Grinding your spices can make you feel more connected to your dishes when in the kitchen. There’s something about knowing that you ground that garlic or curry yourself to create a delicious dish. Plus, grinding spices yourself means you’re using the freshest ground spices in your meals.
If you’ve ever been in a situation where you needed to grind your spices into a fine powder, your coffee grinder probably looked like a good idea. But can you grind your spices in a coffee grinder without negatively affecting the grinder?
You Can Grind Spices in a Coffee Grinder
The short answer to this question is yes. You can grind spices in a regular blade coffee grinder. However, many coffee grinders don’t use blades; they use burrs. So if you’re planning to grind spices in a coffee grinder, make sure you’re using one with blades, or your spices may not turn out exactly how you like.
While the simple answer to this question is yes, there are a few factors to consider before you use your favorite coffee grinder for grinding your spices, such as peppercorn.
How Will Spices Affect Your Coffee Grinder?
The good news is that spices won’t have a significant effect on your coffee grinder. The main effect that spices will have on your coffee grinder is that the spices or coffee can taint the taste of the other, which we’ll touch on next.
Will The Taste of The Coffee Be Affected?
If you’re using the same coffee grinder to grind your coffee and your spices, there is a chance that your coffee might taste like whatever spice you’re grinding and vice versa. A tainted taste may not happen at first, but it becomes more likely if you regularly switch between the two without cleaning it.
The best way to clean your coffee grinder to avoid your coffee from tasting like freshly ground spices is to use rice.
I know it sounds weird, but stay with me. Grinding rice in the coffee grinder will let the rice flour absorb any leftover oils from the spices that can leave a terrible taste in your coffee. Once you grind the rice, dump the flour, and continue to clean the grinder with a wet towel and water.
How Do You Grind Spices in a Coffee Grinder?
Grinding spices in a coffee grinder is relatively straightforward, as long as you know how to use your coffee grinder.
All you have to do is place your unground spices in the grinder as you would with coffee beans, and then start grinding. If you have a manual one, begin twisting the appliance until the spices are ground to your liking. For those of you who have an electric coffee grinder, follow the first step and press the start button.
Pros of Grinding Spices in a Coffee Grinder
A major pro of grinding your spices in a coffee grinder is that you don’t need to purchase another kitchen appliance if you already have a coffee grinder on hand.
When you grind your spices at home versus buying them at the store, you’re using fresh ground spices in your food. Over time, ground spices lose a lot of their flavor. Grinding your spices on a need-to-use basis can keep your favorite meals tasting amazing.
Using a manual or electric coffee grinder for your spices will be much faster than traditionally grinding your spices with a mortar and pestle.
Cons of Grinding Spices in a Coffee Grinder
This may be an obvious downside to using a coffee grinder for spices, but it’s worth mentioning again. There is a chance your coffee will taste like spices, or your spices may taste like coffee if you don’t clean the grinder after.
If you plan on grinding more than one spice in one sitting, you’ll still have to clean out the grinder in between each use to avoid one spice tasting like another.
Utilizing the coffee grinder for spices can add more chores to your to-do list. You’ll need to clean the grinder after every different use, which can be a pain for some people. If you don’t mind, then this may not be a downside for you.
Possible Alternatives for Spice Grinding
Coffee grinders are an excellent option for grinding your spices, especially when you have nothing else on hand, but there are a few alternatives you may want to consider investing in.
Purchase a Blade Coffee Grinder Solely For Spices
Coffee grinders are fantastic for grinding spices. However, if you don’t want to clean your grinder when switching between coffee and spices, purchasing a second coffee grinder that you use only for spices is a good option.
As mentioned earlier, most coffee grinders use burrs, not blades. For those of you thinking about purchasing a coffee grinder for your spices, it’s best to find one with blades so that you can grind your spices very fine.
Most coffee grinders are relatively affordable, so purchasing a second one may not be a bad idea.
Invest in an Electric Spice Grinder
There are appliances on the market that are specifically designed for grinding spices. An electric spice grinder will automatically grind your spices for you, leaving you with more time to do other tasks.
The main difference when looking at an eclectic spice grinder and an electric coffee grinder is the blade. Electric spice grinders always have a blade, where some coffee grinders have burrs. Investing in an electric spice grinder removes some of the research behind finding something to grind your spices.
Depending on where you purchase one from, these can be pricier than electric or manual coffee grinders.
Use a Mortar and Pestle
If you want to do more traditional spice grinding, a mortar and pestle is another alternative. Not only are these tools aesthetically pleasing in kitchens, but you can also fully control how fine your spices turn out. This alternative does require a little more patience than the others, but it’s an alternative nonetheless.