Grind Coffee Beans Without a Grinder 

 March 10, 2019

By  Enda McLarnon

6 Ways to Grind Coffee Beans Without a Coffee Grinder

Using a coffee grinder to grind your choice of coffee beans is always going to be the easiest and the simplest thing to do. After all that is why these machines were invented in the first place.

They are fast and the majority of them deliver what is called a consistent grind. In other words, the beans are ground down to a consistent size of grain, that is ideal for water to pass through to make the actual coffee brew.

However in this article we are going to explain six different methods of how to grind coffee beans, if you don't own an actual coffee grinder.

Method 1 - Use a Kitchen Blender

grind coffee using a kitchen blender

Many homes in the UK will have some form of kitchen blender. Even a mini blender will do the job. You simply put in the beans and then use the pulse setting to grind the coffee beans.

A good guideline is to use one tablespoon of beans for each cup of coffee required. Almost all kitchen blenders use blades to grind, and the blades actually chop up the beans into small pieces.

The blender works pretty well if you don't own a grinder. You do however have to keep a close watch on the process to make sure that the right consistency is achieved.

If you are grinding to make an espresso, then you do of course need a very fine grind. That can take a little bit of time with a kitchen style blender.

The other big disadvantage of using a kitchen blender is that as coffee beans are hard, they do cause a lot of wear and tear on the blades. Overall that will reduce the lifetime of the blades.

That makes a kitchen blender a good enough choice if you don't plan on grinding too much coffee.

Method 2 - Use a Spice/Nut Grinder

grind coffee using a mini grinder

You can buy spice and nut grinders to use in the kitchen. These are often classed under the main blender options, but they are in fact slightly different. Almost always these are smaller mini blenders.

Again these do work pretty well and are inexpensive to buy. They are however only suitable for grinding a small amount of coffee beans. There are a lot of these small spice, seed and nut grinders on the market.

The most popular is the Andrew James grinder for beans, spices and nuts which will do a good enough job on coffee beans.

Method 3 - Use a Hammer

So the first two methods I have described above means that you will have to own or buy either a blender, or a small mini nut/spice grinder. You will be able to pick those up for under £15.

However if you don't want to buy any products, then there are manual methods that will work to a certain point. One of these is the good old fashioned hammer.

With this method you put the coffee beans into something like a zipper freezer bag. You can then squeeze the air out of the bag before using the zip to seal it.

Once that is done, you can wrap the bag in a tea towel, or ordinary towel. You then use the hammer to crush the beans, trying to cover off all the beans, and to avoid pulverising them.

This is a very crude method, and it doesn't work that well. It is handy if you are really pushed and have no other method. Avoid doing this type of process on a kitchen table or counter top as you could end up damaging those surfaces.

Something like on top of a bread board is a better idea.

Method 4 - Use a Rolling Pin

The process for using a rolling pin is similar to the hammer method described above. Instead of using a hammer you use a rolling pin. Again you place the fresh coffee beans into a zipper style freezer bag, squeeze out the air and seal the bag.

You then wrap a towel around it and break the beans by gently pounding them with the rolling pin. When they start to break up, you can then crush the beans by using the rolling pin in the normal way.

This is a slightly better option than the hammer technique, as you have more control over the grind of the beans. It is though a very crude method, but will work if you have no other options.

Method 5 - Mortar and Pestle

grind coffee using a mortar and pestle

Long before electricity was invented, people throughout the world used a simple mortar and pestle to crush and grind ingredients into a paste or powder. The mortar is the bowl and the pestle is simply a blunt club shaped instrument.

Many chefs still use these today, and they remain a very effective tool. The main drawback with coffee beans is that this is a slow and tiring process.

Most people will have used this set in a chemistry lab at school. It is probably the most effective manual method as you can see what is going on. with the beans and the thickness of the grind.

A word or warning though, this is a painfully slow process. It is really only suitable to grind a small amount of coffee beans.

Method 6 - Use a Large Knife

The last method we have for you is similar to the hammer or rolling pin method. Instead of using the hammer you crush the beans with the flat part of the blade by crushing down on the beans.

Due to the knife being sharp, this is the last method that we would recommend. You are not however chopping the beans with the knife, you are simply using the flat side of the blade to crush the beans.

Conclusion - Grinding Coffee Beans Without a Coffee Grinder

Hopefully we have given you some ideas on how to grind coffee beans if you don't own a coffee grinder. You can see that it is possible and a blender or a mini blender are the better options.

The manual methods are all really crude but they will give you some sort of grind that you can use to make coffee. It really will not be of the highest quality so please don't have high expectations.

The best way of grinding coffee is always going to be a machine that has been made specifically to do just that. There are two main types of coffee grinder which are the blade grinder and the burr grinder.

Generally speaking the blade grinder is the cheaper option and these cost around £15-20. The burr grinder is a better way to grind coffee but they are more expensive at around £45-90.

Click Here to Read About the best blade coffee grinders

Click Here to Read About the best burr coffee grinders

Both types offer you faster and more efficient ways of grinding coffee. They also allow you to grind larger amounts of coffee, and also to pick the grain size that is best suited to your chosen brewing method.

You can also buy both types of grinder as either a manual hand mill style or as an electric option.

Enda McLarnon

Enda McLarnon has a Business Management Honour's Degree and applies his professional insight, to analyse and write helpful product reviews with tips and useful advice. I am also a coffee lover and enjoy tasting all of the coffee types the world has to offer.

Enda McLarnon

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  1. When would a coffee drinker not have a grinder? Well, maybe when you camping. “Opps, forgot the grinder”. Or traveling, “Opps, forgot the grinder”. And my favorite, backpacking. When backpacking the last thing you want is more weight. My answer is two rocks. Yep, coffee caveman style. It works pretty darn well actually. If you have your beans in a sturdy Ziploc bag, then just pound the bag between two rocks. If your beans are loose, then grind them between a slightly bowl shaped rock and a round rock. Trust me, when you’re camping, you won’t care that it’s not perfect. Any coffee in the woods is great coffee.

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