Most coffee lovers can agree that the best coffee starts with freshly ground whole beans. Powders that have sat on shelves for a while do not provide the same flavor and finish as grinding them yourself.
If you find yourself without your seasoned coffee grinder, whether through vacation, camping, or bad luck, there are alternative tools that can save your morning. Here, we provide alternative ways to grind coffee beans without a grinder.
Coffee Grinders and Coffee Grinding
Breaking the coffee bean down allows it to release oils and flavors unique to the region it was grown in. Grind uniformity is critical in evenly distributing these flavors to make the best cup of coffee. An inconsistent grind will lead to over or under extraction, and a chalky coffee taste, whether by hand or machine.
Most high-quality coffee grinders use burrs, which are cone-shaped and ridged to crush coffee beans for an optimal, even grind. However, some coffee grinders use blades instead of burrs and operate similar to a blender. While coffee grinders are a clear choice for a quick, even grind, you can find other ways to grind coffee just as evenly in a pinch.
Alternatives to Coffee Grinder
If you find yourself without a coffee grinder, consider substituting it with one of these small kitchen appliances.
Instead of mixing your favorite smoothie, consider using your blender to grind coffee beans. You don’t need a specialty blender, but you will probably get a coarser grind than with other methods. Some blenders have coffee settings on them. If your blender doesn’t have a coffee function, use a high-speed setting.
To achieve the best consistency, you need to make sure the beans release the oils and flavors. There may be a little trial and error involved, but usually, grinding your coffee beans in small batches will give you the best results when using a blender. Start by using small amounts of coffee beans, about ¼ cup, and pulse until you start to see your desired consistency.
Try not to run your blender continuously when grinding your beans. This continuous movement creates a heat that can cook the beans’ natural oils, resulting in a bitter, harsh taste. Wash your blender after each use to remove any stale coffee smells. Grinding coffee beans with a blender works well when brewing with a drip coffee maker, cold brew kit, or French press.
Similar to how you would use a blender, you can use a food processor to grind coffee beans down for brewing. For a consistent grind that doesn’t overheat the beans, use your food processor’s pulse setting. It would help if you alternated between pulsing in short bursts and tilting the processor to move the larger piles of grounds nearer to the blades. Pulsing the beans results in a course consistency best used on French press machines.
If you are looking for a medium to fine consistency, try running your food processor continuously for a few minutes. Creating a medium to fine texture will provide better cups made in a drip coffee machine.
Depending on your food processor, you may find that it already has a coffee grind function. Modern food processors double as coffee grinders.
Whether your food processor has a coffee grind setting or not, start by adding a small number of beans and continue to add the beans in small amounts until you’ve reached your desired amount of grounds.
Vitamix blenders are high-powered blenders with advanced features that allow you to chop, juice, puree, and grind. Whether you have a traditional, enclosed Vitamix blender or an immersion blender, you can use Vitamix to grind coffee beans.
Enclosed Vitamix blenders are similar to other blenders. However, Vitamix uses precision technology that may provide a more even grind. For a coarse grind, attach the grains container and add the beans. When grinding, start with variable speed one, increasing up to eight. This process should only take about 10 seconds, depending on how many beans you use.
Using an immersion blender to grind coffee beans is similar to grinding them by hand. Attach the chopper attachment to your immersion blender and gather your beans. Like with these other alternative methods, make sure to start with small amounts of beans. Put the beans in a basin, and make sure to use something with a high enough lip to contain all of the grinds without getting them all over your kitchen.
Grind the beans for a couple of seconds at a time, shaking the bowl so that everything grinds evenly. While some coffee makers can brew with coarser grinds, grind to a fine powder while making espresso or Turkish coffee.
Grinding Coffee Beans Without a Grinder
Consistency is vital when you are grinding coffee beans. If you do not have access to a blender, it is essential to make sure you are getting a consistent texture regardless of the method you choose to use.
with a blender
Blender is an essential item for not only making your favorite juice but also you can grind your coffee beans in no time. Definitely, we would recommend you to go for a burr grinder. You can’t get your desired and consistent grind size without a handy burr grinder. However, if you are unable to use your coffee grinder and need an instant solution, then, your blender is your perfect companion.
Blender works pretty much the same as a blade grinder. Both the machines use their blade to chop coffee beans. As not all of the beans come to contact with the blade you will see lots of large portions in the ground. In the following step-by-step guide, we will show you how you can grind coffee beans using a blender to get a consistent grind size. Make sure to read the instruction manual of your blender first, as you don’t want to burn up the motor of the blender.
- First, put a small amount of coffee into the container and place the lid tightly. Make sure to place your hand over the lid too as the coffee beans tend to come out from the container while grinding.
- Now, if your blender has the Grind settings, that would be awesome. If not, make sure to select the medium-high speed settings.
- When grinding the bean make sure that you are not running the blender continuously for several seconds. Instead, follow the Pulse option (grinding in quick bursts). Running the blender continuously may burn the coffee’s oils and will deliver an unpleasant flavor.
- While grinding your coffee beans using a blender it’s crucial to tilt the blender’s container. This will chop the comparatively large particles from the ground and deliver the maximum even grind.
- After grinding the first small amount, empty the container and add another small batch of coffee beans. Grinding too much coffee in a single batch needs more force for the blender as a result the motor of the blender may burn up. We would recommend you grind only ¼ cup of beans in a single time.
with a food processor
Let’s take a look at how to grind coffee beans without a grinder but with a Food Processor. The process is again pretty much the same as a blender. Some people used to say that Food Processors are nothing but the larger version of Blade Grinder. This must-have kitchen appliance can do a nice job when it needs a solution of grinding coffee beans without a grinder.
Some Food Processors like Cuisinart come with a Grind setting for grinding foods such as Nuts and Coffee. Its S-shaped sharp knife can do a good job for chopping. But you won’t get the perfectly consistent grind size that you would get from a burr grinder. However, with some simple tweaks, you can get the best possible output from your Food Processor.
The result of grinding coffee using a Food Processor could be either coarser or medium-fine. Most of the time you will get a coarser grind size that would be good for French Press or Cold Brew. You can even make the grind size medium-fine which is good for brewing drip-style coffee.
- Clean and wet the Food Processor’s bowl to ensure that there’s no food residue or smell in it.
- Now place the bowl and blade one by one. After placing the bowl on the base make sure to lock it properly. Ensure placing the lid tightly while grinding beans.
- Put a small amount of coffee into the bowl and start grinding. Some Food Processors come with a grinding option in order to grind harder food. You should press that grind button if you find it on your machine. Otherwise, you can use the “Pulse” option for grinding the coffee.
- While grinding the beans using the Pulse process make sure to tilt the machine every now and then. It will move the comparatively larger particles near the blade of the Food Processor and deliver you a more even grind size. If you are looking to get a medium-fine grind size try the machine running for a few minutes instead of 10 seconds or so.
- When you get your desired grind size, empty the bowl and repeat the process again and again.
With a vitamix
Vitamix Blenders are just like other blenders. But the output you can get from a Vitamix blender is way more superior compared to a cheap blender. This particular type of blender comes with a heavy-duty 2 HP motor that can blend literally anything.
Vitamix blender can grind tough food items in a pretty consistent manner. While food processors, blenders and immersion blenders are not ideal for grinding coffee beans the manufacturer engineered Vitamix in such a way that can grind coffee beans efficiently.
Although Vitamix blenders are comparatively expensive we can strongly say that “They are worth the money.” As they use precision technology you will most likely get a consistent grind size for brewing. Make sure to read the instruction manual for grinding coffee beans using a Vitamix Blender. Let’s see how to grind coffee beans without a grinder when you still have a powerful Vitamix.
- Attach the Vitamix dry grains container for grinding coffee beans. Now add about 2 cups of beans into the container. The dry grains container is recommended by the manufacturer.
- After adding coffee beans make sure to place the lid on top of the machine tightly.
- Turn the machine On and quickly increase the Speed variable from 1 to 8 quickly. Don’t turn the variable in the number 8 position first for quicker grinding.
- Run the machine for about 10 seconds in order to get a coarser grind size. This grind size could be ideal for brewing methods like French Press or Cold Brew. Again, if you are looking for the Espresso brewing grind size AKA fine grind size try running the machine for about 20 seconds. Finer grind is also vital for making turkish coffee.
- Empty all the ground coffee from the container and add another batch of coffee beans if you need to grind more coffee.
With Immersion Blender
Immersion blender AKA Hand Blender is just another type of blender. This particular type of blender is not so powerful compared to Vitamix or other blenders available on the market. Its blades are also not big and sturdy for grinding lots of coffee beans at once. Hence, grind a little amount of coffee in small batches.
Immersion blenders are pretty compact-sized, inexpensive, portable, and also versatile. Let’s take a look at how they can handle the grinding of coffee beans.
- First thing first, attach the chopper attachment to the blender’s wand securely. Be sure to lock the wand with the bowl perfectly.
- Now, add a small amount of coffee to the chopping bowl. As we have said earlier, an immersion blender is not as powerful as Vitamix, hence use small batches for grinding.
- Turn on the machine and start grinding coffee beans. In order to get an even grind make sure to shake the bowl frequently so that all the coffee can be ground.
- If you are looking for a coarser grind, run the machine for about 10 seconds. On the flip side, for getting Espresso style grind size run the machine for about 20 seconds. Don’t forget to shake the bowl while grinding.
- After finishing grinding your desired amount of coffee, detach the parts and clean them properly.
Grab one of the kitchen items mentioned above and follow the step-by-step process for grinding coffee beans without a grinder. We would recommend you to use a Vitamix Blender for getting the best possible output.
If you do not have access to electricity or any of the appliances mentioned here, there are some other ways you can grind your beans without a blender or food processor.
- Mortar and pestle
- The flat side of a knife blade
- A meat tenderizer, mallet, or using a hammer
- Rolling pin
You may find that grinding by hand allows you to check for consistency more easily. Try combining one of these hand methods after starting with a small kitchen appliance to clean up any inconsistencies that a machine may have missed.
Can You Brew Coffee Beans Without Grinding Them?
Yes, you can. This might shock you but you can indeed make coffee without even grinding coffee beans. But the process is quite lengthy. Folks more likely won’t wait for about 1 hour in order to sip their morning coffee. Hence, this process is pretty neglected.
How Much Coffee Should I Grind At One Time?
It’s better to use about 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 5-6 ounces of water. Adjust this amount according to your personal preferences. Most coffee enthusiasts strongly prohibited grinding all the coffee beans at once and preserving them for later brewing. This can easily ruin the pleasant flavor of the coffee.
What Is The Best Coffee Grinder For Home Use?
We always recommend our readers for using burr grinders instead of blade grinders. Blade grinder can do a pretty good job of chopping spices, for sure. But you can’t get consistent coffee grind size from such a grinder that you can get from a good quality burr grinder.
How Long Should You Grind Coffee Beans?
Depending on what type of grinder you are using, the grinding time could be more or less. If you are using a handy burr grinder, it may take about 6 seconds for delivering evenly ground coffee. For a bit coarser grind size, a blade grinder will take about 5-10 seconds while for medium and fine grind size the machine will take respectively about 10-15 seconds and 30 seconds.
While a coffee grinder is ideal in most cases, you can grind coffee beans without one. Texture and consistency are the most important things to watch out for when grinding coffee beans. Coarser grinds work for French press machines, while medium to fine grinds is best for drip coffee makers and espresso machines.
Once you understand how the beans release their oil, being careful not to cook or burn them, and which textures work best with your coffee machine, you will be able to make a smooth, tasty cup of coffee.
Enjoy Your Coffee!