Many of us cannot envision a life without that morning cup of coffee. Legend has it that we owe a debt to frisky Ethiopian goats for the discovery of coffee! Whatever the truth in that story, there is no doubt that coffee first originated in that region of Africa. If you are a coffee fanatic, there has never been a better time for your tribe than right now! There are innumerable versions and blends of coffee available in the market, with considerable variations in taste, aroma and caffeine levels.
But that also means finding the best coffee brand for you can be a long, laborious process of trial and error. If you are a beginner, check out our reliable but short guide to find the right coffee grinds/blends for you. And if you are a seasoned veteran who just wants to explore some new mixes, then head straight to our list of some top rated Coffee blends available online. And if you are in a hurry, check out our handy comparison table!
Best Ground Coffee Brands Comparison Table
|Product||Photo||Roast||Grind Type||Certifications||Check Price|
|Equal Exchange |
Organic Breakfast Blend
|Blend of Medium and French Roasted Coffees||Medium||Fair Trade, Organic, |
|WILD JO||Dark French||Coarse||Fair Trade, Organic, Kosher|
|Kicking Horse Ground Coffee||Light, Medium, Dark |
|Coarse||Fair Trade, Organic, |
The World’s Strongest Coffee
|Dark||Medium||Fair Trade, Organic|
(from Death Wish Coffee company)
|Medium-dark||Medium||Fair Trade, Organic|
|Caribou||Light, Medium, Dark|
|Melitta||Light, Medium, Dark|
|Peet’s||All types of roast are available|
|Lavazza Crema e Gusto|
Italy's Favorite Coffee
|Kauai||Dark and Medium||Medium||No|
If you are still unsure about which coffee may be right for you after looking at the comparison table above, read on to find the best ground coffee brand right for you.
Best Ground Coffee Brands Reviews
There are 36 other coffee flavors/blends in the Peet’s product lineup. You can get these coffees in nine different sizes/packs, from 10.5 ounces to 20 ounces. This particular blend is a dark roast, created nearly 50 years ago. It is named after its creator, a retired army officer. It is ideal for an espresso machine or a French Press.
What is interesting about this blend is the fact that it uses premium coffee beans from all the major regions in the world. So you will get a bit of American, African and Asian flavors in this blend. And they have also managed to harmonize and balance all the flavors well, resulting in a rich and dark roast. We like the fact that Peet’s provides the roast date on the package.
They do not sport any certification (FairTrade etc.) on their packaging. This might be in part due to their unique sourcing policies, but it is still a negative point for ethical buyers.
Folgers Ground Coffee – Best Cheap Ground Coffee
Folgers is another household brand, famous for their coffee grinds across generations. The Classic Roast is a medium roast blend, available in a 30.5-ounce plastic jar. You can also get these in packs of 2 or 3 jars. Other than Classic, Folgers has over 45 different flavors of coffee on sale. This coffee grind is ideal for a French Press.
What we love about this coffee is its blend of economy and flavor. This is one of the most affordable coffees out there, ounce for ounce. And despite being so cheap, it doesn’t compromise too far on flavor. Being a medium roast, it does have a bitter yet slight acidic aftertaste. The packaging is large and generous, and it uses Mountain Grown beans for superior aroma. The brand also sports UTZ Certification for Sustainability.
Classic Roast does lack regarding flavor and richness somewhat, as it cannot compete with the darker roasts. Also, Mountain Grown is very vague terms that could mean that the coffee could be either arabica or robusta.
Jo Coffee WILD JO Dark French Roast Organic Coffee – Best Dark Roast Coffee
This is a premium arabica coffee from a specialty and artisanal coffee brand that has been in business since 2002. Wild Jo is a special blend, available only in 12-ounce bags. The coffee is Dark French roast, with a slightly coarse grind. It was previously known as Wicked Jo but had to change the name due to copyright reasons.
If you want to savor some unique coffee flavors, the smaller artisanal brands are a great option. And Jo Coffee doesn’t disappoint in that regard with this premium blend of certified 100% pure Arabica coffee. The brand only sources from the top 2% of arabica growers in the world. And they do have some impressive certifications, including FairTrade and Organic. The flavor is very bittersweet, reminiscent of cocoa and brown sugar.
Though it is a dark roast, the coffee may feel slightly weak if you like robustly flavored coffees. And it is only available in a single quantity option.
Death Wish Ground Coffee – The World’s Strongest Coffee
The Death Wish brand is pretty well known these days due to their savvy marketing tactics. This is their standard ground offering, called the World’s Strongest Coffee,” and sporting imposing skull and crossbones logos. It is available in smaller 16 oz bags, as well as 5lb bulk bags.
There is no beating around the bush with this brand. When you buy Death Wish, you know exactly what you are getting: a higher dose of caffeine than your body should need, like ever. There is a market for robust coffee out there, and these guys are there to cater to those caffeine-heads. The brand has all the right certifications, including FairTrade. And despite using robusta beans, they have managed to keep the taste at least tolerable, which is quite an achievement.
The most obvious con about this product is its excessively high caffeine content. For many people, prioritizing caffeine content over taste is a major turn off.
Death Wish Valhalla Java Ground Coffee – Best Ground Coffee To Drink Black
This is a unique medium-dark roast blend which was created by the Death Wish brand specifically for heavy metal guitarist Zakk Wylde. And befitting for a guitar god, this coffee blend is packaged in a bag fit for Viking Gods. It is available in 12 and 36-ounce bags.
If you want the extra strong caffeine effect you expect from Death Wish, but in a more flavorful package, Valhalla Java might be what you need. It still retains that overdose of caffeine the brand is famous for. But it also has a smoother mouthfeel and better flavor than their standard blends. The medium dark roast has flavors reminiscent of cocoa and nuts. As with other Death Wish products, you get ethical FairTrade certifications as well.
Valhalla is a tasty brew, we couldn’t find much fault with it, save for the fact that it might contain too much caffeine. That is a common complaint about anything with the Death Wish brand on them.
Caribou Ground Coffee – Best Tasting Ground Coffee
Caribou Ground Coffee is a popular brand of espresso and specialty coffee products and coffee shops based out of Minnesota. Their standard Caribou Blend in available in 12 different sizes/bag combos, ranging from 12 to 40 ounces. Caribou also has 22 other coffee flavors in their range.
Caribou gets several things right with this rich blend. The mix of premium Indonesian and American arabica beans results in a very complex yet smooth flavor profile. It has everything from woody, to sweet, spicy, and fruity notes. The overall flavor is bittersweet, but with enough acidity to make it lively. This is a 100% Arabica coffee, sourced from Rainforest Alliance certified growers in Asia, South, and Central America.
Some users would prefer a less bitter coffee. Also, it is not as strong as some other blends on this list.
Kicking Horse Ground Coffee – Best Ground Coffee for French Press
This is a decent dark roast blend with a coarse finish from the Kicking Horse brand. They are a Canadian specialty coffee manufacturer that has been around for a couple of decades now. Their coffees are available in five other flavors. All the bags are available in 10-ounce bags. This ground coffee is excellent for drip coffee machines.
This is a great premium blend of Arabica beans sourced from top growers in South America and Indonesia. And it is a very ethical option, as all the products are rated Fairtrade, Kosher, and GMO-free organic. It has a lot of caffeine in it, and a very smooth flavor. But as it is a medium blend, it is still on the lighter side.
What rankles us about this product is the gap between the branding and the actual taste and feel of the coffee. Don’t’ get us wrong. This is still a decently flavored coffee. But regarding strength, it is no way what you would expect when you hear a coffee called “Kick-Ass.”
Illy Ground Coffee – Best Ground Coffee For Espresso Machine
This is an authentic Italian blend of arabica beans, available in eight-ounce tins. Other than the medium roast, the brand also has three different flavors, like Dark Roast and Moka. This ground coffee works well in espresso machines.
As one of the few products we have reviewed, that comes in hermetically sealed pressurized cans; this brand deserves some applause. The package results in an intensely fresh coffee powder. And illy is an excellent option if you want the authentic Italian taste. Their products are certified ethical by DNV. The coffee blend contains 100% pure Arabica beans sourced from growers across the world.
The can also have one slight weakness. Once you open it, proper storage becomes a small headache, as the can is rather large. Also, if you like your coffee strong, you might want to try their Dark Roast variant.
Equal Exchange Organic Coffee, Breakfast Blend – Best Organic Coffee
Equal Exchange is a rare entity in the world of coffee brands, with a Fair Trade and worker-farmer collective oriented business model. They have been in business since 1986, and this is a medium roast blend available in 12-ounce bags. You can also get these powders in combo packs.
Their unique business model is one of the main advantages of Equal Exchange. They are one of the most ethical and environment-friendly brands around. They source high-quality arabica beans almost exclusively from small organic farmers who practice sustainable farming methods. As for the coffee, it is a smooth blend of medium and dark roasts. The final effect is a very mellow, not too strong or harsh coffee with a rich feel.
It is better than most cheap robusta mixes, but it cannot compete with the rare blends from specialty brands out there.
Melitta Ground Coffee – Best Colombian Coffee
Melitta is a New Jersey-based brand that sources the beans for this coffee directly from Colombia. It is available in two sizes 11 and 22 ounces, as well as combo packs. Other than the Colombian flavor, there are seven different blends to choose from this same Brand online. This is a Medium Roast coffee, available in a tin.
If you want the authentic taste of excellent Colombian coffee, Melitta is a great option. They source their coffee beans from small high altitude farms in Colombia and pick only the best quality Arabica beans. The coffee has excellent aroma and flavor, thanks to the European processing employed. This elegant ground coffee provides a full-bodied brew.
Though they have Colombian blends, this is not 100% pure Premium Colombian coffee. Also, there doesn’t seem to be any certification on the package.
Lavazza Crema e Gusto Ground Coffee – Best Italian Coffee
Lavazza is a traditional Italian company that specializes in Coffee products. This is a blended ground coffee ideal for espressos. It has a medium-dark roast and is available in 8.8-ounce bags. The Lavazza range also includes three other flavors, dark roast, creme, and whole coffee. This is ideal for espresso machines, with a fine grind.
This is another excellent coffee from a very famous Italian brand. Though you don’t get that pure arabica experience, the Lavazza blend is still quite good. It has a delicate balance between arabica and robusta beans. The resultant brew has a strong caffeine hit and full-bodied, Chocolatey flavor and mouthfeel.
It is not an exclusive premium arabica blend, as it contains 70% robusta beans. Also, this is not a certified organic product.
Kauai Ground Coffee – Best Flavored Coffee
Kauai is a premium Hawaiian brand, and this is a flavored coffee blend. It contains stuff like coconut, macadamia nuts, and caramel for a different coffee experience. Kauai also has other flavors and combinations, including regular medium and dark roasts. This coffee is available in 10-ounce bags.
Coffee purists may shudder at the thought of mixing other flavors. But flavored coffee blends are delicious when done right. And this one from Hawaii has a decidedly tropical flavor with the inclusion of coconuts. The coffee part is 100% arabica, sourced from sustainable producers.
Though this coffee tastes delicious; it does contain some natural and not so natural flavors. And it doesn’t seem to have any certifications either.
Best Ground Coffee Brand Buying Guide
In many ways, coffee is like wine. Depending on the area of origin, the degree of roast and grind levels, the taste of a particular coffee can vary drastically. Plus there is also the added layer of mixing different coffee beans to create unique blends. So, finding the best ground coffee brand for you depends entirely on your tastes and preferences. This brings us to the first section of our guide:
What do these terms associated with taste and flavor of coffee mean?
Several terms are commonly used to describe the taste of a particular brew of coffee. You will find these words widely used in all coffee reviews, including our own.
Flavor: This is the most critical factor for a coffee. It is a term usually used to describe the overall taste of the coffee. Some common words used along with flavor are “richness,” “balance,” and “range.”
Aroma: this is one of the most famous aspects of coffee that helps it stand out among beverages. You can identify different coffees and their tastes based on their aromas. They are described using terms like nutty, smoky, or even fruity.
Body: This is the taste and texture of the brewed liquid that you will feel in your mouth. Factors like the richness of flavor, thickness, and heaviness all contribute to it. Strong flavored coffees are often described as having a “full body,” and those with less flavor is called “thin.” The texture of coffee can be smooth, oily, or buttery.
What are the different coffee growing regions in the world?
Coffee lovers usually have a preference for coffee sourced from a particular region in the world. It is grown in a belt close to the equator, in different continents around the globe. There are three main coffee growing regions:
Americas: the main zones are in Central and South America and the Caribbean. Brazil is the major production powerhouse. There is often dramatic variation in taste between different regions. Colombian coffee is very famous for its bold acidic taste, while Caribbean blends tend to be milder.
Africa: The birthplace of coffee is on the eastern side of Africa, and that is still a product hotspot, in countries like Ethiopia and Kenya. African coffee has a unique fruity flavor and character, in part due to the traditional processing methods still followed in the region. Kenyan coffee is world famous for its intense flavor and full body.
Asia-Pacific: This is spread out over a wide range, from India to Indonesia, and the Pacific islands stretching all the way to Hawaii. So there is no single characteristic feature for Asian/Pacific coffees. Sumatran from Indonesia and Kona from Hawaii are two premium coffees from this region.
What is the meaning of “Arabica” and “Robusta”?
These are two terms that every coffee lover has to learn about. These are the two primary species of coffee plants grown for their beans commercially.
Robusta is the stronger and more resilient plant, much more suited for mass cultivation. But it has an inferior, often harsh and nutty taste. It is more oriented towards quantity than quality.
Arabica is the opposite, as it is more fragile and difficult to grow everywhere. But the taste and aroma of arabica are far superior and diverse in comparison.
Cheap coffee will have robusta beans with a little arabica blended in to improve the taste. Premium expensive coffees usually have more arabica in them. If you want better tasting coffee, arabica is the better choice.
How to choose the right roast level?
The roast level determines the color, aroma, and taste of coffee. Check the following popular roast levels to get a rough idea of what to get:
Light Roasts are also called New England or Light Cinnamon, and have a slightly sour flavor, rich in acidity
Medium Roasts have more acidity and flavor. They are also called Medium American.
Medium Dark coffees are more bitter-sweet, with less acidity. These are called City or Viennese roasts.
Dark and Very Dark Brown coffees have a stronger bitter-sweet flavor and even lesser acidity. These are your regular French or Italian roasts.
The Darkest roasts are commonly called Spanish of Dark French roasts. They are black or brown and have a burned or even charred flavor.
So basically, the lighter a roast, the more acidic and sour the flavor. For more bitter-sweet flavor, you need to pick the darker roasts.
How to choose the ideal grind level?
The grind level determines how coarse or finely ground the coffee beans are. This level impacts the taste of the final brew. Different types of coffee makers work best with a particular kind of grind:
Coarse grinds have a texture like kosher salt. These work best with:
- Plunger pots
- Vacuum coffee pots
- French press machines
- Manual/auto drip machines that have either paper or steel filters
- Cone paper filters in a drip machine
- Espresso Moka pots
- Pump espresso machines
- Steam espresso machines
- Turkish coffee pot, called Ibrik or Cezve.
What are some other features and labeling on the packaging I need to focus on?
FairTrade/C.A.F.E/Rainforest Alliance Certified: Certifies that the coffee has been cultivated and sourced using fair and sustainable methods without exploiting the environment or farmers. The standards are set either by private non-profits organizations and industry majors like Starbucks (C.A.F.E)
Flavored: when the coffee is laced with other ingredients like vanilla, chocolate, etc.
Organic: coffee is grown without industrial methods, chemical pesticides, and fertilizers
AA: denotes the size of the beans used. This is a Kenyan sorting standard. The larger the beans, the more quality and costly the coffee.
Caffeine levels/Decaf: states the actual amount of caffeine in the coffee, and whether the caffeine content has been reduced from the beans before the roasting process. Decaf coffees tend to have a duller taste.
There is a bewildering array of choice when it comes modern ground coffee blends. You can opt for a selection of different roasts, grinds, and beans sourced from all over the world. One prime concern is sustainable and ethical production and sourcing of coffee. You should try to stick with brands that have FairTrade and Rainforest Alliance or similar certification or follow explicitly sustainable practices as much as possible. Brands are coming out with more potent and more innovative blends all the time. This is a great time be alive as a coffee lover!