What you can / can’t grind in a coffee grinder

What you can / can’t grind in a coffee grinder

Like any other device, the coffee grinder is best used for its intended purpose. Nevertheless, there are situations at home when you need to grind other products, and the blender or chopper intended for this purpose is not available. What can be ground in a grinder without any fear, and what can break the device or spoil the taste of coffee? Let’s find out.


  1. 1. Possible Consequences
  2. 2. What you can grind in a coffee grinder
  3. 3. What you should not grind in a coffee grinder and why

Possible consequences

In general, improper use of the coffee grinder has the following consequences:

  • – Blunted blades.
  • – Breakage of the mechanism due to the ingress of liquids, oils and other particles.
  • – Breakage of the motor due to high loads.
  • – The formation of a smell, which is very difficult to get rid of.

This is interesting: How to grind coffee without a grinder at home

Possible problems are directly related to the type of mechanism. Therefore, for the safety of the device, it is important to understand what you can grind in a coffee grinder, except for coffee, taking into account some peculiarities:

Manual – not powered, can be disassembled and cleaned, suitable for shredding almost anything.

Rotary – has a closed container and knives for grinding. In most cases, grinding is not adjustable.

Millstone – works on the principle of the mill. The main difference – it grinds, not cuts the contents of the container.

Электрическая кофемолка, фото

Some products can only be ground in certain types of grinders.

Manual Millstone Rotary
Spices / seeds + + +
Salt + + +
Sugar + + +/-
Breadcrumbs + + +/-
Cereals / pulses + + +/-
Oilly nuts + +
Dried Herbs + +
Chocolate + +
Garlic +
Vegetables & Fruits +
Mushrooms +
Hard cheese +
Greens +
Meat / fish

The warranty card usually states what you can’t grind in a coffee grinder. Otherwise it voids the warranty and you cannot count on service support if it breaks.

What you can grind in a coffee grinder

The list of acceptable products for grinding is not particularly large, but some categories can be ground without any fear.

Специи молоть в кофемолке

Spices. Almost all spices can be ground: cardamom, all kinds of peppers, coriander, sesame, thyme and others. They are soft enough in structure and can not damage the mechanism. With caution, it is necessary to grind cloves and badjan. Nevertheless, it is worth bearing in mind that some spices have a strong aroma, so the container should be thoroughly cleaned after the grinding.

Don’t miss: The best coffee recipes with spices

Basic rules for grinding spices:

(1) Do not fill the container more than 35-50% of the volume. This will help prevent sticking to the cutting parts and will not put unnecessary strain on the motor.

(2) Before grinding the spices in the grinder, heat them in a dry frying pan. This will help bring out their flavor and aroma better.

Cereals. Due to the hardness of their structure, grinding cereals in a rotary grinder is not safe, so it is recommended to soak them beforehand (and dry them before grinding). It is allowed to grind oatmeal and buckwheat in rotary devices. But to grind rice, peas, pearl barley and hard grains can only be grinded in a millstone-type grinder.

Nuts and seeds. Despite the structure, almost all nuts and seeds can be ground without any restrictions. Do not fill the compartment more than 35-40%, otherwise it will be impossible to achieve a quality grind. Too oily nuts (walnuts, pecans, etc.) are not recommended to grind in rotary models, they can create an oily residue, which can affect the operation of the device.

Орехи в кофемолке

All nuts should be peeled from their shells. For example, when chopping walnuts, you should first remove all the membranes. As in the case of spices, additional heating and dry roasting promotes better disclosure of flavor and release of essential oils.

Sugar and salt. Any coffee grinder will cope with salt, but the grinding of sugar is better left to millstones and manual devices. Grind sugar in a rotary grinder should be extremely careful, periodically releasing the button. Otherwise, the sugar can melt and get cotton candy instead of powder.

Read also: Why do you add salt to coffee?

Breadcrumbs. You can grind in any grinder, but severely dried bread can blunt the blades of rotary devices, it is worth considering. In the case of miller and manual coffee grinders any difficulties with breadcrumbs are not noted.

What you can’t grind in a coffee grinder and why

Manual devices do not run on electricity, they are easy to clean, so you can grind almost everything in them. Electric rotary and millstones models are more «delicate». Fatty and oily products are not suitable for them. Also, foods that release a lot of liquid during grinding (such as berries) are not suitable.

A universal list of undesirable foods for shredding:

  • Hard cheeses – can only be shredded in a manual device.
  • Foods of high hardness – manual grinders are good for coarse grinding, millstones for fine grinding.
  • Berries – it is undesirable to grind in any variants.
  • Raw meat, fish – release a lot of liquid, have a pungent smell, undesirable to grind in any types.
  • Greens – it is recommended to use only manual type.
  • Twigs (e.g., for herbal teas) – for fine grinding better use millstones.
  • Citrus peels – dried peels are quite hard and release oils, it is better not to use coffee grinders for grinding.

Note: Recipe for coffee with orange juice

In general, if possible, you should avoid grinding anything other than coffee in a coffee grinder. But if the need arises – remember some basic rules, such as the filling of the container and the grinding mode. In rotary models, it is desirable to use the “dot mode” (periodically turn off the button, so as not to overload the motor).

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