Hi, I’m Jon, a coffee lover. I make at least three coffee drinks daily and grind my beans. So I made this guide to explain the top methods of grinding your own beans.
Here is what we will cover:
Let’s get started.
- The easiest way to grind coffee beans is with an electric coffee grinder.
- An electric coffee grinder produces the most precise grind type (fine, medium, coarse).
- If you don’t have a grinder, you can use a blender, food processor, rolling pin, garlic press, and other methods to grind coffee beans.
Top Methods to Grind Coffee Beans
For the freshest and best-tasting cup of coffee, I recommend grinding whole beans right before you brew. The easiest option to grind coffee beans is an electric coffee grinder.
But, if you’ve come to this article, you might not have one handy. Thankfully, you can use any of the below methods to grind your whole coffee beans.
Electric Coffee Grinder
An electric coffee grinder is the most precise and easiest way to grind your coffee beans. Electric grinders come in a range of sizes, from small portable models to large countertop units.
The size you choose will depend on how much coffee you make, but you can fill it only with as many beans as you need to brew the amount of coffee you need.
All electric coffee grinders have adjustable settings that allow you to select coarse, medium, or fine grounds. This allows you to easily grind beans for whatever type of coffee or espresso drink you are making.
I personally use this electric coffee grinder because it is fast, precise, and easy to clean.
Manual Coffee Grinder
If you’re environmentally concise or prefer to grind coffee manually, you can opt for a manual grinder. A manual coffee grinder is typically a cylindrical device with a manual crank that you load with whole beans.
When you rotate the hand crank, it turns gears internally, which grinds the coffee.
Manual grinders are great for camping, as a backup if your power goes out, or if you get satisfaction from grinding your coffee beans with a bit of elbow grease.
If you don’t have a grinder, you can use a blender to grind your coffee beans. Just pour in as many coffee beans as you think you’ll need, and pulse the blender.
Only use short spurts (a few seconds at a time), and check the consistency of the beans/grounds after each pulse. Stop when the coffee grind size is coarse, medium, or fine (depending on what you will be brewing).
You can use these same directions for grinding coffee in the following specialty blenders:
- Magic Bullet
- Ninja Blender
- Pampered Chef Blender
A food processor is an effective tool for grinding coffee beans. Simply pour your beans into the processor and pulse it until they are ground to the consistency you desire.
And just like with a blender, make sure you check the grind after each pulse, as it can quickly go from coarse to fine and ruin your final product.
Mortar and Pestle
Grinding coffee beans with a mortar and pestle might seem a bit labor-intensive. But it’s actually easier than you might think.
Start by pouring a small number of beans into the mortar. Then, using the pestle, grind them in a circular motion until they reach your desired consistency.
I recommend starting with a few beans at a time and grinding them until they are coarse.
This will help you get more even-sized grounds and avoid over-grinding the beans. When you finish, pour out the grounds and repeat with more beans until you have enough for your brew.
Because you can only fit a small number of beans in the mortar, this method takes the longest amount of time.
A rolling pin is an excellent alternative to an electric or manual grinder. All you need is a rolling pin and a flat surface like a cutting board or countertop.
Simply place your coffee beans on the surface, then use the rolling pin to roll them back and forth until they reach the desired consistency.
This method works best if you have small amounts of coffee to grind. Be sure to keep an eye on the grind size and stir the beans up regularly.
While using a rolling pin is an effective method, achieving a fine grind with one is difficult. I recommend only using it if you need a medium to coarse grind.
A hammer is another method you can use to grind your coffee beans. Place your beans in a resealable plastic bag, and make sure the bag is securely sealed.
Then, place the bag on a cutting board and gently tap it with a hammer until the beans are ground to the desired size.
This method works best if you need coarse grounds for cold brew coffee or French press coffee. I would not recommend grinding your coffee beans to a fine grind with a hammer, as the grounds will be inconsistent.
If you have a garlic press, you can use it to grind coffee beans too! This method is best for small amounts of ground coffee. Just put your beans in the garlic press and squeeze until they reach the desired consistency.
Types of Coffee Grinds
If you’re grinding whole coffee beans, there are three main types of grind sizes you can aim for. The grind size you want depends on the following:
- The type of coffee or espresso drink you are brewing
- The machine you are using to brew
- Your type of bean (espresso vs. coffee beans)
However, unless you use an electric or manual coffee grinder, getting the correct consistency can be challenging. Here is what each grind size is best for and what grinding methods are best for each. 
Coarse grinds are best for cold brew coffee and French press coffee. You can use a food processor, mortar and pestle, rolling pin, hammer, or garlic press to achieve this grind size.
Alternatively, you can use an electric coffee grinder– load in the whole beans, set it to “coarse,” and press the start button.
If you are making pour-over coffee or in a percolator, medium grinds are best. To achieve this grind size, use a manual or electric grinder.
If you don’t have one, you can also use a rolling pin or garlic press to get your beans to the right size. The key is to make sure that the grounds are evenly ground and not too fine.
If you’re aiming for medium grinds, it’s better to have the grounds too coarse rather than too fine. If they’re too fine, the grounds might pass through your pour-over filter and get into your drink.
But if they’re a bit too coarse, you’ll just have slightly weaker coffee (but no grounds in your drink).
Fine grinds are best for espresso and Moka pot coffee. It is best to use an electric grinder to achieve this grind size.
If you do not have one, you will need to use a manual grinder or mortar and pestle. With a manual grinder, you must crank the handle several times to achieve the right grind size.
On the other hand, the mortar and pestle method can be quite time-consuming and require patience to get the desired consistency.
How to Grind Coffee Beans for Espresso
For espresso, you will need to use a fine grind size, which is easiest to achieve with an electric grinder. These grinders have settings that allow you to adjust the grind size from coarse to fine. Set your grinder to the “fine” setting and press the start button.
If you do not have an electric grinder, you can use a manual grinder or mortar and pestle to get a fine grind size for your espresso machine.
How to Grind Coffee Beans for French Press
For French press coffee, you will need to use a coarse grind size. Again, it is easy to get a coarse grind with an electric grinder.
Alternatively, you can use a food processor, rolling pin, hammer, garlic press, or other methods listed above to get a coarse grind.
How to Grind Coffee Beans by Hand
Grinding coffee beans by hand can be a bit of a challenge, but it is certainly doable. You can use a rolling pin, hammer, garlic press, or mortar and pestle to grind your beans by hand.
However, these methods are more time-consuming and require a lot of work and patience if you need a fine grind. As such, grinding by hand is best if you need coarse or medium coffee grounds.
How to Grind Coffee Beans for Keurig
For Keurig machines, you will need to use a medium grind size. The easiest way is with an electric coffee grinder, but you can use any of the other methods we introduced above to get a medium grind.
How to Grind Coffee Beans for Cold Brew
Medium to coarse grind is best for cold brew coffee. Not to sound like a broken record, but electric grinders are ideal.
Otherwise, you can use any of the other methods (manual grinder, blender, food processor, rolling pin, garlic press, etc.) we mentioned above to get a coarse or medium grind.
How to Grind Coffee Beans in Vitamix
Using a Vitamix blender is one of the most convenient and efficient ways to grind coffee beans. To grind coffee beans in a Vitamix, first, add the desired amount of beans to the container.
Then attach the lid and select your preferred setting. For coarse grounds, use setting 2 or 3 for 20-25 seconds; for medium grounds, use setting 4 or 5 for 30-35 seconds; and for fine grounds, use setting 6 or 7 for 40-45 seconds.
Once you have the grind size you need, remove the lid and pour out the grounds into your coffee or espresso machine.
How to Grind Coffee Beans for Moka Pot
For Moka Pot coffee, you will need to use a fine grind size. Since a fine grind is the hardest to achieve, it is best to use an electric grinder.
If you do not have one, you will need to use a manual grinder or mortar and pestle. Keep churning the beans until the grounds are fine. Then, load them into your Moka Pot and brew away.
How to Grind Coffee Beans for Aeropress
For an Aeropress coffee maker, I recommend a medium-fine to medium-coarse grind size. Again, using an electric grinder is the best method to achieve the perfect grind size for this type of brew.
Here are some common questions about grinding coffee beans.
Can you grind coffee beans in a blender?
Yes, you can grind coffee beans in a blender. The key is to be careful not to over-grind the beans, which
can produce mushy coffee grounds and a bitter flavor.
To avoid this, only grind for short bursts of about 5 seconds at a time until you reach the desired consistency (coarse, medium, or fine).
It is best to use a blender with stainless steel blades as these will stand up better to the harder coffee beans.
Does it matter how you grind coffee beans?
Yes, it does matter how you grind your coffee beans. Different types of coffee brewing methods require different grind sizes to achieve the best flavor.
For example, an espresso requires a much finer grind, and a French press needs coarse grounds.
Additionally, using an inconsistent grind size can lead to a weak or bitter cup of coffee. As such, using the correct grind size for the type of coffee you are brewing is essential.
How long should I grind my coffee beans?
The amount of time you should grind your coffee beans will depend on the type of grind size you are after and the type of grinding method you use. If you use an electric grinder, it will automatically stop when your grounds are at the proper consistency.
If you use a manual (crank-type) grinder, turn the handle a set number of times to get the right grind size.
For example, for a coarse grind, turn the handle 5-7 times; for a medium grind, turn the handle 8-10 times; and for a fine grind, turn the handle 11-13 times (but this may differ depending on the specific model).
For other grinding methods, including a blender, food processor, rolling pin, mortar and pestle, garlic press, etc., you have to keep grinding away until you achieve the grind size you need.
Can you grind coffee beans without a grinder?
Yes, you can grind coffee beans without a grinder. The most common methods for grinding coffee beans without a grinder are using a blender, food processor, rolling pin, mortar and pestle, or garlic press.
The downside is that achieving the right grind size with these methods may be more challenging than using an electric coffee grinder.
Will Starbucks grind your coffee beans?
If you buy whole-bean coffee from Starbucks, which you can do online or purchase in-store, then they will grind your beans for you. All you have to do is ask the barista, and they will be happy to help.
What’s the best grind for strong coffee?
If you want a stronger cup of coffee, use a finer grind. A finer grind has more surface areas, which allows it to transfer more flavor to the water as it filters through the grounds.
You can grind your own whole beans by using an electric grinder or by using a manual grinder, blender, food processor, rolling pin, mortar and pestle, garlic press, or other methods.
Be sure to select/aim for the right grind size for the type of coffee you are brewing—coarse, medium, or fine.
Grinding your own coffee beans can be a great way to get the perfect cup of coffee. It gives you more control over your brew’s flavor and strength. Plus, it’s less expensive than buying pre-ground coffee, and whole beans stay fresher on the shelf.
If you are looking for a Coffee grinder, check out our page on the best Coffee grinders.