Grinding Coffee Beans Without A Grinder

Can you grind coffee beans without a coffee grinder? Yeah, it’s not optimal but it can be done.

There are actually a few popular methods to grinding beans when you are lacking a grinder – or power to operate your grinder. I’ve outlined some of the best ways possible below with a quick summary and tutorial for each technique.

Of all of these the most popular method is probably to grind coffee in a food processor.

Grind Coffee Beans With A Mortar & Pestle

grind beans no grinderThe slowest but probably the best way to grind coffee beans without the aid of a grinder tool is to use a mortar and pestle. For generations, hundreds and thousands of years actually the mortar/pestle combo has been used to mash things together, break up small things, and generally pulverize stuff.

You usually think of old timers grinding wheat into flour on one of these but you could just as easily grind beans into a fine powder that would rival any blade grinder run on electricity today. By crushing you get bits and pieces that aren’t jagged meaning your extraction will be a bit nicer and even bodied.

This is pretty manual though and takes a good deal of time. If you haven’t lost power and want a faster solution then turn to your food processor.

Grind Coffee Beans With A Food Processor

grind coffee in food processorA very common question on this topic I get is, “can you grind coffee in a food processor?”

Well, assuming you have plenty of working electricity and have a good food processor you can easily shred you coffee beans into coffee worth particles in a food processor. If you try this it’s likely that your particles will only get so small because the food processor is pretty large bodied compared to a real electric blade grinder.

Like using a blade coffee grinder the shredded and splintered beans will not give the best tasting coffee but it will be passable for most people.

If you do try this out then it’s probably best to only use the “grind” for coffee made in a french press and many of the larger particles will simply not extract much desirable flavors without a good steeping.

The large sizes basically require the steeping of a french press pot, just be ready for a bit of bitterness caused by the random small particles and coffee dust the food processor creates.

If you are thinking about using a food processor to grind coffee you can always improve the results by using a fine mesh sieve to filter out the dust. Then use the larger particles to make french press coffee.

Grind Coffee Beans With A Bag And A Hammer

Like the mortar and pestle method the beat the crap out of your beans method will crush beans into smaller coffee sized particles but won’t likely be precise enough to get a good small and even grind size. In some cases beating the beans will leave some quite large pieces that are even a bit big for french press but may well work for cowboy coffee.

The hammer and beans in a bag trick is a frequent way to get coffee while camping or spending time on the open trail. Many people don’t travel with equipment and find that whole beans stay fresher longer. By hammering the beans to a smaller particle size you can then steep them in a pot of near boiling water to make coffee and then when you are ready to indulge just pour the coffee and grounds through a paper or cloth filter.

Sock anyone?

A Video Demonstration

This video also demonstrates a great way to prepare roasted beans for brewing without a grinder.

This page is still a work in progress as I want to list off a few more common methods for making coffee grind but in the mean time we do recommend checking out the manual grinders listed over on Grider Expo. We know that electric grinders are way easier to use but in the event of a power outage or a camping trip it pays to have a good manual grinder. Their coffee grinder reviews will help you find one that’s going to work for you.


Owner and proprietor of the Gamble Bay Coffee Company