Coffee beans require a high amount of torque when ground because they are naturally small and hard in nature. Food processors are designed for chopping and grinding softer and larger foods, not grinding small coffee beans.
You can grind your coffee beans in a food processor. You'll get a medium-fine grind, but a food processor will chop the beans unevenly, resulting in a grind that isn't consistent. Grinding coffee in a food processor takes more effort and often results in a bitter or weaker brew.
Grinding coffee beans in a coffee grinder will give you a more even grind and an overall better flavor. In this article, we'll cover the process for grinding coffee in a food processor, the pros and cons of doing so, and some other, better methods of grinding coffee.
How Do I Use a Food Processor to Grind Coffee Beans Instead of a Grinder?
Ideally, you should only grind the amount of coffee that you'll use right away. A large amount of ground coffee is more likely to go stale. However, if you're tight on space or want to have pre-ground coffee on hand for another time, it's best not to grind your beans in a food processor.
To grind coffee beans in a food processor instead of a coffee grinder, insert the blade attachment on your food processor and turn it on. It's likely to be a blender-style blade, but some models may feature a disc-shaped blade similar to those of coffee grinders.
Grinds will be extremely coarse at first and then finer as you continue processing. If the blades appear to be struggling, stop the food processor and stir the contents with a spoon. Continue grinding as long as necessary until the coffee is ground to your preferred consistency.
When breaking down the process and pros and cons of grinding coffee beans in a food processor, you'll find that there are some obvious advantages and disadvantages. Let's look at what you need to grind coffee beans in a food processor, the process, and some of the most evident pros and cons of grinding coffee beans this way.
What You Need
To grind coffee beans in your food processor, you'll need a food processor, a bowl or container to hold the ground up coffee beans, and, of course, some whole beans. Your food processor should be able to handle up to one cup of coffee beans at a time, but if you know for certain that it will be overloaded, you can grind in batches.
How to Use a Food Processor for Grinding Coffee Beans
If you're using a food processor, pulse the machine until you get the consistency you want. If you're using a blender, blend on high for 30 seconds and then scrape down the sides with a spatula once or twice.
Most food processors have multiple speeds, so you can start at a low speed and increase it as needed. Depending on the model, some food processors require pressing buttons while others feature touchpads. Either way, it's important to note that you should never overwork the bean. Your food processor will likely give you a medium grind, a good consistency for a french press.
Coffee beans should be stored in an airtight container like other dried foods like spices or grains. Airtight containers will preserve their flavor longer because they won't lose any of their essential oils due to exposure to air.
Pros and Cons
The pros and cons of grinding coffee beans in a food processor are the same as those of using a blender. The main advantage is that it's less expensive, but the disadvantage is that it takes longer to achieve results. Here are a few additional pros and cons.
|Food Processor Pros||Food Processor Cons|
|Multi-purpose use||Grinding coffee could damage blades|
|Common household appliance||Hard to customize the grind size|
|Inexpensive option vs. high-end grinders||Requires practice to get an even grind|
|Ability to grind beans in bulk||Inconsistent grind|
If you find yourself with a bag of whole bean coffee and don't own a coffee grinder yet, there are some advantages to using a food processor. When it comes to the quality and consistency of the grind, food processors fall short when compared to coffee grinders.
Tips for Grinding Coffee Beans in a Food Processor
Here are a few tips for grinding your coffee beans in a food processor
- Grind only enough coffee beans for what you plan on using immediately or within a few days.
- If the food processor has multiple settings, choose the one labeled "coarse."
- Do not stop pulsing until you feel the blade slowing down and struggling against the bean mass. This is when it's beginning to get close to optimal consistency. To ensure a better uniformity in grind size, run through this process no fewer than three times.
- Once you've got the desired consistency for your coffee beans, pour out your grounds and store them in an airtight container. Make sure to use them within two weeks or so if stored correctly, so they don't go stale.
Grinding coffee beans with a food processor is quick and easy, but you won't get the same consistent results as using a burr grinder. Following these tips and tricks, however, will help you achieve a more uniform and consistent grind. Grinding with a food processor takes practice and patience, but a suitable grind can be achieved.
What Is the Difference Between a Coffee Grinder and a Food Processor?
There are many differences when it comes to grinding coffee beans with a grinder vs. a food processor. A food processor does not have the same type of rotating, serrated blade that is found in a grinder. Instead, it has one round metal blade that spins quickly when turned on. Food processors are made for shredding and chopping foods, specifically softer foods like fruits and meats.
The main difference between using a coffee grinder and a food processor is the speed and blade design. The food processor's one round blade is designed to cut and chop through foods like fruit or meat, not grind them.
Food processors work quickly but don't provide the same consistency that a coffee grinder can achieve. Grinders tend to spin slower than food processors, which allows the coffee beans to be ground into uniform pieces for a more consistent taste in your beverage.
Coffee Grinder Blades
The type of blades found in different coffee grinder models can help determine how coarse or fine your end product is. Coffee grinders have blades made from one of two materials: stainless steel or ceramic.
Stainless steel blades have a cutting edge that is similar to those found in food processors, which can cause inconsistency among your coffee grounds.
Ceramic blades are harder than steel, so they typically last longer and cut more slowly—similar to how knives work. They also produce less heat than steel blades during the grinding process, which preserves the flavor of your beans, so you keep all of their delicious nuances intact.
A better option is to use a coffee grinder with ceramic blades because they:
- Make less noise than steel blades do while grinding (if you can hear it at all) because the ceramic blade cuts more slowly;
- Produce less heat during grinding, which means your beans won't be as altered by high temperatures;
- Are harder than steel blades, thus lasting longer; and
- Result in more grinds-per-second (GPS), which means you get faster processing power.
Coffee grinders with ceramic blades cost more than their steel blade counterparts (typically, you can expect to pay between $35 and $200 for a decent ceramic blade grinder). Still, they're worth the investment because of how much better-tasting your coffee will be in comparison.
Food Processor Blades
Food processor blades are incredibly sharp and usually made of stainless steel, which makes them a bad choice for coffee grinding. Stainless steel blades in food processors are great for cutting through cold, hard foods like vegetables and cheese. They're also sturdy enough to stand up to frequent use (and abuse). When it comes to grinding coffee beans, however, stainless steel blades aren't great.
Stainless steel is a harder material than ceramic, but it still won't hold up to the steps required for grinding coffee beans. Beans ground with stainless steel blades are more likely to clump, and the size of those clumps will be inconsistent.
Is It Okay to Grind Coffee Beans In a Blender?
If you find yourself without a coffee grinder or food processor, you may wonder if you can grind your coffee beans in a blender. Blenders are not designed for grinding coffee beans and can actually damage your appliance in the process.
It's not suggested that you use a blender to grind coffee beans. Most blenders have stainless steel blades that generate heat, much like food processors. The natural oils of the beans might begin to cook as heat is produced, resulting in a harsh and bitter flavor.
Can You Brew Coffee Beans Without Grinding Them?
If you grind your beans before brewing, it helps extract flavor evenly. This leaves no room for error when brewing–you can't make up for under-extraction with careful timing.
Brewing coffee without grinding your beans is possible; however, it will not produce the same flavor or consistency as ground coffee. The grinds are what enable water to interact with all parts of the bean for full flavor extraction when brewing.
An alternative method would be to use pre-ground, coarsely-ground, or finely-ground coffee in lieu of whole beans. This process still requires a clean coffee grinder to ensure proper fineness and remove any remaining chunks after processing.
What Type of Coffee Bean Grind is Best?
Whether you're using a food processor or a coffee grinder, the type of grind you should use will vary depending on your personal taste. For example, a finer grind is used for espresso, while an extra coarse grind is best for cold brew coffee. Here is a bit more information on what type of grind best suits each brewing method.
|Grind Size||Brewing Method|
|Extra coarse||Cold Brew Coffee, Cowboy Coffee|
|Coarse||French Press or Percolator|
|Medium-coarse||Chemex or Coffee maker|
|Medium||Cone-shaped Pour-over Brewers or Flat Bottom Drip Coffee Machines|
|Medium-fine||Cone-shaped Pour-over Brewers, vacuum brewers, and AeroPress|
|Extra Fine||Turkish coffee|
The bottom line when dealing with this question is that you always want to find a way to grind your beans instead of choosing pre-ground coffee without the intention of using the freshly-ground product immediately after drinking it.
Coffee Grinder vs. Food Processor: What Is the Best Way to Grind Coffee Beans?
While food processors offer a quicker finished product, they are not capable of grinding coffee down to the same specific level as a coffee grinder. Coffee Grinders, on the other hand, give you full control over how fine or coarse you want your product to be. This allows for flexibility when applying different techniques to make various forms of coffee.
When choosing how to grind your whole coffee beans, a coffee grinder with ceramic blades is one of the best options out there. Coffee grinders like this are able to deliver the most consistent product: a consistent grind for your french press, coffee maker, pour-over, or espresso machine.
This is opposed to a food processor that pulverizes some of the grounds into dust while others remain whole. Professional baristas will always choose their coffee grinder over a food processor when creating new drinks and recipes for taste consistency.
With all these factors in mind, it's easy to see why coffee grinders rule over food processors when it comes to grinding. For people who want control of how fine their grounds are, need flexibility in what forms they use their ground product in, and demand quality without fail, you will never go wrong with choosing an actual coffee grinder made specifically for grinding whole coffee beans.
To ensure freshness and flavor for optimal tastes, use a high-quality coffee grinder to achieve the best ground product possible. Coffee grinders can produce a whole new world of tasty sensations when it comes to making your favorite beverage.
Using a Food Processor as a Coffee Grinder
Grinding coffee beans with a food processor or blender will always produce a lower quality of ground product, with less flavor and consistency than that of a coffee grinder.
Grinding coffee in a food processor can be done quickly, but it cannot be done with enough consistency to achieve an optimal brew. Coffee grinders offer such consistent and uniformed grinding, as well as many other helpful features that prevent coffee from going stale.