How to Grind Coffee Beans Without a Grinder [4 Simple Ways]

Every day in the United States, millions of people head to their local cafe in search of the perfect brew. After all, who could start their day with anything other than a latte or an espresso, brewed to perfection? Out of those millions of people who tantalize their taste buds with the sweet and bitter concoction, a fair proportion of them also love to try and create a cafe-style coffee in their own homes.

However, if your “coffee toolkit” is limited to a kettle, a mug, and a spoon, getting the perfect foam to milk to coffee ratio, or the sought-after ‘buzz’ from a cafe-style coffee, can be an exceptionally challenging task. In fact, it might also seem like the coffee bean is an ingredient that just can’t be given justice to in a home environment.

With the invention of the domestic coffee machine, knowing how to grind coffee without a grinder became something few people needed to worry about.

After commercial coffee machines hit the market, leading coffee manufacturers answered the calls of the fatigued and parched consumer, offering them a coffee bean-crushing, coffee-brewing machine that would save thousands of dollars on cafe-bought coffee.

But, what if your machine lacks that important coffee bean crushing component, or you normally buy instant coffee powder but accidentally bought coffee beans?

If you lack the machinery, or the knowledge, to use your coffee beans in the best way possible, there’s now no need to waste them. We’ve included four ways to grind coffee without a coffee grinder, to ensure you don’t miss out on your daily coffee fix.

How to Grind Coffee Beans Without a Grinder

With a hammer

If you find yourself without a coffee grinder, and you want to know how to grind coffee beans without one, a hammer could be the answer.

grind coffee beans with a hammer

What to use:
A hammer – preferably one that has spent minimal time banging nails and is relatively clean to be bringing into the kitchen!
A plastic zip-lock bag that’s large enough to hold the coffee beans you’re looking to grind.
2x towels – one for under the bag, and one for on top of it.
A bench top or table surface.

How to grind:

1. Put the desired amount of coffee beans into a plastic zip-lock bag, and seal it shut. Ensure the entire bag is shut, with no air in it. Otherwise, you’ll be cleaning up a mess afterward!
2. Put a towel on a bench top or a table and put the bag of coffee beans on top of it. Put the second towel on top of the bag, covering it completely.
3. Get your hammer, and start smashing the towel!
Tip: If you’re looking for a medium, coarse grind, using a hammer is the best way to achieve it without a proper grinder. For best results, move the hammer from left to right, then right to the left, until you’re happy with the consistency.

With a rolling pin or glass bottle

If your toolkit is lacking and you find yourself unable to access a hammer, a rolling pin or glass bottle could fill the gap.

What to use:

Glass bottle or rolling pin.
Plastic zip-lock bag.
2x towels.
A bench top or table surface.
grind coffee beans with rolling pin

How to grind:

1. Put coffee beans in a sealed plastic bag, removing all the air out of the bag in the process.
2. Put a towel underneath and on top of the bag.
3. With force, roll the pin (or bottle) over top of the beans, crushing them to the desired consistency.

Tip: Make sure you have a good grip on the rolling pin, or bottle, to crush the beans. The resultant bean will be coarse, making for a stronger coffee.

With a blender

Contrary to popular belief, your standard household blender can do more than just blend smoothies and desserts. While you might only own one of the most basic mixers, that is all you need to create coffee perfection.

What to use:
A kitchen blender with a lid.

How to grind:

1. Add a small amount of coffee beans to the blender.
2. Put the lid on the blender and hit the ‘pulse’ button. Some blenders may also have a grind function. If yours does, you can use this button instead.
3. Once the beans have reached the desired consistency, add more.
4. Keep adding more beans until you’ve got as much as you need.
grind coffee beans with a blender

Tip: Always keep the lid on during the pulsing and blending process. Avoid using the standard blending functions, as this can cause the beans to heat up and release their oils.

With a mortar and pestle

Out of all manual coffee bean grinding methods, using a mortar and pestle has to be one of the most effective (source). Of course, it’s not the quickest, nor does it enable you to crush many beans at once, but it does allow you to reduce the beans down to a palatable powder with far more efficacy.

grind coffee beans with mortar and pestle

What to use:
A mortar and pestle

How to grind:

1. Add a small amount of coffee beans to the mortar.
2. Put the mortar on a solid surface, or hold it, as you press the pestle into it.
3. Use all your might to crush the coffee beans, adding more as you crush them.
4. Press down on the coffee until it’s a fine powder and is ready for use!

Putting grounds to the test

When you want to know how to grind coffee beans without a coffee grinder, it’s a good idea first to understand what the ground consistency of your coffee can mean for the taste (source). Everyone has a different preference, and your chosen grinding method might not meet the mark for a decent brew.

Coarse coffee: If you’re only able to grind your coffee to a coarse consistency, such as with a rolling pin, glass bottle, or hammer, you may find the coffee is going to be stronger than if it were ground into fine powder. In this case, that coarse coffee is ideal for plunger pots, French presses, percolators and coffee pots.

Coarse coffee vs Medium-coarse coffee vs Finely ground coffee

Medium-coarse coffee: If you’ve managed to grind your coffee to a medium consistency, the flavor won’t be as intense, but it will taste perfect in a drip coffee maker with a flat bottom, or an espresso pot. As the average person in the United States drinks 3.1 cups per day, such a grind could save you as much as $12 per day, dependant on your cafe of choice.

Finely ground coffee: And finally, if you can create finally ground coffee, you can add it to drip coffee makers with cone-shaped filters, and even espresso pots.

What do coffee grinds mean for your brew?

If you’ve decided to try your hand at coffee bean grinding, and you’re perusing the shelves of the grocery store, you might be overwhelmed by the selection on offer. After all, there are several different strengths – all created to suit various palates. Once you’ve mastered how to grind coffee beans without a grinder, it might be worth finding out which type of bean is suitable for you: Coffee Arabica, or Coffee Robusta (source).

These two types of beans are then separated into different roasts:

1. Light
2. Medium
3. Medium-dark
4. Dark

Light, Medium & Dark Roast Coffee – What’s the Difference?

Light roasted coffee is very mild, whereas dark roast is more intense, covering varieties such as espresso, continental, European, Viennese, French, and Italian.

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