for cracking your coffee as well?
Obviously, this will be pretty tiring if you are grinding coffee for a crowd, but if you need no more than a scoop of beans to get your morning dose of energy, then this is probably the simplest grinding technique.
Tip: This method is perfect if you are a medium-grind kind of coffee addict.
Not quite like your good, old burr grinder, but if you are left without your dependable way of powdering Java beans, then your food processor should do the job just fine.
The process is almost the same as that of grinding in your food blender:
Although you probably don’t think of your hand blender as a coffee grinding tool, when you are stuck in survival mode without your grinder, your creamy-soup-making best friend can surely help you out.
Once you have your immersion blender attached and ready, add about two tablespoons of coffee beans to the chopper bowl attachment of the mixer (if it has any).
Alternatively, you can just place the beans in a cup/bowl that the blender can fit into, and that is sturdy enough to endure the blades.
Turn the blender on and start mixing. You might want to shake the bowl a couple of times throughout the process, to ensure uniform consistency.
When all else fails, you can just take your frying pan and give the coffee beans a good smashing. Although you probably shouldn’t beat them but apply firm pressure, this method will help you grind for the whole family in a jiffy.
A frying pan is a good option when trying to brew for a group, as it has a large surface area and can handle way more than just a couple of scoops at a time.
Even if your mornings are chaotic, you’re usually in a pinch, and can basically take an energy fix of any kind, that doesn’t mean that your brew shouldn’t be pleasant to your tongue and enjoyable. Although grinding coffee isn’t rocket science, there is a secret formula in taking delight in your cup of coffee.
The grinding methods above may seem simple and straightforward, but unless you hit the perfect texture and know exactly when to stop, you can lose the grind quality, literally, in a second.
There are 7 different grind sizes, and they are all suited for different types of coffee:
Extra Coarse – This grind is the chunkiest one and has a similar texture like that of peppercorns. The extra course is best suited for cowboy coffee and a cold brew.
Coarse – Resembles heavy kosher salt. If you check the texture with your hands, you should be able to feel chunks. Best for cupping, French press, and percolator.
Medium-Coarse – Looks like really coarse beach sand. Best suited for clever dripper, conical drip makers, Chemex.
Medium Grind – Has the same texture of regular beach sand. Perfect for flat-bottomed drip makers, Aeropress, conical pour-over brewers.
Medium-Fine – Smaller grains than those of regular beach sand, similar to table salt. Best for Aeropress and conical pour-over brewers.
Fine Grind – The same texture of most store-bought pre-ground coffee, finer than table salt. Perfect for Espresso, Aeropress, Stovetop espresso makers.
Extra Fine – Fine powder – has the same texture of powdered sugar and flour. Perfect for making Turkish coffee.
Having a consistent texture and fineness of the grinding is what gives every brew the same flavor, aroma, and degree of kick, making every morning cup as enjoyable as the previous one.
The key to making your grinds consistent is crushing only small amounts of coffee at a time. Adding a couple of tablespoons of beans per grind is a good rule of thumb. That increases the power you have over the control and measure, allowing you to produce the uniform texture every single time.
Check – Even if you know it takes you about 15 seconds to reach your desired texture, do not rely on the time. Make sure to take periodical peeks and check if you are satisfied with the fineness of the grind and if the consistency is even.
When in Doubt, go for Medium – When you are not sure what level of grind your coffee should have, go for the medium or medium-fine texture. Sandy and salt-like coffee are known to be the most versatile, so the chances of destroying your brew are pretty low.
Do NOT Pre-Grind. Although your busy schedule may tempt you to stack yourself up with a fine grind to last you throughout the week, if you care for the aftertaste of your morning brew – do not do it. Ground coffee starts turning stale even 30 minutes after the beans have been crushed, so stick to the one-brew-at-a-time-grind for best results.
Measure. Make it a habit to always measure the beans before crushing them to ensure a uniform consistency. The 2-tablespoons rule is a good start, but be more accurate and use a kitchen scale for top-notch results.
How Long Does the Grinding Process Take?
It all depends on the type of method and if you are grinding automatically or manually. For instance, most electrical appliances (blender, food processor, immersion blender) shouldn’t take longer than half a minute.
Of course, this also depends on the type and strength of the tool you are using, but most blender-like appliances should give you a coarse grind in 10 seconds, and finer, Espresso powder in under 20 seconds or so.
If using a manual method, it boils down to your strength of pressing, speed, working surface, etc.
Can I Freeze Ground Coffee?
You can, but you shouldn’t. Freezing involves thawing, and thawing comes with extra humidity. And since moisture is the biggest coffee’s enemy, you can see why you should rethink the urge to skip the morning grind.
Can I Ground Coffee in NutriBullet?
Definitely! Your NutriBullet can grind your coffee beans with the same (if not even higher) precision as your food blender or food processor. Just pulse with quick bursts for as long as it takes to reach your desired texture, and voila! The perfect brew awaits!