How to Grind Coffee Beans
Grinding your own coffee beans has so many benefits: that sense of accomplishment, that rich scent, that enriched flavor. With just a little time, who wouldn’t want to have that every morning? The only problem is most people don’t know how to grind coffee beans. Which is understandable. Thankfully, there are several methods to do so, ranging from easy to complicated to downright esoteric. This article will go through several of them.
Grind Coffee Beans with Mortar and Pestle
A mortar and pestle: only pharmacists and witches use these right? Wrong. There’s no better way to get an evenly ground, fine powder at your preferred consistency with your own two hands. Simply put a small number of beans in the mortar, press down, and crush the beans. Continue to do this, continually adding beans to the mortar, until they become very fine. Once this occurs, start rolling the pestle in a circle around the mortar, still pushing down on the beans. Repeat this motion until the powder reaches the consistency you desire.
While this definitely gives you the most control over the bean-grinding, it requires a little getting used to. At first, it will be hard to keep in the mortar, sliding up the sides and trying to jump out. Also, depending on your level of upper body strength, it could take a significant amount of time and/or become exhausting to complete. This can be helped by firmly gripping the mortar in one hand with the pestle in the other, keeping your feet firmly planted shoulder-width apart with slightly bent knees, and put your whole body behind the force of the motion. The result is a smooth grind produced without exhausting any muscles and to the perfect consistency for you.
Grind Coffee Beans with Hammer
This method at first sounds like a joke-”Just hammer them”- but it effectively grinds the beans and is by far the easiest method. First, you need either a high-quality freezer bag or two pieces of parchment paper to put the bag in. Make sure the beans are sealed in there tightly and lying on a hard cutting board, then smash them with the hammer or even a meat tenderizer. This will crush the beans quickly and is definitely very therapeutic.
However, this won’t produce an even grind as hammers don’t evenly distribute force to crush the beans and it’s harder to aim at smaller pieces in order to make a powder. As such, this will produce a weaker flavor of coffee. Also, this would also have the aforementioned exhaustion problem is you don’t have enough upper body strength.
Grind Coffee Beans with Knife
No, this doesn’t mean that you slice and dice the beans, that would be a disaster. What it means is taking a butcher knife with its large surface area and extra leverage then using it to grind the beans apart. Placing the beans on the cutting board, use the flat part of the blade to crush the beans on a cutting board. A wide one would be best, to get any beans that escape from under the knife. This will produce a medium grind, with materials that can be easily found in any home.
Though this method doesn’t involve slicing and dicing, it’s still best performed by a trained chef. Otherwise, it could get messy, with beans flying all over the place. The fact that involves a butcher knife, means that you should take safety into consideration first. As such, only those with some training should try this method of grinding coffee beans, even if the materials are easy to come by.
Grind Coffee Beans by Rolling
Another way to get evenly ground bean with common kitchen items is with the use of a rolling pin. The method is similar to that of that of the hammer, with the beans being put in a plastic bag and parchment paper on a cutting board. However, unlike a hammer, rolling pins evenly distribute force. Still, with a very careful eye, it can produce an even medium to fine grind.
Still, this method isn’t without its issues. It requires a certain degree of physical effort to grind the beans. Additionally, if one doesn’t carefully monitor the progress, the grind could quickly become uneven. Still, this is cheaper that buying a mortar and pestle, more even than a hammer, and safer than a knife so is probably the most effective grinding method for grinding coffee beans at home without machinery.
Grind Coffee Beans with Blender
If you don’t want to buy a grinder, there’s still a mechanical home device you can use. It might sound strange, but blenders are great for grinding coffee beans. Many blenders have a grinder setting, but if they don’t you could just set them to a higher speed. Start by putting in a small number of coffee beans, putting the lid on, and blending them until they reach the desired consistency. Then add more beans until you have the desired amount at the consistency you want. While this is fast, even, and cheap, there are still some precautions.
Coffee beans can quickly dull your blades. Also, if your blender wasn’t cleaned properly after it’s last use, the coffee could end up tasting like a smoothie. As such, approach use with caution. These are the most effective methods for grinding your own coffee beans. Decide what is best for you based on time, ability, cost, and, of course, your desired result. That way you can make your perfect cup of coffee exactly right.
Grind Coffee Beans with Coffee Grinder
Speaking of machinery, the most obvious tool to use to grind coffee beans is a coffee grinder. Of course it will cost you much more but the superior results will pay you off immediately. It is the only solution to fine grind your coffee beans and extract all the scent and taste. There are 2 main types of coffee grinders, manual and electric and the choice depends on many factors. The main reason that most users prefer a manual grinder is to have the feeling of the grinding process. But this way they may lose a lot of potential of further conveniencies such as speed, grinding fineness selection or automatization.
There are several types of coffee grinders, the main two types being blade and burr grinders. Blade grinders are cheaper, but burr grinders are better. Of burr grinders, there are two types: flat blade and conical. The flat blade has two flat, parallel blade burrs that evenly shear the beans into a fine powder. The conical grinder has two cone shaped burrs facing each other at a distance to determine grind size. They then can get even more customizable from there. At the same time, they can also get more expensive. As such, carefully research and consider the cost-benefit of any grinder you might buy.
For your convenience we have already published a comprehensive guide about the main types of coffee grinders.