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Crushing Coffee: How to Grind Coffee Beans Without a Coffee Grinder

Crushing Coffee: How to Grind Coffee Beans Without a Coffee Grinder

Whether you’ve ordered whole bean when you meant to pick up pre-ground, your grinder is broken, or you were gifted whole bean and you don’t own a grinder yet, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some ways you can grind your coffee without a coffee grinder.


Mortar & pestle 

If you have a mortar & pestle available, this method allows for the greatest control of grind, making it the most versatile on this list. The beans are quite jumpy in the mortar at first, so when you start crushing, cover the open area of the mortar with your free hand to avoid wild beans escaping. The grinding circular motion afterwards is much smoother, and it’s during this time that you can tailor the grind level you’re going to need for your brewing type.

Check out our handy chart for grind levels at the end of the list to figure out which is best for you, or simply look at the bottom of each grind process. 

  • Good for French press, pour-over, coffee pot, single brew systems, and espresso.


Rolling pin

Odds are you have a rolling pin somewhere in your kitchen. Take your whole beans and put them in a bag on your counter. Be sure to give yourself some space with this method. We’ve found that giving the beans an initial crush by pressing down with your rolling pin helps give it a more uniform texture and makes rolling a smoother process. Keep an eye on the grind level and adjust for your brewing process.

  • Good for French press, pour-over, and coffee pot.


Wrap ‘em up, beat ‘em with your fists

Who doesn’t love free therapy? Punch, crush, and smash to your heart’s content. Show that coffee who’s boss.

  • Good for laughter, but bad for fists and your counter.


Buy the pre-ground from Laughing Man Coffee

Not up for all that exercise? If you have the patience to wait a few days, we can deliver it right to your door. No need to labor away for your morning cup. Sit back, relax, and click “add to cart.”


Food processor/high-powered blender

Similar to a blade coffee grinder, a food processor or a high-powered blender would make short work of those beans. Depending on the settings and size of the blades, you could get the beans quite coarse or ground enough for a coffee pot no problem.

  • Good for French press, pour-over, coffee pot, and single brew systems.


Meat hammer

Put that coffee in a sandwich bag, then put that bag inside of another bag, and then fold it in a kitchen towel, and when you’re ready, smash it with a hammer!

This method is actually very similar to the rolling pin but takes more work to get any level of consistency. The meat hammer is also more likely to put holes in the bag given the spiky nature of most meat hammers, so if you’d like to go this route, do yourself and your counters a favor by wrapping your sandwich bag of beans in a towel before smashing away.

  • Good for French press.


Bonus! - Eat them whole.

No, we aren’t kidding. Chocolate-coated coffee beans are a tasty snack and a quick pick-me-up when you aren’t feeling a full-blown mocha. What’s wonderful about this method is you can mix and match different types of beans with varying types of chocolate to achieve your personal perfect sweet to bitter ratio.

Using 1 cup chocolate chips or a chopped-up chocolate bar, you can either melt the chocolate in a microwave bowl stirring in 10 second intervals or in a bowl over boiling water stirring constantly. Once your chocolate of choice is all melted, mix in 1 cup of your coffee beans being sure to coat them evenly. Take them out with a fork one at a time, letting the excess drip off, and place them on a parchment paper to cool. If you want to speed up the cooling process, go ahead and put them in the fridge. As soon as they’re set, enjoy your delicious caffeinated treat. You’ve earned it! 

No matter which method you choose, it’s important to remember that different processes for grinding will yield different grind levels: coarse, medium, and fine. Grounds that are too coarse for the brew process yield a weaker coffee while grounds that are too fine will yield a more bitter coffee. Here’s a handy chart to help you out if you’re unsure.


Chart for Types of Brew vs Grinding Method


It should be noted that consistency is key when brewing coffee. Unfortunately, blade grinders, such as food processors in this instance, are not completely capable of a 100% consistent grind.

After you finish your urgent cuppa and get on about your day, we recommend picking up a burr grinder to achieve the most uniform grind for delicious coffee. Your future self will thank you.

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