Can You Use A Coffee Grinder For Spices?

Are you wondering if can you use a coffee grinder for spices? Check out this article to learn whether it is possible to use a coffee grinder to grind spices without tainting either the grinder or the spices.

Can you use a coffee grinder for spices?
It is possible to use a coffee grinder to spices

If you are one of the 150 million Americans who consume coffee regularly, you probably have a coffee grinder. They are great when you want the smell and taste of freshly ground coffee in your home.

On top of being coffee lovers, we are sure many of you also love cooking with fresh ingredients and spices. After all, variety is the spice of life (pun intended), and ground spice in the home brings out aromas and tastes that make having variety in your dishes all the more appealing.

Have you thought about using a coffee grinder to mill coffee beans and spices? The good news is that this is possible and doesn’t have to affect the taste of your morning brew afterward.

Of course, grinding spices in a coffee grinder will affect the flavor of your coffee if you don’t know how to clean it properly after use. However, if you read on, we will discuss that in this article. We will also explore the best way to use a coffee grinder to grind your spices and why sometimes it can actually be better to use a coffee grinder for spices.

Why Should You Use A Coffee Grinder For Spices?

Nothing is better than having fresh ground coffee, whether it’s your first cup of the day or a quick pick-me-up after a stressful presentation. Not to mention the feeling you get when you make a brew of the same quality as the best barista in your local coffee house.

In the same way, nothing beats the taste, scent, taste, scent, and texture. Grinding spices yourself produces fresher and better flavors because you release their oil and scent before using them for cooking instead of losing them in pre-ground packaging. And when you buy pre-ground, you have no control over the grind size and it can be hard to adjust that to your preference.

While spice grinders make excellent work of whole spices and give a consistent grind, they may be a needless expense when you already have a coffee grinder in the house. Using that instead, you reduce the number of kitchen items you need to buy or store. It’s also one less thing to put away or pack when you move to a new place.

With a coffee grinder, you get several tools in one. Of course, the drawback is that you’ll have to ensure that the coffee grinder is appropriately and thoroughly cleaned before you use it for grinding coffee or spices.

But the good news is that since the coffee grinder is usually an automatic tool, you won’t need to put in the elbow grease. Thus, there is much less work than you have when you are using a pestle. Also, spices aren’t the only things you grind into fine powder in them; they are a valuable tool in the kitchen.

How To Grind Spices With A Coffee Grinder

Whether you’re working with coriander, cumin seeds, or peppercorns, the process usually starts in the same way. Place the unground or whole spices in the grinder or the hopper. The hopper is the plastic or glass component where you usually place the whole coffee beans. Then, start grinding the spices by turning on the coffee grinder.

Note that some details may differ depending on the coffee grinder. For those who have a manual coffee grinder, you need to twist the grinder until you have spices ground to the size you want. 

Countertop electric coffee grinders sometimes have different modes, allowing you to get a grind of spice that suits whatever you are cooking. They provide versatility, but the grinding process is much easier with these machines, allowing you to simply click a button and get a small batch of spices.

Cleaning Your Coffee Grinder

Can you use a coffee grinder for spices?
How to clean blade and burr coffee grinders

Do you dislike the idea of your coffee and spices sharing the same flavors? If so, then you’re not the only one. We definitely don’t like the idea of spice grinding into our specialty coffee. Unfortunately, this can be a drawback of using the same coffee grinder for your coffee beans and spices; one can taint the other’s taste.

You can avoid each component “sharing” its flavors with the other with proper grinder cleaning and maintenance. The following are the steps you need to follow when cleaning your blade coffee grinder to ensure the scent and taste of the spices and coffee don’t mix:

  1. Put a half cup of dry, uncooked white rice in the coffee grinder’s hopper. The white rice will clean the grinder parts that you can’t otherwise reach when cut into smaller pieces.
  2. Use the grinder with the rice inside.
  3. Remove the ground rice.
  4. Wipe all the powder from the rice off with a paper towel or kitchen towel.

Visit our step-by-step guide to cleaning coffee grinders for a more detailed process on how to clean your coffee grinders.

Choosing A Coffee Grinder For Grinding Spices

Coffee grinders come in different types: burr and blade grinders. Burr grinders use two revolving surfaces or burrs to grind coffee. Blade grinders use spinning propeller blades to grind coffee beans, much like a blender does with its contents. The best coffee grinder type for spices is a blade grinder, especially if you’ll use it for spices more often than coffee.

Blade grinders are more commonplace and affordable. These grinders are also easier to set up because they have fewer components. Importantly for this article, blade grinders also provide a fine grind for your spices.

That isn’t to say that you can’t use burr coffee grinders for spices, but they’re more expensive and are trickier to clean, which increases the risk of leaving a spice’s residue in the grinder. Unless you like the taste of cardamom or pepper in your coffee, you need extra care when you use and clean a burr grinder for your spices.

The most significant benefit that burr coffee grinders have over blade grinders is their consistency. The burr grinder’s output tends to have uniform shapes and sizes. This is wonderful when you want to dictate the exact consistency of your morning espresso, but it isn’t overly necessary when grinding spices for your latest dish. However, it is a fine choice if you have no problem spending a little more when purchasing and if you enjoy your tech gadgets.

Making The Most Of Your Coffee Grinder

So, you’ve gone on Amazon and bought yourself a decent coffee grinder, and now you want to make the most of this kitchen item by using it for more than making a simple cup of coffee. Below, we have laid out a guide for how your kitchen tool will work with various items.

Grinding Salt And Spices In A Coffee Grinder

Sometimes, your good old salt grinder breaks, but what if your meal is ready in 15 minutes, and now you don’t know how to enhance the flavor of your dishes without a dash of this or another of your favorite spices? What if I tell you that you can grind salt using a coffee grinder?

Burr and blade coffee grinders can grind spices perfectly into a uniform batch. You only need to know how to clean it properly afterward, so it doesn’t affect the flavor of your cup of Joe. 

Grinding salt in a coffee grinder will affect the flavor of your coffee if you don’t know how to clean it properly after use. You can grind old beans you don’t care about and remove the leftover spice before the new coffee beans go in. Alternatively, the method of using uncooked rice that we have listed above also comes in handy if you don’t have old coffee beans.

This simple tactic will help remove any unwanted smell and weird taste if you use the coffee grinder for salt or other spices with a strong aroma like pepper. However, it is still worth going for another round of cleaning by using a dry, clean towel to eliminate all the smell and leftover flavor on the burrs and blades before assembling it.

Can I Grind Wet Ingredients In My Coffee Grinder?

No, because coffee grinders can’t mince wet ingredients properly. You can only use dry ingredients like dried herbs and spices. Otherwise, the grinder can jam. You’re better off using a food processor or some other type of job-specific kitchen tool for wet ingredients.

Can I Use My Coffee Grinder To Grind Herbs?

Can I use my coffee grinder to grind herbs?
You can use dried herbs in a coffee grinder

You can grind chopped and dried herbs in your coffee grinder. However, leaving them in the grinder for too long can turn them into powder. So when you’re grinding herbs, ensure that you check the grind setting and how long you leave the grinder on. If you don’t, you could end up with herbs that are little more than dust.

Can I Also Use My Coffee Grinder To Grind Nuts?

Yes, like spices and coffee beans, you can also use a coffee grinder to break nuts down. Note that the issue with some nuts is they can leave a lot of oil in the coffee grinder’s blades or burrs. With that said, it’s always vital to clean the nut oil grinder before you use it to grind coffee. When doing this, you can use the same methods that you use for spices. Otherwise you might end up with an almond taste to your morning brew, when all you wanted was a plain black coffee.