Historically, noise pollution has been a significant issue with many kitchen appliances and using a coffee grinder is no different. No matter the type of grinder (blade or burr), these devices tend to be loud.
Fresh ground coffee isn't comparable to pre-ground. The coffee tastes better and the aroma is stronger. Pre-ground coffee beans also result in over oxygenated stale coffee.
With that said, quiet coffee grinders do exist, let's take a look at some your options.
The Quiet Coffee Grinders
1. Comandante C40 Manual Coffee Grinder
When it comes to manual grinders, the Comandate C40 is the gold standard. It is designed by and made for specialty coffee experts and connoisseurs.
There's nothing that Comandante left out when they developed this grinder:
The Burr is made of patented high-alloyed, high-nitrogen stainless steel (approximately 58 Rockwell hardness). Manufacturing with high nitrogen martensitic steel is difficult and requires special tools, machinery, and craftsmanship. However when it's complete, it's tough and highly resistant to pitting.
The body of the grinder is stainless steel wrapped in a veneer of American cherry wood that's treated with a natural-based wax-oil.
The axle and crank are made of stainless steel and the crank-knob is made of 100% natural oak wood.
The Comandante is capable of grinding beans for Turkish coffee and coarse for French Press. In order to adjust the grind simply:
- Remove the glass jar.
- Turn the knob while holding the handle in place.
- The grinder then uses stepped grind adjustment. Meaning you count the number of clicks to determine grind size.
The only downside to this grinder is the price. However, it will likely be the last grinder you ever buy. Due to the engineering of the burrs and the material used, it's whisper quiet in comparison to electric burr options.
2. Mueller Ultra-Grind Conical Burr Coffee Grinder Professional Series
The Mueller Ultra-Grind comes equipped with a large capacity hopper and a removable container to hold the grind.
It can produce 30-32 cups of coffee with one fill. There are 10 grind size options as well as micro-adjustments that allow for uniform bean extraction for any brew method. Grind size can be adjusted easily using the coarseness adjustment knob.
This model comes with a simple on/off button, as well as an automatic stop function for the end of the grind cycle.
This machine is easy to clean thanks to the removable top burr and custom embedded brush.
Mueller has thought of everything with this model – including sound. The grinder features a gear reduction motor that grinds slower for reduced noise. Meuller notes the decibel rating is 76 dB.
3. OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
The OXO Brew coffee grinder is an electric conical burr grinder. It comes with a UV blocking hopper that can hold up to 0.75 pounds of coffee beans. UV rays from the sun can cause certain coffee compounds to break down, so this is a nice touch.
Unlike other coffee grinders that feature dial style controllers, you can adjust the grind size by turning the hopper itself. The grinder is equipped with 15 grind size settings, as well as micro settings. 1 being fine for brewing espresso and 15 being coarse for a french press.
After setting your grind size you then turn the "OXO" button to adjust your grind time. This time is then saved for the next time you grind allowing for a consistent brew.
OXO doesn't state anything in regards to decibel ratings, however a customer notes with independent testing they measured 74 dB. This metric/rating is about average for electric conical burr grinders.
4. Breville Smart Grinder Pro Coffee Bean Grinder
Breville is a well known brand in the coffee industry. They're most recognized for their drip brew and espresso coffee machines. Needless to say, they know and understand what it takes to make a great cup of coffee.
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro features a large hopper and a compartment that allows you to grind your beans directly into an airtight container, filter basket, or paper filter.
The airtight grind container also comes with a lid and sealing cap so you can pre-grind your coffee and store it as needed. However, it's usually best practice to grind beans as you need them as apposed to grinding them and degassing the beans.
The grinder has 60 precise grind settings that allowing for a range of fine and coarse grind options. Meaning you aren't limited to a specific brew method.
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro also has a unique function called Dosing iQ. This timing allows you to adjust grind time in 0.2-second increments allowing you to get a precise and consistent grind every time.
5. Secura Burr Coffee Grinder
The Secura Burr grinder has a similar style to the Mueller model that we looked at earlier.
It is designed with a hopper that holds up to 8 ounces of coffee beans and includes a compartment below, that can hold up to 5 ounces of ground coffee. The compartment is removable and can be pulled out and emptied directly into your French press or the appropriate filter.
The Secura Burr comes with 18 grind size options, which allows for a variety of brew methods to be used. The grinding mechanism is designed to prevent overheating, and the components of the machine are all removable for easy clean-up.
There is a quantity control dial on the side of the machine that allows you to select the desired number of cups you are grinding for, from 1 – 10. Once it has ground the appropriate amount, it will automatically shut off.
What to Look For in a Quiet Coffee Grinder
Over 50% of Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee every day. This represents 150 million daily drinkers (1). Needless to say, A LOT of people drink coffee.
While buying your coffee beans pre-ground is convenient it's not the best way to enjoy a "fresh" cup of coffee. Making coffee with just about any brew method requires a consistent grind for optimal extraction of the bean.
However, not every adult works on the same schedule. Grinding beans early in the morning can be a nuisance for both you and the other people trying to sleep.
Types of Coffee Grinders
There are two main types of coffee grinders: blade and burr.
A burr grinder uses two serrated oscillating plates (burrs) to grind beans. These plates are usually made of either ceramic or stainless steel. Due to how the burrs are engineered, it results in a more consistent grind.
There are two main types of burr grinders: conical and wheel.
- A conical burr grinder is usually the more expensive of the two options. It creates a more consistent grind and produces little heat.
- A wheel grinder rotates the burrs at a high rate of speed resulting in additional heat. However, they are also more affordable.
Just as the name suggests, a blade grinder uses two spinning blades to quite literally chop beans as apposed to "grinding" them.
Blade grinders create a grind with varying levels of surface area due to the physics of the chopping motion. This affects "coffee bloom" resulting in under and over-extracted coffee beans. The blades also create heat which can cause the grind to heat up prematurely.
For this reason, blade-ground coffee beans are considered inferior to burr-ground.
There are two forms of power for coffee grinders: electric and manual.
As the name suggests, a manual grinder requires the user to turn a hand crank that spins burrs in order to grind coffee beans. This process can be painstakingly slow, especially in the morning. However it produces minimal noise as there is no motor or electricity involved.
An electric powered grinder features a motor that spins either blade or burrs at a high rate of speed in order to grind coffee beans. These types of grinders will always be louder than a manual option.
Noise Level Considerations
Most coffee drinkers have likely bought fresh roasted beans before. Upon waking up in the morning, they realize that grinding the beans is going to result in audible noise and they're at loss until everyone wakes up.
The following features result in the quietest coffee grinders:
- Conical burrs produce the least amount of noise, even in comparison to wheel grinders. They also produce the most consistent grind.
- A manual grinder doesn't have a motor that can make extra noise on-top of the grinding coffee beans.
In the morning, most people don't have the energy to manually turn a hand crank in order to spin conical burrs. However, it's also the quietest way to grind coffee.
If you're not willing to put in the elbow grease, look for a quiet grinder that is decibel (dB) rated and uses conical burrs.
Having freshly ground beans and a freshly brewed pot of coffee is one of the best ways to start a morning. However due to noise pollution, most people opt for inferior pre-ground coffee beans.
Luckily, quiet options do exist. As with all the options listed, ensure the machine is dB rated and features some form of burr as the method of grinding. If you're up for the task, using a manual grinder ensures less noise as apposed to an electric counterpart.