Coffee Grinder Vs. Blender (A Quick Guide)

How coffee beans are ground is vital for the brewing process. If the beans are not ground well for the given brewing process, the coffee will not be properly extracted, and the flavor of the coffee will be ruined. Can a blender be used to grind coffee effectively for brewing?

Coffee grinders are far more effective for grinding coffee than blenders. A blender can be used to grind coffee, but not fine enough for brewing methods such as espresso. Blenders can grind coffee beans to a rough medium grind, but coffee grinders can grind finer and much more evenly.

Grinding coffee is an important part of the brewing process. Coffee beans must be ground effectively according to the brew method for the best outcome, but what if you don’t have a proper grinder? Can you use a blender instead? Let’s find out!

How Well Do Blenders Grind Coffee?

blender coffee

Blenders are effective for chopping food materials into very small pieces, and they work in effectively the same way as a blade coffee grinder, so blenders should be pretty good for grinding coffee, right?

Well, the truth is, blenders are not very good for blending coffee. The processing chamber within most blenders is far larger than the grinding chamber within a coffee grinder.

This means that the coffee beans are thrown around the inside of the chamber as the blender blades hit them, which means that the beans spend very little time in contact with the blades.

This effectively means that a blender will never be able to grind coffee beans very fine, regardless of the type of blender. The smallest possible grind size possible with a blender is a rough medium to coarse grind size.

Grind inconsistency is also an issue with grinding coffee in a blender, all because of the same problem, the blades in a blender knock the beans around more than chopping them down to size, and this means that some beans will be ground finer than others.

An uneven grind size leads to inconsistent coffee extraction, which can leave the coffee under and over-extracted at the same time, resulting in a cup of coffee that is simultaneously bitter and sour. 

All of this means that blenders are not very good at grinding coffee, but they can be used for grinding coffee that will be brewed with the right method, such as immersion brewing in a French press, which works well with very coarse grind size.

How Do Coffee Grinders And Blenders Compare?

coffee grinder

Coffee grinders are designed for grinding coffee. These devices are designed with the correct dimensions to properly hold the coffee beans in place when they are being ground, and the grinding mechanism itself is ideal for grinding this type of material.

Lenders are intended for much larger items than coffee beans and are therefore not well suited for effectively grinding the very small beans into fine enough particles for most coffee brewing methods.

The best coffee grinders are burr grinders, which essentially crush the beans into fine pieces rather than chopping the beans with blades. Blenders do not have grinding burrs but rather use blades to chop the beans finer.

The process of using blades to chop coffee beans finer reaches its limit very quickly, especially in the large blender chamber of the typical home blender.

This is not to say that blenders cannot be used to process coffee into pieces small enough to brew with; it just means that the ground coffee that comes from a blender will only be fine enough for certain brewing methods and not suitable for others.

For this reason, using a coffee grinder is always preferable to using a blender if you have the option available. Most coffee grinders can grind beans significantly finer for brewing than a blender, which allows for more brewing options and a much better extraction when brewing the coffee.

Types Of Coffee To Brew With A Blender Vs. A Grinder

espresso and french press

Grinding coffee with a blender is not impossible, and it is always preferable to grind coffee with a proper coffee grinder, but if there is no other option, it is good to know what types of coffee you can brew with either a blender or a grinder.

Grinding coffee with a blender means that the beans are likely to be quite coarsely ground and probably very unevenly ground. This type of grind rules out brewing methods such as espresso or Turkish coffee, which require a very fine, even grind.

However, the grinds from a blender can be used for immersion brewing methods. The best option for this is to brew in a French press or to brew a big pot of cowboy coffee with grinds from a blender.

Immersion brewing allows all of the coffee to be in contact with all of the water for the entire brewing process, giving the coffee a better chance of being well extracted.

Grinding coffee in a coffee grinder is always preferable, but the type of grinder is important as well. Blade grinders will not grind coffee very finely, but they will be more consistent than grinding in a blender. This means that coffee ground in a blade coffee grinder is ideal for cowboy coffee, coffee brewed in a French press, and for most other types of filter brewing, including pour-over, drip coffee, brewing in an AeroPress, and even for brewing in a Clever Dripper.

Burr coffee grinders can grind coffee fine enough for brew methods such as espresso, as they are able to grind coffee incredibly fine and always grind significantly more consistently than any type of blade grinder or blender.

Conclusion

It is always better to grind coffee in a coffee grinder. This is what a grinder is built to do, and so it performs this process very well.

A blender is better suited for blending or processing much larger food items, which makes it a poor coffee grinder.

The best way to grind coffee in a blender is to grind as much coffee as possible to make it heavy, keeping the coffee closer to the blades for grinding. Grinding in a coffee grinder is a simple, hassle-free, effective method of grinding coffee beans.

If you have the option, always opt for grinding in a proper coffee grinder. Use a blender if you have no other option, but be careful about how you brew the coffee!