Why Does Your Coffee Grinder Make So Much Noise?


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Why Does Your Coffee Grinder Make So Much Noise?

Nothing beats the smell of freshly ground coffee. Mornings would not be complete without it, but the same can’t be said for the deafening noise created while grinding them.

Coffee grinders make a lot of noise because the coffee beans require a lot of force to grind due to their hardness. The spinning blades in conventional coffee grinders cause the beans to bounce around – the resultant sound of the beans being crushed can be harsh on the ears.

In other words, coffee grinders are just noisy by nature. It can’t be helped – if there was a quieter way of doing things, rest assured nobody would miss the unpleasant ruckus of coffee grinders. Read on to find out more about how coffee grinders work, why they make so much noise, and if there is anything you can do about it.

Here Is Why Coffee Grinders Are So Noisy

You’ll notice that your coffee grinder closes quite firmly. A standard design is the upright coffee grinder, which houses a motor that drives blades in a steel cup above to cut and crush the beans.

If you didn’t have a way to securely close the grinder, your coffee beans would fly all over the place instead of being ground. The blades are also dangerous and can easily cause traumatic injury to any body part unfortunate enough to encounter them. 

Usually, the design of a coffee grinder will incorporate some sort of safety feature that prevents it from being operated without the lid securely closed for this very reason. 

Coffee Beans Are Hard To Grind

For some coffee lovers, there is no substitute for freshly ground beans. They will scoff at the thought of buying pre-ground beans and will often have their own preference in how finely they grind their beans for any given method of brewing.

The trouble with coffee beans is they are hard. That’s why you find ground beans on the shelves of your supermarket – many people either don’t have the equipment to grind their own beans, and others just can’t be bothered. Modern electric coffee grinders make grinding your beans quick and convenient, but it may not always be practical.

What Is Popcorning in a Coffee Grinder?

You might come across the term “popcorning” when talking about coffee grinders. Don’t worry, we aren’t adding corn to the grind – it’s referring to the motion of the beans.

Popcorning in a coffee grinder refers to the tendency for beans to bounce around in a coffee grinder, much like the namesake for this phenomenon. This is primarily a problem in top-loading coffee grinders and is counteracted in hopper-type grinders by the weight of the beans.

If you have a hopper-style grinder, keeping it topped up as you grind will stop the beans from jumping around. You may experience a little popcorning towards the tail end of your grind, but this shouldn’t affect your end result too much.

Is Popcorning in a Coffee Grinder Bad?

Popcorning isn’t bad in itself, and it shouldn’t damage your grinder. Grinders are meant to easily withstand the forces created within. It will, however, affect the quality of your grind.

Popcorning causes the beans to be ground inconsistently when compared to beans weighed down in a hopper, which will affect the quality of your brew.

Concerns around popcorning are the domain of the most discerning coffee lovers and baristas. For the average person wanting a cup of joe, popcorning isn’t really an issue. For the purposes of this article, you just need to know that this phenomenon forms part of the reason coffee grinders are so noisy.

The Force of the Blades and a Noisy Motor

If you’ve ever spun your grinder without beans in it, you’ll notice that it still makes quite a lot of noise. This is because of the powerful motor housed within.

Coffee grinder motors are often rated between 150 Watts and 200 Watts so they can generate enough torque to grind the beans. While it isn’t nearly as noisy as the crushing of the beans, a motor of this strength still produces a fair amount of noise.

The body of your coffee grinder’s primary function is to contain the forces generated within, so usually, considerations around it.s ability to muffle the sound of the motor are very much secondary to this.

Why Grinding Coffee Is Important

With all the effort that goes into grinding coffee, you may wonder if it’s even necessary. Unfortunately, coffee requires this process. While you could just boil whole coffee beans and hope for the best, you are unlikely to get a satisfying brew this way.

Grinding coffee is important because this enables the desirable compounds and flavors in the beans to be extracted efficiently. Ground coffee has a significantly larger surface area than an entire bean, meaning the water can interact with it more meaningfully.

Baristas pay special attention to their grind because it has a direct impact on the quality of their brew. They refer to boulders and fines, or parts of the grind that are either smaller or larger than desired. 

Thinking of Storing Ground Coffee?

It might be unthinkable to some, but it is possible to store ground coffee. This does come with a tradeoff, but you can still enjoy your ground coffee for up to a week after you grind it, if stored correctly. This is why there is a strong preference for freshly ground beans among coffee connoisseurs. 

Coffee begins to lose flavor once it is ground. The flavors and compounds in the coffee begin to react once exposed to the air within minutes, but it takes a while for ground coffee to lose it’s flavor completely so it can be stored and safely consumed if kept away from moisture, in a cool and dark place.

Storing ground coffee might not be the ideal solution since it does start to noticeably lose its flavor in just a few days, so for optimal flavor you do want the freshest grind possible but you may have to compromise if your work colleagues are complaining about the noise as you grind your coffee each day. It really won’t kill you to do it at home.

Coffee Grinding for Extraction

It’s not only coffee grinders that make a noise, the equipment used to brew the coffee can also be quite loud. This has little to do with why grinders are so noisy, but the whole purpose of grinding your beans is to extract as much flavor from them as possible. 

The technical term for making coffee is extraction. As the hot water passes over the ground beans, compounds and flavors are drawn out.

The extraction process requires appropriately ground beans. If your beans are too coarse, you will under-extract and not get as much flavor. Too fine and you could get an over-extraction, where undesirable flavors have been drawn from the beans. Usually over-extracted coffee will taste bitter.

Manual Grinders

If you want to learn a new appreciation for your electrically-driven grinder, try out a manual one. They are OK to use in a pinch, but it takes a lot longer and also require a lot more physical effort.

Manual coffee grinders are driven by a hand crank that drives blades inside to grind the coffee beans. They are significantly quieter than their electric counterparts but take much more effort and time to use.

Be careful when using a manual coffee grinder if you have never used one before. Do little bits at a time so as not to strain the arm and shoulder muscles you will be using to grind the beans.

A good quality model like this Triple Tree Manual Coffee Grinder ( available on Amazon.com) will make a good backup and is also nice for those camping trips where you have time to sit around and grind your beans. If you aren’t a big coffee drinker, it might be more your speed as well – they are available in different sizes, and you can adjust your grind coarseness.

If you don’t have a grinder, you can still grind your coffee beans. Don’t know how? Click on the link to read my in-depth guide on grinding espresso beans without a grinder. [How to Grind Coffee and Espresso Beans Without a Grinder]

Quiet(er) Grinders

Don’t think you’re alone if you want to grind your beans without that slight feeling of dread. There have been attempts to create silent coffee grinders. Still, at best, these usually offer “minimum grinding noise,” like the KRUPS Silent Vortex (available on Amazon.com), with the Ultimate model offering variable speed settings and a quieter motor.

The best way to get a quieter grinder is to find one you can grind at a low speed with. The lower speed will extend your grinding time but won’t hurt your ears as much. This also reduces the risk of popcorning, as your beans are less likely to bounce around due to the lower speed of the blades.


Unfortunately, coffee grinders are noisy by nature. This is for a few reasons, including:

  • The hardness of the coffee beans.
  • The force required to grind the coffee beans.
  • Beans bouncing around in the grinder, or Popcorning.

There are a few ways to reduce the noise created by your coffee grinder, like using a lower speed setting. There are also grinders designed to be much quieter than usual for those who want to grind their coffee fresh without waking their kids, partners, or loved ones up.