Can You Really Make Coffee From Unground Beans?

A coffee grinder is a very handy kitchen gadget that not only turns your favorite beans into blends you can brew but it can also be used to grind spices, blend teas and herbs, make breadcrumbs, turn oats into flour, and magically make powdered sugar from the granulated version. But as helpful as coffee grinders are, not every kitchen has one.

Many coffee drinkers bring home their blends already ground in order to save time on the process. Which is convenient, but we have to say, there really is nothing like the intoxicating aroma of freshly ground coffee. You know the scent we are talking about; that invigorating earthy wave that totally envelops you when entering a cute little coffee shop.

And what if you want that energizing experience at home but you don't have a coffee grinder? Fret not, as there are other methods to extract that caffeinated goodness.

Can you brew coffee from whole beans?

When a coffee grinder is unavailable, an old-school mortar and pestle can do the trick to pound down coffee beans into a powdery substance ready for the brew maker. A classic countertop blender can also be an excellent substitute for a coffee grinder, and now you have a reason to test out the grind button.

You may want to adjust how you grind your coffee based on the way you like to prepare your coffee. A coarsely ground coffee works well with a French press, a medium ground coffee is suitable for pour-over styles, and finely ground coffee lends itself perfectly to espresso.

And what if you do not have a mortar and pestle or a ten-speed blender? Can you make coffee from whole, unground beans if those whole beans will not budge? In short, the answer is a solid yes. You'll need to wait longer than you would with ground coffee. When we say you'll need to wait longer, we mean you'll have to wait a lot longer. The reason behind this boils down to the surface area. Yes, that term from middle school geometry is popping up and proving useful in everyday knowledge.

How to make coffee from whole beans

A scoop of ground coffee beans has a greater total surface area than the same-sized scoop of whole beans. This allows ground coffee to be brewed at a faster rate than whole beans.

But whole coffee beans can be brewed, too, as long as you can set aside the extra time needed and use twice as much as you would ground. Fans of homemade cold brew coffee are fully aware of the additional prep time required for this brewing method, so a cold brew from whole beans is like an extended road trip on the same dirt road.

We love cold brews for being rich, smooth, delicious, and lower in acidity. Alternatively, fans of whole bean coffee also swear by a one-hour stovetop method where you keep the temperature at a simmer until extraction is complete.

Whether you are stuck with whole beans and no coffee grinder or you simply want to experiment with different coffee brewing methods to see which results in the taste you like best, have fun and enjoy that java.