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10 Best Ground Coffees for a Superior Cup (2021 Reviews)

Ready to step up from instant or store-bought coffee but not looking to invest in a grinder? Cool beans. Then the best ground coffees are the caffeinated upgrade you’re after!

To prevent you from picking a random product that doesn’t suit your coffee maker or taste buds, we’ve tried many different types of ground coffees and reviewed those that stood out.

Let’s get grinding!

Organic Pick

  • Healthiest organic coffee
  • Pure single-origin beans from Nicaragua
  • Grown ethically and sustainably

Best Pick

  • Exciting coffee subscription
  • Plenty of variety thanks to +400 roasters
  • Highly customizable

Premium Pick

  • Sought-after Hawaiian Kona coffee
  • Grown on volcanic soil
  • Best Coffee in America by Forbes

Ground Coffee Buying Guide: How to Find the Most Cool-Beans Grounds for You

Throwing a bunch of jargon in each review? Not helpful. Let’s understand together which type of ground coffee is right for you.

Type of coffee beans

Depending on the species of the same Rubiaceae plant family, you have two types of beans:

  • Arabica, grown in very specific conditions, is superior in taste. That’s why, if a brand is using 100% Arabica beans… oh, they’ll definitely tell you! Smoother, with chocolatey and sugary notes and hints of berries and fruits, they’re a better choice if you prefer relatively sweeter, more nuanced flavors.

  • Robusta beans are cheaper and easier to grow, but what they lack in flavor they make up in caffeine. They can be a good compromise if you’re after a stronger fix and don’t mind a more bitter taste, perhaps because you take your coffee with milk and sugar.

Not sure? You can always opt for ground coffee that mixes both.

Type of roast

  • Light roasts preserve the beans’ unique characteristics: fruity and vibrant thanks to their high acidity, they present a thinner body. Perfect for those who take their coffee black and love tasting its nuances.

  • Medium roasts retain some of the beans’ characteristics but start tapping into those of darker roasts. Because they result in a well-rounded profile with a fuller body, we recommend them to those who’re after a balanced result.

  • What darker roasts lose in beans’ characteristics they compensate for in body: a popular choice among coffee lovers who prefer robust, deeper flavors with sweeter caramel or chocolaty tones.

Single-origin beans or blends?

Single-origin beans are grown in the same place, which could be as big as a country or as specific as a farm. They’re the go-to choice for most coffee experts because they allow you to indulge in the original, unaltered flavor of each batch, especially when you brew with manual pour overs and take your coffee black (1).

“They’re all about a deeper understanding of your coffee’s profile and how that profile is affected by what goes on at origin.” T. Shrock, Perfect Daily Grind 

Blends are formed with different beans that either complement each other or create a pleasant contrasting effect: a more suitable choice if you usually add milk and sugar. They got a bad reputation because some larger roasteries used them as an excuse to chuck in cheaper lower-quality beans but, if you go for respected or smaller passionate roasters (like the ones we’ve included), you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Brewing method

Because their grind size influences extraction, it’s important to use the best ground coffees for your brewing equipment:

Best Ground Coffees of 2020 to Upgrade Your Morning Brew [Top 10 Reviews]

Here’s a little overview of the very best coffee grounds:

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Lifeboost Coffee
  • Healthy, pure, organic
  • Part of the 2% of all shade-grown coffee
  • Available in different roasts
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Trade Coffee
  • Customizable subscription
  • Partners with over 400 roasters
  • Adds a twist to your favorite flavors
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Koa Coffee
  • Authentic Kona coffee
  • Highest-quality beans
  • Forbes declared it ‘Best Coffee in America’
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Volcanica Coffee
  • Premium Nicaraguan single-origin coffee
  • Different grind sizes
  • Fine enough for espresso
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Lion Coffee
  • Tastiest flavored experience
  • Authentic Hawaiian flavors
  • Lots of options
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Now that you know exactly what to look for, let’s take you one step closer to your new favorite coffee grounds.

1. Lifeboost Coffee - Organic Pick


  • Type: single-origin Arabica
  • Origin: Nicaragua
  • Roast: light, medium, dark, decaf
  • Size: medium-fine

Best for: those who’re after the purest, most sustainable experience

Despite the fact that it’s kinder to the environment and prevents sunlight from affecting the beans’ flavor, only 2% of all coffee is shade-grown (2).

“By purchasing shade-grown and organic coffee, you can make a difference by voting with your dollars to increase more responsible agriculture practices.” Biology professor Shalene Jha (3)

Not only is Lifeboost Coffee part of that elite: it’s a non-GMO, high-elevation grown single-origin coffee that, unlike most mass-produced options, has no mycotoxins (mold).

Just choose the right type of roast for your palate!

Lifeboost Coffee is also fair-trade and part of the Rainforest Trust. Discover more about them in our Lifeboost Coffee review.

What's the Bottom Line?

Superior organic coffee that, thanks to its low acidity, is especially a godsend if you suffer from stomach or digestive problems.


2. Trade Coffee - Our Best Pick


  • Size: customizable

Best for: those who enjoy trying lots of different types of ground coffee

Trade Coffee is one of the best coffee subscriptions and a full caffeinated experience, sourcing grounds from over 400 roasters!

As you can find out in our Trade Coffee review, a fun questionnaire will help them understand your brewing habits and flavor preferences so that they can send you different ethically sourced coffee grounds as frequently as you wish.

What's the Bottom Line?

Want to experience the thrill of surprise without straying away from your flavor preferences? You can’t go wrong with Trade Coffee.

Dripped special: Click on the below link to get 30% off your first bag + free shipping!


3. Koa Coffee (100% Kona) - Premium Pick

  • Type: single-origin Arabica
  • Origin: Kona, Hawaii
  • Roast: medium
  • Size: medium

Best for: those who don’t mind spending a bit more for a premium exotic experience

How about what Forbes refers to as the Best Coffee in America? (4)

Thanks to the microclimate of two Hawaiian volcanic slopes, Kona is one of the most sought-after single-origins, and Koa is among the best Kona coffee brands.

Relying on a combination of Kona grades, their high-quality beans ensure a rich, smooth and superior taste.

What's the Bottom Line?

Bring the exotic uniqueness of Kona’s volcanic slopes directly into your cup.


4. Volcanica Coffee - Best coffee grounds for espresso


  • Type: single-origin Arabica
  • Origin: Ethiopia
  • Roast: medium
  • Size: espresso, drip, french press

Best for: those who’re hoping for grounds that are actually fine enough for espresso

From Ethiopia’s Yirgacheffe region, this organic coffee is cultivated on volcanic soil above 3000 feet.

It translates into a medium-bodied cup with lemon, blueberry and blackberry notes.

Thanks to the different grind sizes, you can use it with pretty much any brewing method. If you're using your Keurig to brew, use a reusable K-cup and choose fine grind for this bean.

What's the Bottom Line?

A unique experience with a fruity and winy aftertaste, perfect for espresso.


5. Lion Coffee - Best Flavored


  • Type: single-origin Arabica
  • Origin: Hawaii
  • Roast: light, light-medium
  • Size: drip

Best for: a flavored but pure experience

Trust us: you don’t need to butcher your cup of joe by adding random syrups!

Offering a dozen options from toasted coconut to vanilla macadamia, Lion Coffee is the best brand to bring you the true flavors of Hawaii and was even declared the best Hawaiian coffee (5).

Plus, both roasts are delivered in delightfully vintage and exotic packaging.

What's the Bottom Line?

A roaring cup of coffee that combines the unique characteristics of the highest-quality Arabica beans and the most delicate faraway flavors.


6. Death Wish Coffee - Strongest ground coffee


  • Type: Arabica & Robusta blend
  • Origin: India and Peru
  • Roast: dark
  • Size: medium-fine

Best for: those who need a strong caffeine kick but still want to appreciate flavors

In case you missed its name and the skull, let us warn you: this coffee is NOT for the faint-hearted!

With double the strength of your average cup of joe, they’re currently the world’s strongest coffee. They’re so sure about it that they’ll even give you a refund should you find a stronger one (if you do, we’d love to know. For “research purposes”, obviously).

What we appreciate the most about Death Wish Coffee is the fact that this extra kick doesn’t come at the cost of flavor. 

Every cup of these fair-trade organic coffee grounds is a smooth and well-balanced experience with a cherry and chocolate profile. Read more about it in our Death Wish Coffee review.

What's the Bottom Line?

We can’t recommend it enough if you want to kickstart the day with a strong but flavorful cup.


7. New England Coffee - Best small-batch coffee

New England Coffee Hazelnut Creme, Medium Roast Ground Coffee, 11 Ounce (1 Count) Bag
  • Type: Arabica blend
  • Origin: Central & South America, Eastern Africa, the East Indies
  • Roast: medium
  • Size: drip

Best for: those who value traditions

With over a hundred years of experience in coffee roasting, the New England Coffee company is a guarantee in itself. Their Arabica beans are sourced from different regions, but always roasted locally and in small batches.

While we love this delicate hazelnut variant, there are lots of different ones you can choose from, from pumpkin spice to blueberry cobbler.

What's the Bottom Line?

Varied and with sustainability in mind, it will turn your morning brew into a cherished ritual.


8. Kicking Horse Coffee - Best fair-trade ground coffee

Kicking Horse Coffee, Three Sisters, Medium Roast, Ground, 10 Oz - Certified Organic, Fairtrade, Kosher Coffee


  • Type: Arabica blend
  • Origin: Indonesia, Central & South America
  • Roast: medium, but others available
  • Size: medium-fine

Best for: a rich-tasting, well-rounded coffee

Brewed in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, this organic shade-grown coffee homages its most famous peaks.

The Three Sisters medium roast offers a complex profile with hints of stone fruit, cocoa and sweet tobacco.

Also, since over 80% of the world’s coffee farming families live in poverty (6), this company partnered with the Fairtrade system to ensure that their farmers are guaranteed adequate wages and working conditions.

What's the Bottom Line?

A guilt-free cup of coffee from the sunniest countries and the cold Canadian mountains.


9. Starbucks Veranda Blend - Best light roast

Starbucks Blonde Roast Ground Coffee — Veranda Blend — 100% Arabica — 1 bag (28 oz.)


  • Type: Arabica blend
  • Origin: Latin America
  • Roast: light
  • Size: medium-coarse

Best for: those who prefer the fruity vibrance of light roasts

A homage to the Latin American verandas where family and friends catch up over a cup of café, these Starbucks coffee grounds are heaven on earth for anyone who prefers light roasts.

They result in a mellow and soft cup of coffee with a distinctive vibrant flavor (but not too bold).

What's the Bottom Line?

Our favorite light roast, and we’ve tried dozens.


Bizzy Organic Cold Brew Coffee | Smooth & Sweet Blend | Coarse Ground Coffee | 1 LB


  • Type: Arabica blend
  • Origin: Guatemala, Peru & Nicaragua
  • Roast: light and dark
  • Size: coarse

Best for: French press and cold brew

If you use a French press or indulge in cold brew coffee, you’ve probably realized that it’s quite hard to find the right grounds. Well, Bizzy has thought of you!

Ground at the right coarseness, their Dark & Bold Roast guarantees a rich, full-flavored cup with a strong finish and cocoa notes. 

Want a more mellow and vibrant coffee with citrus and floral notes? Check out their Light & Bright roast.

PRO TIP: don’t use coarse grounds with your automatic dripper or you’ll get a weak, under-extracted coffee.

What's the Bottom Line?

Finally some ground coffee that is actually coarse enough!


Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the common FAQs we get around ground coffees.

1. What are the best ground coffees?

The best ground coffees are the organic and sustainable Lifeboost Coffee, the varied Trade Coffee subscription, and Koa Coffee, one of the best Kona brands.

2. Is ground coffee and instant coffee the same?

No, ground coffee is what’s obtained after grinding the beans: ready to be brewed, it results in superior and fuller flavors. Instant coffee has already been brewed, which is why you just need to add hot water.

3. How do you make a cup of coffee with ground coffee?

To make a cup of coffee with ground coffee you simply need to add nearly-boiling water to it and you can do so through different brewing methods, like manual pour overs, French presses or automatic drippers.

Ready to ditch instant? Choose among the best ground coffees currently on the market, from varied subscriptions to single-origin beans and flavored options.

References:

  1. Schrock, T. (2015, September 14). Everything You Need to Know About Single Origin Coffees. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2015/09/everything-you-need-to-know-about-single-origin-coffee/
  2. Tory, S. (2014, March 26). Sunburnt Beans: Where Has All the Shade-Grown Coffee Gone?. Retrieved from https://civileats.com/2014/05/26/sunburnt-beans-where-has-all-the-shade-grown-coffee-gone/
  3. Berger-Texas, K. (2015, April 30). 5 Reasons to Drink Shade-Grown Coffee Retrieved from https://www.futurity.org/shade-grown-coffee-911482/ 
  4. (n.d.). (2011, April 29). 50 of America's Best. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/forbes-life-magazine/2001/0430/058.html#60f1a721224e 
  5. (n.d.). Lion Coffee Voted as Hawaii’s Best Coffee 2020. Retrieved from https://www.lioncoffee.com/lion-coffee-voted-as-hawaiis-best-coffee-2020/ 
  6. Steward, P. (n.d.). Brewing Prosperity. Retrieved from https://www.technoserve.org/our-work/agriculture/coffee/
Avatar for Giada Nizzoli

Born in Italy but currently brewing from the UK, Giada is a highly-caffeinated coffee expert with a soft spot for espressos. She worked in cafés for years and has recently fallen in love with the practical Kalita Wave (just don’t tell her Italian moka pot!).

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