Do you enjoy waking up to the smell of coffee every morning? Chances are if you have a coffee maker, you use ground coffee. While more and more coffee enthusiasts are switching to grinding their own coffee beans, pre-ground coffee definitely still holds the majority position.
Maybe you have a favorite ground coffee, and maybe you don’t, or perhaps you’ve never bought yourself ground coffee at all. Regardless, what’s the best ground coffee brand out there?
We’ve researched many of the best ground coffees on the market to bring you the best answers to that question.
Our Top Picks
Best Light Roast: Starbucks Veranda Blend At Amazon
Best Medium Roast: Tim Horton’s Original Blend At Amazon
Best Dark Roast: Peet’s Major Dickason’s Blend At Amazon
Best Flavored: New England Coffee At Amazon
Best Budget: Folger’s Classic Ground Coffee At Amazon
Best Premium: Koa Coffee Tri-pack At Koa Coffee
Best Cold Brew: Stone Street Cold Brew Coffee
Why Buy Ground Coffee?
So why would you buy pre ground coffee? When it comes down to it the main reason you would buy ground coffee is convenience. You can find ground coffee anywhere, and you can store it far more easily than coffee beans. It also comes in many different brands and varieties, and all you need to do is put a scoop in your coffeemaker and turn it on.
It also means you don’t have to buy a coffee grinder, which can add up, especially if you are wanting to get a decent one, which you need to grind your coffee beans evenly. Ground coffee can provide you with great coffee for reasonable prices, plus you’ll save yourself a lot of time and energy.
The Downside of Ground Coffee
The downside of using pre-ground coffee is that you are sacrificing flavor. Coffee goes stale within minutes of grinding; meaning that the oils containing all the delicious flavors and aromas of coffee evaporate and you are left with bad-tasting coffee. The other drawback of pre-ground coffee is that it generally only comes in 2 grind sizes: Filter and Espresso which means that it may not suit your brewing method. The bottom line is that freshly roasted, freshly ground coffee beans do simply provide the best-tasting coffee, however, we know that it is not always possible to be grinding your own beans.
The Best Ground Coffee 2023
So what’s the best ground coffee out there? We’ve narrowed it down to our 12 favorites based on coffee drinkers’ thoughts and reviews. These ground coffees are listed in order from light to dark roast.
Starbucks Veranda Blend- Blonde Roast
With Starbucks’ insane popularity, it’s no wonder people love using their ground coffee at home. This particular roast is lighter than others, with flavor notes of toasted malt and baking chocolate.
If you love a mellow coffee, you will love this blonde roast with light and subtle flavors, that blend well with milk. This particular roast is popular for drip coffee and pour-over.
The other advantage of buying Starbucks coffee is that you know you will get a good, flavorful coffee made from high-quality Arabica beans, that are ethically sourced. Of course, it’s a little on the expensive side, but it’s Starbucks!
There are plenty of different-sized bags of coffee to choose from. Starbucks also offers the Veranda blend as decaf ground coffee, for those who are sensitive to caffeine. Even if you have several people in your household who drink coffee and have to buy more than one bag per week, you might discover the expense is well worth it to get your morning Starbucks fix without having to stop by Starbucks on your daily commute.
It’s also considerably cheaper than stopping at Starbucks every day, so in most cases, you’ll save yourself quite a bit of money and still get great coffee. If you are looking for a mellow coffee with a light body, Starbuck Veranda is our pick for the best light roast coffee.
Caribou Daybreak Ground Coffee- Light Roast
Caribou Coffee is a popular American coffee house chain. Their Daybreak coffee blend is a light roast coffee, made from 100% Arabica coffee beans. The Daybreak blend has a subtle flavor with notes of cherry and caramel. If light roast coffee is your jam, you will like this blend. However some note it lacks the sweetness and complexity of other coffees. This blend is best to be used for drip or pour-over coffee.
The Caribou Daybreak coffee comes in a 20 oz bag and is very affordable, offering good value for money. Caribou is also committed to sustainably sourcing its coffee and is Rainforest Alliance Certified (in fact they were the first US coffee house to obtain this certification). All of its coffee is small batch roasted in Minneapolis, and hand-packed.
Lifeboost Light Roast Coffee
Lifeboost Coffee is a premium coffee brand. Their coffee is a single-origin coffee grown in the Nicaraguan Mountains. Lifeboost takes great care when growing their coffee ensuring no pesticides, chemicals, GMOs or mycotoxins are present. All of their coffee is organic and fair trade certified.
The coffee itself has a mild, clean taste with no bitterness. It has hints of caramel and chocolate with a light, fruity flavor. Their coffee is naturally low in acid making it gentle on the stomach. Lifeboost coffee is available in Light, Medium, or Dark Roast. They also have a decaf ground coffee option and a whole heap of flavored options.
If you are after a high-quality, fresh, organic coffee give Lifeboost a go- you won’t regret it!
Tim Hortons Original Blend- Medium Roast
Tim Hortons is an iconic coffee shop founded in Canada. The coffee chain has been extremely successful, moving from Canada to the USA and other parts of the world. The Tim Hortons Original Blend is one of their most popular coffees and their signature blend. The Original Blend is a secret recipe, known to only three people in the world, and has remained unchanged since 1964.
What we do know is that it is made from 100% Arabica beans, sourced from Central and South America. The Original Blend is a medium roast coffee with a balanced flavor profile and smooth finish. This coffee can be used for drip coffee, pour-over, or cold brew coffee.
The Tim Hortons Original Blend comes in either a 12-ounce bag, a 1.5-pound, or a 4.5-pound lot, so you can buy in bulk if you are a fan. Overall, this is a complex, but balanced coffee and our pick for the best medium roast coffee.
Dunkin’ Original Blend- Medium Roast
Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is so popular that the company overhauled its entire brand to reflect its focus on providing the best coffee grounds at the best price as quickly as possible. In 2018, they revealed they were changing their name from the iconic “Dunkin’ Donuts” to just “Dunkin’,” to show that.
The best part is that you can buy their famous ground coffee for your personal coffee maker. Dunkin’s medium roast ground coffee is one of their more popular roasts, striking the perfect balance of flavor. Plus, it’s Dunkin’, so it’s hard not to include it on any best coffee grounds list.
Dunkin’ makes its coffee from 100% Arabica coffee beans and roasts them for a full-bodied taste that isn’t bitter or acidic. Even people who don’t like American coffee like Dunkin’, with or without cream and sugar. Dunkin’ also offers their original blend as a decaf ground coffee, for those cutting back on the caffeine.
You can get a couple of different sizes of sealed bags at a reasonable price, although some people find it a little costlier than it needs to be. Regardless, you’re getting your favorite Dunkin’ coffee at home without sacrificing anything you love about their in-store coffee.
Kicking Horse Coffee Smart Ass blend
Kicking Horse Coffee is a very popular coffee company on Amazon with a strong following of coffee lovers. They produce fair trade, organic, and kosher coffee. They have 6 different coffee varieties ranging from light to dark roast. Their ground coffee is only available in one size- a 10 oz bag.
Their Smart Ass blend is a medium-roasted coffee with a bright, chocolaty flavor profile. It has a sweet and fruity aroma. These beans work particularly well for drip machines, pour-over, and cold brew. If you are wanting to switch out your run-of-the-mill coffee for something a bit different give Kicking Horse a go!
Koa Coffee Tri-Pack- Medium Roast
Koa coffee is a well-known brand that has gained much respect in the coffee world for producing high-quality, award-winning Kona coffee. Koa coffee is grown in Hawaii on the Kona coffee belt (one of the best growing regions in the world).
Koa coffee is 100% Kona coffee and has a unique taste. It is a very smooth, rich, full-bodied coffee with a sweet, mellow taste and a hint of fruit. The coffee has no bitterness and low acidity. The Koa Tri-Pack consists of 8-ounce sample packs from three of their most popular flavors; Grande Domaine, Private Reserve, and Estate. Two of the packs are a medium roast coffee and one a medium dark roast coffee, perfect for brewing with pour-over or French press.
If you want to try some premium, 100% Kona coffee we highly recommend Koa Coffee. While Kona coffee is on the more expensive side, it is definitely worth trying and makes a great gift for that coffee lover in your life!
New England Coffee- Medium roast
Depending on how much of a coffee connoisseur you are, and where you live, you might not have heard of New England Coffee. The brand is over 100 years old, though, so it has experience in spades when it comes to coffee. In fact, they “small-batch” their coffee roasts so you get consistent flavor every time.
New England Coffee comes in many different flavors, including blueberry cobbler, chocolate cappuccino, donut shop, butter pecan, french vanilla, pumpkin spice, and more. If you enjoy a flavored cup of coffee, as many people do, you’ll love their selection.
This coffee is pretty comparable to Starbucks when it comes to cost. Plus, regardless of whether you have a regular drip coffee maker, a percolator, or a French Press, you’ll get fantastic coffee regardless of the flavor you choose to buy.
It’s also highly aromatic, so in addition to getting a great taste, you get a great aroma to enjoy, too. Whether you consider yourself a coffee snob or not, this is truly one of the best coffee grounds you can buy for your home.
Folger’s Classic Ground Coffee- Medium Roast
What? With all of the other fantastic ground coffees out there, especially those from places like Starbucks and Dunkin’, Folger makes this list? Of course, it does, because Folger’s has been in the ground coffee business for a long time, so they know home coffee and make some of the best budget coffees.
You can buy an 11-ounce or 18.4-ounce brick of coffee for a comparable price to other brands. These are excellent for refilling your coffee canisters, but if you don’t have a can, you can buy Folger’s in a can for similar prices per ounce and then use the bricks to refill that. Either way, Folger’s works to make your morning coffee as high-quality and convenient as possible.
You might consider Folger’s to be “office coffee,” which is often as cheap as possible, bitter, and leaves a bad taste in your mouth. While it’s true that many offices do use Folger’s, it’s fresh and tastes great, and works well for your office and your home.
It’s also a straightforward, basic, medium-roast coffee. You can add sugar and cream or drink it black, and you don’t sacrifice anything. If specialty coffee isn’t your thing, get Folger’s Medium Roast Ground Coffee.
Peet’s Major Dickason’s Blend- Dark Roast
If you like dark roast coffee that is strong and robust, Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason’s Blend is a good option. This blend is their best seller made from 100% Arabica beans. The dark roast produces a rich, full-bodied brew. The coffee is ground for drip or pour-over, although if you were wanting to use it for other brewing methods like espresso you could buy coffee beans and grind them at home.
Peet’s is committed to delivering freshly roasted coffee. They print the roast date on each bag for transparency and ensure you received it within 90 days of roasting. Peet’s dark roast coffee comes in two different-sized bags; 10.5 oz and 18 oz. Peet’s coffee is a bold and robust blend and our pick for the best dark roast coffee.
Death Wish Coffee- Dark Roast
As the name suggests, this is certainly not a blend of coffee for the fainthearted! Death Wish Coffee reportedly has at least twice as much caffeine as a normal cup of coffee and is all about an incredibly strong shot of coffee that shares similarities with a punch in the face. These beans are a dark roast which makes for a very strong almost burnt flavor with hints of chocolate- which many customers absolutely love. The coffee is entirely organic and fair trade, and even kosher.
In terms of brewing methods, this coffee particularly shines with both drip machines and French press although it can be used for other styles as well. Because it is a dark roast it really is for those who like their cup of coffee very strong and are all about that morning hit. This is a great option for the caffeine junkie.
Stone Street Cold Brew Coffee-Dark Roast
Stone Street coffee company is a specialty small-batch roaster located in Brooklyn, NYC. Their Cold Brew blend is formulated specifically for cold brew, a drink made by steeping coarsely ground coffee in cold water over a long period of time.
The cold brew blend is a dark roast made specifically to create a smooth, less acidic coffee that won’t taste watery or bitter. Made from dark roasted Colombian beans, it produces a smooth, well-balanced coffee with a bold flavor and only the hint of sweetness. Their coffee is available as whole bean or coarsely ground beans.
What You Should Consider When Buying Ground Coffee
Keep in mind that buying and storing ground coffee involves more than simply putting it in the pantry with all your other non-perishables. First off, ground coffee is, in fact, perishable, and goes bad more quickly than whole coffee beans. You don’t want to store it near “coffee-killers,” like moisture, direct sunlight, or heat. You can buy special containers in which to keep your grounds, or you can store them in a place in your home away from all these things (easier said than done).
Also, try to avoid buying more than a week’s worth of coffee at a time. Even in coffee storage containers, you run the risk of having your ground coffee lose its flavor if you store it for too long, and who likes flavorless coffee? Getting a
Type of Coffee
Another thing to consider is what type of coffee beans are used. There are two main types of coffee beans; Arabica and Robusta. Arabica beans are considered superior, and taste smoother and sweeter with chocolatey and fruity notes. These beans are more difficult to grow and thus more expensive.
Robust beans are more affordable, and have more caffeine in them. However these beans have a strong, harsh, bitter taste.
Type of Roast
When choosing ground coffee it is important to ensure that you are getting the correct grind size. In general coffee grounds comes in either two or three different grind sizes depending on the company. Some offer fine, medium, or coarse grind sizes which is helpful while others offer often two grind sizes; espresso and filter. We have made a chart below that will help you in figuring out which is right for you.
So make sure you check that you are getting the correct grind size for your given coffee maker. If you really want to be precise on the grind sizes, however, you probably do need to transition to grinding your own beans. But we understand that that can be both expensive and off-putting and hence this article!
Grind Size For Different Brewing Methods
If you have delved much into the world of coffee you will have come across the idea that coffee grind size is essential for optimal flavor. The general principle here is that the longer the coffee grinds and water are going to be in contact with each other, the coarser the grind needs to be. This is the reason that you tend to use quite a coarse grind for Cold Brew and a far finer grind size for Espresso or Moka Pot.
Which of course begs the question, how do you know what the correct grind size is for your chosen coffee brewing method? And the answer is that it is a little complicated. And the reason that it is a little complicated is that there is no universal detailed system for communicating grind size. So for example, it would be great if I could tell you, for Aeropress go for grind size #3 and for Espresso #1.
But unfortunately, there is no such system. Instead, the coffee industry has opted for generic descriptions of ground coffee such as extra fine, fine, medium, medium coarse, and coarse grind. So which is for which? Well it depends a little on the specific way you use your given coffee maker, but the following chart is a good place to start.
There are a few other things you can consider when deciding what is the best ground coffee brand to opt for…
How To Store Ground Coffee
Now that you have chosen the best ground coffee make sure you store it correctly to ensure you keep them as fresh and flavorful as possible. Remember you need to avoid Oxygen, Moisture, Heat, and Light. We have listed some tips for storing coffee below…
Best Ground Coffee- The Verdict
Most people get their morning jolt of caffeine from coffee. If you’re picky about your coffee and still long for the convenience of ground coffee at home, you’re in luck. You can get the best ground coffee available without giving up taste, aroma, or even your favorite cafe coffee.
If you like mild coffee, Starbucks Veranda Blend is a fan favorite. For those looking for a well-balanced brew, Tim Horton’s Original Blend is a popular medium roast ground coffee. Finally, for those looking for a strong, dark coffee, Peet’s Major Dickason’s Blend is a best-selling brew.
If you are after freshly roasted coffee (which produces the best coffee grounds) we recommend you opt for one of the brands like Lifeboost, or Koa Coffee, which produce high-quality coffee, and ship directly after roasting.
Make sure you store your coffee properly so it doesn’t go bad. Other than that, enjoy your ground coffee at home and stop worrying about the time and cost of stopping for coffee on your way to work.
Is ground coffee the same as instant Coffee?
No, ground coffee and instant coffee are not the same. Ground coffee is simply coffee beans that have been ground and need to be brewed. Ground coffee is usually produced using higher-quality Arabica beans, and when brewed gives a rich, strong brew with delicious flavors and aromas.
Instant coffee on the other hand is coffee beans that have been ground and then brewed and dehydrated so that they can dissolve easily in water. Instant coffee is usually made from lower quality Robust beans and produces a weak, somewhat bitter brew.
Can you use pre-ground coffee for cold brew?
Cold brew coffee is made by leaving ground coffee to steep in cold water for an extended period of time (usually 12-24 hours). Because of the long brew time, you really need to use coarsely ground coffee, as fine grinds produce an over-extracted brew, tasting bitter and harsh. In addition to this, with a coarser grind, it is far easier to filter out the coffee grounds at the end, resulting in a lot smoother coffee.
If you are looking for a pre-ground coffee for cold brew it is better to opt for one that is ground to a coarse size or get your local cafe or supermarket to grind it for you.
When does Ground Coffee Go Bad?
Ground coffee is best brewed within two weeks of roasting so you can enjoy the best flavors and aromas. However, if you aren’t that concerned about having fresh coffee, your coffee grounds will last about 12 months in an unopened vacuum package.