No coffee grinder? No problem! Some places offer a grinding service; you just need to know where to grind coffee beans for free.
In this guide, I'll show you where to grind coffee beans and give you some tips on how to use alternative equipment instead.
So, whether you've accidentally bought a bag of whole coffee beans instead of grounds or you don't own a coffee grinder, you'll still have access to coffee grounds to use in your coffee maker.
What Places Let You Grind Coffee Beans For Free?
Many stores and coffee shops offer a free coffee grinding service, giving you easy access to fresh grounds and better coffee. Freshly ground beans make better coffee that's healthier for you.
Before we cover where to grind coffee beans, let's answer why they let you grind coffee beans for free. The answer is simple - they usually ask you to buy the whole bean coffee directly from them.
This means that they get a sale, and in return, you can grind your coffee beans without a coffee grinder.
Here's a breakdown of where to grind coffee beans without spending a penny:
Starbucks baristas will grind your beans as long as you buy coffee beans from them. You don't have to have bought them in that specific shop, but the coffee beans must be from one of their coffee shops (Starbucks brand).
They do this because they don't want to mix coffee beans in the grinder.
Starbucks coffee doesn't need any introduction. They are the global coffee super chain, with over 24,000 coffee shop stores worldwide, so for most people, it will be the most convenient place to go.
Starbucks has a certain reputation to uphold, and if they mix different grinding beans, they could produce weird grounds with sub-par flavoring.
Most of their drinks use a medium grind, so when they grind your coffee beans, that's what you'll get too. You can request finer or coarser grinds, but not every store will do that.
Local Coffee Shops
Your local coffee shops will have coffee grinders working throughout the day. If you know the staff well and you visit frequently, then they may not mind grinding coffee beans for free.
If you do want local coffee shops to help grind your coffee beans, then you need to get your timing right. Please don't come in during rush hour and expect them to grind your coffee beans for free.
Instead, go in at quiet times or just before they close because they'll probably be cleaning the burr grinders at night anyway.
It’s also a good idea to go and buy coffee from them regularly and tip before asking them to grind your coffee beans!
Whole Foods produces everything organic and natural. They have a massive coffee section with amazing coffee from all around the world. Even better, most Whole Foods stores will offer free grinding services if you buy coffee from them.
Whole Foods doesn't have that many stores around the country, but if you live near one, it's worth checking them out.
Just head to the coffee aisle, make your choice, and ask somebody who works there for your coffee beans ground.
Trader Joe's stores have high-quality, ethically sourced food and an impressive range of coffee. If you buy fresh coffee beans from them, then you can use their grinder for free.
Trader Joe's grinders usually give you a medium-fine grind size, but you can ask for a coarse or finely ground coffee if you prefer.
Most grocery stores get busy in the mornings and evenings, so it's better to go at a quiet time if you want your coffee ground.
Costco will let you grind any coffee beans for free, even if you didn’t buy any actual item from their store!
They usually have an unmanned station for grinding coffee beans near the front of the store, but you may need to ask a member of staff where to find them.
The burr grinder is easy enough to use, but there are also instructions to follow.
You can select the grind size to get the flavor you want for your cup of coffee. Not many people seem to know about the Costco grinders, so you can usually go in at any time to grind without waiting long.
Pretty much everyone has a Walmart nearby, and if you purchase your beans from there, you can have the coffee beans ground in store.
Many grocery stores have a grinding service on the coffee aisle, but unlike Starbucks, they don’t have a grinder in every store.
Just ask a staff member in your local shop, and they'll be able to tell you if they have a grinder and how to use it to grind your own beans.
How About Grinding Your Own Coffee Beans at Home?
If you would rather grind your own coffee beans at home but don't have a grinder, it's still possible to grind beans at home using other equipment:
You can use a regular rolling pin to crush small batches of coffee beans without a grinder. Just roll it over until you have your coffee beans ground to the right consistency.
If you take your time, you should be able to get a medium/fine grind which is good for most coffees and suitable for espresso.
By running a regular blender in quick bursts, you can grind coffee beans without a coffee grinder.
You can use a blender for grinding various beans of different sizes, and you will end up with a medium/coarse grind.
Mortar & Pestle
A mortar and pestle is often used to grind herbs and spices, but coffee drinkers can also use it in the brewing process.
This method is completely manual, but it’s inexpensive equipment and lets you create the exact grinds that you want.
It's rough and less precise, but you can use the flat of the blade to crush your beans. This will give you a coarser ground coffee that works in pour-over coffee.
This is not one of the recommended methods for making coffee at home, and you have to be very careful. I'd only use this method if you don't have any other option.
A food processor isn’t as good as a grinder, but it can help if you’re struggling. Just load the whole beans into the processor and turn it on in short blasts.
It will typically produce a medium grind, which is suitable for almost every brewing method.
Related Questions About Grinding Coffee Beans
How much does it cost to grind coffee beans?
Grinding coffee beans is free if you use the services offered at grocery stores and coffee shops. Alternatively, you can pay $20-$70 for a decent coffee grinder. It’s cheaper in the long run to grind your own coffee beans than to buy a bag of pre-ground coffee beans from the shop because you end up with a higher volume of grounds for your coffees.
Can I grind my own coffee at Fresh Market?
Yes, Fresh Market will grind coffee beans for free if you purchase them within their store.
How much ground coffee does 1lb of beans make?
1lb of coffee will typically produce 24-46 cups of drip coffee. However, this will vary depending on the type of coffee being brewed and the grind size you choose.
Does grinding your own coffee taste better?
Grinding your own coffee does generally lead to better tasting coffee because it’s fresher. You also have greater control over the size of the grinds, which massively impacts the flavoring of the brew.
So where to grind coffee beans?
Coffee grinders are really useful for anyone making coffees at home, but if you don't have one, it's not the end of the world.
Many stores have grinders in store which you can use for free, and your local coffee shop may even help you out if you're a regular customer.
If you're really in a pinch, you can also use some other household equipment instead. These won't give you the best results, but it means you don't need to skip your morning brew.
Hopefully, this guide has shown you where to grind coffee beans for free and will help you make amazing coffee at home.