The Best Way To Grind Coffee Beans At Home

Why Is It Important to Grind Coffee?

You could start by asking the question, “why don’t I just use pre-ground coffee?”

Well, most people know that if you really want a delicious cup of coffee each morning, you’re going to need to grind beans fresh each morning.

Why?

If we use the analogy that coffee is just like bread, it’ll all make sense.

Would you leave bread on the side of the kitchen counter for 2 hours and then eat it? It’s unlikely. Oxygen very quickly deteriorates the quality of the bread as it dries out the load and make it go stale.

Coffee is exactly the same. If you left pre-ground coffee on the kitchen table for just half an hour, you’d have a dramatically reduced product.

Unfortunately, oxygen has the same affect to ground coffee. The ground coffee quickly oxidizes and loses much of its freshness.  The stale ground coffee first loses most of its aromatic compounds that give the coffee its fresh, unique flavors.

That means its important to grind your coffee beans right before brewing.  We have seven recommendations to grind coffee without a grinder. The list is ordered starting with the best and most recommended, and ending with our least preferred (yet doable) method.

How to use a burr grinder

There is a lot more variety amongst burr grinders than there is with blade grinders.

Burr grinders not only come in different sizes and shapes, but also in manual and electric forms.

You’ll likely be more inclined to invest in an electric burr grinder, but if budget is tight, space is limited, and portability is appealing, manual burr grinders (aka hand grinders) can be great options.

Step 1: Determine Your Target Grind Size

One of the major benefits of burr grinders is that you can choose your grind size by turning a dial or the bean hopper itself.

With a burr grinder, your grind size is not a function of the amount of time you spend grinding, so no need to do any counting.

What you will need to do is decide what kind of coffee brewing method you’ll be grinding for.

  1. 1Add a small handful of coffee beans to your grinder’s hopper, and grind a small amount of coffee (1g or so).
  2. 2Observe the ground coffee closely, then decide if it needs to be finer or coarser for the brew method you’ll be using.
  3. 3If you’re not sure, refer to the images below:

Coarse: French Press, Cold Brew

Medium-Coarse: Drip, Moka, Chemex

Medium-Fine: Drip, Hario V60, Syphon

Fine: Espresso, Turkish

Press the start button to start grinding the coffee, and slowly turn the grind size selection dial in the appropriate direction. Usually, a clockwise turn will grind finer, and a counter-clockwise turn will grind coarser.

Once you’ve arrived at your target grind size, you’re ready to measure your coffee.

Step 2: Measure Your Beans

Even though you’re using a burr grinder, nothing really changes with this step. If anything, you might be ready to start measuring your beans by weight with a gram scale instead of by volume. But that’s another discussion for another day.

If you don’t own a gram scale yet…

Measure 1 tablespoon of coffee beans for every 6oz of brewed coffee you plan to make, and add your beans to the grinder’s hopper.

Step 3: Add Your Measured Beans to the Hopper

Burr grinders tend to have a lot more space for your coffee beans. Still, you should really only add the amount of coffee you plan to grind for your next brew.

To me, it’s not a huge deal if you want to store your coffee beans in your coffee grinder’s hopper, but I still try to avoid it so I can keep my beans protected from the elements.

Step 4: Grind Your Beans

No shaking necessary here.

Simply press the grind button, and collect your ground coffee in a small receptacle or directly into the coffee filter you’ll be using.

If you’re using a hand grinder, you’ll want to crank the handle in a clockwise direction until all of the beans are ground.

Video

Use a Blender

Using a blender is an easy way to grind your beans to a good consistency.

But, keep this in mind: there’s no way to make the grounds the same size. You’ll still get a usable consistency, though. 

Some blenders may have a “grind” setting, but if they don’t, not to worry! You’ll want to make sure you use a “pulse” setting, or manually blend the beans yourself.

Blending creates heat and will often “cook” the beans while you’re blending them, which you don’t want! The beans could burn, so it’s important that the whole grinding process takes about 20 seconds, perhaps 30 seconds if you really need it!

Once you’re done grinding the beans, make coffee with your own portable coffee maker. These work especially well if you’re on the go!

How to Grind Beans with a Blender

  1. Select the “medium-high” setting, or “grinder” setting if your blender has one
  2. Pour the desired amount of coffee into the blender (¼ cup to ½ cup of beans is ideal) and close the lid shut. Make sure it’s firmly in place!
  3. Using the pulse setting, grind the beans in time limits of 3 to 5 seconds.
  4. Repeat this process a maximum of 6 times for a maximum total of 30 seconds.
  5. If needed, tilt the blender to the side while grinding to ensure that the grind is mostly consistent.

A final About Grind Consistency (and a cool hack)

According to Scott Rao, one of the most influential voices in the coffee industry, grind consistency and uniformity are critical to producing the best cup of coffee. A consistent grind not only helps evenly extract the desirable flavors from your coffee, but it also helps ensure that each cup you brew is as delicious as the last one. An inconsistent grind has a tendency to over-extract some grounds, under-extract others, and can leave the coffee with a “chalky” aftertaste.

The whole purpose of grinding our coffee beans is to increase the surface area coming into contact with water. And the finer or coarser the grind, the more or less quickly water can pass through it – affecting brew time as well as extraction efficiency.

If you do not have a grinder, the best way to reach a consistent grind in your coffee beans is to grind or crush only a few beans at a time. This gives you a much greater measure of control over how fine you make your grounds, as well as a visual cue for the texture and fineness you’re aiming for. For a truly uniform grind, go slowly and take care to repeat the same movements, whether you’re using a knife or a blender.

If you are not able to achieve a uniformly fine texture in your grounds, consider brewing your coffee using the French Press, which is known to perform better with a coarser grind and is more tolerant of inconsistencies. And as with so many things, repetition is the key to improvement.

THE HACK: watch this cool video by James Hoffman. He shows you how you can achieve a decent, consistent grind using any of the above methods:

Burr Grinder or Blade Grinderwhich should you choose?

I’m going to guess that if you read a half dozen articles about coffee grinders, almost all of them will tell you how horrible your coffee will be if you use a blade grinder because they are so inferior to burr grinders. They’ll tell you that the coffee beans won’t be ground uniformly, and basically that your coffee will suck.

You know, I have to respectfully disagree. As you read further and learn about the differences between a burr grinder and a blade grinder, you’ll see that a burr grinder will do a better job of creating a uniform batch of ground coffee. There’s no doubt about it.

But, a blade grinder shouldn’t be discarded without some consideration. There are ways to take this simple type of coffee grinder and use it wisely to give you a very good result, and a great tasting cup of coffee.

I should know. I use a blade grinder every day. My coffee is awesome.

You should choose the coffee gear that will perform best for you, fit your budget, and work well in your lifestyle. So, now let’s take a look at each one and see how they function.

Coffee Makers

Compare Keurig ModelsBest Nespresso MachinesBest Drip Coffee MakersBest Single-Serve Coffee MakersBest Grind & Brew Coffee Makers

Picking the Best Grind Size

As noted above, you need to pick the right grind size of your coffee beans for the type of brewing method you are going to use to make the coffee. To get this right, it helps to understand the different grind sizes and what they look like and also the types of brewing methods they should be used with.

  • Coarse – this grind consists of chunky and very distinctive pieces of coffee beans. This is best used for coffee made with a vacuum pot, percolator, French press and plunger pot.
  • Medium – this grind has a very gritty consistency with noticeable flakes. It has a similar appearance to coarse sand and is best used in drip coffee machines that have flat-bottomed filters.
  • Fine – this grind is a lot smoother and similar if a little finer, than table salt. It is ideal for use with espresso Moka pots and drip coffee makers that use cone-shaped filters.
  • Extra Fine – this is a grind that looks even finer than granular sugar, with none of the individual grains being particularly discernible from one another. This grind works best with both steam and pump-style espresso machines.
  • Turkish – this grind is basically powdered without grains at all, similar to flour. Blade grinders are not able to do it and the only type of brewing method this can be used with is the Ibik coffee machines.

To summarise, the best way to grind coffee beans depends on the type of coffee you want to drink.

Garlic Crusher

Would you ever think to use it as an alternative to a coffee grinder? We have and love this one.

We chose this method to grinding coffee beans without a grinder because you can easily achieve this wherever you are. Also, a garlic crusher is something you’ll find accessible in most kitchens around the world.

You can use a garlic crusher to grind your coffee

You can use a garlic crusher to grind your coffee beans without a coffee grinder. Simply, fill the compartment of the garlic crusher with your freshly roasted beans and squeeze shut to crush the coffee beans into ground coffee.

The downside to this method is the consistency of the coffee grind. You may not get the perfectly powdery grind that you’d get with some of the other methods we’ve shared today.

Hand Mincer or Garlic Press

This method is quite different from grinding beans with a coffee grinder, but it is quite simple. The beans are placed into the area where the garlic, meat, or other food is held, and then firmly squeezed out.

One of the glaring issues here is that the holes are usually pretty big, resulting in a bigger, coarser ground. You may need to repeat this process or combine this process with the rolling pin or hammer method.

Using the hand mincer, you can only grind a small amount of beans at a time. Put several whole coffee beans through the mincer or press, and then gather the grounds and put them through the mincer or press a second time, or as many times as you need to achieve the type of grounds you need.

If you’d like to try out this strategy, here’s a hand mincer with hundreds of high ratings from Amazon.

How to Grind Beans with a Hand Mincer or Garlic Press

  1. Place a small amount of beans into the mincer or press.
  2. Firmly squeeze the instrument until all remnants of coffee beans have passed through.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 continuously.
  4. Your grounds may be too big and too coarse for some methods, so you can run them through the press again until you’ve achieved the type of grounds you want.
Hopefully these six techniques helped you learn ho

Hopefully these six techniques helped you learn how to grind coffee beans without a grinder. As you can see, grinding coffee beans without a grinder can be labor intensive. But we want you to be able to enjoy a cup of coffee whether you own a grinder or not.

Before you leave, learn more about the different types of coffee grounds below.

Why grind coffee beans?

Coffee is a relatively fragile and perishable good.

Just like the fruit the coffee bean grows in, exposure to the elements (air, moisture, light, etc.) makes the roasted coffee bean lose a lot of its original aromas and flavors.

This is especially true once the coffee bean has been ground, thus shrinking the surface area of the bean into hundreds and thousands of small particles.

The elements do much quicker work on these small ground coffee particles , and because of this, the longer you wait to brew the coffee, the less of its original aroma and flavor will remain in your final cup.

Your local café grinds your coffee fresh before brewing for this very reason.

If you want to replicate or improve the coffee you’re drinking from the café, you’ll need to grind the coffee right before you brew.

5. A Knife

The best way to grind your beans with a knife is to use the flat of the blade, not the edge. The design of a butcher knife or chef’s knife, with its slightly wider and stiffer blade, helps to provide extra leverage to improve the process of crushing and cracking the beans.

Crushing beans with the flat of the blade gives you excellent control and lets you produce a medium to medium-fine grind. The more time you’ve spent in chef school, the easier this will be. So if you’re like us and are nothing close to a chef, opt for a different method!

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What You’ll Need

  • Large butcher or chef’s knife
  • Wide cutting board (to help catch runaway beans)

How To Do It

  1. Place your beans on the cutting board.
  2. Place your knife flat on top of the beans, being careful to place the sharp edge on the board. Tip: Lay a kitchen towel (or paper towels) over the knife, to help prevent flyaway coffee grounds.
  3. Place your flat palm on top of the blade and press down firmly to crack the beans. Don’t be tempted to strike the blade, as if you were crushing garlic: the beans will bounce and fly away, which not only means more cleanup, but you risk losing some of them.
  4. Once the beans are broken, continue pressing down on the blade, pulling the blade slightly towards you to make the grind finer.

How Long Does Ground Coffee Last?

Coffee is best when it’s fresh, so I recommend grinding:

  • Only the amount you need
  • Only as you need it

Coffee will begin to degrade as soon as it’s ground, and many connoisseurs believe it will have a noticeable decrease in flavor after about 10-14 days. Nothing bad will happen if you store your ground coffee longer than that, but it won’t taste as fresh.

Tips for Brewing a Tasty Cup of Joe

Certainly, discovering the best way to grind coffee beans will give you a good start toward brewing a rich, full-bodied cup of coffee. But there is more to it than grinding the beans to the proper consistency, my friend.

Here are some essentials to remember, if you are serious about making good coffee at home:

  • We already know why it’s important to use fresh coffee beans, and grinding them correctly for the brewing method.
  • Use filtered water, not the water that comes directly from your tap. It may contain traces of minerals that translate to a metallic or acidic taste in a cup of joe.
  • If your coffee brewing method requires a filter, use a quality filter, perhaps a reusable one. If paper, look for oxygen-bleached or dioxin-free filters.
  • Use enough coffee! Remember the golden rule of coffee, which is 1 to 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 6 ounces of water. I use more, but I like my coffee strong.
  • Make sure the water temperature reaches 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Keep your coffee gear clean.

Types of grinding

Different methods of making coffee require different grinding. If you do not know this, then I suggest you explore the types of grinding that will help you make coffee in various ways.

Coarse

Coarsely ground beans are similar in size to fractions of breadcrumbs. For coarse grinding, it is suitable to use a blender or food processor. It can be used for a French press coffee, a vacuum coffee maker and cold brewing coffee.

Medium

Choose medium grinding for a different result. The size of medium-ground coffee is similar to granulated sugar. This is best suited for drip coffee makers, custard and Chemex. Medium-Ground beans can be used for a variety of things except for espresso or Turkish coffee.

For medium grinding, chop the beans with a knife or hammer. You can also use a mortar.

Fine

Use fine grinding for espresso. In professional espresso coffee machines, home coffee machines and geyser coffee makers, it is necessary to use finely ground coffee to get the best result.

Use a mortar and pestle or rolling pin to get a fine grind without a grinder.

Extra fine

Choose extra fine grinding for Turkish coffee. Extra fine grinding is powdered coffee, which in size is similar to icing sugar. Such grinding is necessary for Turkish and Greek coffee. In this case, you must use a mortar and pestle.

How to grind coffee beans without a grinder

Using a coffee grinder is the best way to grind your coffee beans. First of all, grinders make it a quick task, and whether a blade or a burr grinder, you have some level of consistency and control over grind size. But, if you still want fresh ground coffee and you don’t have a coffee grinder, all is not lost. We’ve got some great ideas to help you grinding coffee beans without a grinder, and most of them work surprisingly well.

Grinding with a blender

Have you got a blender in the kitchen? If you do, you can use it to grind coffee beans and here is how to grind coffee beans with a blender. You will sacrifice consistency, but it’s not bad in a pinch. A blender creates some heat, so be careful how you do the grinding. Set the blender on a medium to high speed and then pour in the beans. Smaller batches work best, so don’t try to grind a batch in one go. In a blender, beans fly, so put the lid on the blender. To control the heat, use a pulsing technique. Pulse for around three seconds and stop. Wait three seconds before you pulse again. This method helps the beans to cool before grinding continues.

Using a blender, you won’t get a uniform grind size, but it will do if you want to grind coffee beans without a grinder. It works best if you are making cold brew or brewing with a French Press. Trying to create a fine grind will clog the blades and create nothing but a hopeless mess. A food processor is an alternative, but you need a setting allowing the blade to go as low as possible.

Mortar and pestle

You can use a mortar and pestle to grind coffee beans. It’s going to take time and effort, but the results are worth it. The trick here is to fill the mortar about one-third full preventing the beans from jumping around. First, crush the beans by using the pestle like a hammer. Once most of the beans are crushed, start using the pestle like a spoon as if you were mixing batter in a mixing bowl. The size of the grind will change the longer you continue stirring the grounds. Hold the pestle tight and use as much pressure as needed to grind the beans to the desired size. Once you get the hang of it, a mortar and pestle are quite flexible and creates grounds of a uniform size.

Grinding coffee beans with a hammer

Everyone has a hammer lying around, and it’s a handy way to grind coffee beans. Put your coffee beans in a sealable bag that is thick enough not to split open. Stop! You don’t want to pound the beans. Your mot making a deck. Use the hammer like a pestle. Take the head of the hammer and press it down on the beans to crush them. You’ll need to use some pressure but resist the temptation to give the beans a good smack. Grinding with a hammer will result in coarse grounds, so using a hammer is best reserved for French Press or cold brew.

Grinding beans with a rolling pin

This method is easy, and if you don’t have a rolling pin, a wine bottle works just as well, you can use any jar, but we don’t mind a glass of wine as we grind. Take a good helping of beans and put them in a thick, sealable bag. Lay a dishcloth over the bag and use the rolling pin just like you would when rolling out dough. Press hard enough to crush the beans. The longer you move the rolling pin back and forth, the finer the grind. As with many of these methods, the grounds won’t be of uniform size, but it will get you by.

Alternatives to grinding beans yourself

The most obvious way to avoid grinding coffee beans yourself is to buy pre-ground coffee But, when you purchase pre-ground coffee, freshness ought to be a priority. Buying pre-ground coffee from the grocery store is anything but fresh. It is packaged in bulk, just like any other food product. The beans used are of medium quality at best. What you are after is coffee that is freshly roasted and ground right before you buy it. Our Chamberlain Coffee Bags guarantee freshness and even grind size. All of our coffee is USDA organic and eco-friendly package. So, you’re getting fantastic pre-ground coffee and saving the planet at the same time.

The best way to get a great cup of coffee without having to grind the beans yourself is to use steeped coffee bags. If you know how to make a cup of tea, you know how to make coffee with a steeped coffee bag. It’s as easy as steeping the bag in a cup of hot water and waiting a few minutes. Check out our Chamberlain steeped coffee bags. All of our blends are available in steeped coffee bags, and we’ve done the grinding, measuring, and packaging for you. When it comes to an alternative to grinding beans yourself, steeped coffee bags are the way to go.

Mind the grind

There’s no way to avoid it, a wonderful cup of coffee with great flavor and aroma means grinding fresh coffee beans right before you brew. Each person will have different preferences on how to grind coffee beans. Whether we do it for you, or you do it yourself, it’s the key to successful brewing. Specialty coffee can have complex layers of flavor, but get the grinding wrong, and your cup of coffee can be ruined. Pre-ground coffee or steeped coffee bags are easier than grinding the beans yourself, but nothing compares to the soothing aroma and taste of freshly ground beans.

So, what grinder do we recommend? By far, our choice is a burr grinder and one with a conical blade if you can afford to splurge. Even if you don’t have a pocket of cash, you can find a burr grinder to fit your budget. We also recommend you get your hands on a manual grinder. They’re not expensive, and their portability makes them a must for a terrific cup of coffee next to the campfire. That being said there are plenty of options to grind coffee beans without a grinder. Even if you don’t have a grinder, there’s never an excuse for not grinding beans yourself. There is plenty of ways to grind coffee beans without a grinder. A blender, mortar, and pestle, rolling pin, or hammer will serve well in a pinch.

Now you know everything there is to know about how to grind coffee beans. So, get you’re grinding on and enjoy the brew!

Summary

Now that we have reached the end of our ultimate guide to grinding coffee beans, we hope you have a better idea of what you can and should be doing to achieve the perfect grind for that delicious cup of coffee that can get your day off to a great start.

We have looked at using a blender, how to get the best out of that French press, why a burr grinder is best and alternatives to a grinder. We’ve discussed why the grind is so important and how it really comes down to the kind of coffee you are aiming to make

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