Where To Grind Coffee Beans for Free
If you’re looking to take your home coffee game to the next level, you might want to consider using whole beans.
Whole beans preserve freshness and flavor. Plus, you can grind them to fit your brew method.
But what do you do if you have a bag of beans but no coffee grinder?
Good news! There are several places that can help you. Let’s take a look at where to grind coffee beans for free.
Where Can You Grind Coffee Beans for Free?
It’s easy to get your coffee beans ground for free– that is, if you know where to go. In this section, I’ll introduce you to several places that offer this service. Plus, I’ll explain the differences between these locations.
Let’s get grinding.
I’m going to go out on a limb and bet that you probably live near a Starbucks. If you do, you can take your beans over for a quick grind. They’ll even let you choose how you want it ground, such as a Turkish grind or a pour over grind.
However, there’s a catch.
Starbucks will only grind Starbucks coffee beans, meaning if you’ve got any other kind, they’ll turn you away.
Why? Starbucks uses the same coffee grinder to grind your beans as they do to grind the coffee they serve. Any leftover particulates go into their brews. This cross-contamination could impact quality standards and consistency.
I’ve read that at some Starbucks locations, the trick is to show up at the end of the day. Supposedly, they clean the grinder every night. So they’ll grind your beans regardless of brand if you catch them just before cleaning.
But when I worked at Starbucks, management never told us to clean the grinder. So this option may vary by location.
If you want to grind coffee beans by any other brand, I’d suggest choosing another location from this list.
You liked your local Costco Wholesale before, but now you’re going to love it. Many Costco locations offer a bean grinder for consumer use.
Keep in mind everyone can use these machines. So the grounds of other coffees could contaminate your beans.
This mingling shouldn’t be a big deal for most people, as the quantity of other ground coffee entering yours will be minimal.
You will have to grind your coffee beans yourself as these machines are usually self-help.
There are usually personnel in the area who will help you if you need it. Unlike Starbucks, Costco lets you grind coffee beans of any brand or origin.
In addition to every day low prices, many Walmarts have coffee grinders. Patrons can use these grinders, located in the coffee aisles, to grind their own beans!
These grinders are generally for coffee bought at Wal-Mart. But there isn’t any rule saying you couldn’t use it for other beans.
The grinders are self-serve, so you’ll have to know what grind size you want before you even get to the machines.
I’ve highlighted Wal-Mart because they’re pretty much universal in the US. The reality is that many big grocery stores will offer self-service grinders.
If you’re unsure whether yours does, try calling ahead to avoid an unnecessary trip to the store.
It is also good to remember that grocery stores probably don’t clean the grinders often.
How can you avoid residual coffee grounds contaminating your coffee? Ask the store about cleaning schedules and plan to go after a cleaning has occurred.
4. Whole Foods
Shopping at Whole Foods feels like shopping in style. With an amazing array of organic and natural products, there’s a lot to like. Including the coffee selection.
When you buy one of Whole Foods’ delectable coffee offerings, they will grind your beans. They’ll even ask how you plan to brew them to ensure they give you the correct grind size.
Whole Foods is probably your best bet for even grinds with limited cross-contamination. At least when it comes to grocery stores.
Not all locations have these grinders. But the ones that do offer a consistent, free grind.
Anyone shopping at Whole Foods can grind coffee beans using them. For this reason, it may not be the best option if you want to keep your grind completely pure.
5. Trader Joe’s
Trader Joe’s is another grocery chain with coffee grinders in most stores. These self-service grinders allow shoppers to change the grind size to match the brew method.
It is unlikely that TJ’s cleans these grinders regularly. So there is a risk of contamination.
Depending on how much other coffee gets in, this can change the fundamental flavor of your brew. If you want the most authentic experience from your brew, keep searching for a clean grinder.
The grinders are technically there for coffee you buy from the Trader Joe’s selection. But if you do other shopping while you’re there, you shouldn’t have any trouble grinding beans from other stores.
If your local Trader Joe’s has a grinder, you’ll find it in the aisle with the coffee beans. You will have to select the grind size and grind the beans yourself.
6. Your Local Coffee Shop
Going to a local coffee shop can be a great way to get your coffee beans ground for free. It helps if you’re a regular customer. But most of the time, they’ll be happy to help you.
Success is all about timing; if you go in when they aren’t busy, they will be more willing to grind your beans. If they are busy, they may require you to be a paying customer before considering it.
You can also buy coffee beans from their local stock and then have them grind both bags. This approach helps you develop a relationship with that local shop. And this relationship can help you get your beans ground for free in the future as well.
Sometimes you’ll get an employee at a local coffee shop who just won’t grind your coffee beans, no matter what you do or say. Don’t give up; try again when they aren’t there, or try a different local coffee shop.
This option still comes with the risk of residual coffee granules from other grinds. You can try the shop earlier in the morning or ask them about their cleaning schedule and plan around that.
I personally prefer grinding beans at my local coffee shop. You get your beans ground by professionals. You support a local business. Best of all? You develop connections in the local coffee community.
Wrapping Up: Free Coffee Grinding
As you can see, there are many places you can go to grind your coffee beans for free.
Some stores will only grind coffee beans from their brand or stock. But many places allow you to grind coffee beans regardless of where you bought them.
One of the most important things to remember about grinding in public is that the grinder is, well, public. Ground coffee from other batches can contaminate your beans. This mixing can compromise the integrity of your coffee.
If you’re a purist, you might want to inquire about cleaning schedules. Then, you can align your grinds based on when you think the machines will be cleanest.
Alternatively, you might want to buy your own coffee grinder.
If you want to avoid the hassle that comes with grinding coffee beans, you can buy pre-ground coffee. This route does compromise freshness.
The other downside here is that you don’t get to choose the grind that best suits your preferred brewing method.