Ground coffee is a decent halfway point to begin your journey in peeling back the curtain when it comes to home brewing.
With so many options to choose from, finding the coffee best for your preferred setup can be time-consuming and daunting. In this post, we decipher our top picks for the best ground coffee catering for all brewing methods.
We have great suggestions for you whether you’ll be using an espresso machine or a basic drip coffee setup. So let’s get started with our top pick:
Alternatives at a glance
If you enjoy a traditional Italian roast espresso the Crema e Gusto fires on all cylinders!
The 9 Best Ground Coffees 2021
Yirgacheffe is a small region within the southern Ethiopian state of Sidama. This area has long been called the birthplace of coffee, and the beans grown here don’t disappoint either.
This brew, in particular, takes me back to my first year starting as a barista. For many others, Ethiopian beans are the first step towards the more fruity side of coffee.
The coffee beans sold by Volcanica are of a premium standard, originating from volcanic regions around the world. Their options range from whole coffee beans, flavored coffees, and even ground coffee like this one.
Yirgacheffe is a ground coffee that delivers a lighter and more fruity taste than your regular cup of joe. With hints of strawberries, pineapples, and even lavender, this one will make your senses dance for joy.
f you’re one to enjoy your coffee black, you can rest assured these grounds don’t need any cream or sugar to shine.
Lifeboost is a gourmet coffee company committed to raising the standard by farming the highest quality Nicaraguan beans. The company ensures that the coffee beans they harvest match their standard for premium quality. With a roasting process that also ensures low acidity, this is beyond simply good coffee.
This single-origin espresso blend is dark, decadent, and delivers with a smooth topping of Crema. With that in mind, the taste profile inclines toward being chocolaty and nutty. It has a bold and robust flavor while being a cup of coffee that has low acid.
More generally, If you’re looking for other similar stomach-friendly options, you might want to check our picks for stomach friendly coffee.
Opened in 1997, Koa Coffee has won a handful of awards and is famous for raising the benchmark when it comes to Kona Coffee beans. The area of Kona, Hawaii, is associated with some of the best Java grown anywhere in the world.
The mix of climate, volcanic soil, and a particularly stringent set of laws governing quality coffee have meant the region produces some of the most premium beans anywhere around the globe.
Koa’s Private Reserve is an exclusive and secret blend of beans all coming from the Kona region. Once awarded “The Best in America” by Forbes, you can expect a smooth and refined quality coffee. The flavors range from chocolate, honey, brown sugar, and even fruity.
If you want a premium ground coffee made from Kona beans, it’s worth taking a further look at this one.
Roasting coffee since 1969, Royal Kona Coffee has been farming 100% Kona beans for over 50 years. Similar to Koa Coffee, Royal Kona is an established name in the region and for good reason.
These medium roasted beans give off a delectable aroma while making you appreciate the natural flavors in the ground coffee.
Beans originating from Kona give off a smooth and earthy flavor, and this Private Reserve shines on both fronts. If you’re looking for the best ground coffee in terms of balance, this one might be the right coffee for you.
Freshly Roasted Coffee does pretty much what they say on the tin, roasting fresh coffee and delivering right to you! The Black Knight blend is classed as USDA organic coffee, and it’s roasted in an eco-friendly way that lessens carbon emissions.
The way it’s roasted gives the coffee an intense flavor while the Arabica beans used to ensure its smooth with a bold character of caramelized sugar and plantains. This coffee blend will energize you throughout the day while tasting silky smooth!
In particular, if you’re searching for a breakfast blend served with milk, this warrants a more in-depth look as it might be the best ground coffee for you.
Can’t go to the beach but miss the sun and the sea? Got a sweet tooth but love good coffee that’s flavored? A sip of this toasted coconut coffee will mentally transport you there and have you feeling great!
A unique blend of Arabica beans gives a smooth taste, while the toasted coconut flavor satisfies your sweet tooth. Being a light roast ensures you can savor the flavor of the coffee bean with an ever sweet coconut finish…Ah dreamy!
If you’re hunting a tasty dessert-like beverage while upping the standard of your brew, this ground coffee is worth trying out!
Originating from Indonesia, the Bali Blue Moon Coffee Grounds suit a variety of brewing methods. It makes a full-bodied coffee, and has the taste and aroma of vanilla bean complemented with dark chocolate.
It might be a medium roast, but it’s less acidic compared to others. With a great mouthfeel to boot, you savor the distinct flavors in each bean.
Reminiscent of dark chocolate softened with vanilla, it’s undoubtedly a brew I enjoy sipping on! Regardless if you like it as an espresso or drip, you’ll be brewing more of it.
Alright, caffeine hunters, we’ve got you covered with this one! Deathwish is famous for surfacing some of the world’s most potent coffee beans in terms of caffeine content.
A blend of Indian and Peruvian beans give the coffee hints of chocolate and cherries. The dark roast of Arabica beans combined with Robusta results in a coffee with intense and bold flavor with its jacked-up caffeine horsepower.
This ground coffee might be the best for you if you’re looking for a dark blend with superior caffeine content while still making a tasty brew.
A familiar name in households, Lavazza has been roasting coffee for more than a century. Espressos have been the lifeblood of Italians all through the years, and the Lavazza Crema e Gusto is ideally roasted for such a purpose.
If you enjoy a traditional Italian roast espresso the Crema e Gusto fires on all cylinders!
This dark roasted blend gives a creamy texture with a full mouthfeel. Brazilian, African, and Indonesian beans are blended to give this coffee a rich and spicy taste.
If you have an espresso machine and want a reliable brand to start brewing, it’s worth trying out the Crema E Gusto.
But remember, this one’s going to be a fine grind suited only to espresso. So if you haven’t got a machine to use it in, it’s not the best choice.
Ground Coffee Buying Guide
There are a variety of studies that suggest freshly ground coffee tastes better and lasts longer.
Coffee immediately starts to go through a process called oxidation once it goes through the roasting process. The process speeds up when you grind your beans. Leaving a bag of coffee exposed, it will lose the flavors and aromas previously locked in it.
Nonetheless, ground coffee is still a viable option, especially if you don’t have a good grinder.
The companies that sell the best ground coffee use burr grinders. These devices give more consistent particle size, which leads to a more uniform extraction.
The even extraction ensures that each cup will taste consistent and proper storage will make it remain flavorful. Another good thing about buying ground coffee is convenience. These factors can help you determine if ground coffee is the best option for you.
Finding The Best Ground Coffee Brand
We all have wondered at some point on what is the best-tasting coffee to buy?
One thing to consider is that everyone can have different preferences.
My favorite brand might not be the best fit for you and visa versa. However, there are some common factors, which can help lead you in the right direction, depending on your preference. These are discussed below:
Milk Or No Milk
An age-old question, do you want a strong black coffee or a smooth and creamy latte?
Drinking coffee with milk is a staple all over the world. They are paired perfectly, but did you know that there are coffees more suitable for drinking black?
Some roasts are better served with milk due to the sharpness of the roast. The lighter the roasts, the more distinct the flavors of the coffee.
They are best served black to appreciate the natural taste of the coffee. The darker roasts have a thinner body, which adds milk a great way to cut through the taste and texture.
What roast do you enjoy?
- Light – Light roast coffee tends to have complex and fruity notes which are generally drunk without milk.
- Medium – Medium roast beans have a balanced taste and can be sipped with milk or without.
- Dark – Dark roast has a bolder flavor and tends to be combined with milk.
- Darker (French/Italian) – French and Italian roasts have a smoky flavor and tend to be drunk with milk.
Arabica or Robusta?
There are several different coffee varieties in the world. The two of the most popular ones are Arabica and Robusta beans.
Some of the best coffee consumed in the west is mostly Arabica, as it is lighter and favored for its flavor profile. It accounts for 70 – 75% of the worldwide coffee market, and the best coffees around the world are mostly Arabicas.
You can experience different flavors with this variety. They are often more expensive than Robusta beans, but you will get better quality coffee with Arabica.
Robusta can be grown almost everywhere. It has higher caffeine content and is mostly used in instant coffee, but it’s also used as a source of fresh coffee (without being a blend) in some countries, like Vietnam.
If you want a coffee that can give you more energy throughout the day and tolerate the bitterness, a blend including Robusta is a worthwhile avenue to explore.
More generally, blends are popular and appeal to more people than a single origin bean. It’s the best of both worlds when it comes to (a broader preferred) taste and caffeine while being friendly on the wallet.
Which you enjoy the most depends on you, but if you’re unsure, start with Arabica as they are usually preferred.
The Right Grind is Essential
Making a good cup of coffee depends on what equipment you use and if you have the right grind size for it. Using a different grind might make your coffee taste bitter or watery. As you won’t be grinding the coffee beans yourself, you need to find the perfect grind for your favorite brewing method.
Many ground coffees tailor to espresso or drip methods, getting “in-between” the grind sizes can be a bit difficult, though. No worries, though, since you can check what type of grind your ground coffee has and match it in line with the brewing methods listed below.
- Extra-Coarse : Suited for Cold Brews and “Cowboy” Coffee
- Coarse to Medium Coarse: Good for French Press and Percolators
- Medium-Coarse: Works well in a Chemex and Clever Drippers
- Medium: Used for Pour-over coffees (V60 and Kalita Wave), Aeropress, and Siphon Coffee
- Fine: Best used in Espresso Machines
- Extra Fine: Suited for Turkish coffee
Instant vs Ground Coffee
A lot of people got their first introduction to a cup of coffee through instant coffee. It’s convenient, and well, that’s about it!
Instant coffee brands aren’t the same as ground coffee. Instant coffee has a longer shelf life, and it contains additives. It’s cheaper than ground coffee, but it’s also simply not as fresh as ground coffee.
Equipment-wise, well you don’t need anything complicated, a mug and a spoon is enough for you to make your instant coffee.
It is typically made by adding hot water and your preferred milk or sweetener. Ground coffee can have you experimenting with different brewing methods, making it all the more exciting and helping you on your way to become a lover of fresh coffee.
The major stickler here is the taste of instant coffee. Regardless of brand, it’s vastly different compared to freshly ground beans. Ground coffee ensures you taste the natural flavor of the beans and the processes it went through.
A fair comparison would be concentrated orange juice vs non-concentrated orange juice.
There are also several other factors to consider on what’s the best ground coffee for you. These include:
A word we hear a lot nowadays, organic can also go with coffee. Organic coffee is produced without any additives, pesticides, or other artificial substances. Fertilizers used must also be certified organic. The coffee plant is grown in its natural environment with lots of shade and opportunities to pollinate without harmful additives
A benefit of organic coffees is that they can help can support the environment. The natural fertilizers do not damage the soil on where the coffee is grown. These sustainable farming practices help with providing longevity with the produce. It can also increase the quality of life for the farmers and growers.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversees organic crops that include coffee. They have a program that sets national standards for producing, handling, and organic processing products. Producers who meet the criteria are certified “USDA Certified Organic”.
EU (EU 2092/91)
Like the states, the European Union has a specific set of regulations towards organic products. EU 2091/91 is a stringent rules on certifying products to be organic. This also applies to the coffee industry and the products sold in Europe.
There is a stark difference between flavored coffees and coffee syrups, but both are means to mask the natural flavors in your brewed coffee.
Flavored coffee is very different from your usual grounds. The beans are pre-infused with flavor compounds. Typically the flavors added go well with the coffee beans used. If you’re interested in these types of coffees, then look further into our favorite brand choice for flavored grounds – Lion Coffee’s Toasted Coconut. The coconut makes the coffee very refreshing, perfect for an ice-cold latte.
There’s also syrups you can add to your coffee that are available in various flavors. The difference is that the syrups are added after the brewing process, in the same vein as adding milk or sugar to your coffee. You can also have unlimited choices to suit your coffee to your preference.
Ask yourself if you like flavored brews and if you want this pre-infused or prefer syrups?
Keeping ground coffee fresh
You might have already decided on which ground coffee is the best for you. Now you’re wondering how to keep it from getting stale. Ground coffees can be a decent halfway point (they won’t ever be as good as fresh beans) to start off with good coffee if you store it well.
The best way to store coffee is by putting it in a vacuum-sealed jar or bag and placing it in a cool, dark place in your cupboard or pantry. This way, you reduce the exposure to oxidation, which prevents your coffee from getting stale. Leaving a bag of grounds exposed can lead to it degrading faster and impacting the taste negatively.
Ideally, you want to brew the coffee as quickly as you open the packet (don’t just open it and not drink it for ages!). This ensures that each cup of coffee gives you it’s full qualities and retains its flavors. Make sure you release the air before you store it once again.
Don’t fret though if you have stale coffee grounds, especially coarse grounds. You can try making cold brew instead of throwing it all away. This can give you a new way to appreciate your coffee.
The final verdict
The best ground coffee in our lineup is Volcanica Coffee’s Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. It’s subtle, yet sophisticated fruity notes deliver a flavor that is unique for coffee. Its medium roasted qualities are best-brewed black.
However, if you’re looking for a premium ground coffee paired with milk, Koa Coffee’s Private Reserve Medium Roast is a perfect fit. It’s full body and chocolate tones will make you think twice if you’re drinking coffee or a delectable piece of chocolate!
The other ground coffees listed above are all still wise choices too! It’s always good to experiment with different coffee brands to learn and discover more.
The search for the best coffee is always on-going as new beans and roasters hit the market.
So keep your ear to the wall and stay caffeinated!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Rainforest Alliance Coffee?
The Rainforest Alliance is an organization that helps coffee growers all around the world. They certify coffee farms that adhere to their criteria.
This criterion dictates a more eco-friendly approach to farming practices as well as having fair labor practices. Coffee farmers achieving the certification can also reach new markets and get better prices for their products.
Why are whole coffee beans more expensive than ground coffee?
Whole coffee beans are the most premium source of coffee. Ground coffee is cheaper when it’s a blend because Arabica is often combined with cheaper Robusta.
Whole beans are also usually beans of a higher quality standard s compared to ground coffee. They tend to come from better crops and are more recently roasted.
Is freshly ground coffee better than canned ground coffee?
Freshly ground coffee guarantees that you can get the most out of your cup. Canned ground coffee can get stale faster compared to fresh grounds.
Coffee grounds have a greater surface area, and the oils & flavor degrade more quickly when it is exposed to air. With the coffee bean, there is less surface area, so the degradation is slower.