Imagine getting to the kitchen half-awake and finding the coffee grinder out of commission. This is every coffee lover’s nightmare.
In that case, will a blender grind coffee beans? In this dire situation, it is something that you would automatically ask out of panic.
Lucky for you, the quick answer is yes.
If you absolutely have to, you can use the blender for this purpose. The problem is, it won’t be as simple as it sounds.
Grinding coffee beans in a blender would take some tweaking, a bit of creativity, and a lot of patience.
- Why Grinding Coffee Beans Right Before Brewing Is Better
- The Differences Between a Blender and a Coffee Grinder
- Will a Blender Grind Coffee Beans?
- How To Use a Blender To Grind Coffee
- Other Ways To Grind Coffee Without a Grinder
- An Acceptable Alternative to a Coffee Grinder
Why Grinding Coffee Beans Right Before Brewing Is Better
A great flavor and an intoxicating aroma—these are the hallmarks of a perfect cup of coffee.
If you do not know it yet, these qualities are thanks to the oils and aromatic compounds inside the beans.
However, you won’t be able to enjoy all the yummy goodness of the coffee beans in their original form.
To unlock their full potential, you have to grind them.
When you dissolve the grounds with water, that’s when you can access the desired compounds, allowing you to brew great coffee.
If you can grind and brew your own beans, you can enjoy a perfect cup of coffee on demand.
Why not just get pre-grounds instead? The reason is simple: the oils and other compounds that make coffee great are volatile.
When you grind the beans, these substances are exposed, making them susceptible to evaporation.
Given enough time, you will end up with a stale cup of coffee and a bitter taste in your mouth.
The Differences Between a Blender and a Coffee Grinder
The blender is the workhorse of the kitchen. You can use it to chop or puree almost any fruit or vegetable.
Sturdier models can handle harder ingredients, allowing you to make a wide variety of dishes and beverages.
The reason behind the blender’s flexibility and functionality is its metal blade.
This durable blade spins at high speeds, breaking everything from ice to nuts to fish or shrimp into smaller pieces.
However, coffee grinding is much more than just breaking down the beans into powder.
Any coffee lover worth his salt knows that coffee grounds need to have a uniform consistency.
It is the only way to access the oils and compounds equally and brew a perfect cup.
Otherwise, you will brew the compounds from smaller grounds longer than those from bigger grounds.
The result is a cup that won’t live up to the high standards of a serious coffee drinker.
This is the reason why the coffee grinder is still the better option for grinding beans.
Grinders use flat or conical burrs, not the blades that you can find inside your blender.
This system grinds the beans evenly instead of slicing through them with little to no control over the particle size.
It is designed specifically for one purpose: to grind coffee and give you uniformly-sized grounds.
Will a Blender Grind Coffee Beans?
As mentioned, you can use a blender to grind coffee.
However, since it is not designed for this application, it would not perform as well as a reliable coffee grinder.
The blender’s blade will slice through the beans at high speeds, breaking them into smaller pieces.
Still, it will be very hard for you to control the process.
Some of the beans will most probably end up in powder form, while others will be in much larger pieces.
As such, you will have to make do with coffee grounds of varying sizes.
If this is the case, some parts of your coffee will be over-extracted while others will be under-extracted.
By not hitting the sweet spot while brewing, you will miss out on the perfect cup.
You also could try collecting only the similarly-sized grounds, but it would be a waste of time and perfectly good coffee.
Another reason why the blender is not ideal for coffee grinding is that it generates too much heat.
The flat blade repeatedly comes into contact with the beans as it rotates at high speeds.
This process creates friction, which naturally causes the temperature to rise.
Once it does, you could burn the compounds on the grounds and ruin your coffee.
Despite all of these risks, there are ways for you to optimize the process and improve your yield.
In other words, you can take specific steps to limit the disparity in the sizes of the grounds and overheating.
How To Use a Blender To Grind Coffee
Some blenders come with a grinder setting, which is the closest approximation to a coffee grinder.
If your blender has it, you should use it when grinding the beans.
If it does not, don’t worry. You can use the traditional medium to high setting instead and get similar results.
To do this, start by adding the desired amount of coffee beans into the blender.
You can pour 1/4 to 1/2 cups for each batch, depending on how many cups you want to make.
If you add too much, the process will take longer, or you will ruin your grounds.
So, if you need more grounds, finish one batch first, empty the blender, and then repeat the whole process.
Next, put the lid on and make sure that it is firmly shut.
Grinding the beans with the blender’s blade is a violent process. You would not want some of them to hit you in the eye or end up on the kitchen floor.
Next, activate the blender for three to five seconds at a time using the Pulse button.
The Pulse function shuts the blender down once you let the button go, making things easier for you.
This is important because you have to be precise about the length of time that the blades are spinning.
As mentioned, if you leave the blender on for too long, you could overheat your grounds.
Some blenders do not have a Pulse button. If yours does not have one, use the On/Off button instead.
The key is to grind your beans in short and quick bursts. Do this up to six times until you get the desired consistency.
If you have to, you can tilt the blender from side to side while grinding.
Doing so will push the bigger grains closer to the blades’ path, allowing you to get a more even grind.
Another hack is to shake the blender in between bursts of grinding.
Other Ways To Grind Coffee Without a Grinder
Now you know the answer to the question, will a blender grind coffee beans?
What happens if, for some reason, your blender is out of service too?
As a coffee lover, you must learn all the ways to get your coffee fix. With this approach, you will always be ready for any situation.
Fortunately, your kitchen has many other tools that you can use if your grinder and blender are indisposed.
Mortar and Pestle
Pharmacists and cooks used mortar and pestle for centuries to grind medicines, herbs, and all kinds of spices.
With the correct technique, you can also use it to grind your coffee beans.
Just make sure that you don’t fill the mortar to more than 1/4 of its capacity.
Also, twist and roll the pestle to crush the beans until you get the desired consistency.
If you are into baking, you probably have a rolling pin lying around in your kitchen.
Aside from making dough, you can use it to grind your coffee beans if you do not have a mortar and pestle.
To do so, begin by placing the beans inside a plastic bag or between two sheets of parchment paper.
Next, lay it out on a hard surface and press the rolling pin over the beans.
After crushing them, continue rolling the pin until you get the right consistency.
Under extreme circumstances, you can use a hammer to grind your coffee beans.
The process is a bit similar to the rolling pin method.
You’ll simply have to place the desired amount of beans in a plastic bag or parchment paper, then press the hammer over them.
It requires a lot of elbow grease, so you must resist the temptation to whack the beans with the hammer.
Just keep on pressing the hammer down onto the beans until you achieve an acceptable consistency.
If you are more comfortable handling a knife, you can use it too to grind your coffee beans.
Firstly, lay the beans on a chopping board and cover them with a towel or paper towel.
Next, press the flat side of the knife on the beans until they break. Repeat the process until you get the consistency that you like.
An Acceptable Alternative to a Coffee Grinder
Using a reliable coffee grinder is the best way to unleash all the coffee goodness of your beans.
However, like all machines, they are susceptible to failure, especially if they have served you for a long time.
If this happens, you will be pleased to know that your blender will be up to the task.
It will not perform as admirably as your grinder, but it will make an acceptable alternative while you find a replacement.