You have some whole cocoa beans you’re interested in griding down, and the handiest tool at your disposal is a coffee grinder. Are cocoa beans suitable for a coffee grinder, or should you grind the beans differently?
You can use a coffee grinder to grind cocoa beans since the beans are not that much larger than coffee beans. Depending on your coffee grinder, you can grind cocoa beans into sizable cacao nibs or a fine powder.
This guide will provide all the information you need when selecting a coffee grinder for grinding cocoa beans. We’ll take you through the grinding steps and include other related information.
Using A Coffee Grinder To Grind Cocoa Beans
First, here are the steps for grinding your cocoa beans at home using the coffee grinder tool you use to make roast coffee all the time.
Step 1 – Choose Your Coffee Grinder
Coffee grinders are not all made the same. You can select a manual, burr, or blade grinder from three unique types.
View this coffee grinder on Amazon.
Depending on what consistency you want in your ground cocoa beans, you’ll need a different type of coffee grinder, so let’s go over the types now.
- Manual grinder: A manual grinder includes a crank. These grinders are burr style, which we’ll explain more about momentarily. You can control precisely how fine the cocoa beans will be depending on how long you turn the crank. The longer you crank, the finer and more powder-like the cocoa. Of course, you have to put a lot of elbow grease in!
- Burr grinder: A burr grinder features a grinder wheel and a static surface. When you pour in cocoa beans, the beans are pressed against that surface by the grinder wheel until they begin to break down. The burr positioning dictates the fineness of the ground cocoa. These grinders also have two subsets, conical burr and wheel burr grinders.
- Conical burr grinder: Considered the cream of the crop as far as burr grinders go, a conical burr grinder goes slower and is at less risk of overheating. They also make less of a mess and don’t clog as often as other types of coffee grinders.
- Wheel burr grinder: The less expensive alternative, the wheel burr grinder, moves at a swift pace, which does put this grinder at risk of overheating. You can also over-grind the cocoa beans if you’re not careful!
- Blade grinder: Lastly, we’ve got blade grinders, which are inexpensive and less efficient than a burr grinder. Large blades rotate rapidly to cut the cocoa beans into increasingly smaller pieces. The longer a blade grinder runs, the finer the cocoa beans come out.
Step 2 – Add Your Cocoa Beans To The Coffee Grinder
Now that you’ve chosen your coffee grinder, it’s time to prepare the cocoa beans. Take whole cocoa beans and pour them into the grinder.
Keep in mind that since coffee beans are usually smaller than cocoa beans, you should not grind as many cocoa beans as you do coffee beans at once.
It’s better to take it in smaller batches, especially if you have a wheel burr grinder or any other type of coffee grinder prone to overheating.
Step 3 – Grind To The Recommended Fineness
Now it’s time to get started! Pulse your coffee grinder and watch as the cocoa beans break in size.
This is a magical moment, but make sure you don’t get too caught up. You want to pay attention to the fineness of the cocoa beans as they grind so that they reach the consistency you want.
It’s best to grind for a few seconds, stop and assess, grind some more, and stop and evaluate. This way, you can stop at precisely the right consistency for the cocoa beans.
After all, once you grind the beans to a fine powder, they’ll never become bean-shaped again.
What Happens When You Grind Cocoa Beans?
Why even grind cocoa beans? It’s not merely to make the beans smaller, of course. When you grind whole cocoa beans, you separate the cocoa butter or fat from the cocoa bean.
After all, within each bean is about 50 percent solid particles. The other half of a cocoa bean is fat.
Cocoa butter or cacao butter isn’t technically butter but vegetable fat. It smells like cocoa, even if it isn’t colored like chocolate.
What Can You Use Ground Cocoa Beans For?
Whether you ground yours down into moderately-sized cacao nibs or a much finer texture, ground cocoa beans have all sorts of uses. Let’s explore this in this section.
As A Snack
Cacao nibs or cocoa nibs aren’t quite chocolate but small pieces of dried cocoa beans. They taste like chocolate without sugar, carbs, and calories.
According to WebMD, eating two tablespoons of cocoa nibs as a snack has 140 calories, one gram of sugar, four grams of dietary fiber, six grams of carbs, 12 grams of fat, and two grams of protein.
Cocoa nibs are a good source of potassium, magnesium, and iron.
Eating the nibs could carry these health benefits, especially if you snack on them regularly:
- Reduced inflammation thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of cocoa nibs’ compounds.
- Blood pressure control might, in turn, reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Healthier HDL cholesterol could lower your chances of stroke and heart attack.
- A better mood thanks to the sweetness of your snack and the compounds and healthy fats; the latter two influence dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain.
To Make Hot Chocolate
The hot chocolate came from the Aztecs and was renowned for its rich flavor.
Making a hot chocolate home with roasted cocoa beans allows you to cut out the preservatives and heavy doses of sugar that commercial products often contain.
You can thus enjoy all the health benefits of hot chocolate because this treat is healthy for you.
Sipping on hot chocolate could lower inflammation, improve blood flow, reduce cholesterol levels, and control blood pressure and blood sugar.
To Add Flavor To Coffee
Another use for finely ground cocoa beans besides making hot chocolate is to add a dash of flavor to your morning coffee.
Take half a teaspoon of ground cocoa powder and stir it into your coffee while it’s still hot. Stir quickly to dissolve any clumps.
Sip and add half a teaspoon if you feel the coffee needs a more chocolatey flavor.
The production processes of chocolate and coffee are alike, and there exist enough similarities between the individual plants’ growing processes that coffee and chocolate are naturally a match made in heaven.
To Make Cacao Tea
Cacao tea or cocoa tea isn’t the same as hot chocolate. It’s a beverage from the Caribbean with a few unique variations.
Courtesy of Saveur, to make cocoa tea, you need:
- Vanilla (two teaspoons)
- Cornstarch (a tablespoon) with water (a tablespoon)
- Sugar (a tablespoon)
- Whole milk (a cup)
- Caribbean cocoa, grated (half a cup)
- Cinnamon stick (whole)
- Bay leaf (whole)
Boil two cups of water with the cinnamon stick and bay leaf in a saucepan, then lower the heat to a simmer for 15 minutes.
Next, add the grated cocoa, simmer for another 10 minutes, and pour in the sugar and milk, then the water and cornstarch.
The ingredients will begin to thicken in about two minutes. Then, turn the heat off, mix in the vanilla, run the tea through a sieve, and serve.
How Long Can You Store Ground Coffee Beans?
If you regularly keep coffee beans around the house, then storing cocoa beans should be simple for you. The same rules apply, after all!
You want to store the beans in an airtight container and then put them in a cool, dry environment such as a pantry.
The ground beans will remain fresh and usable for at least six months and up to a year. The longest life you’ll get out of cocoa beans is three years.
To Wrap Up
Grinding cocoa beans in a coffee grinder is a great way to make your hot chocolate at home. You can also snack on cacao nibs or stir some powdered cocoa grounds into your morning coffee!
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