As a lifelong coffee drinker since my teenage years, I have brewed coffee in almost every conceivable way, from cowboy coffee to high-end commercial espresso machines, and everything in between.
However, as a parent with a small child who wakes up at the slightest sound, I've recently found myself on a quest for the quietest coffee maker around.
In this article, I am going to share with you all the secrets that I've found to brewing coffee without the noise.
To Grind, or not to Grind?
If you're a coffee connoisseur like I am, you probably buy whole beans and use a conical burr grinder to get the grain consistency you need. This is obviously super loud! If you're trying to quiet your coffee brewing, you may need to rethink the grinding process.
You really have two options here: either switch to buying pre-ground coffee, or grind your coffee at a time of day where noise doesn't matter and then keep it in a cool, dry place like your freezer in an air-tight container until you use it. Otherwise, the reality is that grinding coffee is loud, and there is no way around that fact.
How to Brew Without the Noise
I am going to take a look at traditional drip coffee makers, but before we get to that, there are a bunch of quiet coffee brewing techniques that are not drip based. I'm talking about methods of brewing coffee that involve your stove or your fridge, and will now outline these quiet alternatives:
Cold Brew Coffee
This is by far the quietest method of brewing coffee, and also has a unique taste and low acidity. You will need a mason jar and a cold-brew coffee filter, which is normally a giant metal filter that fits inside of your mason jar.
You need to start the cold-brew process before bed because it takes hours for it to work. First, you take your empty mason jar, place your cold-brew coffee filter inside of it, and then fill the filter with your freshly ground coffee. Next, you fill the mason jar and filter full of cold water. Finally, stir the coffee and water until the grounds are fully submerged in the water, screw the lid onto the mason jar, and place it in your fridge overnight. In the morning, you will wake up to a couple of cups of cold, tasty coffee, and best of all, no noise!
French Press Coffee
A French press is very similar to the cold brew method in a lot of ways, except here we use hot water and the filter is built into the apparatus, so there is no need for your own jar and filter. You will want a consistent grind and a grain that is slightly larger than your typical drip coffee if possible.
When brewing coffee using a French press, you will place your grounds in the bottom of the glass, heat up water until it is almost boiling, and pour the water into the glass. Stir the water and grinds like you would some cowboy coffee, and then after a few minutes, take your push-filter and use it to filter the grounds to the bottom of the French press. Boom, just like that you have amazing coffee without a lot of noise.
Stovetop Espresso Makers, AKA Moka Pots
Rounding off our quiet alternatives to drip coffee machines, we have the venerable moka pot, which is a small coffee brewing device that makes espresso-like brews on your stove. The entire process is relatively quiet, except the very last moments on the stove.
To use a moka pot, you will up the bottom chamber with water, then you load the filter with espresso grounds and place it above the bottom chamber, and finally you screw the top piece in. With that out of the way, you simply turn a burner on high or medium-high and place your moka pot on the burner.
Now, you just wait for the pressure from the hot air to push the water vapor through the filter, giving you espresso in the top chamber.
At the end of the moka pot brewing process, the chamber will start to produce some noise. This is generally when you want to remove the moka pot from the burner. Letting the pot sit for 30 seconds should be all the time you need for it to quiet back down. Generally, it's not very loud, but it is louder than the French press and the cold-brew methods I just covered.
What Drip Coffee Machines are the Quietest?
Up until this point, I've looked at some alternative brewing techniques that are relatively quiet, but what if you just want the convenience and consistency of a traditional drip coffee machine? Don't worry, I've got you covered here, but I have one more alternative to the machines that I am going to start with before exploring a few of the quiet machines I am aware of.
Pour Over & Manual Drip Coffee Makers
Very similar to the previous alternatives I mentioned, you can actually heat the water separately and then use a coffee filter cone to manually drip coffee.
Often these "coffee makers" are less than $10 and are labeled "single-serve" or "pour over" or "manual drip" but all describe essentially the same thing. This is a super quiet alternative to a machine that still produces a typical drip-brew flavor and consistency.
Look for "Silent Operation" Drip Coffeemakers
You're not the only person who has wanted a quiet coffee maker. In fact, demand for quiet brewing is so high that several manufacturers have developed coffee machines that provide a so-called "silent operation" when brewing.
The best way to find these machines is to search for "silent operation" on your favorite online retailer because that seems to be the term that the manufacturers all adopted.
While not all manufacturers agree on the definition of what "silent operations" means, generally you will find that you can turn off any notification beeps on these machines. In addition, many of these units manage to heat and pump the water into the filter without the traditional gurgling sounds that most drip machines make. Be sure to look at reviews for silent operation machines to see just how quiet they really are.