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If you are a cooking enthusiast, you know how important it is to grind whole spices. Grinding whole spices can help enhance the taste and flavor they bring to dishes and help them stay longer. But what if you don’t have a spice grinder or the traditional mortar and pestle?
At first glance, one may mistake a spice grinder for a coffee grinder. Unknown to some people, coffee grinders have several functions besides grinding coffee beans, including grinding nuts, dried beans. But can you use a coffee grinder to grind spices?
While it may not produce the same results as a spice grinder, this can do an excellent job of turning whole spices into powder. After all, isn’t a grinder just a grinder? Well, the truth is that all grinders are not created equally, so the kind of grinder you have and the spices you grind matter.
Read on to know how to use a coffee grinder to grind spices and the differences between a coffee grinder and a spice grinder.
Can You Use the Same Grinder for Coffee and Spices
If you care much about the aroma and flavor of your coffee and dishes, it will help not to use the same grinder for coffee and spices. Nevertheless, this does not mean that you cannot use the same grinder for spices and coffee.
However, if you are on a tight budget and don’t care much about ruining the aroma of your coffee, you can use the same grinder to make your cooking ingredients and grounds for your cup.
While this may not be highly advisable, you can use your coffee grinder to grind whole spices. However, if you want to grind spices in your coffee grinder, a blade grinder is preferable to a burr grinder. Unlike a burr grinder, which is relatively expensive, the blade coffee grinder is cheap and does a decent job. Besides, this grinder is more common and has fewer components for setting it up.
Most coffee grinders can produce different grind levels, whether you want a coarse grind or a fine grind. It would help if the coffee grinder had different settings, giving you fine spice grinds that won’t interfere with the flavor of your dishes.
Nevertheless, if you are using a spice blender with a single setting to grind coffee beans, you need to give it some time to get finer grounds. Grind the spices in short intervals and keep checking to see if it has achieved your desired fineness. It is also advisable to shake the grinder during operation to get all the beans through the blades. Otherwise, you will end up with uneven grounds.
We are talking about spice grinders and coffee grinders here, but have you ever wondered if Can You Grind Coffee Beans in a Blender?
The main difference between these two is how they handle the grinding process. A coffee grinder uses a burr grinder to grind coffee beans into grounds, while a spice grinder uses blades to chop spices, nuts, and other small ingredients. This difference is brought about by the diameter of the canal.
Mueller HyperGrind Precision Electric Spice Grinder (Amazon link)
Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Coffee Grinder (Amazon link)
Spice and coffee grinders have nearly the same functions, and this makes many wonders if they can be used in place of each other. However, there are some key differences between these two grinders.
Usually, the spice grinder has a much wider canal for chopping spices than grinding coffee beans. On the other hand, the coffee grinder has a narrow canal that uniformly grinds coffee into small pieces to enhance the texture and consistency.
Generally speaking, it is best to stick to a coffee grinder to grind coffee beans into coffee grounds. Unlike the spice grinder, it works more precisely to produce fine and uniform coffee grounds for a more flavorful cup.
Besides, most electric coffee grinders are equipped with a bit of dial that allows you to adjust the gap between the two burrs, so the size of the grounds will also change.
However, if you don’t want uniformly chopped spices, a spice grinder may be worth considering. Basically, the primary goal of a spice grinder is to chop and slice large spices with its spinning blades.
Why are Coffee Grinders Better Alternatives to Spice Grinders
If you already own a coffee grinder, you can use it to grind your spices to your desired consistency. Here is why it is a better alternative to a spice grinder.
- Coffee Grinders are Not Very Large
Coffee grinders have a compact design and fit well in small spaces.
Want to prepare a meal before your guests arrive? No problem! A coffee grinder can get the job done much quicker than a traditional mortar and pestle.
- Easy to Use
Anyone can use a coffee grinder without much difficulty. You simply need to toss your ingredients and initiate the grinding process.
Believe it or not, coffee grinders are easy to use when grinding spices and are nearly as simple as grinding coffee beans. If you know how to grind coffee beans in your grinder, you also know how to grind spices. The only significant difference is the amount of whole spice you put in the grinder.
Follow these steps to know how to grind spices in your coffee grinder:
Step 1: Choose the type of spices you want to grind. Coffee grinders do a decent job grinding spices like cumin, coriander seeds, black peppercorn, cinnamon sticks, and cloves. Once you have the spices, ensure that you prepare them as necessary. For instance, you need to wash cinnamon sticks before grinding.
Step 2: Place the spices in small batches to allow enough room for the blades and burrs to spin. If you are using a lot of spices for your dishes, you may need to do more than one batch of grindings. Also, it helps to grind spices of a similar size.
Step 3: Plug your electric coffee beans grinder into an electric source and pour the spices into the grinder in batches. Don’t forget to use smaller batches for effective grinding. If using a manual unit, rotate the handle until your desired texture is achieved.
Step 4: Grind the spices to the coarseness of your choice. If you want the spices to get more refined, grind in short periods until the fineness level of your choice is attained.
Step 5: Once you are done, ensure that you clean the coffee grinder thoroughly, mainly if you still use it to grind coffee beans.
Quick Tip: To make the grinding process more effective, consider dry roasting whole spices in a cast-iron or non-stick pan before grinding. The spices should turn brown but not overcook. Wait for a few minutes for the ingredients to cool before grinding.
We hope this article has been useful if you were wondering, “Can you use a coffee grinder to grind spices?” If you already own a coffee grinder, you can still use it to grind spices. Nevertheless, you need to ensure that you wash your grinder properly so as not to interfere with your coffee’s flavor.