5 Ways To Grind Coffee Beans Without A Grinder

There is nothing like an aromatic and flavorful cup of coffee to get you through your day. However, the only way to achieve that delicious flavor is by using freshly-ground coffee beans. Perfecting your grind takes trial and error, and you need a decent grinder to help you perfect your grind.

If you don’t have a grinder to hand, but you don’t want to use pre-ground coffee, there are some simple hacks that you may want to try. we cannot guarantee consistent results, and the grinds may work better for pour-over than espresso due to the grind size; nevertheless, they are worth trying.

We will talk about how long it takes to hand grind coffee and discuss alternative hand grinder methods, such as pestle and mortar. We will also discuss the benefits of manually grinding your coffee beans.

How Long Does It Take To Hand Grind Coffee?

Using a hand grinder takes approximately 70 revolutions with the handle to grind up ten grams of coffee; this takes between 30 to 40 seconds.

An ergonomically-designed hand grinder with a side-mounted handle will make grinding your coffee beans much easier than a standard top-mounted handle.

If you use alternative methods, it may take longer than with a manual grinder. For example, some people use a rolling pin to bash their beans to pieces.

However, this process is labor-intensive and can take long before achieving the grind size you need.

Other manual tools people use to produce coffee grounds include:

  • Hammer
  • Hand mincer
  • Garlic press

The above methods will take a long time to get your coffee to any useable consistency, but you can only try.

The following are not manual tools, but some people use a blender or food processor to grind their beans.

If you use a blender, remember that blending creates heat and cooks the beans, which nobody wants, leading to bitter and burnt tastes in your coffee.

Since coffee beans burn too quickly in a blender, this method mustn’t take longer than 30 seconds.

A food processor is pretty similar to a blender. Use the pulse setting and grind your beans in increments of 3 to 5 seconds; repeat this method until you get the consistency you desire. This can take a total of 30 seconds.

Is It Better To Manually Grind Coffee?

Grinding coffee beans manually is not as easy as pushing a button on an electric device, so what is the attraction to manually grinding coffee?

It depends on who you ask, but manual coffee grinders have many advantages over automatic ones. Let’s discuss some of those.

Hand grinders don’t heat the beans like electrical ones. So even though the taste differences are indistinguishable, beans from a manual grinder are healthier and better-tasting for you for that reason.

Manual coffee grinders may come with different price points, but even a high-end manual will always be cheaper than an electric grinder.

Hand grinders are smaller and more affordable than electric grinders. These manual devices are ideal for those on a tight budget and with little countertop space.

They are often quieter than automatic grinders as they don’t grind coffee quickly. They also don’t require electricity; this may not matter to you if you grind coffee at home, but if you travel or go camping, not needing electricity is a significant bonus.

These hand devices have a cool nostalgic appearance that is so sought-after now. People love old-fashioned models, and they make fun conversation starters.

If you are lucky enough to get your hands on a grinder over 100 years old, old models can still be good at grinding if well-maintained.

How Hard Is It To Manually Grind Coffee?

If you have an ergonomically-designed hand grinder, you should find it less strenuous than a standard one with the top handle. Your model depends on how hard you find it is to grind coffee manually.

If you grind coffee for one cup, so 17 g, it may take 30 seconds. So if you happen a round of coffees for five people, that’s five times 30 seconds of nothing but ground coffee, so that comes to 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

It will not be easy to use unconventional methods, such as a pestle and mortar, to grind your coffee beans.

In addition, it will be more challenging than using a hand grinder. So, let’s explore five ways you to achieve a desirable grind without a grinder, manual or otherwise:

1. Pestle And Mortar

This method will deliver a fine coffee grind, but it takes along. Pharmacists, herbalists, and healers used this tool in the past to grind medicines, herbs, and spices into a fine powder.

If you have ever used a pestle and mortar to make a fine powder, you know it eventually uses a combo of pounding and rolling movements for a more even grind mixture.

This unconventional grinder can create fine coffee, very like an espresso.


  • Start by putting some coffee beans into your mortar; you will attain a uniform grind within a couple of minutes.
  • Hold the pestle firmly with one hand while the other handles the mortar securely. You want to prevent the mortar from slipping away from your hands during the pounding process.
  • Use force to smash the beans with the pestle, and ensure that you pound each corner to achieve consistency.
  • Continually add your beans and keep crushing them; stop once you have the required amount of coffee. Adding small amounts at a time achieves more consistent results.
  • Roll the coffee with the pestle for a finer texture when you stop crushing.
  • At this stage, the grounds should be finer. However, you must continue grinding and rolling until you are happy with the texture and consistency.

2. Rolling Pin

This humble kitchen utensil can easily crush your beans; you can also expect a fine to medium grind with the correct precision and execution.

The result will be a uniform texture with a finer grind. Nevertheless, you must exert some pressure and focus on the process to ensure consistency.

You may also find it helps to use a wide chopping board and a parchment bag with your rolling pin.


  • Put the necessary amount of coffee beans into a zip lock bag or another plastic bag.
  • Lay the bag out flat on the counter or cutting board.
  • Hammer the beans with the pin, smash and roll them. You should hear crushing noises as they break down.
  • Keep rolling the pin, only stopping when you have the right grind size. The grounds may look too big for what you need, in which case, keep crushing the beans.

3. A Hammer

Any tool similar to a hammer, like a mallet, etc., can easily crack and smash the coffee beans. Use these tools carefully to avoid damaging your work surface. This method mainly delivers a medium to coarse grind size.


  • Put the beans into a zip lock or similar plastic bag.
  • For a more uniform grind, crush the beans from one end of the plastic bag to the other for a more consistent texture.
  • Exert downward force to the beans and keep hammering until you have your preferred consistency.

4. A Standard Blender

A standard home grinder is an excellent grinder alternative. It has a blade system to chop coffee beans like many conventional coffee grinders.

Some blenders come with a grinding function, ideal for chopping your beans. However, you must blend the beans in small amounts as blenders move at high speeds to create a heated cavity.

The heat could cook the bean’s natural oils, resulting in a bitter taste. In addition, the blender method only works for coarse grinds.


  • Use the high-speed setting on your grinder.
  • Throw a little coffee in and cover it.
  • Blend the beans to the required consistency.
  • Continually add beans until you have the correct quantity and consistency.

5. A Knife

If you lack the above tools, a large butcher knife works well. These knives have a wider blade than most others, providing more surface area to deliver a more forceful crack to the beans.

This process results in a medium to fine grind. However, if you have never used a butcher’s knife before, it’s not safe to start using it to chop your beans; better to use another method.


  • Put the beans on a chopping board.
  • Lie the knife down flat against the beans.
  • Forcibly press down hard to crack the beans.

Final Thoughts

It helps to know that there are alternatives to grinding coffee if you lack the necessary grinder. Remember that grind consistency ensures that your coffee always tastes as it should, as it allows you to draw out flavors hidden inside the coffee beans.

An inconsistent grind will always result in your coffee being over or under-extracted, leading to undesirable tastes. With any method you use, do your best to achieve consistency. It’s worth the time and labor.

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