Nothing can feel better than starting your day with a freshly brewed coffee but what a disaster would it be if you find your coffee grinder broken! Or, maybe when you need that kick of coffee to pull off an all-nighter and your coffee grinder is not agreeing to work that could be worse. Now, you may think what is the harm if we make coffee with whole coffee beans without grinding them. But you can't. So, let's fact-check why grinding coffee is so essential.
A roasted coffee bean when ground splits into two parts, one part is 30% water-soluble and the rest is a substance which is very similar to wood and does not dissolve in water. Grinding coffee beans opens up the potentiality of coffee to serve you better with that magical taste and enticing aroma, which are irresistible. Mixing the ground coffee with water accelerates the extraction efficiency of water to dissolve in itself the maximum part of usable coffee.
Now comes the question, How? When broken into parts, the surface area of the coffee beans increases and the hot water can work its magic on the flavor components to bring out that richness of coffee. Viola! You have the perfect ground coffee for brewing. If you want to know about the best coffee beans according to your needs, you can read this detailed guide here.
Why Pre-Ground Coffee doesn't satisfy your taste buds?
A Coffee Bean is protected with an outer layer of covering which keeps the coffee oils intact and fresh. As long as you don't experiment with beans the flavour components, which are really volatile, delicate and water-soluble substances, are safe. But once the protective covering is hampered, all bets are off. Any exposure to oxygen, moisture or direct sunlight will only keep depleting the quality of the coffee. So, now I guess you have understood why grinding the coffee just before brewing has always given you such satisfactory taste.
Pros and Cons of Coffee Grinding
Grinding coffee beans before making coffee gives your mouth an overpowering taste which is sensational for your taste buds and you feel that instant boost of energy. The only con is the amount of effort it takes every time you prepare a cup of coffee.
- The great deal of satisfaction you get from the freshly ground coffee cannot be seconded.
- You get a chance to sense the delightful aroma of the coffee, pouring out from the beans.
- The whole beans stay fresh for a longer period of time.
- You are required to keep a device or tool handy every time.
- If you are opting for methods which do not involve a grinder, your efforts are doubled.
- As grinder or tools are completely necessary, grinding your coffee while travelling is not possible.
How To Grind Coffee Beans Manually?
Using a Mortar and Pestle
Step 1: Measure out how much coffee you would need with scales or measuring cup and then put it in the mortar.
Step 2: Now comes a time to show your strength. You have to begin crushing the coffee beans evenly. Make sure that you are not only concentrating on the middle but also accumulating the beans from around and crushing them. You need to keep on grinding them until you get the desired size.
This method is perfect for Cold Brew, French Press, Filter and Turkish.
- Mortar and Pestle is the most convenient method to achieve extremely fine grind.
- Keep on checking the texture frequently so that you don't overdo and grind the beans too fine.
- Check whether your motor and pastel are both clean and free of any oil residue or spices before starting.
2. Using a Rolling Pin
Step 1: Measure the quantity of coffee you would need and pour it into a thick ziplock bag. Make sure to release all the air from the bag prior to sealing it. You know what happens when there is excess air in a plastic bag, right? We used to play a lot with that.
Step 2: Roll out the beans by breaking them gently and then grinding them until you achieve the desired size. This will be the most budget-friendly way as every household already owns a rolling pin.
This method is perfect for Cold Brew and F.P.
- This method might not be convenient for lightly roasted coffee as those are denser than dark roasted coffee.
- This can be harsh on the environment if you decide to not reuse the plastic bags.
3. Using a Hammer or Meat Tenderizer
Step 1: The precautions are really necessary for this method. Layout a towel on the surface. Measure the amount of coffee needed and put it inside a ziplock bag. Place another towel on top of it. The towel will prevent the bag from getting holes while hammering.
Step 2: Break the whole coffee beans gently and then keep on hammering it until it becomes finer.
This method is perfect for Cold Brew and French Press.
- Be careful to grind coffee on a surface which is not fragile.
4. Using a Knife
Step 1: Layout the coffee beans on a large cutting board. Cover it with a tea towel or paper towel so that while breaking them, they do not fly out here and there, creating a huge mess in your kitchen.
Step 2: Placing the flat side of the knife, press the coffee as hard as you can and start grinding. Once they break into smaller pieces, you can execute a push and pull technique which is popular among chefs. To apply more force place your hand on the flat part and sway it in a push and pull direction to grind finely. This will help in squashing the beans in finer particles. So, now even without a coffee grinder, your coffee cravings are sorted.
Suitable for Cold Brew and F.P.
- Opt for a wide butcher knife.
- If you at all decide to cut the coffee beans with the sharp edge, hold the knife firmly with one hand and place the other hand on top of the blade and then move it like a see-saw. This will make sure you do not lose our finger in the process.
5. Using a Hand Mincer
Step 1: You are already familiar with the drill by now. Measure the amount of coffee you want to brew.
Step 2: Place the beans into the mincer, keep a container at the bottom to collect the ground coffee, and start turning the handle. Keep on mincing till it takes the shape of fine grind.
This is one of the best manual coffee beans grinder.
Suitable for Cold Brew and FP, Filter and Turkish.
- Make sure to clean the hand mincer so that you do not end up with the flavor of meat or spice in your coffee.
How to choose the right grind?
The way you grind your coffee results in how your coffee will turn out. If you are using French Press grind for making Espresso, your cup of coffee will taste awful. Every brewing method has its own mechanism to extract the best. Hence, every type has its own grind coffee size to optimize the flavorful extraction. Remember a coffee maker is necessary to get the best results.
Coarse Grind for F.P. and Cold Brew
Both of them are brewed by immersing the coffee entirely in water. French press takes the longest to brew among all other hot brewing methods. Cold brewing takes around 18 hours. But a cup of coffee of any one of these can taste luscious. A coarse grind is appropriate in these cases as the water will get ample time to bring out the best flavour.
The texture of the ground coffee should be around the measurement of sea salt.
Medium Grind for Filter
This follows the pour-over style. The best results can be achieved by brewing through filter coffee machines. This process is carried out with the help of a brewing device, a set of scales, a paper filter and a pour-over kettle.
Medium grind coffee beans are thrown into the brewer water is poured following a specified time. This takes 2 to 4 minutes. The medium grind is perfect to let the water flow through it slowly enough to extract the flavors of the coffee but also fast enough so that the coffee does not get over-extracted, resulting in bitterness. Medium ground coffee should have the size of brown sugar.
Finely Ground for Espresso
Finely ground coffee plays a major part in bringing out the deliciousness in Espresso. This resists the water from flowing and creates a pressure above the water level in coffee machines. This built-up pressure forces the water to flow through the narrow spacing between the coffee particles, extracting the rich flavor of the coffee, people are going gaga over. The coffee maker should allow a specific brew time to let the water work its magic. The texture of this should be that fine beach sand.
Although none of the methods is as effortless as having a coffee grinder at home, these are some to your rescue in times of emergencies. You can discover other methods too to grind coffee with your available household tools and get creative.
John Mac is a full-time traveller who is also an avid coffee lover. He started this blog writes articles about coffee-related topics, product reviews to reach thousands of people. You can reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org