Last Updated on April 5, 2023 by brewthatcoffee
Can you grind coffee beans in a Ninja? Find out below!
Coffee fans love the smell of freshly ground coffee. But there comes a time when your coffee grinder breaks or gets lost in a move. Do you even need to buy a separate grinder? Can you use a Ninja to grind coffee beans?
It is possible to grind coffee beans in a Ninja blender or food processor as it is similar to a blade grinder. However, the grind size will be coarse and uneven, resulting in sour or bitter coffee. Buy a Ninja grinder attachment or a separate burr grinder for best results.
Ninja blenders and food processors are popular kitchen appliances that last for ages and can fulfill lots of functions. Besides making smoothies, chopping onions, and blending soup, most Ninjas can crush ice and grind nuts. Let’s see if your handy workhouse can also grind coffee beans.
Can You Grind Coffee Beans in a Ninja?
Why You Technically Can Use A Ninja To Grind Coffee
While coffee purists may argue that nothing but a burr grinder will do (more about that later), grinding coffee in a Ninja is possible.
Ninja appliances have blades for blending and chopping, which will function similarly to a blade grinder.
However, not all Ninja appliances will be equally successful at grinding coffee, nor will they grind finely enough to make espresso.
- Ninja Kitchen Systems are multifunctional food processors. They can prep ingredients, make dough, and liquidize soup. You can use this appliance to grind coffee, as it will function similarly to a blade coffee grinder.
- Traditional stand blenders are handy for making beverages, such as shakes, smoothies, and slushies. Their blades can function as a coffee grinder but will only grind coarsely.
- Single-serve blenders with only 250 W power are not robust enough to grind coffee beans.
Why You Shouldn’t Grind Beans In A Ninja
Although you can grind coffee beans in a Ninja blender or processor, you should only do it in an emergency. A blender is not intended to grind coffee beans, so you risk poor-quality coffee and a damaged blender.
Inconsistent Coffee Ground Size
You shouldn’t grind coffee in a Ninja because the blades cannot crush the coffee into evenly sized grains.
To make coffee from beans, you should aim for a consistent grind size so that the brewing process will extract a smooth flavor. For example:
- A coarse grind is perfect for making pour-over coffee or using a French press.
- A fine grind is necessary if you make espresso, a short coffee with maximum flavor.
If you use the wrong-sized grind for your brewing method or if the coffee grains end up in different sizes, the flavor will be extracted inconsistently. You’ll end up with sour or bitter coffee.
- If your grind is too coarse, the larger grains (boulders) cause under-extraction, making the coffee sour and acidic.
- If your grind is too fine, the fine will be over-extracted, causing a bitter, flat taste.
An inconsistent grind is, therefore, a waste of good coffee beans. Instead, buy preground coffee if you don’t have a decent coffee grinder.
Too Much Heat Will Release The Beans’ Oils
A second problem with using a blender to grind coffee is blending for an extended period to get the desired consistency.
The longer you grind the coffee, the hotter the blender gets. As the blender heats up, your coffee beans will, too, burning the coffee’s natural oils.
Making coffee with burnt beans is unpleasant, as the flavor will be harsh and bitter.
Damage To Your Ninja Blender
Although a Ninja blender is a powerful kitchen appliance, it was not designed to grind coffee beans. Using it as a coffee grinder can damage the Ninja:
- If the beans haven’t been adequately roasted, they can damage the blender’s blades.
- If you blend for an extended period, the finely ground coffee can clog the blender, overheating it.
A Messy, Noisy Experience
Grinding coffee beans in a blender will be much noisier and messier than using a coffee grinder. Even if you put the lid on the blender, coffee grains and beans can escape, making a mess of your kitchen.
The blending process is also noisy, so don’t use this grinding method while your family is asleep.
There Are Affordable Grinders That Cost Less Than A Ninja
The cheapest Ninja blender is around $100, while you can get a small burr grinder for half of that. It’s worth investing in an affordable grinder to get the best out of your coffee.
How To Grind Coffee In A Ninja
Sometimes you have no alternative but to grind your coffee beans in your blender. The grind will be on the coarser side, so you can make decent drip coffee.
Here are some tips to make grinding in a blender easier.
- Blend a small scoop of beans at a time. This is the number one rule to avoid overheating the beans and clogging your blender. Begin with a quarter cup of beans and experiment from there.
- Choose the flat blade fitting (for chopping, milling, or grinding, not the extraction blades) and a small cup or pitcher.
- Make sure that the lid is on tightly.
- Turn on the blender for 20-30 seconds to break down the beans.
- Switch off the blender and shake or stir the beans so the larger pieces fall into the blades.
- Pulse the blender about 10 times to get the consistency you want.
- Be patient and blend small batches at a time for the best results.
How To Grind Coffee In A Ninja Auto-IQ
The Ninja Auto-IQ feature offers preset programs with specified speeds and pulses, for example, crushing ice, blending ice cream, extracting juice, or making smoothies.
If you have a Ninja with this feature (e.g., the Professional Plus), follow these steps to grind coffee:
- Start with a small amount of beans and experiment with more each time. Small batches will prevent clogging and overheating.
- Depending on the model, use the Max Blend or Crush setting.
- Grind until the coffee reaches the consistency you want.
You can also customize Auto-IQ systems with a coffee and spice grinder attachment. Although it cannot function separately, the attachment grinds dry items, like seeds or beans, more effectively than the standard blender. Use the blade grinder for 12 tablespoons of beans at a time, which is enough for a 12-cup coffee carafe.
Types of Coffee Bean Grinders
There are two types of coffee grinders, blade, and burr grinders. Let’s examine the differences and determine which will produce the best coffee.
Blade grinders function by chopping coffee beans using sharp metal blades.
You control the grind size through time: the longer the blades grind, the finer the coffee grains. Most models, therefore, have settings with timers per grind size.
These grinders are far more affordable and produce a decent grind for drip coffee, pour-over, and French presses.
However, blade grinders tend to produce an uneven grind. This creates a sour, bitter brew owing to over and under-extraction. The grind size will disappoint, especially if you like strong Turkish coffee or espresso.
A second disadvantage of blade grinders is that they heat up because of the blades’ speed. This heats the coffee beans and can create a burnt flavor.
Burr Grinders (What We Recommend)
Instead of blades, burr grinders have two burrs to grind the coffee beans.
Burrs are rings or cones with grooved or toothed edges. One burr is fixed, and the other rotates, crushing the coffee beans between the two. The pressure is uniform, and the movement is gentle to prevent overheating.
Coffee enthusiasts debate the merits of metal over ceramic burrs and flat over conical burrs, with nuances of grind size, heating, and durability. Metal, conical burrs are ideal for home use, whereas coffee shops may use ceramic burrs that last longer.
Whichever type your machine has, burr grinding is superior to blade grinding because it creates a more consistent, finer grind. Burr grinders can function more precisely, giving you more control over grind consistency.
Unfortunately, burr grinders are pricey, especially with metal burrs, and use more energy than blade grinders.
Bean Grinding in Blenders FAQs
While you can use a regular Ninja food processor or blender to grind coffee beans, it is not recommended because of the inconsistent, coarse grind that results. For better flavor extraction, purchase a grinder attachment for your Ninja or a separate burr grinder.