five ways to grind coffee without a grinder

If the flavor of your coffee is important to you then you’ll love these coffee grinding methods which go above and beyond conventional coffee grinding.

It’s great to have a coffee grinder. But if you’re a coffee addict like myself, you will want to understand the importance of grind consistency and size for adjusting the flavor, strength, and texture of your coffee.

Today I’m going to show you how to prepare your coffee grinds without the help of a mechanical grinder. This will not only give you more control over the end result (a superb cup of coffee) but will also teach you the benefits of organic grinding.

So why ditch your grinder for processes that are seemingly more complicated? Don’t these methods take a lot longer than conventional grinding?

  • You may not own a coffee grinder
  • You’ve tried a coffee grinder and have been disappointed with the consistency of your grinds
  • As a coffee connoisseur, you want more control over your coffee flavor & strength
  • You want to control how much you grind (most coffee grinders don’t work so great unless you completely fill the bean container)
  • It’s more rewarding when you finally take that first sip of organically ground coffee (Yum!)

Is your mouth watering as much as mine? Go grab yourself a strong brew and let’s learn about the magic and fun of grinding coffee beans without a machine.

A Word on Consistency and Grind Size

Consistency in coffee grinds refers to all of the broken pieces being the same size. This has a significant effect on the flavor and strength of your coffee. Bear in mind how long your coffee grinds will be exposed to hot water. The water will extract the flavor from larger grinds if it has enough time to do so.

Also, pay attention to the size of the grinds. Finer grinds will allow for easier and quicker flavor extraction. You’ll get more flavor in a shorter period of time. Larger grinds need more exposure to water in order to extract that lovely black substance we all love so much—and the flavor will change according to the size of those grinds.

1. Use Your Rolling Pin

Almost everyone (bar a few bachelors) has a rolling pin in their kitchen drawer. I like this method because it allows me to do a quick grind for a single cup of coffee. The rest of my beans can be left whole until I’m ready to grind them later—keeping them fresh.


The trick to using a rolling pin to grind coffee is to do a little at a time. Place a small handful (depending on the strength you desire) of beans into a strong Ziploc bag. Starting from the bottom of the bag where the beans are, roll your beans and grind them with the rolling pin. The finer you grind them, the more vivid the coffee flavor will be.

2. Attempt a Manual Grind with a Large, Flat Butcher’s Knife

All you need to grind your coffee beans with a knife is a large chopping board and a large flat knife. I have found that a butcher’s knife works well for this method, but you can also use a cleaver or a wide carving knife.

This method takes a little longer than other methods, but again you will have more control over the quantity consistency and grind size. Press the knife down on the coffee beans. Do this with just a small handful of beans at a time to prevent messes.

3. Try a Heavy Frying Pan

If you’d like to grind lots of beans in one go, then the frying pan method is a winner! A pan that’s heavy with a flat bottom makes quick work of grinding your coffee beans to the size and consistency you prefer.

Lay your beans out evenly on a chopping board and make sure none of them are on top of each other. Grab hold of your frying pan on both sides and press down heavily to crush the beans. Lift the pan up periodically to check the size of the grinds. Keep grinding until you get a consistent size.

Avoid using a pan with grooves at the bottom, as your coffee grinds will end up getting stuck in the tiny spaces.

4. Use a Meat Mallet & Freezer Bag

Another method for crushing coffee beans in large quantities is similar to that of the rolling pin method. But with this method, you can get more grinds if you’re looking to cater to three people or more—or if you’re simply happy to store the grinds in your fridge for future use.

A meat mallet is your best option for this, but you can use an industrial hammer too. Place the beans in a Ziploc bag, one that’s strong enough to withstand continual hammering. To keep the consistency more or less balanced, only start hammering once you have an even distribution of beans within the bag.

Now hammer away until you achieve the grind size you like!

5. Take Your Time with a Mortar & Pestle

If you have the patience, this method is one that holds a rewarding flavor. A large mortar & pestle will eliminate waste when grinding coffee beans, but this method will take longer than others.

The reason I like using a mortar & pestle to crush my beans is that I have immense control over how fine they end up. It’s also part of my coffee experience; calmly grinding those beans until they are my preferred consistency.

Try it out right now. If you have coffee beans and want a different result in your coffee flavor, these methods will provide you with a different result depending on how you choose to grind them. Play around with these coffee grinding methods and settle on the one that suits you best in terms of how often you drink coffee and how many people you are catering for.

Frequently Asked Questions
How to grind coffee for a french press?

You should strive for less coarse grinds because this will allow for a quicker extraction of flavor-enhanced compounds.

How do you grind coffee at work without being a jackass?

Find a dark closet and grind away.

Can you use a blender to grind coffee beans?

In theory, yes you can. The blender can chop the coffee beans just like a grinder. But, it is not recommended, because you need to grind small amounts for coffee.

How long should one grind coffee beans?

That depends on how you plan to brew the coffee. For example, a percolator takes a coarse grind; an espresso pot uses a very fine grind