Mortar And Pestle Vs. Electric Coffee Grinder: What Are The Differences?

Pounding coffee beans has its perks as opposed to just clicking a button. Our mortar and pestle vs. electric coffee grinder guide will help you choose one.

Mortar and pestle vs. electric coffee grinder
Mortar and pestle vs. Electric coffee grinder

I was surprised when I first found out you can use a mortar and pestle to grind coffee beans. In our household, we only use ours for grinding spices and mashing garlic, while the coffee grinder takes care of the coffee beans.

While the mortar and pestle can be considered impractical for some, a number of coffee lovers do prefer a more manual approach to grinding their java, and it has its unique advantages and differences when compared to a coffee grinder. Let’s dive in. 

What Is A Mortar And Pestle And An Electric Coffee Grinder?

The mortar and pestle can be traced back to ancient times when it was first used for food preparation, the most common of which is to grind spices or dehusk rice. The mortar is a bowl, while the pestle is shaped like a thick stick. It was also used by doctors then to concoct their traditional medicine.

The coffee grinder is a more modern invention with the sole purpose of grinding coffee beans while occasionally being used to grind spices, as well. Coffee grinders can be manual or electric and typically have blades to chop the beans. This tool allows the user to select what type of grind they prefer for their cup of Joe with minimal effort yet consistent results.

What A Mortar And Pestle And Electric Coffee Grinder Have In Common

Both tools can be used to process coffee beans, spices, or other food items such as nuts or leaves. Both have a manual and an electric version. 

Interestingly, an electric mortar and pestle are very uncommon, and most kitchen households still prefer the traditional design, while a manual coffee grinder is often passed up on in favor of its electric counterpart. Aside from these, these tools can’t be any more different.

Mortar And Pestle Vs. Electric Coffee Grinder: The Differences

Mortar And Pestle Electric Coffee Grinder
Slower grinding process Faster grinding process
Inconsistent grind except for fine grounds Consistent results for any type of grounds
Very affordable Pricier
It can last a lifetime It lasts five to a maximum of 10 years
Easy to clean and maintain Maintenance can be challenging

What’s Better About Mortar And Pestle?

Mortar and pestle full of coffee beans on the white table
Mortar and pestle doesn’t require electricity to work

What I love most about the tool is its timelessness despite the technological advancements. It is very easy to use and can pass as a sort of heirloom due to its longevity. A good washing with water and soap, and it is good to go.

You can also carry it anywhere, as it doesn’t require electricity to work.

Purchasing one isn’t a problem, as well. It is inexpensive and even more affordable than a coffee grinder. It is also a guarantee that you can buy one at your nearest market or kitchen store.

The drawback is that it is undeniably tedious to use, so it is best you prepare your arm for a workout. It will also take time to grind your coffee beans, especially if you are the coarse to medium grind type. There is also a chance that beans will go flying from your mortar as you grind. You might be required to put some muscle into it.

What’s Better About An Electric Coffee Grinder?

Using an electric coffee grinder is faster. The process usually takes just five to 30 seconds, depending on the type of grind you want. It produces a much more consistent ground which can be a factor in the flavor quality of your cup of Joe.

It can also grind larger amounts of coffee beans compared to the limited size of the mortar.

The disadvantage of manual and electric grinders is that they are pricier and a challenge to maintain. A thorough cleaning sometimes translates to disassembling the grinder, as there is a chance coffee grounds found their way inside the components. 

Even with meticulous maintenance, you are very lucky if your electric coffee grinder lasts 15 years. It usually uses electricity, so you would have to rely on the manual version for outdoor activities. Don’t be discouraged, though.

Check out our reasons why we think it is still worth it to own coffee grinders.

Who Should Get A Mortar And Pestle (And Why)?

For those who love to cook and brew coffee, a mortar and pestle is perfect due to their flexibility. You can use it to process various food items and grind coffee beans. Just make sure you have a lot of time on your hands and that your arm is ready for the extra effort. 

I would also recommend it to espresso lovers. Sure the process is tiring, but I find that this tool can produce the finest grounds perfect for an espresso shot.

Do be careful when you use it for food and coffee. Make sure to wash it thoroughly after every use lest you want a funky taste in your cup of Joe.

Who Should Get An Electric Coffee Grinder (And Why)?

Woman pouring coffee beans in electric coffee  grinder
Electric coffee grinder offers a quick process and produces consistent results every time

Coffee lovers who prefer different types of grinds should go for the electric coffee grinder. It offers a blindingly quick process and produces consistent results every time. If you are the straightforward kind who is always on the go, an efficient electric coffee grinder is for you.

Read our guide on what to look for in a coffee grinder if you are considering buying one.


  • Renz Lyndon Paguio

    His love for java originated from sidewalk vendors offering cheap 3-in-1 instant coffees poured in styrofoam cups. If he’s not in a studio or in an event venue, you’ll find RL crafting his own cold brew or sharing his experiences to fellow coffeephiles.