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How to Grind Coffee Beans Manually?

Grinding coffee beans is now a lot easier, thanks to tech innovations. Coffee makers help you crush your beans and brew a hot or cold cup of coffee. But what happens when you don’t have access to this equipment? You don’t have to put a hold on enjoying your favourite beverage when a power outage or the machine gets spoiled. It would help if you returned to the more traditional methods of manually grinding coffee beans.

Because grinding coffee beans manually seems outdated, many people need pointers on properly going about it. No worries, this article will enlighten you on how to grind coffee beans manually. Read on to learn about the pros and cons likewise.

manual coffee grinder


Why You Might Need to Grind Coffee Beans Manually

Say you’re out in the wild on a hunting or camping trip where it’s just you and the wild. Or you’re on the road travelling or maybe even at home without a functioning coffee maker. The mutual fact about these situations, as well as possibly any other “coffee maker absent” scenario you could think of, is the absence of a properly working coffee maker. This doesn’t have to mean you can’t prepare that pack or jar of coffee beans you’d gotten earlier and enjoy a nice cup of joe.

This is where grinding coffee beans manually come in, and there are several effective ways to grind your coffee beans and get the best from the brew. Depending on what you can procure, you’ll find that some of these methods are simple and easy to carry out.


Grinding Methods  

There are several manual grinding methods. Depending on your chosen strategies, you can quickly achieve your desired coffee ground size.

Mortar and Pestle

This method is used traditionally to grind spices, herbs and medicine. Coffee beans aren’t left out, especially when you desire a fine ground size like those used in brewing espresso. You could get coarse-sized grounds also like for French press coffee. This method uses both the hammering and rolling motion of the pestle.

You can get the ground sizes you desire depending on how well you apply the force and pressure. Ensure to grind small amounts per time for better consistency and a relatively uniform blend. The following are the steps to grind coffee beans using mortar and pestle.

  1. Put a small number of coffee beans into your mortar. Using a small-sized mortar, about a quarter of the mortar should do it. A third of it should be fine if you use a giant mortar. This amount of coffee beans is to achieve a consistent blend when grinding.
  2. Secure the mortar firmly with your less dominant hand. At the same time, you use your more dominant hand to grind with the pestle for optimal efficiency.
  3. Forcibly crush the beans with the pestle in a gentle but firm hammer-like fashion. Following this, using a rolling or swirling motion, crush the smaller pieces from initially hammering. Don’t forget all corners to ensure consistency or uniformity.
  4. Feel free to add more beans to the grind to meet your desired amount. Optionally, you could complete the first set and restart the process for more grounds. After the beans have been crushed, use the pestle in a circular motion to grind the beans more to attain a more refined blend and the desired consistency.
  5. If you need to make more coffee, remove all grounds and start again at step 1.


The pros to this method include the following

  • You get more control over the entire process than with electrical grinders.
  • There isn’t much mess to clean up after.


  • The method is labour intensive.
  • The method could be time consuming


Rolling Pin

This method is quite effective because the rolling pin crushes and grinds coffee beans. The rolling pin is designed to help mash coffee beans to attain a medium to fine ground size. You can also achieve coarse ground size for coffee like a French press. You’ll need some elbow grease, a plastic ziplock bag or parchment paper, and a chopping board to use the rolling pin. The bag or paper avoids the beans flying around under pressure by the rolling pin.

The following are the steps to using a rolling pin

  1. Pack your desired amount of coffee beans into the zip lock bag or in-between two parchment papers. Fold the edges of the papers to seal the beans in and reduce the scattering of the grounds. This step helps with the efficient collection of the coffee ground. Ensure to press the air out of the ziplock bag to prevent it from popping.
  2. Place the coffee beans on the chopping board. Then press down on the sealed beans with the rolling pin like you would a hammer to crush them. Crush the coffee beans and roll over them repeatedly. At this point, you can hear the crushing noises.
  3. Continue repeatedly rolling over the coffee beans until you achieve the desired consistency. If you use a transparent plastic ziplock bag, you can quickly check the texture through the plastic.
  4. Repeat as much as needed until all the remnants are crushed. This method is labour intensive and might take some time. You have to be patient.
  5. After attaining the consistency you desire, you can collect your coffee ground.


  • More control as you get to use both hands on the rolling pin
  • Unlike the pestle and mortar method, this method simultaneously crushes and grinds coffee beans.


  • Requires time and patience
  • This method is labour intensive. You’ll need that elbow grease.



This method is similar to the rolling pin method. Here, you use a hammer that offers a decent pressing force for possibly a lesser time. That said, the coffee beans will be sealed in a plastic ziplock bag, so you should refrain from using the full force of the hammer so you don’t damage the pack, your counter or even your fingers. You can use a mallet or meat tenderiser in place of a hammer. The steps are as follows:

  1. Put the coffee beans in the zip lock bag or parchment paper. Crush the beans with the hammer or mallet by pressing firmly on the beans.
  2. Don’t strike the coffee beans as you’d do to a nail.
  3. Crush repeatedly while occasionally moving the finer grounds away from the remnants to concentrate your crushing. This will help to attain consistency and a fine grind.
  4. Continuously move the crushed beans to one side of the bag to ensure a fine grind.
  5. Collect your coffee ground when you’ve attained your desired consistency and size.

The use of a hammer mostly gives a coarse to medium grind size. This size of the grind is suitable for a cold brew. In the absence of a hammer or mallet, use a large knife. Use the flat sides to crush the coffee grounds. A butcher’s knife or a chef’s knife is preferable. You’ll get a medium to medium fine ground size with the knife.


  • The hammer has a better handle, and so does the knife.
  • This method could be faster than the others.


  • Some people might obliviously try to strike the beans. This could injure their fingers or ruin their counters.


Hand Grinders or Garlic Press

While it can’t be compared to a coffee grinder, hand grinders and garlic press are simple. Place the coffee beans into the compartment where garlic or meat is held. You press hard to squeeze the grounds out. Repeat the process repeatedly until you attain the best ground size possible.

The holes in the mincer are usually big and could prevent you from getting a more acceptable ground size. To solve this, combine this method with another manual process, like the hammer or rolling pin. Due to the small compartment, you can only grind a few coffee beans at a time.


  • The mincer is sturdy and easy to use.
  • Easy to clean
  • Has value for its money
  • Ergonomic
  • Quiet
  • Small/ Portable
  • Less expensive


  • The holes make it difficult to get a good ground size.

All these methods can produce coarse-grind coffee.


Why Grind Your Coffee

Grinding your coffee beans is the best possible option to get the most out of coffee beans. Once coffee beans are ground, they begin to lose their flavour. You’ll find that some coffee shops have coffee-making machines that brew coffee from scratch. Customers input their orders into the coffee makers, and the coffee beans are ground.

This brewing method is better than pre-ground coffee as it offers the most out of the coffee beans. Grinding your coffee beans at home allows for better-brewed coffee with all the flavour, aroma, and nutrients.



In conclusion, grinding coffee beans manually could come in handy in many situations. No knowledge is a waste, especially when preparing your cup of coffee when the odds of a faulty or absent coffee maker are against you. This article should’ve enlightened you on how to use the traditional methods of manually grinding coffee beans. Feel free to use what you’ve learned here if you ever need it.


Related articles:

How to Grind Coffee Beans without Grinder?

Can You Brew Coffee Beans Without Using a Coffee Grinder?