The sun is going down, and you want to set your machine to auto brew so that your coffee will be ready and waiting for you in the morning when the alarm forces you from sleep so that you can begin yet another busy day. You grind your own beans because you adore the fresh aroma and taste, even if a little bit of that is lost in pre-grinding then the night before. You’ve decided this method fits your lifestyle the best since you can be too busy to grind on the spot every single morning. Especially those mornings when the bed feels much better than your itinerary.
You have been nearly lost in thought, brought back to the present reality when you realize that your bean grinder has not started whirring and the beans are still whole inside, even though you had already set it to your usual setting of medium ground. It would seem that this burr grinder has gone out on you. Perhaps it had been sitting too close to the sink when you and your siblings were fooling around and having a water fight! Maybe the storm earlier burned it out with lightning? Though that is less likely considering your home is equipted with surge protectors. Whatever the case may be, the point of the mater is, what can you do about it now to ground your coffee beans? Without coffee, how will you get through tomorrow morning’s busy schedule?
You check the time, but alas, it is too late to run to the store for a new one, so you will have to get creative. Looking around your kitchen for anything similar to the burr grinder you typically use, absolutely anything that may have a grinding ability. A mortar and pestle? But, you don’t own one or those. The closest thing present is the blender that has slipped towards the back of the counter. You don’t remember using it since a few months ago when you had friends over, and everyone wanted milkshakes, but you reach for it and dust it off. Could your blinder possibly make due for the night?
The Answer Is YES
Losing a high-quality burr grinder in the middle of a busy week can be a very stressful thing to experience. Now you still have half of the week to go with an early morning alarm, whole coffee beans, and no way to grind them. However, a blender with a pulse mode can ease the blow and save your week. All you need to do is place the beans in the blender and pulse them, very briefly, about 8-12 times depending on your desired grind level.
Why Your Burr Grinder Is Better Than A Blender
I know what you’re thinking, “If that’s all I have to do and it is that simple, then why spend so much on a burr grinder if the blender can do the same job?” Well, after you pulse your coffee beans in the blender, have a good look over them. They probably aren’t as uniform as your usual grinder would have them.
Beyond not being aesthetically pleasing, nonuniform beans can alter the taste, clarity, and overall quality of whatever sort of coffee you are trying to brew. These issues can be particularly noticeable in Turkish and cold brew coffees, due to their filtering procedures, or lack thereof.
Aside from this, burr grinders typically come with a preset grind level knob that is programmed to industry standards, so that your coffee will come to precisely the right level of grind for the recipe you are following. Again, using Turkish coffee as an example, you would need a very, very finely ground coffee bean. So fine, that it looks like dark powdered sugar. Otherwise, the grounds will not remain suspended, and the experience will be tainted with a mouth full of grit. A grind this uniform is nearly impossible to achieve with a regular blender.
So, while your blender will save you if your grinder goes out in the middle of the week and you exclusively ground your own beans, it is not a permanent or better solution by any means. Blenders are not meant to create a uniform grind, but rather to blend liquids and solids into a sort of chunky consistency, like a smoothie. While they can be used to grind just solids once or twice, they can not be expected to do so very uniformly. If it comes to using a blender to grind your beans, it will likely be the easiest to use the blended grounds in a drip style brewer. Of course, with the right amount of effort, anything is possible, but without a proper burr grinder, it will be hard to enjoy delicate coffee treats.