If you are serious about your coffee, you have a reliable grinder that rests on your kitchen counter at this time. But a coffee grinder is mechanical, and no matter how it is, it will eventually break down.
Have you ever cried in the early morning darkness because your mill loosely abandoned you? OK, maybe you did not really cry, but we would not blame you if you did. A broken coffee grinder is not a good way to start your day.
Even if you do not have a problem with your mill, you could just be somewhere where you do not have one on hand. Whatever the reason, you have coffee beans, water and no coffee. Again.
Do not be afraid ! We will show you how to grind coffee beans using tools that you will find in most kitchens. Traveling ? You will be able to find at least some tools needed to grind the coffee beans in a typical grocery store or large area. Hey, if you really have trouble finding tools, you can still play the caveman and break your coffee beans with a big stone. But before doing that, think of more civilized options.
Coffee grinding tools
When working with minimal resources to grind coffee beans, you need to be creative. Take a look at your kitchen or at the closest store to your campsite and see if you can find one of the tools you can use to grind your coffee beans without a grinder:
Mortar and pestle.
Hand crusher / chopper.
Freezer bag with zipper and:
- Meat tenderizer
- Or rolling pin
Prepare your coffee beans
Of course, you want to turn your coffee beans into ground coffee that you can use to make a cup of coffee. You already know how to grind them in the usual way, the goal here is to get your grains as close to the usual consistency as possible, so that you can brew a nice cup of coffee.
With this in mind, the key to all of these methods will be to make sure your grains are crushed or crushed enough without falling overboard or turning them into dust.
This alternative is a bit obvious. You try to understand how to grind coffee beans without a grinder: Have you ever used your blender to chop the coffee beans? It’s a little more complicated than it looks.
Part of the reason is that the mixers work best when there is liquid to help move around the solids you put in. If you have ever made a smoothie or a milk shake without enough liquid, you know how it can hook your blender blades and overload the motor. Do this too often and it may even break the blender motor.
To get the correct grind size at the output, first check if the blender has a grind setting. If this is not the case, or if you plan to use a personal mixer at a speed, use this trick:
- add a small amount of coffee beans
- grind them to good consistency using short bursts of power
- remove the grains
- grind another small portion.
It will take some time if you plan to make an entire coffee, but it can help prevent your blades from getting stuck and deteriorating. If you throw a half-bag of coffee into an old blender, you will have irregular grinds with badly brewed pieces of grain. Or worse, you could damage your mixer’s engine by trying to do a task that it can not do.
Mortar and pestle
An option much more civilized than a small rock and a big stone but still quite old school, is the mortar and the pestle. This method of crushing dates back to ancient Egypt. You can have one in your kitchen to make pesto etc…
Alternatively, you can buy a mortar and pestle in the kitchenware section of most stores. You will probably not get the perfect grind, but you will get grinds that you can use without problem.
When grinding your coffee beans with a mortar and pestle, you must be careful not to crush them into non-filterable dust. You will need about two tablespoons of grind per cup that you want to brew.
Use the pestle to crush them against the bottom of the mortar. Stir them a little to make sure all the grains are crushed.
Hand chopper or grinder
If you are not familiar with this device, it works the same way as the old metal sharpeners that your elementary school teacher probably had on his desk. Meat grinders are devices used to finely cut all kinds of meat and vegetables.
It’s easy to understand how to chop the coffee beans with a chopper. This is a stainless steel or plastic machine with an internal blade assembly that you use with a crank to chop everything you put there, even the coffee beans.
To get your hash with a hand chopper, measure how much grain you want to grind. Turn the crank while slowly pouring the grain into the chopper. You can sift your grinds and put the chunks back into the grinder several times, if necessary.
Also, called a meat hammer, this kitchen tool is a small metal hammer used to soften and flatten pieces of meat. The mallet’s head has two flat sides covered with small bumps or spikes. You can probably guess how to proceed, but let us add a little helpful hint before you start breaking your coffee beans.
Pour your coffee beans into a zip-lock freezer bag. Evacuate all the air before sealing the bag to avoid blowing it up like a balloon. Wrap the bag in a cloth so as not to pierce it with the meat tenderizer. Use just a little force to pound the grains as evenly as possible. Check the condition of the beans after a few strokes so as not to make your coffee beans unusable.
As you can guess, this is the same tool you use to drive nails into things. Although he does not have the same surface of a meat tenderizer, he will do the same job in the same way. You probably will not get the best grind with a hammer, but you will be able to make coffee.
To crush your coffee beans with a hammer as neatly as possible, place them in a freezer zipper bag. Empty the air and seal the bag. Place a towel around the bag. Hammer evenly.
Whether you’re rolling with the standard wooden model, heavy marble or shiny stainless steel rolling pin, this kitchen utensil will allow you to grind your coffee beans without a grinder. This method gives you a little more precision than hammers while using an object that most people already have in their kitchen.
First, you will measure your coffee beans, then pour them into a plastic freezer bag. Push as much as possible, then seal the bag closed. Start driving slowly from one side of the bag to the other.
If you roll from the bottom of the bag to the zipper, it can force the coffee beans out of the zipper and cause a lot of work. You can add some extra protection by wrapping the bag in a towel but the extra padding could also extend your ride time.
If you do not have a real rolling pin, you can even use a bottle of glass or solid wine to roll on your coffee beans.
No grinder? No problem !
Whatever method you use, it is important to be patient and apply pressure as evenly as possible to get the best grind possible.