If You Accidentally Bought Whole Coffee Beans, Here’s What To Do!

Last Updated on September 13, 2023

Uh oh. You’re yearning for a cup of coffee and suddenly realize that you accidentally bought whole coffee beans from the grocery store. If you don’t have a coffee grinder ready and waiting, those beans can go stale and be wasted. And wasting money on anything is not cool. And you won’t get your cup of joe, either.

No worries, my friend.

We’re going to show you six ways to grind coffee beans without a coffee grinder, using common kitchen appliances like a blender or food processor. You may be surprised at how simple it is to make coffee using whole beans and ordinary kitchen appliances and utensils!

accidentally bought whole coffee beans - here is what to do

Here’s the really exciting part of this little whole coffee bean challenge. If you’ve never tried freshly ground coffee before, we think that once you try it, there’s no going back.

The difference in flavor between fresh ground and pre-ground beans is truly amazing. We’ll provide some tips on choosing the right type of grinder for your needs. Because, yes, we’re that confident you’re going to love your cup of joe with those freshly ground beans.

By the way, if you click on a link and then decide to make a purchase, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

You’ve Accidentally Bought Whole Coffee beans – What Now?

what to do if you accidentally bought whole coffee beans

So there you are, staring at the little bag of whole coffee beans. It’s time for a cup of joe and those little guys are just not ready to be brewed yet. As much as you’d like to wiggle your nose and turn them into pre ground coffee, it’s just not going to happen.

When you use your common sense to think through this, there are several ways that you can grind up those beans without a grinder. In fact, we’ll line it out for you right here so you can decide which method will work best for you based on what is available right now in the kitchen.

There are six relatively simple methods you can use to grind up the whole coffee beans. Let’s take a look at each of them.

We’ll put one important aspect on the table right now, friend. This is not an exact science, and these methods to grind coffee beans without a coffee grinder will involve some experimentation.

whiskey barrel coffee gift

Here is a simple coffee grind size chart for your reference, if you’re unsure of the size of the grind for your particular brewing method:

a simple coffee grind size chart

Use a Food Processor to Grind Whole Coffee Beans

using a food processor to grind up whole coffee beans

Here are some tips for using a food processor to grind up whole coffee beans:

  • Put your beans in the food processor.
  • Pulse them just a few times at first to get started, then pulse more frequently when you have a feel for what works best in your machine.
  • It helps to listen to the sound of the beans as they are ground – you’ll be able to tell when they are getting close to a fine enough grind
  • Remember that you don’t need to process all of it in one go, and in fact it’s better to grind the coffee beans in small batches
  • This method will give you more control over the grind
  • You can experiment with the grind and how small or large you want it to be.
  • If one of the batches is ground too fine, you’ve not wasted too many of your whole beans
  • You should be able to get a medium or medium-fine grind. Try to keep the beans to a medium grind if you are using a drip coffee maker

A Blender Can Grind Up Whole Beans

blenders can be used to grind up coffee beans

If you have a blender handy, here are some tips:

  • Turn on the blender at a low setting, and pulse it for a few seconds.
  • Then shake the blender a bit to redistribute the beans before pulsing again.
  • As with the food processor, listen to the sound of the beans as they are being ground up and check them frequently
  • Be sure to keep the lid on the blender
  • Pulse, shake, and listen

Grab the Rolling Pin

a rolling pin can be used to crush whole coffee beans

Most kitchens have a rolling pin, and this is another tool to use if you accidentally bought whole coffee beans. Here are a few tips:

  • First, put your beans in a plastic bag. Alternatively, you can wrap the bag in a kitchen towel for added protection.
  • Grind up small amounts at a time for better control.
  • Crush the beans by pressing down with the rolling pin.
  • After pressing down, roll the pin over the beans to continue crushing them
  • After each time you roll, give it a good shake so all of your beans are flattened and crushed at the same time.
  • Check how the grind is coming by lifting up the towel to see how finely ground your coffee is getting with every press.

Careful Use of a Large Kitchen Knife Instead of a Coffee Grinder

careful use of a kitchen knife can be used to crush whole coffee beans

Use caution with this method, but if you are proficient with using large, wide blade knives in the kitchen (a budding sous chef??), here are some tips for crushing whole coffee beans:

  • Begin with a clean and dry blade.
  • Put the whole coffee beans into a freezer bag, and wrap the bag in a kitchen towel
  • Lay the beans on a flat surface and position your knife (you can use a large chef’s knife or butcher’s cleaver) so that it sits flush against the surface of the beans.
  • Do not whack the knife; press on the flat of the blade and let it do all of the work.
  • Gently and slowly grind your beans, applying equal pressure against them with each pass across them. The heavier your blade, the slower you want to go—you need to maintain control!
  • Crush until beans are at a consistency that best suits you.

Consider a Mallet or Meat Tenderizer

meat tenderizer to substitute for a coffee grinder if  needed

If your kitchen doesn’t have any type of processor, you can crush your whole coffee beans with a mallet or meat tenderizer.

Here are some tips:

  • First of all, begin by loading your beans into a plastic freezer bag.
  • Next, place the bag on a flat surface and start gently striking the beans with the hammer.
  • Once all of the beans have been broken down, you can use more of a press and grind technique, similar to the rolling pin.
  • You’ll get a coarse to medium grind with this method, which is perfect for cold brew coffee as well as drip coffee makers.

The Simple Mortar and Pestle Can Grind Whole Coffee Beans

a mortar and pestle can be used as a substitute coffee grinder

Do you have a mortar and pestle? This can be an effective method of crushing your whole coffee beans:

  • Start with just a couple of spoonfuls of coffee beans – this is important
  • Use a twisting motion to crush them
  • You’ll need to cover the mortar with your hand to keep the bean particles from jumping out as they’re being crushed
  • Grind up the beans by pressing down with your pestle, then rolling it around inside the mortar. Repeat until crushed to the grind size desired.
  • It will take some effort, but if this is the equipment you have on hand it will do the job

Is It Time to Buy a Coffee Grinder?

Although you’ve had to ‘make do’ with some alternatives to a coffee grinder, hopefully you’ve realized how much better a simple cup of coffee can be when the coffee beans are freshly ground, just prior to brewing.

A simple burr coffee grinder will not set you back a huge amount, my friend, and will make the process of grinding those little beans so much easier!

Burr grinders are constructed in a way that results in an even grind to the bean, and in turn, a better tasting cup of coffee.

Here are some of the current best-sellers:

Sum It Up

I hope you’ve gained some insight as well as creative problem solving if you find yourself with whole coffee beans and no coffee grinder. You know what they say: “where there’s a will, there’s a way!”

Accidentally bought whole coffee beans? Here's what to do!