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How To Grind Herbs In A Coffee Grinder

As a beginner to herbalism, you will most likely start by learning about common herbs, making basic herbal preparations, and learning how herbs can be used to support or bring balance to the body.

However, as you continue on in your herbal journey, you will come across pieces of information that will change how you approach herbalism, the herbs you use most often, and how you make your herbal preparations.

Perhaps, today will be one of those times.

Today, I want to talk to you about grinding herbs before using them. This certainly isn’t something you have to do in order to use herbs properly, but I want to explain why you may want to do it… if not all the time, at least some of the time. Not only do I want to share the benefits of grinding herbs with you, but I’m also going to explain how you can grind herbs quickly and easily using a coffee grinder.

5 Factors That Affect Extraction

The process of extraction, where an herb yields its constituents, is affected by five different things.

  1. Moisture content of plant matter
  2. Solvent used
  3. Heat
  4. Maceration time
  5. Size of plant matter

I’m not going to speak on the first four factors today, but I am going to go into more detail about the size of plant matter and how it affects the extraction process.

Size Matters… For The Most Part

For simplicity’s sake, you can go outside right now, find an herb, dig it out of the ground, and soak the whole thing in water to make an herbal tea. Yes, it’s that easy.

Herbs, when used this way, do give up their properties to the water, but not as easily as they do when broken up into smaller pieces.

You see, when herbs are cut, chopped, or ground down into smaller pieces, more of the surface area of the plant is exposed. The smaller the herb is, the more solvent comes into contact with the plant cells and the easier it is for the phytochemicals to be extracted.

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So while you can use large pieces of an herb to make your preparations, it’s better to use smaller pieces as it will result in a stronger extraction as well as a quicker one.

Herbalist James Green, in his book, The Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook , says, “… the passing of the soluble constituents through the walls can be a slow process, but it can be quickened by increasing the surface area of the plant before extraction is begun. Again, this is accomplished (sometimes easily, sometimes not) by powdering the dried plant. This not only greatly increases the area that can be exposed to the solvent, but also causes many of the ectodermal surface cells to be broken, so that the menstruum can come in direct contact with the cells’ contents” (Green, 2000).

How To Grind Herbs Using A Coffee Grinder

Historically, a mortar and pestle has been used to grind herbs, but that can take a good bit of time and effort. It’s much easier nowadays to use an electric coffee grinder to help chop or grind herbs into a smaller size.

Below, I’ll walk you through the process of how to grind herbs using a coffee grinder so you can improve your extractions if you wish.

Advise Please: Hand Grinder vs Coffee Grinder

In my younger days, I chose the hand grinder as I would likely be smoking week outside or in my car. Now that I have my own place to live, I chose an easier option, the coffee grinder.

I would like to know your opinion as to whether the coffee grinder is a good option for weed. Some benefit is that there is a significant amount of kief in the coffee grinder after chewing through 1/4+ ounces. Does grinding weed so finely make it dry out faster or lose flavour? I usually leave the ground weed in an airtight container in the freezer. Is the freezer the best option?

I tried a coffee grinder, it was easier to grind larger amounts of weed but all the crystals got stuck to the plastic lid and it was a ball-ache scraping them out all the time. My metal hand grinder collects all the crystals at the very bottom and they're much easier to scoop out. Hand grinder all the way for me

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Some pics for those visual people like me who need to see it to get it.

The flowers are Cookies-Kush from my personal garden, %100 organic bougie-craft, hand-trimmed and loved like a child from seed to smoke.

Idk ive never done it, but would the coffee grinder not get super sticky? Can you clean it? Is this really a thing? Doesnt it all come out in clumps? I have so many questions!

The grinder gets dusty fast, then you can use a brush to get all the kief out and sprinkle that on bowls. We used to put a piece of cigarette package in the grinder lid to act like a wall separating the lid into 2 sections, this basically creates 2 vortexes when the grinder is in use, and the kief builds up super super fast. When we were dealing outta the appartment back in the day, we would do that and everyone was using out grinder all day long. we would harvest grams of kief every day.

The coffee grinder gets coated in kief pretty fast. You definitely want separate coffee grinders for weed and actual coffee. I only "clean" my coffee grinder in the sense that I want to extract the kief. The weed can clump together after grinding if it was moist to start. However, it usually comes out in a powder ready for smoking.

It does get sticky, it can be cleaned (never fully but you can recover most "lost" material with time and patience) and once you get the hang of it, no clumps unless your flowers are really wet.

I'll post a few pics in a few minutes, let me get set up, it's burning time anyways.

4 piece hand grinder, Iv'e had mine for 5 years and it's still like new, every few months I give it a bath in ISO then evaporate that and get a nice shattery QWISO to dab.

Personally, I stick to a discount coffee grinder, but the problems/issues others have mentioned are very real. I just have ways of dealing with them or just don't care enough.

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Faster especially if you go through as much as I do (3 adult smokers, only I know how to roll without the ridiculous contraption my wife uses, and even she thinks those are cheating)

You get alot of kief, which I usually just mix right back into the batch that it came from.

Once you get used to the grinder, you get a feel for how finely chopped your flowers are and get consistent burning with a range of humidities

Your buildup when scraped and pressed makes a VERY high quality (depending on quality of flowers of course) hash/resin

If flowers are very dry it's easy to overdo it and get powder that won't burn well.

If main grinder bowl is plastic, scraping buildup risks contamination of smoke with plastic, which both tastes nasty and presents health concerns.

It works for me, your mileage may vary.

Not exaggerating, I still use the same Black and Decker coffee grinder I bought 20 years ago in high school at Walmart. works great! Any of those small electric coffee grinders are what you want, trust me. It'll take a little practice to mulch it up just right though, press the button only 2 or 3 brief times and then look at it. Do it too little and the chunks will be too big, do it too much and you'll have plant powder haha. Once you get the hang of it, it will grind as little or as much as you can fit in it to the PERFECT consistency for bowls or joints in 3 seconds.

The BEST part is the crystals building up in the top of it. you can scoop it out and sprinkle it as your heart desires, and you'll gather an amazing amount too! I actually found this out by happy accident waaaayy before reddit could clue you in on the pro-tips.

Also be sure to take any big pieces of stem off first for a much better smoke.