How to Grind Coffee Beans Without a Grinder: Top Tips

Updated: June 23, 2021 by Owen Richardson

how to grind coffee beans without a grinder

Ah, the sweet aroma of coffee drifting through the kitchen in the morning—what could be better? Maybe a cup of those strong beans you were given as a gift, but you can’t use them because you don’t have a grinder. Luckily, I am here to show you how to grind coffee beans without a grinder!

All you need are a few general household items and some decent arm strength, since a few of the methods require a bit of manual labor on your part. However, the extra effort is worth it for the strong, fresh cup of joe you will get to enjoy.

Whole coffee beans are a great way to step up your coffee game and sip on some quality brew that is full of flavor. Yet, it is not always accessible to everyone since it usually requires a coffee grinder.

You may be content with store-bought ground coffee and recently received some whole beans as a prize, or picked up the wrong bag at the store and now here you are, drooling for coffee that you can’t have unless you chew on the beans to get your caffeine fix.

Before you start trying to eat those beans, I have found a few easy methods to grind coffee beans without a grinder, which I’ll share with you in this helpful guide.

The Types of Ground Coffee

Now that I have answered your question of whether you can grind coffee beans without a grinder—the answer is yes, of course—it’s good to understand the different types of ground coffee so you can choose the best one for you.

Fortunately, your bad luck of having coffee beans and no grinder has led you to learn that freshly ground coffee is way better than packaged ground coffee. As soon as coffee beans are ground, the flavor starts seeping out. So the sooner you use it after grinding, the better tasting your coffee will be.

This means that pre-packaged coffee is losing its flavor every day it sits on the store shelf. You may be thinking that you can at least buy the ground variations at the store. However, your grinder-less dilemma at home will give you more control over your grind size too, allowing you to make the perfect cuppa to your liking.

The size and consistency of the grind is arguably the most important element of your coffee grinding journey, and being in complete control of this element makes the entire coffee brewing experience much better.

The tools you choose to use will help you obtain the desired size of your coffee grinds, yet the consistency will depend on your steady hand and dedication to the art of grinding.

Grind Sizes

The grind sizes are pretty self-explanatory since they determine how big or small the ground pieces end up. The various sizes are:

  • Super fine grind
  • Fine grind
  • Medium-fine grind
  • Medium grind
  • Medium-coarse grind
  • Coarse grind

A general rule regarding grind sizes is the bigger the grind—think of the coarse grind—the longer the coffee will need to brew.  The grounds that are on the finer side are best suited for an espresso machine, and medium to coarse grinds, will work best with drip coffee makers.

whole coffee beans

How to Grind Coffee Beans Without a Grinder

Equipped with the knowledge to select your grind size and keep it consistent, you can now choose your weapon of choice to extract those full flavors from your coffee beans. You can determine your method based on the tools you have in your home or by the grind size you are aiming for.

I have found methods that use appliances you probably have in your kitchen, as well as some hand methods using common household items to smash those beans. These will have you brewing up your coffee in your favorite coffee maker in no time.

Machine Methods

If you have the two appliances below in your home, then you can grind your beans in less than a minute, depending on your desired grind size.

The Blender

If you own a blender, you can use this appliance to quickly grind up your beans. This one works great if you are looking for a medium grind.

This method is a bit trickier than it sounds since blenders are designed to blend up solids that are mixed with liquid. You may have experienced the motor-burning whirl of your blender if you had too much fruit and not enough yogurt in it when making a smoothie.

To avoid this, first check if there is a grind setting. If not, that is okay. You will simply have to add small amounts of beans at a time and use the pulse setting. Remove the ground beans and then add more before pulsing a few times again.

Grinding in small amounts will help prevent the blender from overworking and getting the blades stuck in the dry coffee grounds.

  1. Plug your blender in.
  2. Place the beans into the blender.
  3. Fix the lid into place.
  4. Use the medium-high setting or the pulse setting to grind the beans in three- to five-second increments.
  5. Make sure you don’t blend the beans for too long as this will cook or burn the beans.
  6. Tilt the blender side to side to ensure a uniform grind.

While it’s not something I would recommend using, a blender should work if you have nothing else to use.

The Food Processor

The next solution, especially if you are looking for a fine grind, is to use a food processor. While it won’t give you the best results, it might just work well. This appliance is more suited to grinding up dry ingredients, making bulk grinding much easier. Just make sure your blade is sturdy enough to handle the beans.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Plug in your food processor and fix the blade into it.
  2. Put the beans into the food processor.
  3. Cover the lid.
  4. Using the pulse setting, grind the beans in five-second increments.
    If needed, shake the container from time to time to make sure it’s all evenly ground.
  5. Empty the ground beans into an air-tight container or Ziploc plastic bag. For best results, grind right before using them.

Grinding by Hand

If these hand options are looking promising, then either you don’t have the appliances above or you are looking for more control while grinding. Either way, these techniques are effective and may just require a bit of an arm workout.

The Mortar and Pestle Method

This isn’t the most time-efficient method, but it works surprisingly well to get a finer grind.

  1. Place the mortar on a stable surface and hold on to it tightly.
  2. Pour your beans into the mortar, about a ¼ way full. Then you need to keep the mortar in your strong hand while using your weaker hand to hold the pestle.
  3. Crush the beans into large pieces by knocking them down with the pestle, as though you are using a hammer.
  4. Once the beans are chunky, start rolling the pestle around to create a finer, more even grind. You can use this swirling motion until the beans are the desired size.

If you don’t have this old-fashioned tool at hand, try the next method.

The Rolling Pin Method

You can’t really use this method every day, but it should work fine for a once-in-a-while experiment.

  1. Use a sturdy plastic or cloth bag to hold the beans in; make sure it’s super clean to avoid any kind of contamination.
  2. Make sure there’s no air in the bag since it will pop and rupture, sending ground beans all over your kitchen.
  3. Use a rolling pin to gently apply pressure on the bags to grind them.
  4. Do this until all the beans are ground to your desired fineness.

The Tenderizer Method

If you have a meat tenderizer, then you are in luck, as this is a quick and easy method to crush those beans. The size and surface area of the tenderizer make it a great makeshift coffee grinder.

  1. Start by protecting the beans in a freezer zipper bag and push out all the air before closing it. Then, wrap this up in a kitchen towel and place it on a hard surface.
  2. Give the beans a few gentle whacks before pressing down on the beans with the tenderizer, rolling it around to produce a finer grind.
  3. Keep checking the beans to make sure you aren’t over grinding them to a point where you can’t use them.

The Hammer Method

The hammer method comes in handy if you don’t have the tools above to crush your coffee beans.

  1. Start by placing the beans in a zipper bag as you would in the meat tenderizer method, letting the air out as well before you zip it closed.
  2. Again, wrap a kitchen towel around the zip bag like the previous method, before you begin crushing by pressing the hammer down on the bag. You don’t want to use a hammer motion as you would when pounding a nail into the wall. Rather, you want to press down on the beans to break them up.
  3. You can give gentle knocks at first to break the beans into bigger pieces, but always be gentle so you don’t damage your table.

Brewing Coffee Without Grinding

brewing with whole beans

Now that you know how to grind your beans without having an actual grinder, you are all set to enjoy ground coffee whenever you get the craving.

However, if you would like your coffee from whole beans, you may be asking how to make coffee from beans without grinding them at all? If you have some time and patience, there is a great way to make a strong brew without needing to grind.

Grinding coffee beans is usually done to quicken the brewing process and does not necessarily improve the taste of the coffee. The longer ground coffee sits, the less fresh it becomes and your coffee won’t taste as good.

This is why brewing the whole beans offers a great solution for strong, fresh coffee, and apart from the time it takes, the process is fairly straightforward.

The Ingredients

  • Whole coffee beans
  • Boiled water
  • A small pot
  • Mason jar with measure lines

The Method

Start by pouring your beans into the mason jar up to the 3 oz line. Then add in one cup of boiled water.

Next, place the jar into the pot on the stove and pour water into the pot so it reaches the water line on the jar.

Let the water simmer gently on medium heat for one hour before removing the mason jar from the pot. Be careful as the jar will be hot, so use a towel to pick it up.

Strain the coffee water into your cup, leaving the beans behind, and enjoy a truly great cup of joe.

The Top Grinder for You

If you are not sold on these methods that require manual labor on your part before your morning brew, then you can always look to invest in a coffee grinder.

If you are looking for a mechanical grinder that will produce ground coffee in just a few minutes, the Sboly Conical Burr Coffee Grinder is a great option.

Equipped with 19 grind settings and quiet grinding, the conical burr-designed grinder is all you need for a strong cup of your favorite coffee beans.

Pros

  • Adjustable grinding amount from 1 to12 cups
  • One-button operation
  • 19 precise grind settings
  • Easy cleaning

Cons

  • Doesn’t have the capacity to produce a very coarse grind

Unless you are looking specifically for a grinder that will give you an ultra-coarse grind for cold brews, then this grinder is all you need. However, several other manual coffee grinders can give you a great grind as well.

Grinding Coffee Without a Grinder FAQs

How do you grind coffee without a grinder?

There are numerous ways to grind coffee without a grinder that include using a blender, a food processor, or even handy household tools like a hammer. You can ultimately use any heavy object to crush up your coffee beans; however, you should note how fine or coarse you would like your ground coffee to be.

Do coffee beans go bad?

Unfortunately yes, coffee beans can go bad over time. The beans will eventually get stale if left too long in your kitchen cupboards and produce a less-than-pleasing taste.

Whole coffee beans will last up to nine months in a sealed container, whereas ground coffee won’t be so great after five months. Another reason for you to grind your own coffee beans.

Is it better to grind your coffee yourself?

Yes, apart from the time it takes to grind your coffee, ultimately it is better than buying pre-ground coffee. If you grind your beans, you will be sure to get a fresh cup of coffee packed full of rich flavors.

Can you use a magic bullet to grind your coffee beans?

Yes, you can use a bullet instead of a blender to grind your beans. The method is similar, where you should grind small amounts at a time and use short pulses to grind up the coffee until it is to your desired consistency.

Before You Start the Grind

Grinding your own coffee is a great way to enjoy the freshest cup of joe you can in your home. Whether you are looking to pour the ground coffee into an espresso maker or drip coffee machine, or if you are using coffee filters, you can enjoy your own ground coffee.

These methods are easy to do at home by simply using household items, and they may be the reason you look to invest in a coffee grinder if you enjoy this new fresh taste.

Remember to grind your coffee shortly before you use it, to sip on a fresh cuppa in the morning, afternoon, or evening. We all know coffee is best consumed at any time of the day.

Since you will most likely be hooked on the better taste of fresh coffee, you may need to look for new beans to try, especially if you searched for these methods to prepare those beans you were given as a gift.

Scroll to Top