How to Grind Coffee Beans Without a Grinder

Two Methods:Do It ManuallyUse the Easy Way

Nothing smells quite as good as the aroma of fresh-ground coffee. Even some people who don't like coffee, love that scent. When your grinder fails you, and you need your coffee fix, fear not—there are plenty of ways to break the bean to bits. We'll show you how!

Method 1
Do It Manually

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    Use a mortar and pestle. The best way to do it is to start with just a few beans at a time, otherwise they're liable to go flying across the room. You may have trouble at first—those beans will want to leap from the mortar with every pound of your pestle, but practice makes perfect!
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    Hammer your beans. The basic idea is to reduce your coffee beans to a coarse or fine powder. The easiest way to accomplish that is to use something well-suited for the job: a hammer!
    • Put your favorite beans in a high-quality plastic freezer bag, or between sheets of parchment paper, put that package between towels. Using a meat-tenderizing mallet or even a simple hammer, crush the coffee beans with short, even strokes. Unless you have a remarkably steady hand, the crushed grounds will not be of consistent size. They may not result in the finest cuppa joe you've ever made, but you can still use them and they'll be fine.
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    Roll your beans. Using a rolling pin is similar to using a hammer. Use a heavy ziploc bag or parchment paper and thin towels, and roll the pin over the bag using enough pressure to crush the beans. Roll until you reach the desired "grind." If you don't have a rolling pin, a sturdy bottle or can of food can do the trick.
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    Use an old-style hand mincer or grinder! They may look like something your great grandmother would have used, but they do a great job.

Method 2
Use the Easy Way

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    Buy coffee beans that are already ground. If you don't have much time and guests are coming over, or you just don't feel like the hassle of grinding and cleaning, you can buy coffee beans that are already ground. It will save time and effort, and if you're on a budget, there's less waste.
    • Use the coffee grinder at your local grocery store. If your favorite bean doesn't come pre-ground, most supermarkets have grinding machines for everyone's convenience. Before you run your beans through, toss a couple in the grinder and let it run for about 10 seconds to clear out any previous beans—you don't want somebody else's lavender-chocolate scented beans flavoring your French roast!
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    Use a blender. A blender is a fabulous multi-tasker, and makes short work of coffee beans, too.


  • Store ground up coffee in an air-tight container, in a cool, dark place. Avoid placing it above or near the stove.
  • Burr grinders are a little more expensive, but provide a superior grind.
  • Invest in a good grinder, most cost under $20 and will last a long time if properly cared for.
  • Do not store coffee in a refrigerator. The low humidity in a refrigerator will cause the beans to dry out and go stale very quickly. Avoid the freezer for the same reason.
  • Refrigeration acts as a slow dehydrator removing moisture from food and foodstuffs.

Article Info

Categories: Coffee