You can place ground coffee in the basket. There is a selection for pre-ground to shut off the grinder. I discovered this when I realized I was out of whole beans. I referred to the manual. I have call ed the 1-800 number on a cleaning question and they were very helpful, but because they are Pacific Time, it's hard to speak to them at night when I'm prepping the the pot for the next day. Had to call from work, but they answered my question and I was able to get the task done when I got home.