Can You Use A Food Processor To Grind Coffee Beans?

Can you use a food processor to grind coffee beans? This article covers the differences between methods of grinding coffee and how to get the best results.

Can you use a food processor to grind coffee beans?
A food processor is ideal for budget-minded coffee lovers

A good coffee grinder can be a pricey investment, and not everyone has the room in their budget for one. But are the alternatives close enough to justify putting off the purchase? While there are many methods to grind coffee out there, one that comes to mind for a lot of budget-minded coffee lovers is the simple food processor. 

Technically, you can grind coffee beans using a food processor. But as with many things, the full answer is a little more complicated.

Can You Use A Food Processor To Grind Coffee Beans? A Quick And Easy “Grind”

coffee, coffee beans, coffee grinder
Food processors and coffee grinders differ in their results

The food processor is a blessing for many people: it speeds up many processes. It makes cooking a lot easier, especially when chopping and pulverizing large amounts of ingredients. But is it really good enough to grind coffee for brewing?

Technically, you can get something approaching a decent ground coffee from a food processor. A food processor isn’t a lot different from a blade grinder, which many people choose for at-home coffee grinding efforts. It’s just a bigger vessel, with bigger blades that are possibly also faster. 

But it’s worth getting a little technical on this question because there is a big difference in results between using a food processor and a more specialized piece of equipment like a proper coffee grinder.

What Makes A Good Ground Coffee?

A cup of coffee on a table, with Baratza and Grinder
All grinding methods use pressure on the beans

There are numerous methods for grinding coffee into powder for brewing, ranging from something as basic as a mortar and pestle to hand-cranked grinders and mechanical marvels like automated burr grinders. All of these methods have something in common: they use pressure on the beans to get results.

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A food processor operates a little differently. Spinning blades in the food processor don’t grind but instead chop whatever material they come into contact with into smaller and smaller bits.

Thanks to the high speed of the environment, it’s definitely possible to pulverize harder materials in a food processor. Still, there’s very little external pressure, and the pressure inside the food processor compartment is inconsistent.

These factors mean that the coffee that goes through a food processor isn’t going to be as finely or consistently ground as what you would get from a dedicated machine. As a result, a food processor will leave you with unevenly sized pieces of coffee, which is not the ideal situation for most brewing methods. The best brewing results come from consistent, fine grains of ground coffee–that’s what ensures even extraction, after all.

One instance where it can be acceptable to use a food processor rather than a grinder is for cold brew coffee. For one, cold brew is a long-term process, and the extraction comes from that time and patience rather than the application of heat. For another, usually cold brew uses a large volume of beans, and those beans tend to be coarsely ground rather than needing a fine, very even grind for the best results.

In most situations, however: it’s better to try and find an option that will get you as close as possible to a true grind, rather than compromising on your result. A food processor will reduce your coffee beans to a pulverized powder, but it won’t give you as good a final cup of coffee as if you’d used a real grinder. 

Author

  • Savannah is a coffee lover who took her appreciation of the brew to the next level starting in college, becoming a barista before combining her love of writing with her affection for a good brew. She has written for several publications including Cracked.com and TopTenz, and also works as a ghostwriter.