If you are talking about not having a coffee bean grinder at home but having the desire to grind your coffee beans, then yes, the answer to this age-old question is you can grind coffee beans in a food processor.
However, the answer to the questions “can you brew coffee beans without grinding them?” is a big no-no, because coffee beans need to broken down to at least a coarse consistency to produce the elixir that we all love.
Technically you can brew them as they are, but the results will be less than satisfactory, and you may end up wasting a perfectly lovely batch of coffee beans. Now, as for the risky venture of creating cold brew coffee without grinding, we recommend that you leave this to the experts as the risk of bean wastage is also high.
The Difference Between Coffee Grinders and Food Processors
The main difference between coffee grinders and blenders or food processors is the type of metal that spins inside them.
Coffee grinders are equipped with burrs, which are technically surfaces that are abrasive enough to cut and crush coffee beans. Compare these with the sharp blades of a food processor, and you will get a good idea of why the two are radically different, but can still deliver excellent results when grinding coffee beans.
Coffee grinders, especially the older models, are equipped either with conical burrs or flatter burrs. When you change the setting or orientation of the blades (i.e., their distance to one another), you also change the primary setting of the grind, and you will produce different types of coffee.
The main advantage of using coffee grinders is uniformity. Because coffee -mills are specifically designed for grinding down coffee beans, the technology has reached the level where the individual bits of coffee are consistent in size. In return, you will be able to get the good coffee extract from your beans.
How to Grind Coffee Beans With a Blender?
As we’ve already discussed in the previous section, food processors and coffee grinders operate on the same principles mechanically, but they differ with the blades that are installed in them. If you are not a stickler for the consistency of the size of the output (after grinding), then you can use your food processor at home to create fine coffee grinds. Here are the steps to accomplish this.
- If you are interested in creating medium-fine grind, allow your food processor to blend your coffee beans for a few minutes until you get a fine, nearly powder output. Medium-fine grinding is done for pour-over methods of brewing coffee. Medium-fine grinding is recommended for people who want to extract more of the good stuff from their coffee beans.
- What about coarse grind? Coarse ground coffee beans can be produced by using the “pulse” function of your food processor. Be careful, however – if you underdo the coarse grinding, you may end up with coffee that is too weak and lacks flavor. If this is the case, then the coffee beans are too rough, and the hot water or milk cannot extract sufficient coffee extract from it. The only way to remedy this is by working on batch again to make them slightly finer than before. Be careful with the power level of the food processor, though, as too much blending can turn the coffee beans into medium-fine particles.
- Take note also that many modern food processors are designed to double as coffee grinders. Check your food processor if it has a grind function, and this is likely what you are looking for. To get the best results in any scenario, however, you need to perform the grinding in batches. Do not overdo it, even if the container can handle so much more coffee. Adding only small quantities of coffee beans will ensure that you will get a more uniform output from what you’re working with.
- Another reason why it is more practical to grind coffee beans in smaller quantities is the heat factor when using powerful food processors. It is a well-known fact that modern food processors can generate heat cavities when the motor is running at high speed. Heat cavities are bad news for coffee beans because the excess heat can cook the oils present in the coffee beans. This might sound like something you would like, but trust us, it’s not. When you inadvertently cook the natural oils in coffee, the flavor becomes harsh, and the bitterness factor just spikes unnaturally. So better not risk it if you like good coffee.
- To get the best results, run your food processor first at the desired setting. Add small quantities of coffee beans until you get the consistency that you like. You must see what is happening with the lower amounts before you begin adding more coffee beans. Eventually, you will get the hang of it. Do not forget to note what you notice in the DIY coffee beans when you use your food processor at home.
Other Methods of Grinding Beans
- Mortar and pestle – Not weird, but an artisan method of grinding coffee. Add small quantities of coffee beans to your mortar and begin crushing the beans until you get an excellent consistency. This method of grinding beans can produce the perfect espresso grind. The downside is if you are not used to manually crushing things, it may require some getting used to. You need to apply the right amount of pressure so you can get a uniform grind as you move along. Again, don’t overdo it on the first try, you need to do it slowly, and you need to add small quantities of beans as you go along.
- Hammer – Don’t have a mortar and pestle? Place your coffee beans in a small bag and sandwich the bag with some parchment. Use the hammer as if you were tenderizing meat. There should be enough power with each strike, but don’t overdo it as you are crushing coffee beans, not driving home nails.