The 8 Ways To Grind Coffee Beans Without A Coffee Grinder

Last Updated on January 3, 2022 by John Moretti

Packaged coffee beans often lack the freshness and the rich aromas that a freshly grounded batch can offer. The most common way to grind coffee beans is via a coffee grinder. 

But what if your coffee grinder breaks down or you happen to not have one? Well you certainly can’t miss out on your energizing sip of aromatic freshness when starting your day!

Thus, to pull you out of this cubicle, I have devised a list of some excellent coffee grinding methods that do not require the use of a grinder.

Method Best for
Mortar and Pestle Coarse, medium, fine and super fine grind 
Pepper millCoarse, medium and fine grind 
Hammer/Meat tenderizerCoarse and medium grind
Rolling PinCoarse, medium and fine grind
Blender Coarse and medium grind 
Food Processor Coarse and medium grind 
Garlic PressCoarse and medium grind
KnifeMedium to medium-fine grind
how to grind coffee beans without a coffee grinder

If you want to pull professional quality espresso shots, then you are better off using a dedicated coffee grinder. If you want to achieve the best results using an alternative method, go with using the ‘mortar and pestle method’. 

Using a blender or a food processor is best if you want quick results. Furthermore, if you have got a few culinary skills up your sleeve, you can also grind coffee beans using a knife. 

The 8 Best Coffee Grinding Methods Without A Grinder

1. Mortar and Pestle

mortar and pestle

This method has been used for ages by pharmacists to cook medicines and spices. Hammering and rolling motions are utilized to deliver a uniform texture. You may grind from French-press coarse to fine grind with this approach while also having good control over the fineness of the grind. 

Here’s how to do it : 

  1. Add a couple of tiny scoops of coffee to your mortar. For optimal control, just fill it up to approximately a quarter of the entire dig. 
  2. The pestle should be held by your dominant hand, whereas the mortar should be held in place by the other hand. 
  3. Crush the coffee beans with a twisting motion while applying pressure to the pestle.
  4. To get the desired texture and consistency, roll the coffee around the bowl with your pestle after it has been crushed. 
  5. Once you have prepared one batch, dump it in a bowl/coffee maker and prepare another until you have sufficient quantity. 

2. Pepper Mill

pepper mill

These mills work in a similar fashion to a hand-powered grinder. Advanced models even let you fine-tune the grind size to get a more uniform batch. 

Do note that this method is not ideal if you want to make an espresso or turkish coffee due to the lack of fineness and is more suited for pour-overs and French press coffee.  

  1. Firstly, use a hammer to break down the coffee beans into smaller pieces. This will allow the mill to process the smaller bits quickly. 
  2. If the mill has been used to grind pepper, thoroughly clean it to eliminate any residual odor. 
  3. Fill the mill to the brim with beans and set the ground level as per your liking. 
  4. Secure the top lid and grind. 

3. A Hammer/Meat Tenderizer 

meat tenderizer

If you are in a hurry, then go with this method. By using a hammer, you can ensure that the beans are crushed evenly. Here’s how you can do this : 

  1. Place your coffee beans in a bag and seal its ends so that the beans do not pop out when pressure is applied. 
  2. Start by firmly pressing down on the beans, followed by gently thumping the bag.
  3. As you strike the bag, the beans will start to break down into finer particles. Move them to one side and start crushing the residuals. 
  4. Whisk the bag in the air lightly so that the mixture is evenly mixed. 

4. Rolling Pin

rolling ping

The rolling pin is able to crush and grind the coffee beans at the same time, providing an even texture throughout. That said, using this method does need some effort and an eye for detail if you want to get a consistent grind. 

Here are the steps to do this : 

  1. Pour some coffee in a plastic bag amidst two layers of parchment paper and seal it up tightly. You can also fold the edges of the parchment paper to seal properly. 
  2. Lay the bag on a flat counter and crush your beans using the pin. 
  3. Once the outer surface breaks down, roll the pin over the entire area so that the smaller bean fragments get crushed as well. 
  4. Roll the beans back and forth until you have the desired thickness. 

5. Blender

blender kitchen

This is the easiest way to grind your beans with appreciable consistency. Check if your blender has a ‘grind’ setting; if not, go ahead and turn on the ‘pulse’ setting. 

One thing to keep in mind when using this method is that blending often raises the temperature, which ends up cooking the beans. This is something we don’t want, so make sure you do not extend the process beyond 20-30 seconds. 

  1. Choose the ‘grinder/pulse’ option on your blender and pour half a cup of coffee in it. Close the lid and gently tap the blender down the surface so all the beans sit inside evenly. 
  2. Now grind the beans in batches ranging from 3-5 seconds using the pulse setting. 
  3. Keep up with this process for anywhere between six to nine times, depending on the level of grind you want. 
  4. To get a good consistency, tilt the blender on one side when grinding the beans. 

6. A Food Processor

food processor

Ah, the good old multi-purpose food processor! Similar to a blender, using this method is quite straightforward as well. This method is best if you want to ground coffee beans in a large amount. 

Since the diameter of a food processor is considerably large, you can pour over two times the beans as compared to a blender. 

Performing this method is similar to using the blender. The only difference here will be that you have to add 2x the beans. Grind the beans on the pulse setting for 20-30 seconds in total for the best results. 

7. Garlic Press Or A Hand Mincer

garlic press

Simple and effective, this method is ideal if you are looking for a coarse and rough grind. 

The beans are firmly pressed out of the region where meat/garlic is contained. This method produces the least amount of ground coffee in one batch out of all the methods listed here. 

  1. Place the beans into a press or a hand mincer. 
  2. Press down the instrument firmly to ensure that all the coffee beans have been pressed. 
  3. Repeat the above steps until you achieve the desired grind level. 

8. Knife


For this, you will need a butcher knife with a flat edge on one side and a wide blade. The more you practice with this method, the better your hand movements will get. This method is not recommended if you are a novice, though. 

  1. Grab your knife & a cutting board and place the beans on top. 
  2. Lay a kitchen towel on the flat edge of the ground to prevent the beans from flying away. 
  3. Now place the flat edge of the knife on the beans and press down as if you are crushing garlic. 
  4. Once the beans start to break down, repeat step 3 at a faster pace to get a more fine grind. 


Benefits of Coffee Grinding

The main reason why whole coffee stays fresh for an extended period of time is that the inner surface is not exposed to the surroundings, preventing any contamination/oxidation. 

Finally, when you grind these contained beans, you get a better flavor and aroma. Here are some benefits of coffee grinding : 

  1. As stated above, since the beans are contained, all the chemicals and acids stay within the surface only. After the beans are roasted, they absorb some carbon dioxide. While grinding, as this gas escapes, it allows for better flavor retention and helps in the development of a thick crema. 
  2. Keeping beans intact reduces the amount of moisture that they can absorb and maintains their flavor.
  3. Pre-ground coffee usually lacks in terms of the strong signature coffee aroma that coffee beans have. When you store the grounded beans in the open, the delicious aroma dissipates in the air in no time. 
  4. Lastly, whole bean coffee has a larger shelf life as opposed to its pre-ground counterparts. And by long, I mean months ( if stored in an airtight container). 

How Fine Should I Grind My Coffee Beans?

The size of your grind ranges from extra-coarse to extra-fine and is totally dependent on the brewing method you use. 

Grind SizeBest for
Extra-coarse This size is similar to that of sea/kosher salt. Suitable for long immersion brews. 
Medium-CoarseCan be used in filtered coffee making methods 
Medium-fineCan be used for standard and aero-press coffee brewing 
FineIdeal for espresso to get the thick texture 

While grinding beans, moving at a slow pace will provide a constant grind size. It’s easy to over-grind using devices like a blender or a mortar and pestle, so it’s a good idea to work in bursts and check your grind level in between them. When brewing for a whole pot, split up the beans into 2-3 smaller batches for best results. 

You can use any device with the ability to grind or crush to grind coffee beans. Using a grinder has its advantages when it comes to making quality espressos, but these methods can also produce good results and are ideal for most use cases. 

Hope this article helped. Enjoy your liquid energy!