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Let’s get the answer straight out of the way – yes, you can grind your coffee in a blender.
To what extent and how good the final result will be, though – that’s a bit more complicated.
If you’re a devoted coffee connoisseur, then a grinder likely takes up a special place in your cupboard. And it’s likely not the first grinder you’ve ever had in your life either, because those things have a rather annoying tendency to stop effectively working rather out of the blue. Seems like yesterday it was fine, but today it keeps jamming and half the coffee beans come out either broken in several large pieces or so coarsely ground that they might as well not be ground.
And any self-respecting coffee aficionado knows that the secret to a good cup of espresso is grind consistency – which means the whole batch is rendered pretty much unusable.
Luckily there are several ways to grind your coffee when your grinder goes DOA, with a blender being the most optimal choice.
Why Grind Coffee in a Blender:
What makes the blender an optimal choice for coffee grinding is the ability to produce consistent grind, which can be more difficult with other appliances. The internet is rife with advice about grinding coffee without a grinder (it is more of a common problem than people seem to realize): you can grind the coffee using mortar and pestle, a rolling pin, even a meat tenderizer – and while all of those options will help you break down the coffee beans, the results will be more of a “well this is better than nothing” than a good grind.
A blender doesn’t have this problem: you can produce a good ground coffee with consistent grind using one. It pretty much works like a blade grinder would.
There are two big rules though:
- Be patient and go slow;
- Don’t aim for a fine grind.
The first and most important thing to know about coffee grinding is that the finer you try to ground your coffee the harder it will be to achieve a consistent grind. That requires a very specific approach – and that is why grinders are a thing in the first place.
When using any other gadget – be it a rolling pin, a food processor, or a blender – you’re aiming for a coarse or medium grind. You try to aim for finer, you’ll 1) likely not be able to achieve a consistent grind and damage the final taste quality of your coffee; 2) risk overheating the beans (more about that below).
Related Read: Can You Grind Coffee In A Vitamix?
How to Grind Coffee in a Blender:
If your grinder’s gone kaput and you have to grind your coffee in a blender, then get ready to spend some time in the kitchen. If you’re in a hurry, then you shouldn’t attempt it at all – you’re not likely to like the final results.
Don’t be too quick and don’t be too greedy – that’s the motto to remember before starting.
Here’s what you have to do to get the best results:
- Choose the right setting. These days some of the blenders actually have “grinder” settings, which is the best overall option – so if your blender has it, you can choose that one without thinking twice. If your blender is a bit of a simple model though – choose medium speed. If your blender doesn’t have speed options – then remember to manually stop it every once in a while, imitating the pulsing option on a food processor.
- Grind a small number of beans at a time. And when I say small, I mean small. Measure out no more than ¼ of a cup of coffee beans to be grounded at a time. I think everybody gets this, but it bears repeating – do not add any more coffee to the blender until you’re done with the current batch. Clean the ground coffee out of the blender very thoroughly and only add a new batch when you’re sure nothing’s left.
- Do not overdo it – if you want a fine grind, then you’re better off just going to the store and buying yourself a pack of readily ground coffee. As disappointing as it may sound, you just won’t be able to achieve quality fine grind without a grinder, even using a blender. Get your expectations straight – you’re looking at optimally coarse, maybe medium grind here (if you’re very careful and believe you can catch yourself before overdoing it).
In other words: go slow, be diligent, and while it may take some time, you’ll be able to reward yourself with a fine cup of coffee later.
Can You Grind Coffee In A Blender without Affecting Taste Quality?
There are of course coffee connoisseurs who are vehemently against grinding coffee in anything but a grinder, with blender being no exception.
These people do have a legitimate reason, through – grinding your coffee in a blender may ruin your coffee beans and leave you with a batch that results in undrinkable bitter-tasting coffee.
Coffee beans contain natural oils. You can somewhat extract them by grinding the coffee – so how consistent the coffee grind is (and how it’s roasted) determines in the end how smooth and flavorful the brew is. This is why pre-ground coffee never tastes as good as freshly ground one, and most coffee experts recommend grinding the coffee right before brewing it – so that full flavor and aroma can be enjoyed.
But blade grinders (and blenders, which use the same technique) can overheat the coffee while grinding it, and overheating the beans, and over-extracting oils, which results in bitter coffee.
This is exactly why it’s so important to be patient and measured when grounding coffee in a blender: if your coffee grind is too coarse, it will be under-extracted and less flavorful, if you try to grind it too fine – you’ll over-extract it.
Be measured, go slow, and learn when to stop – and your blender-ground coffee will taste just fine.
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