The Low-Tech Way To Grind Coffee Beans Without A Grinder

If you're someone who takes their coffee seriously, that usually means ending up with a bunch of coffee-related accessories, including a grinder. Coffee is something with a lot of specific rules, and a community dedicated to testing every strange way to make it in the hopes of getting even a slightly better taste, so you know everyone is paying a lot of attention to grind size. It doesn't matter if you are going pour-over, French press, or making cold brew — according to Homegrounds, several styles of coffee brewing work best with a coarse grind. Sadly, most pre-ground coffee is finely ground, so if you are in any way particular about your coffee, you are going to be grinding it yourself.

The truth is that even if you aren't concerned about grind size, fresh ground coffee really is just better. As Coffee Confidential notes, once coffee beans are ground, they immediately start to lose flavor through the process of oxidation. In fact, coffee can lose much of its flavor and aroma within 15 minutes of being ground. This makes a grinder seem like the one coffee tool that is essential for the perfect homemade cup. However, there are some workarounds you can use if you don't have one at hand or just don't feel like shelling out the money.

If you don't have a grinder, you can smash your coffee by hand

Modern kitchen appliances certainly are convenient, but they are all standing in for something that used to be done by hand. In this case, your grinder is taking the place of smashing your coffee beans with something heavy and flat. According to Nomad Coffee Club, if you don't have access to a grinder, you can still break up your beans by putting them in a sealed zip-top bag and whacking them repeatedly using a heavy pan like cast iron or even a hammer. It's not the most civilized way to grind coffee, but it is one of the more fun ways to start your day.

Crushing your coffee like this won't produce the kind of medium grounds you need for drip coffee, but the larger chunks will work well for French press or cold brew. MasterClass notes you can get similar results with a mortar and pestle, although that might take more effort with your smashing implements having a smaller surface area. And if you don't have a French press to work with these larger coffee grounds, you can substitute here too by putting your grounds in any heatproof glass jar or container and pouring boiling water over them. Then filter your coffee through a strainer and you should be good to go. Will it be quite as good as the normal way? No. But will it be coffee? Yes, it will, and sometimes that is the only thing that matters.