How To Grind Coffee Beans Without A Grinder

So you want to brew a coffee with freshly ground beans? Congratulations! This is one step in the right direction to brewing the best coffee you’ve ever brewed, from the comfort of your own home.

Now, maybe you want to check out what all the fuss is about before committing to buying a coffee grinder. And although there are many cheap and effective hand grinders out there, testing the waters first isn’t a bad idea at all.

So here are a few ways you can grind some of our beloved beans without a coffee grinder. Though, you should note, the brew you produce won’t be as amazing as if you were to use a coffee grinder, and that has to do with how uniform the grind turns out.

Nevertheless, the coffee you brew will be much, much better than pre-ground, and that’s good enough for now!

So let’s dive right in and get you on your way to brewing a cuppa, ey?

Wait! Just incase you’re not aware, different brew methods require a different grind size. So before you start grinding down your beans, check out this Coffee Grind Size Chart to figure out which grind size you should be aiming for.

coffee beans in wooden spoons with coffee grinder

Grinding With A Machine

There’s a machine which is common in many households that can also be used to grind your coffee beans.

A Food Blender

There’s no reason why a blender wouldn’t work to grind up your coffee beans, or should I say smash up your coffee beans. The reason being is that a blender works similar to a blade grinder, which smashes the beans up with a metal bar that spins around quickly.

There are a couple of things to note if you choose this route though. Firstly, if your blender has the option, use the pulse mode. This avoids the problem of the blade getting too hot, which in turn avoids the beans’ natural oils from overheating, which can produce a harsh or bitter taste in your cup.

If your grinder doesn’t have a pulse setting then you can manually turn the grinder on and off to create the same effect.

Try adding small amounts of coffee beans at a time to get as consistent a grind as possible, which I understand is tricky with a blade grinder anyway. Through this method you can create a coarse grind size that’d be good for a French press.

As a tip, try tipping the blender to one side slightly, which will move the beans more into the path of the blade.

How To Grind Coffee With A Food Blender

  1. Select the ‘grinder’ or ‘pulse’ setting on the blender. If this isn’t an option then you can manually pulse the blender.
  2. Pour small amounts of coffee beans into the blender at a time. Make sure the lid is on top.
  3. Using short, quick bursts, grind the beans up until you’re happy with the consistency.
  4. When you’re happy, empty the ground coffee and refill blender with coffee beans. Repeat until you have enough ground coffee.

Grinding By Hand

Don’t stress if there are no blenders in the house, there are more methods available to you if you don’t have a blender at hand. The chances you have at least one of these sitting in your kitchen, or shed, is pretty high.

A Rolling Pin

Most people will already have a rolling pin in their kitchen, making it an ideal replacement to grind your coffee beans without a coffee grinder.

Firstly, you’re going to want to put all the coffee beans you’re grinding into a zipper bag or something similar. While zipping, push all of the air, or as much as possible, out of the bag. This avoids the bag bursting and (believe me) creating a big mess of coffee beans all over your kitchen.

If you don’t have any zipper bags around, you can substitute it for some aluminium foil or parchment paper and wrap the beans in this.

Next, start rolling. Roll from one end of the bag to the other until you’re happy with the consistency of the grind. Try and make the rolling as even as possible to create a uniform grind. The smaller you want the grind size to be the longer you’ll have to roll, but it works well nonetheless.

If you’re worried about a mess, simply wrap the beans that are in the zipper bag or foil in a towel. Note, however, that the extra cushion will mean you’ll have to roll for longer.

Here’s a video I found that walks you through the first two methods we’ve just mentioned. It contains some good tips and tricks, so it’s worth a watch:

A Hammer

Yes it’s true you can use a hammer to, literally, smash the coffee beans, although it’s not the best method to use for a consistent grind size. But it’ll get the job done nonetheless.

Simply put your coffee beans into a zipper bag and squeeze the air out. Wrap the bag with a dishtowel before you start to hammer down on your beans.

I’d also recommend starting off with soft, even hammerings, as you want to avoid, as much as possible, an uneven grind size.

You’ll not get a grind size that’ll be perfect for an espresso, or Aeropress, but it should do the trick for any brewing methods that need a coarse grind size. Like a French press, or a cold brew method.

cup of coffee sat on bed of coffee beans

Mortar and Pestle 

I love using a mortar and pestle. It feels primitive, like I’m back to my roots. This method of grinding things down has been used for thousands of years, and dates back to ancient Egypt.

Today, even with all the fancy kitchen gadgets that seem to do everything for us, and more, I bet you still have a mortar and pestle sitting in a cupboard somewhere. Well, you can use this to grind your coffee beans.

The grind you’ll get will be better than if you were to use a hammer, and it’s also a great method to use for a fine grinder size, for and espresso, or turkish coffee. You’ll be able to brew a fresh cup of coffee quickly, using freshly ground beans, and that is the aim of the game.

Be careful not to over grind the beans. You’ll end up with some fine dust that you can’t do anything. Keep checking the overall grind size of the beans often.

Use A Grocery Store Grinder

More and more grocery stores have coffee beans for sale where you simply take your paper bag, pull a lever, and voila – you have your coffee beans for the week.

Alongside this there is normally a coffee grinder where you can pre grind all your beans for the week. Perfect if you don’t have a grinder at home! Normally it’s free, as long as you’re buying from the store, but some places may charge a small fee, especially coffee roasters. So it’s worth checking before you help yourself to the grinder.

Is It Worth Buying A Coffee Grinder?…

My honest answer is that it might actually be the most value for money you’ll ever get. There are some incredibly cheap but effective coffee grinders out there, that will transform the quality of your coffee so much you’ll think you’re drinking a different beverage.

Honestly. Have a look at this article we did on the best hand coffee grinders.

If you’re willing to go through all the effort to grind some coffee beans with a goddamn hammer, or rolling pin, you may as well get a little crank grinder and save yourself some time and effort.

And I’m not trying to sell you anything. It’s my honest, truthful opinion that grinding your own beans is the way to go to improve your brew every morning. I was shocked when I changed from pre ground to freshly ground.

You’ll have to sacrifice a little bit of money and a few minutes each morning, but the reward is the best cup of coffee you’ve ever brewed, and from the comfort of your own home.

You never see cafes popping open a nice bag of pre-ground coffee, and why do you think that is? Because freshly ground coffee is the best!

Final Thoughts

There are many ways you can create ground coffee with using a grinder. I’ve found the best way being the mortar and pestle as this device is designed specifically for crushing nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices. You’ll be able to achieve the most consistent grind this way, which is key to a good brew.

Once you’ve started grinding your own beans, it’ll easily become part of your morning routine, and you’ll find it hard to go back to a bag of pre-ground! Keep in mind that you want a consistent grind size as possible to achieve peak quality coffee.

If you’ve got any experience using other methods of grinding coffee beans without a grinder that we haven’t mentioned, please let us know in the comments below!

Happy brewing!

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Tom Bolland

Tom Bolland

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