You’ve just opened up a fresh bag of coffee and realize that you’ve accidentally purchased whole coffee beans as opposed to pre-ground ones. Time to take them back to the store right? Maybe not.
There are actually quite a few ways that you can grind your coffee beans without using an electric coffee grinder.
5 methods to grind them if you don’t own a coffee grinder
Finding out that you have to complete an extra step before enjoying your coffee can be frustrating.
This is especially true if you like to drink your coffee first thing in the morning.
But fear not, here are some hacks to use these coffee beans, even if you don’t own a grinder:
1. Go Get Your Hammer
This hack might seem a little odd but it works (for drip coffee, french press, and other methods which do not require a very fine grind).
The goal here is to get a nice even layer of coffee grounds without going overboard.
You want your beans to be ground for brewing, not pulverized into powder.
Using a hammer is a simple and easy way to get your coffee beans ground out fairly quickly. Here’s how to do it.
• Portion out about a 1/2 cup of coffee beans.
There will usually be directions on your bag of coffee beans that will tell you how much you’ll need to grind for to make 8 oz. cup of coffee.
• Put the beans in a bag and grab a towel.
After you’ve portioned out your beans, put them in a freezer bag or zipper storage bag and cover them with a towel. This will keep them from getting all over the place as you hammer them.
• Put your beans on a safe surface.
Don’t hammer coffee beans on a glass table or granite countertop. I personally put my towel and bag of beans on the floor before I started hammering them.
• Begin to hammer your coffee beans methodically.
Don’t start swinging away as if you’ve just been gifted the hammer of Thor. The key here is to be gentle enough to prevent overdoing it and firm enough to crush the beans into something useable in your coffee pot.
You’ll want to use controlled and measured hammer swings, similar to the way that you’d hammer a nail or tenderize a piece of meat. Check your bag of beans after the first few hits to see how they are doing and then go from there.
• Even things out.
To get a good consistency and a better tasting cup of coffee, you need your beans to be somewhat even.
A few fast taps should finalize the job once most of the beans are in relatively tiny pieces.
Most of your grounds of coffee ground should be smaller than the tip of a pen. This is known as a medium grind and it will resemble sand.
2. Use a Mortar and Pestle
If you have a mortar and pestle you can use that too.
Mortar and pestles are the ultimate retro grinding devices. They’ve been used by people for thousands of years to break down all kinds of organic material.
Here’s how to use one to get your coffee beans into a brewable format.
• Measure out beans into tablespoon sizes.
You don’t want to start out with too many beans when you’re using a mortar and pestle.
For a pot of coffee, you’ll probably need to grind your beans in smaller amounts.
Most likely, 2 tablespoons at a time depending on how much coffee you’re making.
Add in more beans as you go.
• Put your beans in the mortar and pestle and grind them.
That’s pretty much it. You’ll put your first two tablespoons of beans in and start breaking them down by tapping in a vertical, up and down, motion.
Then, grind circularly, scraping along the sides to get your grounds really small. Keep adding beans until they’re all ground into a coarse yet consistent powder that resembles topsoil.
3. Re-purpose That Blender You Never Use
You may also want to use your blender to grind your coffee beans. This will turn them into a medium-coarse grind.
You can then pour them out and use a meat hammer to finish the job. Grind your beans in tablespoon amounts on the pulse setting.
• Don’t try to add too many beans at once. This can cause them to stick.
The pulse setting will help to ensure that things keep moving along.
If your beans settle to the bottom of your blender, shake things around a bit and keep pulsing until they’ve been ground satisfactorily.
• Grind them finer with a meat mallet.
After you have your beans in small pieces, you can get a finer grind by putting them into a plastic bag, covering them with a towel, and tapping them a few times with a meat mallet.
4. Use a Glass Bottle
If you have a beer or wine bottle and a plastic food storage container, you may be able to fashion a kind of makeshift mortar and pestle.
You’ll have to spend a lot of time pounding and rocking the bottle back and forth on your coffee beans but they should grind down eventually.
• Don’t break the bottle.
Be careful only to use a durable and thick glass bottle if you are grinding and pounding down whole coffee beans.
5. The Roller Method
If you have a rolling pin, you can use it to pound your coffee beans in a plastic bag covered with a towel and then finish the job by rocking it back and forth on the half-ground pieces.
This method takes a bit of strength and may be the most time-consuming option.
• This is a time-consuming option.
You may want to try the glass bottle method before you use a wooden rolling pin.
What if I just put the whole beans in my coffee pot?
Please don’t do this.
You’ll get a kind of light colored coffee water that won’t even remotely resemble a drinkable cup of coffee.
Beans have to be ground in order for them to become chemically altered by hot water and release their oils completely.
Why are coffee beans sold whole anyway?
If you’re feeling annoyed that anyone would sell coffee beans without bothering to ground them into a usable powder first, you may want to consider that fresh coffee beans can actually create much better coffee.
Coffee beans hold in natural oils and other important key components that are released when they are ground.
This will ultimately give you a fresher tasting and more aromatic cup of joe.
Whole coffee beans really are a better option than pre-ground ones, as long as you have a grinder.
You may want to check out this inexpensive JavaPresse manual coffee grinder for small Bialetti or single dose pour over coffee makers.
It’s super simple, durable, sleek, functional, and doesn’t require electricity. You’ll be able to pretty much use it any time, anywhere.
If you use a bigger drip coffee maker, this Hario ceramic coffee mill grinder is another really great option to consider.
It’s very easy to use, really quiet, and lets you get a lot of coffee ground fairly quickly.
So there you have it! That’s how you can ground these coffee beans you did not expect, plus a few other grinding methods that you could also try.
In my opinion, fresh beans are A LOT better than pre-ground ones anyway. If you decide to start grinding your own coffee beans, you may find out that you enjoy the taste of your coffee more.
However, grinding whole coffee beans without a coffee grinder isn’t ideal. I am interested in hearing your coffee bean story.
Do you prefer whole beans or pre-ground ones? What methods have you come up with to grind your own coffee beans sans-grinder? Feel free to leave your comments and feedback!