How to Grind Coffee Beans Without a Coffee Grinder

by TobyApr 28, 2024

Picture this – you’re in the kitchen having just opened a new bag of deliciously fresh coffee beans. That amazing aroma of the coffee beans sends you to coffee heaven, when you realise your coffee grinder has broken, and you didn’t get around to replacing it. 

Horror! Coffee beans with no grinder, means no fresh coffee for your morning fix, right? 


There are a number of ways that you can grind your own coffee beans without a grinder.

Grind the Beans

You’ll soon be wondering what all the fuss and expense was about, because it turns out that with quality beans, and a bit of imagination, it’s easy to be a good home barista, without having to grind coffee as long as you have a few basic tools. 

Okay, having a great cup of finely ground coffee made with a proper coffee grinder is going to give you a more ground coffee taste – however, if you can’t function without your morning coffee, but would rather face a spoonful of instant than a Starbucks’ queue, it’s time to think outside the coffee machine box.

Because there is nothing like brewing a cup of cafe-quality coffee in the comfort of your own home, and thanks to ever-improving kitchen tech – it’s also easier to pull off than ever before even without using the conventional way to grind coffee.

So, if you are a coffee connoisseur of an expresso, mocha, or Turkish coffee, then you can still have great coffee regardless of whether you have a grinder or not.

Grinding Coffee Beans

For many, making coffee is a morning ritual that you sleepwalk through, following a routine that’s somehow become your preferred way to take your coffee ensuring you’re ready to start your day.

 And many people are fooled into believing that coffee without a grinder isn’t an option, but this simply isn’t true. You’ll find there are a number of alternative ways to grind coffee beans, so you can have your morning coffee yet without using a grinder.

By using other kitchen gadgets rather than a coffee grinder such as a food processor, perhaps a mortar and pestle, you can find there’s no excuse not to have your home ground coffee fix.

Experts believe it’s all about grind consistency rather than the technology – this enables you to extract the flavours in coffee beans with much greater accuracy. With an inconsistent grind, there will be over extraction or under extraction, which leads to a chalky taste.

So, if a grinder isn’t available, you just need to grind or crush the coffee beans, to reach the best consistency. 

Why Grind?

Fine grind coffee is especially good because the flavors and aromatics inside a coffee bean are exposed by grinding, so when you make coffee, you dissolve a portion of the bean’s solids in water, and by crushing coffee beans into small pieces, you have better access to those tasty solubles.

How to Grind Coffee Beans without a Grinder

So, for those on the quest for the ultimate, world-beating cup of coffee-heaven, then here are a few suggestions as to how to coffee grind without the use of a professional grinder.

A word of caution though – you shouldn’t feel the need to try to leap to barista-level coffee expertise from a standing start, there is an art to grinding beans to perfection…

Mortar and Pestle

Put your mortar and pestle to good use as a way to grind coffee. Mortar and pestle are great as they don’t absorb the oil whole beans extract which makes them resistant to spoilage.

  1. Put two tablespoons of coffee beans into your mortar.
  2. Cover the top of the mortar to prevent beans escaping.
  3. With the pestle start pressing, and grind your beans into a medium fine consistency.
  4. Crush the beans until you’ve achieved your desired consistency – be careful as it’s easy to go from a coarse grind to a fine powder in a matter of seconds.
  5. Repeat the process, if more coffee is required.

Food Blender

A more sophisticated way to fine grind could be with a food processor, smoothie machine, or you could use a blender, as it can help you turn your beans into your desired grind – from medium coarse grind to extra fine.

Grinding in a kitchen blender is a simple process:

  1. Add beans to your blender, and put the lid on tightly.
  2. Set the blender to medium-high speed, or if it has a ‘grinder’ setting, that’s even better.
  3. Press the lid with your hand, and grind the whole bean by using short and quick bursts.
  4. Tilt the blender side-to-side halfway through to assure a consistent grind.
  5. When your coffee is ground to your preference, it can go straight to your coffee machine.

When using a blender, it is important to grind only small batches at a time, like ¼ cup to ½ cup. So, blend in batches.

Meat Tenderizer

A meat tenderizer is made to soften meat by pounding it with a big sharp wide-headed hammer, and it works the same way as a hammer does when grinding coffee as it smashes the bean until you are happy with the particle size you’ve got. 

Unlike a hammer though, the tenderizer has a pretty large surface area on its hammerhead which is advantageous when smashing small number of beans at a time. 

If you’re going to use a meat tenderizer for grinding the coffee, you’ll also have to use cling wrap, perhaps a freezer bag, parchment paper or ziplock bags, and a tea towel, in order to contain the mess. 

Rolling Pin

If you want course coffee, use a rolling pin on a cutting board. 

You should put the beans in a ziplock between two tea towels, then smash and roll. By using a rolling pin, or any sturdy bottle or food you can roll over the plastic bag full of beans until they’re crushed. Then work those beans until you end up with a grind size you’re happy with – it may take a bit of elbow grease!

Keep going until you have the desired amount of coffee grounds needed -roll your pin back and forth until you have achieved the desired consistency. 

Hand Mincer

  1. Put a handful of beans into the hand mincer or garlic press.
  2. Place a bowl underneath to catch your coffee grounds.
  3. Firmly squeeze the device, or turn the crank until all your coffee beans pass through.
  4. Empty the bowl’s contents back into your mincer or press and repeat to achieve your desired grind. 

The Last Drop

So, if you accidentally bought whole bean coffee instead of pre-ground coffee, or if your grinder is broken, you can still enjoy your cup of coffee without having to use a grinder.

If you want to grind coffee without the high tech, you still can – learn how to grind without a grinder! Go drink…