How to Grind Coffee Beans

You’ve probably heard coffee lovers talk about the wonders of freshly ground coffee if you spend any time with them or read any coffee blogs.

And it’s true. If pre-ground coffee is all you know, it might taste good. But the best method to enhance your coffee experience is to freshly grind whole beans.

To get you started, we’ve listed the good, best, and emergency ways for grinding coffee.

How to Grind Coffee Beans
Photo by Yijie Miao on Unsplash

Grinding Coffee Beans With a Grinder

A coffee grinder earns its name from the process of breaking down entire beans into tiny pieces so that you can enjoy fresh coffee.

Grinders come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and power levels. However, simply using a grinder brings you one step closer to coffee heaven. Go you!

We’ve listed various grinder alternatives below to help you decide what’s ideal for your budget and coffee experience.

Blade Grinder: Cheap and Easy

How to Grind Coffee Beans

Many newcomers to coffee grinding begin with a blade grinder. At roughly $15-$20 for a brand new, name-brand machine, blade grinders rarely blow the budget.

And they’re a good start. Blade grinders, also known as propeller grinders or coffee mills, operate by rapidly rotating one or two sharp blades.

They essentially chop your coffee beans into smaller pieces. Technically, that is what we want to do. The major disadvantage of blade grinders is their lack of uniformity.

“Grinding coffee with a blade grinder is a lot like slicing your fruits and vegetables with a mallet,” Serious Eats’ Nick Cho put it. Blade grinders, in general, lack precision and control.

They also create a lot of noise. Be prepared to blow your cover if you try to brew coffee while other people are sleeping (or while sleepwalking).

How to Use a Blade Grinder

You drop your whole beans into the top compartment of most blade grinders, on top of the blades. Then you press the top of the grind button to begin grinding.

For a more constant grind, try grinding in short spurts and gently shaking the machine after each one.

Some blade grinders feature settings to help you determine how long to grind, but most leave it up to you to stop grinding when the beans are the desired roughness or fineness.

When you’re finished grinding, transfer the grounds to your coffee maker of choice and begin brewing.

Blade grinders are straightforward to operate. Just keep in mind that they are really loud!

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Manual Burr Grinder: Cheap but Slow

How to Grind Coffee Beans

A manual burr grinder is an excellent solution for someone on a tight budget who somehow want high-quality coffee grinding.

Manual burr grinders, which range in price from $15 to $70, provide more consistency than blade grinders. Great consistency means you’re on your way to making better coffee.

They typically consist of a hopper (for the whole beans), two serrated plates (burrs), a catcher (for the grounds), and a crank, however, this design can vary greatly.

The benefit of a manual burr grinder is that it can properly crush the beans rather than just chop and slash them like a blade grinder. A burr grinder produces perfectly ground coffee.

They’re also exceptionally silent. When you go manual, there are no loud whirring noises to wake everyone up.

The disadvantage of manual grinders is that they must be operated by hand. That is, you must complete all of the necessary tasks before you may brew your coffee. Keep this in mind if you intend to produce a large quantity of coffee at once or throughout the day. It will taste great, but your arm may fall off as well.

How to Use a Manual Burr Grinder 

Measure out the entire coffee beans and place them carefully in the hopper. After you’ve adjusted the grind setting for your preferred brewing method, replace the lid on the hopper and begin turning the crank.

When there is no resistance on the burrs, your beans are totally ground. Simply transfer the grounds from the catcher to your brewing gear and begin brewing.

Manual burr grinders can undoubtedly get you started in the correct direction in terms of flavor. However, they demand the most work of any grinder, which frequently leads to customers looking for the next alternative.

Electric Burr Grinder: Not Cheap but So Good

How to Grind Coffee Beans

If you’ve never tried different types of grinders, it’s easy to let your money dictate which one you choose.

However, in this situation, the more expensive alternative is actually the best in terms of taste. The electric burr grinder is one such alternative.

Electric burr grinders are available for as little as $40 and as much as $480. They are unquestionably an investment. However, if you want the best coffee experience possible, they are well worth the money.

The increased price is due to the higher grade of the materials. Grinding burrs of the highest quality, heavy metals for stability and strength, and electronics for power. They’re also the quickest alternative.

An electric burr grinder functions similarly to a manual one, but with the extra benefit of being powered by electricity (hooray for saving our arms). In addition, many electric burr grinders have cone-shaped burrs rather than plates for even more precise grinding.

How to Use an Electric Burr Grinder

Load your hopper with whole beans, choose your grind size, hit the start button, and wait a few seconds until your coffee beans are ready to brew.

Electric burr grinders provide the fastest and most accurate coffee grounds available. But all of this comes at a higher cost. If you’re not convinced, try one out at a local coffee shop before investing.

Coffee Bean Grinding Without a Grinder

So what if you’re in a pinch and need to ground whole beans but don’t have a grinder?

Perhaps you’re traveling or your grinder has stopped. Or perhaps you are not yet ready to invest money but want to experiment with grinding your own beans at home.

Here are a few alternatives for you. However, these should only be used as a last resort! We guarantee that a grinder will be worthwhile.

Grinding with a Blender

Because the purpose of grinding is to reduce whole beans to smaller pieces, it stands to reason that a blender would also be useful for this.

Yes, in theory. A blender can be used for this, and we’ve supplied some simple instructions for you. However, take in mind that blenders are designed for liquids and will not be able to accurately cut coffee beans.

How to Grind Using a Blender

  • Fill your blender bowl partially with the entire beans.
  • Choose the finest setting.
  • Blend in short bursts (pulse mode for some blenders), shaking the bowl occasionally.
  • Remove those grounds and gradually add more until you have enough coffee.
  • Take cautious not to overuse your motor and burn it out.
Coffee Bean Grinding Without a Grinder
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Mortar and Pestle

One of the most ancient, basic kitchen gadgets around is the mortar and pestle. Used for crushing substances and making dishes like hummus and guacamole, it will also work in a coffee grinding emergency.

Simply put your whole coffee in the mortar and break them up with the pestle. Just be careful not to crush your beans into dust, which is easy to do.

Ditch the Pre-Ground Coffee

And start grinding your own right now. There are options for different budgets, coffee sipping habits, and arm strength levels.
And, as you can see, none of these solutions add any additional work to your coffee-making routine.

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