Grinding coffee beans only when you’re ready to brew them helps preserve their rich taste, aroma, and natural flavors. Expensive coffee grinders make this process almost effortless, but can you grind coffee beans in a food processor?
Because they have almost the same mechanism, it’s possible to grind coffee beans using your food processor.
However, a lot of true coffee connoisseurs beg to disagree.
Coffee Grinder vs. Food Processor: What’s The Difference?
Table of Contents
- 1 Coffee Grinder vs. Food Processor: What’s The Difference?
- 2 Can You Grind Coffee Beans in a Food Processor?
- 3 Tips When Grinding Coffee Beans Using a Food Processor
- 4 What To Use if You Don’t Have a Food Processor
- 5 Best Way To Grind Coffee Beans
Generally speaking, a coffee grinder works pretty much the same way as a food processor.
The biggest difference between coffee grinders and food processors is in how they work on the beans.
The sharp blades of a food processor will chop coffee beans into smaller yet unevenly sized pieces.
In comparison, a specialized coffee grinder will yield evenly sized ground coffee beans.
The reason behind this is that they use different blade types.
Food processors are all-purpose chopping devices that use an S-shaped blade.
They work by rotating in the center of the grinding machine, cutting and chopping food repeatedly until you have your desired outcome.
Burr coffee grinders, on the other hand, have two sets of blades: an inner blade and a stationary outer blade.
The inner set of blades spin around to grind the beans against the outer blades.
This grinding method results in a more customized cut.
Speaking of precise cuts, the blades of coffee grinders can either be flat or conical burrs.
Flat burrs are made of two ring blades that lie flat on each other and are often horizontally aligned.
Meanwhile, conical burrs have blades that sit inside another, grinding coffee beans vertically.
Furthermore, you can use a burr grinder to mill coffee in different sizes.
For example, you can set it to do a coarser grind, medium grind, or finer grind, depending on your preferred brewing method.
If you’re a certified coffee aficionado, it’s a good idea to invest in a good-quality coffee grinder.
Can You Grind Coffee Beans in a Food Processor?
So, can you grind coffee beans in a food processor?
If you’re new to the art of coffee-making and don’t want to spend money on a specialized grinder, it’s perfectly fine to use a food processor.
Some even use a kitchen blender if a food processor is not available.
How To Grind Coffee Beans Using a Food Processor
There’s no doubt that a food processor is an incredibly useful tool that all kitchens should have.
If you wish to try using it to grind coffee beans, here’s how to do it
Step 1: Pour the desired volume of beans into the food processor.
Note that most food processors will need more fresh beans than you would want to grind because they have larger containers.
You can store the leftover ground beans in an airtight jar or zip-locked container to retain their freshness.
Step 2: Start processing.
Secure the lid and make sure it’s firmly in place.
Use the pulse setting or pulse mode to grind coffee beans for three to five seconds at a time.
Repeat this step several times until you achieve your desired bean size and grind consistency.
Gently shake the processor and give it a good tap so that the coffee bits at the top fall to the bottom of the grinding chamber.
How To Achieve Your Preferred Coarseness
Compared to using a coffee grinder, achieving your desired coarseness is not easy with a food processor.
Here’s what you can expect when grinding coffee for different brew methods using a food processor:
A French press coffee calls for a coarse grind.
Unfortunately, it can be tricky to make course ground coffee beans using the pulse function of a food processor.
In fact, you will most probably end up with beans that are too rough.
As a result, you may not be able to extract enough coffee flavor even if you pour hot water or milk.
Your best bet is to keep grinding a new batch of coffee beans until you achieve the perfect coarse ground or just opt for a finer ground.
This bean size is the ideal espresso grind.
It’s also what you want for pour-over methods of brewing coffee, such as when making a cold brew.
To achieve medium-fine particles, process your coffee beans for several minutes until you reach a fine, almost powder-like output.
For stovetop espresso makers, you need a fine coffee grind.
Process the coffee beans a bit longer and then sift them using a fine sieve to remove bits of coffee.
Tips When Grinding Coffee Beans Using a Food Processor
Still finding it hard to grind coffee beans using your food processor? Perhaps these tips can help you out.
Work on smaller batches.
For grinding coffee beans, it’s best to use a mini-processor, such as a Magic Bullet, which can accommodate a few scoops of coffee beans.
This way, you can get smaller bean fragments that offer a rich, deep coffee flavor.
Check your food processor to see if it has a grind function. If it has, you’re lucky.
This means you’re likely to have a more consistent grind each time.
Generally, you will need about two tablespoons of beans for every six ounces of water.
Do you need a slightly bigger batch for a pot of coffee, for example?
Begin by grinding a small amount and then gradually add more beans to the processor to ensure a finer grind.
Wash the container after use.
Wash the chamber or container of your food processor with dish soap immediately after use to get rid of the grease and coffee smell.
If you can still smell the coffee, clean the container with baking soda and vinegar.
Do the same before grinding coffee beans if you have used your processor to mill herbs and spices.
What To Use if You Don’t Have a Food Processor
Not all kitchens can afford a specialized coffee grinder, much less a food processor.
Even so, there’s no reason to lose hope. You can use the following tools to grind coffee beans instead:
A blender uses the same mechanism as a food processor and can crush whole coffee beans just as effectively.
Blitz them at medium-high speed until you obtain your preferred consistency.
Mortar and Pestle
While it is a labor-intensive process, this method releases more fragrant oils in coffee beans, giving you a stronger and richer flavor.
Hold the mortar in place while you forcibly press down and crush the beans with the pestle.
Do this in a twisting motion until you achieve your desired consistency in grind size.
Classic Rolling Pin Method
Pour the beans in a sealed bag and lay them flat on your kitchen counter.
Using a rolling pin or bottle, press down and crush the beans.
Once crushed, roll the pin over the beans back and forth until you get the bean size you like.
This method takes a lot of time and effort, but it gives you a finer texture.
Using a rolling pin requires a little elbow grease to ensure uniformity.
Best Way To Grind Coffee Beans
A burr grinder is undoubtedly the best way to get a consistent grind size.
That said, not having a proper coffee grinder shouldn’t stop you from enjoying your morning cup.
Although using a food processor doesn’t guarantee a uniform grind, you can still get a good outcome if you follow the steps and tips discussed above.