Top 7 Best Ground Coffee Brands For Espresso Reviewed
A couple of months back, we set out on a quest to find the best tasting ground coffee. After taste-testing a few dozen, reading thousands of online reviews, and going hoarse after a few shouting matches, we're happy to present the top seven contenders that made it to our shortlist.
Now, we do NOT advocate replacing the whole bean with ground coffee. But we can't argue the simplicity and speed of brewing a fresh cuppa without unearthing the grinder and waking up the neighborhood. Besides, the seven coffees on our list are delicious enough you'll forget they are ground. Here's a quick overview of our top recommendations.
Top Rated Ground Coffee in 2021: Everything You Need to Know
Before you close the page and call us monsters, remember that life happens, and sometimes ground coffee is the only option you have if you don't want to do the unthinkable and go for instant coffee. Having the grounds at hand is useful when you're dead tired after a long day at work and want a quick energy boost. Foregoing the grinder is also a godsend when you need a cuppa at six in the morning when your whole household is still asleep.
Besides, if you follow our advice, ground coffee can taste great. All you need to do is follow our five steps to finding the best ground coffee for cold brew and espresso alike:
- Lower your expectations. Ground coffee will remain at its best for a very short period, so don't expect it to be as aromatic and delicious as the freshly ground beans you prepare at home. Still, if you store the coffee properly and use it up in a couple of weeks, it should be good enough for a daily pick-me-up. Besides, quality ground beans always trump cheap whole beans in our books. You get what you pay for, even if you have to choose convenience over your foodie proclivities.
- Find your roasting. Grinding does not influence the beans' overall palette, but roasting can bring the inherent flavor nuances to the fore or overlay them with smoky notes. If you prefer vibrant acidity and herbal tones, a light roast is a safe bet. Dark roasting is perfect for those who happily trade acidity for toastiness. Medium roasting is just that, medium in all senses, and a perfect starting point if you're discovering new brands and blends. Remember that freshly roasted and ground-to-order beans taste the best, so pay attention to roasting date (if it's present on the package) and best before date.
- Know your brew style. That's where it gets tricky. Without a grinder, you are stuck with the grinding setting the manufacturers choose, and it may not work well with your coffee machine. For example, only a couple of brands on our list offer espresso grind, meaning the others are too coarse to use with an espresso machine unless you're willing to drink weak coffee. While medium grind is suitable for many brewing methods, including pour-over, drip, and reusable K-cups, it's usually too fine for a French press or a cold brew. If you enjoy several brew styles, decide which one you'll use before buying ground coffee.
- Use before the deadline. Oxygen and moisture in the air, as well as high temperature and light exposure, ruin coffee. While whole beans suffer the same fate, ground coffee has a much larger surface area that speeds up deterioration by a factor of ten. Even with proper storage, we recommend you use up the ground beans in one or two weeks. After that, the coffee will lose most of its aroma and flavor and develop excessive bitterness or go sour. That's why there's no sense in buying large bags of ground beans unless you are sure you can use them up in time.
- Store like a pro. The freezer and fridge are right out. These are no good for beans, whole or ground. Instead, pour the ground coffee into a glass, metal, or glazed ceramic container with an airtight lid. Store in a kitchen cupboard or on a shelf away from direct sunlight, stovetop, and oven. Don't leave it open longer than necessary–close the lid tightly as soon as you have enough coffee for your cuppa.
All things considered, a latte is probably the safest option for your stomach. But what do you do if you have no time for cold brewing and espresso is your poison of choice? That's why we're here with a shortlist of seven options that are safer for your stomach than your average bean!
Our Top 7 Picks for Reduced Acid Coffee
A short disclaimer before we go into the gritty details of each variety: while we've chosen the most well-liked low acidity products, there's no guarantee one of them will not cause discomfort for you. Your reaction may be highly specific to the beans used, the roasting method, or the additives designed to lower acidity. Start slow when trying a new coffee variety, heed your doctor's advice, and listen to your body. Stay safe and drink quality coffee that's good for your tummy.
Trade Coffee Review
- Over 400 coffee varieties roasted-to-order
- Seven grind options from espresso to French press
- Flexible subscription plans with free shipping
- A 7-question quiz to find your perfect coffee match
With so many coffees to try and so little time, your unwillingness to settle for one brand and one variety is totally understandable. That's why we open our shortlist with Trade. They partner with dozens of roasters and offer 400+ single-origin beans and blends, both caffeinated and decaf, whole bean and ground, so that you can try as many as you like.
Besides, Trade takes the guesswork out of your coffee buying decision-making. Instead of relying on vague descriptions and useless ground coffee reviews, you can take a 7-question quiz to find the best match. The smart algorithm will translate your answers into a selection of coffees perfectly suited to your taste. Setting up a subscription is also more affordable than buying coffee one bag at a time, and the shipping is always free.
The one thing we adore about Trade is their variety of grind options. This is the only entry on our list with seven(!) options that include espresso, French press, Aeropress, Chemex, Automatic Drip, Pour Over, and Percolator/Cold Brew. You don't have to settle for medium grind and can get your favorite beans ground to perfection for any brewing method. If that isn't dedication to the best coffee drinking experience, we don't know what is.
LifeBoost Coffee Review
- 100% single-origin Nicaragua shade-grown Arabica
- Washed and free of mycotoxins
- Medium roast perfect for drip and pour-over coffee machines
- USDA Organic and Fair Trade certified
Are you afraid of mycotoxins in your cheap Brazilian coffee? Does your tummy feel bad after every cuppa? Are you ready to give up on finding quality coffee? Lifeboost has answers to all your problems and more. The trick behind their cleanest coffee in the world is the use of shade-grown Arabica beans, spring water to wash off the pulp, and scorching sun to dry out the beans. As a result, you get a mellow cuppa that's easy on your tummy and free of toxins.
The medium roasted ground Arabica is a perfect everyday coffee that hints deliciously at milk chocolate and nuts. Organically grown in the shade of Nicaragua mountain forests, the beans are free of harmful chemicals and perfectly safe for your body and the planet. USDA Organic and Fair Trade certification are two points in favor of this brand.
The elephant in the room is, of course, the price tag. This variety will cost you around $35 for a 12 oz bag. On the one hand, the size is perfect for enjoying freshly ground coffee. On the other hand, even Kona coffee is cheaper. Sure, you can opt for bulk order or set up a subscription plan, but Lifeboost will still be at the high end of the price range. You'd think they would at least offer different grind options, but there's only one, and it's not good for either espresso, cold brew, or French press.
Koa Coffee Private Reserve Review
- 100% Kona coffee grown on Mauna Loa volcano slopes
- Medium roast perfect to showcase the distinct flavor
- Suitable for pour-over or drip coffee machines
- Subscription plans available
You've heard enough praise about Hawaiian coffee, so we won't tell you anything new. It's unique. It's delicious. It's out of this world. Kona coffee is only grown on the Mauna Loa volcano western slopes in high temperature and high humidity conditions. It's no wonder these beans are so incredibly smooth and balanced. And the medium roasting makes them taste even better.
The ground version is perfect for the pour-over and drip coffee machines. You could probably brew it in a Keurig machine in a reusable K-cup, but you wouldn't enjoy the full palette of the bean. At least, the smallest bag is only 8 oz, so you're sure to go through it in under two weeks, while the ground coffee retains its flavor and aroma.
If we could afford it, we'd indulge in Kona coffee every day. As it is, the prices are a bit out of our range, and most buyers cannot swing for over $40 per pound. Besides, shipping from Hawaii isn't free. We recommend trying this blend at least once because it should be on every coffee lover's bucket list. But if you decide to keep a bag in your pantry for special occasions, the whole bean version is a better choice.
Volcanica Coffee Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Review
- 100% Ethiopian Arabica harvested mostly from wild trees
- Medium roast with sweet floral, berry, and citrus notes
- Espresso, drip, and French press grinds available
- Organically grown
Looking for something special to treat yourself or surprise your guests? Ethiopian Yirgacheffe by Volcanica is as exotic and delicious as coffee gets. Not only the Arabica beans are grown organically at elevations over 3,000 feet, but they are also mostly harvested from wild trees. This results in a unique, unmistakable flavor that sets Yirgacheffe beans apart from all other varieties. They boast a complex, sweet flavor with notes of lemon, blueberry, and blackberry that combine to tickle your taste buds with bright acidity and a long-lasting finish.
You have to love Volcanica for their dedication to our coffee drinking pleasure. With this brand, you don't have to settle for one grind-fits-all approach. Instead, you can pick among three options covering the full range of brewing methods from an espresso machine to a drip coffee maker and French press. The packages are 16 oz each, which is a bit over the top for ground coffee. But it's so gorgeous, we have no doubt you'll go through the bag and crave more before two weeks are out. For that reason, it's our top recommendation among ground coffees.
At first glance, Volcanica beans may seem overpriced. But we believe single-origin Yirgacheffe medium roasted to perfection and ground to fit your brewing preferences is worth much more than $20 per pound. Besides, you can save on buying a 5-pound bag, though we recommend you go with a whole-bean option for that one.
Lion Coffee Toasted Coconut Review
- 100% international Arabica blend
- Light roast with bright, mouth-watering acidity
- Suitable for drip coffee makers and pour-over brewing
- Naturally and artificially flavored
There's something magical about this exotic flavored coffee that makes us think of white sand beaches, hear the ocean waves, and dream of endlessly blue skies. The Arabica blend by Lion would be outstanding in and of itself, but the addition of the toasted coconut notes takes the experience past what you'd expect from a cuppa. It's a surefire way to improve your mood and feel better in any situation.
The vibrant acidity of the light roast perfectly balances out the sweetness of the coconut, and the medium grind is suitable for traditional brewing methods, like pour-over and drip. You can even get away with using a French press or cold brewing this blend. But if you prefer espresso, we recommend the whole bean version and a home grinder. You'll go through the 10 oz bag in no time, so it might be a good idea to set up a subscription plan to get this caffeinated treat delivered to your doorstep every two, four, or eight weeks. It's convenient and cost-efficient, saving you around 10% to 15% on every bag.
Keep in mind that Lion beans are not actually grown in Hawaii, despite being roasted and packaged in the 50th state. The blend relies on Arabica beans grown across the globe and imported for final processing stages. If you're looking for authentic Kona beans, skip a couple of brands above to Koa Coffee.
Death Wish Coffee Review
- A blend of Arabica and Robusta for a stronger kick
- Dark roast and bold flavor with chocolate and cherry notes
- Suitable for pour-over, French press, and drip brewing
- USDA Organic and Fair Trade certified
If getting a heart attack in your morning cuppa is something you've been dreaming about for a while, Death Wish Coffee is the one for you. Thanks to a punchy combination of Arabica and Robusta beans, this blend has double the caffeine you'd usually get. Besides, the dark roast makes this strong ground coffee so bold and powerful that you won't be craving a second serving in thirty minutes, as the flavor and caffeine kick will carry you through the office hours. We find the combination of chocolate, cherry, and spices to be mouth-watering and addictive, so get ready to add this blend to your regular shopping list.
This variety is ground coarse enough to work with a French press, Chemex, or drip coffee maker. It won't work with your espresso machine, so you'd better opt for a whole bean version. The one downside we've found is the size of the bag. There's no way to go through a 16-oz pack in a week or two with how strong this coffee is. And getting a 5-pound pack seems like a waste of money unless you're stocking up for a 10-person team.
Finally, we can't forget that Death Wish coffee is USDA Organic and Fair Trade. Not only is it safe for you and the environment, but it's also good for coffee farmers and the industry as a whole. Drinking this coffee will sure make you feel good about your choices.
New England Coffee Blueberry Cobbler Review
- 100% Arabica blend, naturally and artificially flavored
- Small batch medium roasted beans
- Suitable for cold brew, reusable K-cups, drip and pour-over brewing
- Sustainable Cup Project seedling program
When you're in a mood for something extra with your coffee but your waist can't handle another doughnut or pastry, brewing a cuppa of this Blueberry Cobbler blend will satisfy your cravings. The Arabica blend is smooth and mellow without overwhelming acidity or bitterness thanks to a medium roasting. Despite the additives, this variety is free of sweeteners, gluten-free, and kosher, so it should fit any diet. It's delicious and satisfying in a way good coffee should be, and the pre-ground beans take away all the usual hassle of grinding and brewing.
The medium grind is way too fine for a French press and way too coarse for an espresso machine, but it's perfect for a whole slew of brewing methods. This coffee tastes delicious in a cold brew or iced coffee, but it's also surprisingly refreshing when you brew it in a Keurig machine with a reusable K-cup or your pour-over or drip coffee maker. The bag (11 oz) is perfect for taste-testing and using ground coffee within a couple of weeks of purchase while it retains its best flavor.
The only issue we could find with this variety is the combination of artificial flavors added to the grounds. Unlike natural oils that are also present in the mix, the synthetic additives can add chemical notes to the flavor, depending on your preferred brewing style. The final verdict depends on your smell sensitivity, but we still recommend you give this brand a try if you're a fan of blueberry coffee.
The Verdict. What Is the Best Ground Coffee
It was unbelievably challenging to find the best among seven great coffees that are so different. Still, we believe Volcanica Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is the best of ground beans. It's single-origin Arabica that boasts a flavor out of this world and comes in three reliable grind options to fit your preferred brewing method. The 12 oz bags are also just right for ground beans. But if you're not ready to settle for the single best ground coffee brand, we recommend a subscription with Trade. It's a surefire way to take a journey of coffee discovery you never knew you'd been craving.
How Long Does the Best Tasting Ground Coffee Last?Coffee snobs will tell you the flavor is ruined 30 seconds after grinding, but that's what professional baristas want you to believe. Newly roasted and ground beans packaged in vacuum-sealed bags can stay fresh for up to a year without losing aroma and flavor. Once you open the bag, we recommend using the grounds within one or two weeks of proper storage. Beyond this deadline, the coffee may turn sour or bitter, losing its best attributes. That's why we always opt for smaller packages of ground coffee.
What’s the Best Medium Roast Ground Coffee?It's a trick question, as the medium roast is the most popular. Finding the best among thousands of options is much trickier than choosing the best light or dark roast. We are partial to Volcanica single-origin beans, though medium-roasted Kona coffee is also a treat. Besides, medium roasting compliments any natural and artificial flavors. You'll have to experiment with different brands, grind options, and brewing methods to find the best one for you.
What’s the Best Ground Coffee For French Press?Any variety that's coarsely ground will work with a French press. Trade and Volcanica are two options from our list that offer coarse grind, though Death Wish Coffee may work for you too. Whichever brand you choose, steer clear of medium grind, as it's usually too fine and slips through the filter to end up in your cuppa.