Ground coffee is a hassle-free way to brew coffee without complicated tools, making it perfect for those who crave a pour-over taste without the fuss. But with so many products from well-known brands like Starbucks, Dunkin', Folgers, and Death Wish Coffee Co., you might wonder which tastes the best. And what's the difference between buying ground coffee and whole beans? Read on to find out.
We've compared 10 bestselling Ground Coffees available online and tested them to recommend the best ones for you.
We tested each product for the following:
Which product ended up being the best of the best? In our buying guide, we'll also tell you how to pick the best Ground Coffee on your own, so read on for more shopping tips.
Vincent Wong is the owner and head roaster for Tales Coffee. He has owned a coffee shop for seven years and has a YouTube channel discussing different extraction methods to help people understand and discover new coffee-related theories.
For seven years, Daisuke has served specialty coffees as a barista and taught hand-drip latte art seminars. Currently, at mybest, he conducts the verification for all coffee-related products and equipment, including major manufacturers such as Kalita, Hario, and De'longhi, and specialty coffee brands such as Starbucks, UCC, Maruyama Coffee, and Blue Bottle Coffee. He creates content with the motto of "making ordinary coffee more delicious" by utilizing his experience as a barista. In addition, he also operates his own coffee roastery.
The most important factor when choosing ground coffee is how it tastes, especially when served black. We had 10 testers who regularly drink coffee evaluate the flavor, focusing on the following six points:Overall flavorAromaBitternessConcentrationSweetnessAcidityTesting Procedure:First, we placed the coffee in a paper filter and pre-wet it.Next, we poured 3.5 ounces of water evenly over the coffee and started the timer.Between 40 seconds and 1 minute, we poured in water to reach a total of 7 ounces.From 1 minute and 10 seconds to 1 minute and 30 seconds, we poured in water to reach a total of about 10.5 ounces.From 1 minute and 50 seconds until the timer hit 2 minutes, we poured in water to reach a total of about 12 ounces.Finally, we tasted the brewed coffee.Equipment Used:Dripper: HARIO V60 (02)Server: HARIO V60 Range ServerPaper Filter: HARIO 02 Filter (Bleached)Kettle: FELLOW Stagg KettleScale: HARIO V60 Drip ScaleWater: Kirkland Signature Spring Water
The next important factor in choosing ground coffee is whether it makes good café au lait. We had 10 testers who regularly drink coffee evaluate the flavor, focusing on the following four points:Overall taste enjoyment Balance between milk and coffeeSweetnessMouthfeelTesting Procedure:First, we placed the coffee in a paper filter and pre-wet it.Next, we poured 3.5 ounces of water evenly over the coffee and started the timer.Between 40 seconds and 1 minute, we poured in water to reach a total of 7 ounces.From 1 minute and 10 seconds to 1 minute and 30 seconds, we poured in water to reach a total of about 10.5 ounces.From 1 minute and 50 seconds until the timer hit 2 minutes, we poured in water to reach a total of about 12 ounces.Then, we added milk at a 1:1 ratio.Finally, we stirred well and tasted.Equipment Used:Dripper: HARIO V60 (02)Server: HARIO V60 Range ServerPaper Filter: HARIO 02 Filter (Bleached)Kettle: FELLOW Stagg KettleScale: HARIO V60 Drip ScaleWater: Kirkland Signature Spring WaterMilk: Whole milk (at least 3.5 percent milk fat)
All product tests
were conducted in-house at mybest
The expert oversees the Buying Guide only, and does not determine the products and services featured.The mybest team independently conducts its own tests to rank products.
Table of Contents
The main advantage of ground coffee is that you don't need any complicated tools, so you can have a cup brewed much quicker. With whole beans, you need to grind them using a coffee mill, and if you're doing the pour-over method, the whole process can take around six minutes. In contrast, you only need to place ground coffee in a dripper, pour hot water over it, and wait about three minutes. Since you don't need any special equipment, it's ideal for those who want to enjoy coffee without as much fuss.
However, the downside is that it doesn't stay fresh for so long. Ground coffee has a larger surface area, so more of it is exposed to air, meaning it oxidizes faster than whole beans. To keep it tasting fresh, try to drink it as soon as possible after opening, or store it in a sealed container.
With choices like vanilla, cinnamon, and blueberry, you might be interested in the strong aroma and sweet taste of a flavored coffee.
Flavored coffee is created using oils or powders during or after roasting the coffee beans to add different scents and flavors. From aromatic vanilla and cinnamon to fruity flavors, there's a wide range to choose from. However, as flavored varieties tend to lack the robustness of regular coffee, they're often a love-it-or-hate-it kind of product. If you enjoy seasonal cinnamon-flavored drinks like pumpkin spice lattes, they're worth a try.
If you love sweet coffee but still want to enjoy its natural flavor, I recommend buying regular coffee and adding milk and sugar to taste.
Here are the points to keep in mind when choosing the best Ground Coffee.
Light roast has the shortest roasting time, and this leaves a lot of moisture in the coffee beans. The result is a slight bitterness and a more fruity taste. Dark roast, with the longest roasting time of the three, dries out the coffee beans and creates more elements that contribute to a bitter taste. Medium roast falls between light and dark, allowing you to taste both bitterness and acidity.
These three roast levels have significant differences in flavor. When we had coffee enthusiasts taste them, dark roast coffee received the best ratings. Let's explore why dark roast coffee was so highly rated.
As mentioned earlier, dark roast coffee has had more moisture removed from the beans. It contains several elements that contribute to its robust flavor. The coffees we tested had a rich and intense flavor, and some even had a sweetness that reminded us of chocolate.
Also, the acidity was subtle, leading some of our tasters to comment that it had a satisfying intensity and that the pronounced bitterness and sweetness made it enjoyable to drink. If you're looking for coffee with a bold intensity, dark roast is definitely the right choice.
One of the most appealing features of dark roast coffee is that it's hard to go wrong if you follow the recipe, as the bitterness is prominent. If you're new to pour-overs, start with dark roast coffee. We recommend a brewing recipe with a 13:1 ratio of coffee grounds to water for a truly satisfying flavor.
Another advantage of dark roast is that its bitterness isn't overshadowed by the sweetness of milk. It tastes like a dark but milky chocolate bar. Our testers voiced that they could distinctly taste both the bitterness and sweetness when prepared as a café au lait.
In contrast, making a café au lait with light roast coffee resulted in the sweetness of the milk overpowering the bitterness. Feedback from our testers reported that they could hardly taste the coffee's bitterness or richness. If you want to enjoy a café au lait with a distinct bitterness and richness, dark roast is the way to go.
Even if you add sugar, the coffee won't lose its bitterness, so dark roast is also recommended for those who love a sweet café au lait.
Among the dark roasts, the one that stood out in our testing was Death Wish Coffee Co.'s Dark Roast. This coffee wasn't just strong in bitterness; from the first sip, we could taste flavors and sweetness like dark chocolate and nuts.
It was delicious even as a café au lait, and many of our testers said they could taste the bitterness and richness both black and with milk. The sweetness was also pleasant. If you want something that tastes great both black and with milk in a dark roast, Death Wish Coffee Co.'s dark roast is an excellent choice.
While dark roast is highly recommended for its bitterness, medium roast coffee is a great option for those who prefer a coffee more on the acidic side. Let's take a look at the characteristics of medium roast coffee.
Coffee beans come from the seeds of a fruit called coffee cherries. As medium roast coffee retains more moisture during the roasting process, you can taste the natural fruitiness of the coffee cherry more than in a dark roast. Specifically, it has a refreshing acidity and fruity aroma, giving it a clean taste that’s very drinkable.
Our testers also noted that it had a vibrant aroma, a light mouthfeel, a fruity sweetness, and a calming effect. Compared to light roast, the bitterness is just right, and depending on the bean variety, you may get flavor notes of orange or cherry. If you want to try a coffee with a fruity acidity, go for a medium roast.
When you make café au lait with medium roast coffee, the fruitiness combines with the sweetness of the milk, resulting in a rich and creamy flavor akin to the taste of tea with milk. Our testers commented that the fragrant aroma and creamy sweetness were delicious, and that the fruity flavor had a subtle taste like black tea with milk. Be sure to try adding milk to a medium roast coffee.
The medium roasts that received high praise in our tests were Illy's Ground Espresso Classico Coffee Medium Roast and Starbucks' Veranda Blend. Illy's Classico is not too acidic, and there's a good balance of bitterness. You can taste flavors like milk chocolate and orange. It also pairs well with milk, making it a product we recommend for those who want to try a coffee with acidity.
Starbucks' Veranda Blend has a distinctive fruity taste with a slightly acidic profile and a sweet and sour taste like cherries. We recommend this if you love acidic brews and enjoy exploring various types of coffee.
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Taste With Milk
Death Wish Coffee Co.
Dark Roast Ground Coffee
mybest's Top Choice! Solid Bitterness and Rich Flavor Everyone Will Enjoy
Classico Classic Roast Espresso Preparation Ground Coffee
Balanced, Fruity Acidity and Bitterness in a Classic Medium Roast
Veranda Blend Blonde Roast Ground Coffee
Sweet, Tangy, and Fruity With a Refreshing Lightness
Classic Roast Ground Coffee
Strong Bitterness for Those Who Want to Wake Up With a Kick
French Roast Dark Roast Ground Coffee
Rich Bitterness and Smoky Aroma With Little Sweetness
Original Blend Medium Roast Ground Coffee
Refreshing Tartness With Creamy Sweetness as Café au Lait
Classico Medium Roast Ground Coffee
Nice Crisp Acidity, but Sweetness and Bitterness Are Subtle
Premium Roast Medium Roast Ground Coffee
A Mild Flavor Brewed Black and Pairs Well With Milk
Stumptown Coffee Roasters
Holler Mountain Blend Ground Coffee
Light Roast With Fruity Acidity and Mild Flavor
AmazonFresh | Colombia Medium Roast Ground Coffee
Bright Aroma of Citrus and Herbs, Light on Bitterness and Richness
|Bean variety||Arabica, Robusta|
Death Wish Coffee Co.'s Dark Roast is made with a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans, delivering a smooth and robust flavor. When enjoyed black, it reveals hints of dark chocolate and nuts, with a pronounced bitterness and sweetness. The lack of acidity and rich taste make it very easy to drink.
Whether served black or with milk, the coffee's rich flavor shines through. You can savor the sweetness of the milk and the strong bitterness without losing the balance. Testers loved the unique dark roast flavor in both forms. This coffee is a great choice for those new to coffee or those who prefer a strong, rich flavor.
|Content volume||1 lb.|
Illy's Ground Espresso Classico Coffee Medium Roast is made exclusively with Arabica beans, offering a mild and well-balanced flavor. When sipped black, it has flavors of milk chocolate and citrus, with a balanced mix of fruity acidity and the perfect touch of bitterness. It's not overly acidic, so it's a good option even for those who usually avoid acidic flavors.
When prepared as a café au lait, the fruity acidity blends beautifully with the sweetness of the milk, creating a creamy and inviting taste. The medium roast also brings out a lively aroma, adding to the subtle flavor experience. Testers were drawn to the pleasant aroma and taste that reminded them of black tea with milk. If you're a fan of fruitier, more acidic coffee or enjoy bitterness but want to explore something with a slight tang, this product is worth trying.
|Content volume||0.55 lb.|
Starbucks' Veranda Blend is a medium roast made with 100 percent Arabica beans, promising aromas of toasted grain and baking chocolate. Drinking it black, this coffee has a sweet and tangy fruity flavor, like ripe cherries. There's also a hint of bitterness, creating a clean and enjoyable taste experience. The aroma is pleasant, with a gentle sweetness that may even have a calming effect.
Served as a café au lait, the acidity mellows, and the sweetness becomes more pronounced. However, the flavor of the coffee seems to get lost in the milk. Some testers found the sweetness of the milk too strong, feeling that it overshadowed the coffee's flavor. With its striking fruity acidity both black and as a café au lait, this coffee is ideal for those who favor acidity over bitterness or prefer a coffee with a light taste that's easy to enjoy.
|Content volume||0.75 lb.|
Folgers' Classic Roast Coffee, with its distinctive red can, is a medium roast offering a smooth and robust flavor. When you drink it black, bitterness is the main sensation, accompanied by chocolate-like flavors and a smoky aroma. But with little acidity or sweetness, it might not appeal to those who like their coffee with a more tart flavor.
Adding milk for a café au lait introduces a toasty, nutty flavor, but the coffee's strong bitterness doesn't quite harmonize with the milk. Some testers felt the bitterness was too overpowering, masking the creaminess of the milk. Whether drunk black or with milk, the robust bitterness is what defines this coffee, making it a top pick for those who crave a stronger cup or want a jolt of bitterness to kick-start the day.
|Content volume||0.6 lb.|
Starbucks' French Roast is a dark roast made entirely with Arabica beans and known for its intense and smoky flavor. Served black, you'll taste dark chocolate and burnt caramel, along with a strong bitterness. The roast's aroma is potent, contributing to an overall deep and heavy flavor profile. Some testers found the strong bitterness appealing but felt it was so overpowering that they couldn't detect any sweetness, resulting in lower ratings.
Adding milk to create a café au lait softens the intense bitterness, making it more approachable than when drunk black. Testers noted that the milk's sweetness tempered the otherwise too-strong bitterness. If you find the roast aroma or bitterness too overpowering when drinking it black, you might prefer this coffee as a café au lait.
|Content volume||0.75 lb.|
Dunkin's Original Blend Ground Coffee is a medium roast made with 100 percent Arabica beans, offering a rich and smooth flavor. You'll notice a strong, fruity acidity when brewed black, with little bitterness and a hint of chocolate-like aroma. If you're not a fan of acidic coffee, you might find this one hard to enjoy.
As a café au lait, the acidity becomes creamy and sweet, resulting in a smooth flavor. Testers who found the black coffee too acidic enjoyed the creamy sweetness when milk was added. If you're drinking it as a café au lait, this coffee could be a great option.
|Content volume||1.25 lb.|
|Bean variety||Arabica, Robusta|
Lavazza's Classico Ground Coffee Blend is a medium roast blend of Arabica and Robusta beans, described as having a rich flavor and sweet aroma. Flavors like chocolate and grape come through when served black, with a gentle sweetness and a sharp, pronounced acidity. The fruitiness is intense, making the bitterness and richness somewhat hard to detect.
Some testers felt that while the crisp acidity was present, it didn't balance out the bitterness. The coffee's flavor seems to take a backseat to the sweetness of the milk when prepared as a café au lait. If you're looking to savor the coffee's unique flavor, this blend might not fully satisfy.
|Content volume||0.75 lb.|
McCafe's Premium Roast Ground Coffee is a medium roast made with 100 percent Arabica beans, boasting a rich aroma, smooth body, and clean finish. Drinking it black, the acidity is prominent, while bitterness and sweetness are hardly noticeable. The coffee itself is on the lighter side, which might appeal to those who prefer a less intense brew.
When prepared as a café au lait, the sweetness of the milk adds a buttery richness. While the black coffee tasted a bit thin, milk brought out its sweetness and created a more robust flavor, which was well-received by testers.
|Content volume||1.8 lb.|
Stumptown Coffee Roasters' Holler Mountain Ground Coffee is a light roast, blending beans from Central and South America and East Africa. It's described as having a creamy caramel aroma with flavors of citrus and berry jam. When enjoyed black, you'll taste the citrus flavor as promised, along with something akin to cherry tomatoes. There's almost no bitterness, and the fruity, bright acidity is the dominant impression.
The coffee is also on the lighter side in terms of concentration, so it won't be the best choice for those who prefer a stronger bitterness. As a café au lait, the coffee's flavor is overshadowed by the milk, throwing off the balance. Testers noted that they could hardly taste the coffee, commenting that it was more like milk with a tinge of acidity.
|Content volume||0.75 lb.|
AmazonFresh Colombia Ground Coffee is a medium roast made with 100 percent Arabica beans. It's described as having a faint citrus aroma, along with hints of cocoa and brown sugar. Drinking it black, you'll notice this citrus aroma and a bright, herb-like scent. While there is some acidity, the bitterness, sweetness, and richness are not very pronounced.
As a café au lait, there's a subtle sweetness, but the coffee's flavor is lacking and less satisfying. Testers found the black coffee to be a bit on the watery side, but the café au lait provided a smooth and pleasing sweetness.
|Content volume||2 lb.|
Products we tested
As mentioned earlier, ground coffee deteriorates when exposed to oxygen in the air. Store it in a sealable canister or container after opening. We recommend drinking your ground coffee as quickly as possible, but if you can't finish it within a month, pack it in a sealed bag and freeze it to preserve it for longer.
No. 1: Death Wish Coffee Co. | Dark Roast Ground Coffee
No. 2: Illy | Classico Classic Roast Espresso Preparation Ground Coffee
No. 3: Starbucks | Veranda Blend Blonde Roast Ground Coffee
No. 4: Folgers | Classic Roast Ground Coffee
No. 5: Starbucks | French Roast Dark Roast Ground Coffee
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