Perhaps my question should be "What is the best type of grinder to use at my desk if I work in a cubicle and use a French Press?".

I have tried finding decibel measurements on Amazon's website, but most of the coffee grinders listed don't specify them.

  • 1
    You might try grinding the beans at home and bringing in freshly ground coffee. If you keep the freshly ground coffee in an airtight container you should be able to do this only once a week without the coffee going stale. – PJNoes Jun 30 '15 at 16:39
  • You considered the noise that would come out from your cubicle. Have you also thought about the aroma that would also come out of it? That's the reason I had to stop brewing at work. – J.A.I.L. Mar 14 '16 at 18:09
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    What kind of monster would say anything against coffee aroma? – avocado1 Nov 2 at 14:32
up vote 13 down vote accepted

First, lets ignore blade grinders entirely. Any grinder that doesn't have a motor will be relatively quiet. You'll be at the mercy of the crunching beans, but that's it. Add to this that the more the grinder weighs, or the more "heft" it has to it, the quieter it will typically be due to the additional mass damping any vibration. When adding a motor to the mix, each step between the motor and the burrs adds an opportunity for noise. As such, a direct drive grinder will typically be quieter than anything involving a gearbox.

The pecking order is basically...

Hand Grinder --> Direct Drive Flat Burr --> Direct Drive Conical Burr --> Gear-Reduced Burr

While Decibel ratings are available from most manufacturers, they're difficult to translate into a subjective estimate of "harshness." I deal with these regularly and found that some of my favorite grinders are technically louder than several others, including the Baratza Vario. The difference is that they have a much more mellow drone rather than the gear motor's quieter whine.

  • Sorry for my question, but, what did you want to say with "blad grinder". Does such a concept really exists, or is just "blade grinder". I am no native English speaker by the way. – Nicolás May 1 '15 at 17:53
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    Sorry, that was just a typo on my end. Alternatively (and more sarcastically), you could also imagine that I intended to write it as "Blād Grinder." – Andrew Sanjanwala May 4 '15 at 17:09

A manual coffee grinder like the "Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill".

  • Mine is very quiet, and is OK for a cube farm. – David I. Mar 15 '16 at 16:35

WholeLatteLove.com actually provides decibel ratings for many of their coffee grinders such as the Mazzer Mini. Perhaps you could compare some grinders there.

Based on my experience, a hand grinder is the absolute quietest that you can buy, but it also take a bit of elbow grease. And if you're shopping for an older parent (like I recently did), then those arthritis hands can't handle that manual grinder. Like others, I did my research on places like Quiet Home Lab and Amazon reviews. I also ended up buying the Capresso Infinity for my dad. He seems to enjoy it - and it is quiet compared to his last grinder, so I call that a win!

Well even decibel ratings did not prove to be quite best thing to measure, because they also depend on different things, some noises aren't as disturbing as others,... There are hand grinders, which are quiet but the question is - do you really want to grind by hand? So you want to see some grinders which are designed to be quiet. That can be hard to find though. Capresso infinity is calling itself the quietest grinder - at least I read so in this detailed review on coffee grinder world.

The Comandante Hand grinder or another similar grinder would have to be the best option. The grind on a Comandante is superior to most other hand grinders on the market, though the price is rather high. In the $200 range I believe. It is worth every penny for the discerning coffee snob.

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