Spice Mill Vs Coffee Grinder – Know the Difference

What’s good for grinding your coffee beans? Or, what’s better at grinding your spices? Well, the answer is pretty much self-evident. But what are the main differences between a coffee grinder and a spice mill? What makes them different and so much suitable for their own alloted jobs. Let’s find it out here in our ‘Spice Mill vs Coffee Grinder’ guide. 


spice mill vs coffee grinder


Spice Mill vs Coffee Grinder

A coffee grinder is specifically engineered to grind almost all kinds of coffee beans, yielding the most fine and consistent grounds.

Whereas, a spice mill will grind your spices, coarse to fine, but can be inconsistent but that doesn’t usually affect the taste of your food. However, in case of coffee beans, inconsistency can drastically affect the taste of your coffee.



The grinders are basically of two types; blade grinders and burr grinders. Spice mills always operate with blades that chop off the spices in minute pieces turning them into powder. However, to turn them into smooth powder you need to grind for a longer time otherwise the ground will be inconsistent. The longer durations won’t affect the quality of your ground spices. 


spice mill vs coffee grinder


Whereas, the burr grinders always bring out the finest grounds within the optimal time. These types of grinders are designed to interact with each and every coffee bean and crush them individually yielding the most consistent grind ever. Then there are conical burrs and flat burrs. Flat burrs are more precise and thus, pricey. The burrs can be ceramic or made up of stainless steel. The grinder forces each bean through the burrs. The burrs are provided with minute gaps. As the gaps are unchangeable, the grind size remains constant as well. 


burr coffee grinder


All of the designing, working, and finesse of a coffee grinder makes it worth investing in. 

Let’s get into the other aspects of Spice mill vs Coffee grinder.


  • Temperature 

As we’ve talked earlier, to get your grounds to the finest you’ll need to run your spice mill for a longer time. This, in turn, raises the internal temperature of your appliance. Now that’s fine until you’re grinding your spices. For coffee beans, it’s definitely a no-no. 

At higher temperatures, the natural oils from coffee beans are prone to bad extraction. This can end up in a mess, giving a burnt taste to your cup of joe.

Coffee grinders, on the other side, are modelled in such a way that the temperature doesn’t exceed its limit (a pointer for a good coffee grinder here). They grind and extract the beans at the optimal temperature and to perfect consistency. 


  • Speed

Spice mills are usually more speedy than coffee grinders. Again, that’s because increased speed results in faster heating up, a ‘no-issue’ for a spice mill, a ‘big-issue’ for a coffee grinder. So, low speed is actually a good aspect of coffee grinder, something that sounds true otherwise, right?

In fact, there is a type of coffee grinder called ‘direct drive coffee grinder’, that comes with a low-speed motor.


  • Grind settings 

While there are no adjustments available in a spice mill, a coffee grinder comes with adjustable grind settings. You can have a range of settings depending on your needs. 

With your sophisticated coffee grinder you can have the finest grounds for your espresso, the coarsest for your French press, and anything in between. 

When it comes to the grind settings coffee grinder can be stepped or stepless. A stepped coffee grinder will provide you with pre-established levels, you can select the particle size from. A stepless coffee grinder will provide you with a range instead that you’ll be able to adjust according to your preference. The latter is something more suitable for an experienced coffee brewer.


  • Cost

Spice mills are cheaper than Coffee grinders. The coffee grinders incorporate state-of-the-art technologies to make your coffee beans and eventually your coffee the best. They’ve all the reasons to cost you more. They come with many features such as storage for your pods, beans, or grounds, catch trays, bean hoppers, brief control panels (digital ones too!), and various accessories including cleaning brushes, measuring spoons and so on and so forth. 

Spice mills are usually simple and basic appliances. They’re not required for any intricate or edgy tasks and therefore aren’t equipped with much, making them less pricey. 

Both of the appliances can be manual or electric prompting the price differences yet again.


manual coffee grinder


Can I Use A Coffee Grinder For Grinding Spices?

If you use a coffee grinder to grind your spices, the resulting grind will be really fine and consistent (a bit coarse if you set it up so). So, we’d say you can use a coffee grinder for your spices as the results are great.

Although, you’re good to go as long as you like your coffee tasting like cumin, cinnamon, or pepper (and we assume you don’t). 

People who’ve used coffee grinders for spices swore on how almost impossible it is to cut off the spice flavor from the grinder once in it. It may forgive a single or a couple of urgent grinds but consistently using it as for your spices is definitely going to get it wasted.


Can I Use A Spice Mill For Grinding Coffee Beans?

If it’s quite urgent and you can’t find anything but your spice mill, you can surely go for it (or even a blender, learn more about it here). We won’t promise you the best cup of your coffee – or even a good one for that matter – but it’d still be better than having no coffee at all. But yes, if you do the procedure correctly we can assure you can end up with a good cup of coffee. We’d recommend a good and sturdy spice mill, something like this.

The trick involves pulsing your mill with intervals of a few seconds in between as you wouldn’t want your appliance to heat up. 

Unfortunately, you’ll have to settle for a bit coarser grounds. Again, doesn’t matter if it’s just temporary. You can try going with it.

Get to know the best coffee grinders that you can confidently invest in here.


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