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Coffee grinders are used in order to adjust the coarseness of coffee grounds to best suit how you brew coffee. The uses for coffee grinders will depend on what type you buy and they deliver different experiences. However, some other uses for coffee grinders include:
- Grinding sugar finely
- Chopping nuts and seeds
- Evenly grinding dried, flowers, spices, and herbs
Grinding your own coffee will not only taste better than pre-ground coffee but will only cost $0.11 to $0.14 per cup. During the first minute of the grinding process, approximately 80% of CO2 gas is released which is why grinding your coffee before brewing maximizes your coffee’s flavor and why pre-ground coffee may taste stale.
Additionally, coffee brands will sell their pre-ground coffee and whole beans at the same price which will range from $6 to $8 for a 12-oz bag which means that you are not paying any more for better coffee. When pre-ground coffee is cheaper than whole coffee beans, there is a high chance that the pre-ground coffee has additives which means that you are not buying pure coffee beans.
The uses for coffee grinders may surprise you as they can be used to shred paper for special occasions. Instead of using bigger kitchen appliances, you can also make small batches of flour out of your grain of choice. Also, herbs for cooking and tea can be ground finely in the coffee grinder. Here are the other food items and surprising uses of a coffee grinder.
You can use a coffee grinder to make breading. Dry out bread and grind it in the coffee grinder when you are planning to use small batches of breading or breadcrumbs for your dishes. Grind bread into your desired crumb size and then spread the breadcrumbs on a baking sheet to bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 300°F (149°C). Homemade breading can stay in the pantry for up to 2 weeks, 1 – 2 months if kept in the refrigerator, and 6 months if you store the breadcrumbs in the freezer.
2. Coarse Coffee Grounds
A second use of a coffee grinder is grinding coarse coffee grounds. Pre-ground coffee is ground into a fine ground size which does not maximize the taste or the health benefits that coffee offers because most coffee makers brew the best coffee to other grind sizes. By using a coffee grinder and adjusting the grind size for your preferred brewing method.
Freshly ground coffee will be full of flavor and you don’t have to buy a bag of pre-ground coffee again. Compared to coffee that you grind yourself, pre-ground coffee will go stale because whole beans can retain freshness for up to 2 weeks after roasting. After being ground, coffee is considered fresh for 30 minutes, which is why pre-ground coffee does not smell or taste as flavorful.
3. Dried Herbs
Another use of a coffee grinder is for dried herbs.Herbs that have been dried can also be ground to your preferred size in a coffee grinder. You can choose to grind herbs into a fine powder for cooking or coarsely grind a herb mix for garnish. Store your dried and ground herbs at room temperature and use them within a year for maximum flavor.
4. Edible Garnish
A coffee grinder can be used for chopping edible garnishes. You can also grind pieces of chocolate and dried fruit to make garnish at home. You can control how big or how small the garnish will be and adjust to whatever dish or dessert you are making. Note that the coffee grinder will be able to grind dried fruit and chocolate into chunks as opposed to shreds.
5. Fine Sugar
The coffee grinder can be used to make powdered sugar. When you need powdered sugar for dessert recipes or dusting, grinding what sugar you have is an easy way to get fine sugar. You just need to grind sugar in a coffee grinder for 10 seconds.
6. Fragrant Potpourri
Grinding flowers, spices, herbs, and dried fruits in order to put your potpourri into sachets can be done in a coffee grinder. After drying your mix in the oven for 2 hours at 200°F (93°C) use a medium-coarse grind for your homemade potpourri.
7. Gluten-free Flour
You can make your own flour in the coffee grinder depending on your preference. Choose oatmeal or almonds and finely grind them to make gluten-free flour at home. Your homemade oat flour can be stored in an airtight container in the pantry for 2 to 3 months.
8. Party Décor
If there’s an upcoming event and you are looking for a quick and easy way to make confetti, you can use the coffee grinder. With a few pulses in the coffee grinder, you can reuse old paper into colorful confetti without having to cut the pieces yourself.
9. Nut and Seed Toppings
Instead of chopping nuts and seeds for your smoothies, salads, or trail mix, coarsely grind them in the coffee grinder. You can also choose to grind nuts and seeds into a fine meal where flaxseeds make a great egg substitute.
10. Spice Mix
Make your own spice mixes and refills by finely grinding spices in the coffee grinder. Adjust the coarseness depending on the spice and whether it will be used in a dish or as a garnish.
11. Tea Blends
Herbs, flowers, and spices can be blended together and then ground in a coffee grinder. You may have certain ingredients that are bigger than others and grind them more finely so that your tea blends are uniform.
12. Vanilla Powder
If you don’t have vanilla extract but have vanilla beans on hand, you can make your own vanilla powder in the coffee grinder as an alternative. Extract the vanilla beans from the pod and grind them into a fine powder. Make sure that the powder is dry and then store it in an airtight container.
What are the common mistakes for usage of a coffee grinder?
When using a coffee grinder for coffee beans, you can avoid the following mistakes if you want to learn how to use coffee grinders correctly:
- Grinding coffee beans too early. While you can prepare your ingredients for the case uses above beforehand to save time, grinding your coffee beans early can affect how your coffee tastes. To have the most flavorful coffee, the water you are using to brew should be ready when you are grinding your coffee beans so that they do not oxidize and lose their flavor while waiting for brewing water to heat up.
- Grinding cold beans. Frozen or refrigerated beans can be why your coffee grinder is prone to clogging. At room temperature, the coffee beans will have a bit of moisture on them due to condensation and will have a gummy texture when ground. This leads to clogging and will need cleaning.
- Grinding without pausing. It is easy to continuously use a grinder but this can burn the coffee beans. Due to the friction caused by the coffee grinder blades rotating quickly, heat can burn the coffee beans and make them taste more bitter.
- Using the wrong grind size for your brewing technique. The taste of your coffee can be compromised when you are using the wrong grind for your coffee gadgets. Cold-brew and French presses use a coarse grind, drip coffee uses a medium or fine-grind, espresso machines will need a super fine grind, and a Turkish grind is used for Turkish coffee.
If you are going to invest in a coffee grinder, it can be used for so much for than just beans as seen by the case uses above. However, when grinding coffee beans, avoid these mistakes for flavorful coffee and maintain the integrity of your coffee grinder.
What is the history of usage of coffee grinders?
What is a coffee grinder’s history? Coffee has been consumed since approximately 850 A.D. where Ethiopians would use a mortar and pestle to prepare coffee. It was only in the 15th century, when spice grinders were invented, that the mortar and pestle were used less. Spice grinders were used for grain and coffee beans and that is what a coffee grinder is based on today.
However, the first mill solely for coffee beans was created in the late 17th century by Nicholas Book. Similar to coffee grinders today, coffee beans were placed in the top portion of the lever device where it was ground in the bottom drawer.
In the 18th century, companies and inventors would come out with manual variations of the coffee grinder until the first electric coffee grinder from the American company: Hobart. Today, coffee grinders are made out of different materials and designed for better quality and consistent coffee grounds.
Do the use cases of a coffee grinder change based on type?
Yes, the type of coffee grinder will change what kind of coffee you can brew well because not all grinders will be able to grind coffee to your preferred size. For instance, electric grinders will have a larger spectrum of grind settings and be able to grind bigger batches of coffee beans.
Blade grinders are also a popular type of coffee grinder but will grind coffee beans more inconsistently compared to burr grinders. Burr grinders are more adjustable which means that you can grind coffee beans down to an exact size that will be consistent.
Which coffee grinder is best for grinding coffee beans?
The best coffee grinder is a manual or electric burr grinder. This type of coffee grinder is the standard for coffee lovers at home and in cafes. A burr coffee grinder has two burrs that spin in opposite directions that lead coffee beans down a funnel to be ground in a uniform size. Usually, there is little heat generated throughout when you are using a burr grinder to grind coffee beans because burrs are made out of stainless steel or ceramic. This means that there is little to no chance of burning coffee beans and the flavor is kept intact.
Burr grinders are also the best for grinding coffee beans because you can easily adjust the closeness of the burrs to suit your brewing technique. The farther the burrs are, the more course the grind will be and you can adjust this however you like and still get a consistent grind size.
Does a spice grinder have more use cases than a coffee grinder?
A spice grinder has more use cases than a coffee grinder. When talking about what is more versatile, coffee grinder vs. spice grinder, the spice grinder can grind small amounts of soft ingredients well. The coffee grinder is better for coffee because it offers consistency, but spice grinders have the ability to grind wet, dry, hard, and soft ingredients.
What are the other kitchen tools with various use cases similar to coffee grinder?
Other kitchen tools with various use cases similar to coffee grinders include:
- Spice grinder: A spice grinder has a spinning blade that is used to chop up or pulverize spices.
- Mortar and pestle: This set of tools is made up of a durable bowl and a blunt object that is used to grind and crush ingredients into chunks, a fine powder, or paste.
- Food processor: This electric tool can be used to chop, mince, slice, puree, blend, and grate different ingredients.
- Blender: This appliance is usually used to pulverize dry ingredients and combine wet ingredients.
Though similar to these tools, a coffee grinder is designed to grind coffee beans to a size that best caters to your brewing style which other appliances cannot do. By being able to grind your coffee beans right before brewing, you are making coffee with its maximum flavor.
You can use these kitchen appliances to prepare ingredients in a similar way that coffee grinders are used, but read about the 5 unique uses of these 4 tools here.