Best Ground Coffee To Perk You Up

Pop the kettle on and get the biscuit tin out, it's time for a coffee break.

Best ground coffee

by Natalie Knowles |
Updated on

Put a brew on and discover the amazing story behind your favourite ground coffee. The best coffee not only tastes great, it has thorough traceability and is ethically produced. The brands behind the beans are a showcase in global sustainable and fair business. Whether you're brewing on a budget or looking for the perfect blend for your coffee machine, by the end of this coffee break, you'll be able to impress with facts about your brew that would make a barista say "Bravo".

If you're discerning about coffee, value, and quality; sustainability will be front of mind. Pre-ground coffee will go stale when exposed to air, so look for coffee that comes in quality packaging. Firstly, the bag should be opaque and airtight as it needs to preserve the product from oxygen, heat, light, moisture and strong odours.

Best Ground Coffee At A Glance

Best independent coffee brand: Grind House Blend Coffee – Viewon Grind
Best for fruity-tasting notes: Pact Coffee Terras Atlas – View on Pact
Best ground coffee subscription: Beans Coffee Club – View on Beans Coffee Club

On a good packet of coffee, you'll see a roasted and packed date, where the coffee comes from (traceability), and the roast and grind size. In addition, it will have a one-way valve as fresh coffee expels CO2 as a by-product of the roasting process. The valve allows CO2 to escape and not let oxygen in - which spoils the aromatics. To further enrich your enjoyment and knowledge, there may be tasting notes and the altitude at which the coffee beans were grown.

Like a sommelier in the wine world, a barista is an expert in coffee - from explaining its provenance to preparing and serving it. So, if you want to know your beans a little bit better, bust out your cafetière, Aeropress, V60 or filter coffee machine and let's get it percolating.

Best Ground Coffee

Best independent coffee brand

Tested

Grind House Blend ground coffeePhoto credit: Natalie Knowles

Grind's signature House Blend is described as having chocolate and hazelnut-tasting notes that cut through milk. It's roasted in Grind's London roastery and served in a number of their London-based cafes. Additionally, Grind sell compostable coffee pods, filled with Grind Organic coffee, that is compatible with Original-style Nespresso machines. Grind offers a no-fuss subscription service, where you receive a refillable tin and regular deliveries of whole bean, ground or coffee pods.

Our review: "I received a sample of the House Blend, coarse ground coffee, through the post. The inside of the cardboard packaging was a lovely surprise because it was shell pink. Inside was a pleasing, soft pink paper packet of House Blend ground coffee from Grind, Shoreditch, London. It's minimalist packaging and design, but it's the colour that gives feel-good vibes and evokes memories of the EL&N café. Actually, Grind has its own number of contemporary cafés in London that serve breakfast, brunch, dinner and cocktails.

"I cut the packet open with scissors (shame it's not resealable). It smelt absolutely amazing - like the coffee shop of your dreams. Coarse dark brown coffee grounds. The aroma is even more intense when you dig in with a spoon. I used four tablespoons in my eight-cup cafetière and gave it a stir, leaving it to brew for four minutes.

"On first taste, it's a lovely smooth coffee with bitter, acidic notes, woody - highly drinkable and not overly intense. Also, it's rich, sweet, rounded and full-bodied. I could easily kick back with a stack of travel magazines, and a chilled playlist and work my way through a cafetière of Grind coffee… Maybe, I could invite my mum over for a cuppa, because I think this is a very accessible coffee that appeals to all tastes… but I kind of want to keep this one to myself!" (The coffee was roasted on 16.01.23 and I received it on 24.01.23. Batch 110123.)

Pros

  • Tastes fantastic
  • Refillable Grind tin
  • Ethically sourced coffee
  • Fabulous branding

Cons

  • Would benefit from a resealable packet

Best for fruity-tasting notes

Tested

Pact Coffee Terras AltasPhoto credit: Natalie Knowles

Enjoy speciality-grade bagged coffee delivered to you as often as you like. Every coffee has a story, and Pact gives detailed information about its provenance and who farms it. All of the coffee is ethically sourced, and there are lots of varieties to try, which makes subscribing a good idea. Coffee connoisseurs will love the level of information and range of coffees to try. Pact Coffee is also available in pods. Will Corby - Director of Coffee and Social impact describes the coffee, "The natural process behind the coffee has developed a delicate raspberry note, which beautifully complements the creamy chocolate flavours and mouthfeel."

Our review: "Terra Altas is a Brazilian dark roast that promises hints of chocolate and raspberry brownie. It's coarse grind coffee for a cafetière, which I received through the post. I immediately noticed a distinctive fruity coffee smell just taking it out of the packaging. In addition, it came with a little card that gives information about the grower (Aurello Figueiredo Felizali) and the farm in Brazil. Upon opening the well-sealed (and quality resealable packet) the light brown grounds had an incredible chocolate aroma.

"I brewed 3-4 tablespoons in an eight-cup cafetière. The taste was clean, smooth and fresh. Also, Terra Altas has a chocolatey taste with a fruity zing. The mouthfeel was silky. It reminded me of a chocolate bourbon biscuit… they'd pair very well together. Additionally, the packaging perfectly contained and sealed the coffee. It tells you when it was roasted (13.01.23) and when it was packed (16.01.23). I received it one day later - that's really fresh coffee IMO."

Pros

  • Quality resealable packaging
  • Distinct tasting notes
  • Fresh, flexible subscription

Cons

  • Will get through a 250g packet quickly

Best ground coffee subscription

Tested

Beans Coffee Club - 47 Coffee Colombian – SupremoPhoto credit: Natalie Knowles

It's a club for coffee lovers that delivers speciality coffees and so much more. With an ingenious matching system, Beans Coffee Club guides you to discover new coffees. And you can log your favourites in your very own coffee journal. This subscription service offers a wide variety of speciality coffee from independent roasteries and some exclusive award-winners, too. Roasted to order, the coffee subscription will deliver eco-conscious coffee whenever you'd like in recyclable, letterbox-friendly packaging. Plus, you'll receive behind-the-scenes information about your favourite coffee roasteries, as well as brewing guides and how-to videos. If you love knowing the story behind your beans, this one's for you. You can join the Beans Coffee Club or purchase gift vouchers. In addition to superb-tasting coffee, you'll have access to brewing guides, masterclasses, giveaways and more.

Our review: "I sampled 47" Coffee's Colombian - Supremo, which I received in the post from Beans Coffee Club. 47" is an independent roastery run by Aidy in Langley Mill, Derbyshire. It's great to put a face to the name and see that a personal touch goes into roasting these Columbian speciality grade coffee beans. On first impressions, this coarse ground Supremo coffee has the most incredible chocolatey aroma. As I opened the letterbox-friendly packet, I enjoyed a waft of seriously rich coffee. Even at this stage, I could tell why 47" Coffee has received 20 Great Taste Awards in its six-year history.

"I brewed the ground coffee for four minutes in a cafetière. Taste-wise, there are definitely chocolate and fruity notes. In addition, it has a smooth and rich mouthfeel. Also, don't skimp on coffee grounds; four decent tablespoons in an eight-cup cafetière will ensure you're tasting the impeccable flavours of a quality coffee. Deeply smooth and satisfying - I'm adding 47" Coffee's Columbian - Supremo to my favourites. (Roasted: 15.02.23 and I received it 20.02.23)."

Pros

  • Lots of information about the roastery
  • Delicious taste and incredible aroma
  • Quality, resealable and economical packaging

Cons

  • Couldn't find much information on the coffee beans or farmers

Best ethically produced ground coffee

Tested

Rise Coffee Box SkylarkNatalie Knowles

A monthly Rise Coffee Box, you get two 250g bags of coffee for £23. This box includes exclusive content from their roasters and tasty treats. Choose between monthly, bi-monthly, or fortnightly deliveries with pre-pay and save options. Subscribers receive interesting and informative content to read while the coffee brews. Rise Coffee Box is a great way to explore independent roasteries and learn more about coffee.

Our review: “I received two excellent coffees and a fun snack, plus a little guide that tells me about my coffees. The delivery arrived in a neat and sturdy box – just to note, it's a small parcel size rather than letterbox size.

My favourite coffee was Skylark Coffee's Ethiopia, Acacia. Upon opening the resealable packet, I was hit with a wonderful strong coffee aroma. The date on the pack indicates that the coffee beans were recently ground. It had notes of blackberry, apple and marigold and yes, I did discern a fruity and floral aroma and taste. What really sets the coffee apart is that it's 100% not-for-profit – funds are to support the environment and people growing the coffee. Skylark is a roasters based near Brighton and it supports local conservation charities in the Southeast."

Pros

  • Rise boxes come with extra treats from emerging brands
  • Sustainability
  • Supports coffee producers
  • Great packaging and contents
  • Superb coffee

Cons

  • With a subscription, the contents is a surprise

Best for a Moka pot

 illy, Classico Ground Coffee

Rrp: $14.60

Price: $11.99

Enhance your morning coffee ritual with this popular Italian coffee that is specially ground to brew in a Moka pot. Fill your kitchen with a wonderful coffee aroma that's synonymous with Italian great taste. illy, Classico Ground Coffee comes in a canister to preserve its freshness.

Customer review: "As a starter coffee, it was great - it worked perfectly in the pot and brewed a strong coffee. Also, after you've finished the tin, it's the perfect size to store new coffee you buy that normally comes in awkward plastic bags."

Pros

  • Reusable tin that keeps the coffee fresh
  • Popular pick
  • Rich and full-bodied taste

Cons

  • Be aware this is for Moka preparation

Best strong coffee

The Mount Blend is an award-winning espresso that encapsulates the rich flavours of South American coffee. The beans are grown by specialists, mostly family-run farmers in Brazil, El Salvador and Colombia. They're shipped to the UK where the coffee beans are roasted in small batches at Volcano Coffee Works roastery in Brixton. Volcano Coffee Works believes in supply transparency and is open about its social and environmental impact, including its carbon footprint and wages. They have a great range of coffees, which are hand-selected by Nick and roasted by Claire. Choose your delivery to be fortnightly, monthly or every six weeks. In addition, Volcano Coffee Works sell cool ranges of coffee brewing equipment and gifts.

Customer review: "My go-to coffee for V60; also good for stove-top espresso; rich, flavourful safe bet."

Pros

  • Great taste, flexible subscription
  • Range of quantities available
  • Comprehensive information on provenance

Cons

  • Have to spend over £30 for free delivery

Best for espresso

If you want to drink coffee like the Italians do, then Lavazza is for you. Lavazza Qualità Rossa is a Arabica and Robusta bean blend that's suitable for use in a coffee machine, French press and Moka pot. For espresso that consistently tastes divine, choose this delightful little red number.

Customer review: "Have drunk Lavazza for many years and as a readily available coffee it is good value. I have drunk other better-tasting coffees but as far as value for money, consistency of flavour and availability go I will stick with this brand."

Pros

  • Authentic, great for espresso
  • Fine grind
  • Premium taste for good value

Cons

  • Strong and intense, so may not be suitable for all drinkers

Best premium coffee

Here at A Modern Kitchen we love a good pun, and the Daily Grind did make us smile, as coffee is the fuel that gets us through the day. CafePod offers a good range of strong, decaf and flavoured coffees that are available in pods, ground or whole bean. The brand gives information about the provenance without being too overwhelming. The Daily Grind is a blend that combines Central and South American and Ethiopian beans. It has nutty and fruity flavours and a caramel base. CafePod is an independent London-based coffee brand, its range of strong coffees are not for the faint-hearted… the Supercharger Espresso is 12 on the intensity scale.

Customer review: "We tried the Brunch Blend and the Daily Grind blend in the whole beans and both were really delicious. They were smooth, not bitter at all and the perfect strength. Great coffee."

Pros

  • Good price, great variety
  • Bridges the gap between an everyday coffee lover and a connoisseur
  • Range of coffee accessories available

Cons

  • Packaging on ground and whole bean coffee is not yet recyclable

Best for buying in bulk

Suitable for all preparations, Amazon Brand - Solimo House Blend Ground Coffee is 100 per cent Arabica and Rainforest-Alliance certified. With every purchase, you're helping hundreds of farmers and their families across the world. Though the brand of coffee seems not to be the highest quality, it's a good option if you're on a budget. In addition, you can subscribe and save on Amazon and make this a regular delivery.

Customer review: "If you're looking for coffee for your workmates to drink this is the one - inexpensive and pleasant enough."

Pros

  • Value for money
  • A good option if you have lots of coffee drinkers

Cons

  • Not wow-factor coffee - more for everyday drinking

OUR VERDICT: Which Is The Best Ground Coffee?

Coffee aficionados are going to love discovering the speciality grade coffees from Pact Coffee. Pact impresses with thorough information about provenance and flavour profiles. In addition, this is stylishly and succinctly communicated on quality packaging. If flavour profiles and single-origin coffees are your bag, do visit the Pact Coffee website on your next coffee break. Additionally, kudos to Pact Coffees for its compellingly detailed Transparency Report on its product, packaging, planet and people.

If you don't know your barista from your elbow, and just want a delicious coffee experience, then choose Grind Coffee. Even unboxing it gave feel-good vibes - that shade of pink should be on prescription - full marks to Grind Coffee on the aesthetics. Fashionable, trending and relevant Grind Coffee is going places… and you don't have to live in London to enjoy it. On the packet, it says: "Good coffee, like, actually good coffee" and here at A Modern Kitchen, we heartily agree.

Grind coffee and a French press in a retro kitchen.
©Photo credit: Natalie Knowles

FAQs

How is caffeine removed from coffee?

Decaffeinating coffee involves one of three processes and will be indicated on the packet:

Solvents
Whole coffee beans are soaked in hot water to open up the structure. Then, the caffeine is rinsed out using the chemicals ethyl acetate and methylene chloride.

Swiss Water Process
The beans are soaked in water and filtered several times until 99.9 per cent of the caffeine is removed. This is a chemical-free process that preserves the natural flavour. In addition, it's the healthiest method using pure water only.

CO2 Process
Liquid CO2 is used at a low temperature to extract the caffeine from the cells of the bean. Also, it's natural, chemical-free and preserves flavour.

What is coffee cupping?

Evaluate the aroma, colour, flavour and quality with this formal method of coffee tasting. Then, score the coffee on a scale of 0-100 with guidelines set by the Speciality Coffee Association. With a huge vocabulary to describe the flavours, it's a fun activity you can do at home with friends.

How do I start coffee cupping?

First, you'll need some freshly ground coffee. Use a coffee grinder to grind your beans to a medium grind and pour 12g into a cup. Then, note the smell of freshly ground coffee. Pour just boiled water on the coffee grounds and leave it to steep for four minutes. Next, evaluate the aroma of the floating layer of coffee grounds (known as the 'crust'). Stir the grounds into the coffee and once again evaluate the aroma and what is different. When the coffee is cool enough to taste, slurp it from a clean spoon with a little air which helps to spread the aromas across your palate. Note the texture of the taste - this could be rough, smooth, oily, or creamy. You may taste chocolate, fruit or an acidic tang. Additionally, there are flavour wheels to help you describe the subtleties of flavour, acidity, texture and aftertaste.

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/51650726966488771/

You can use this Aroma Wheel from Coffee Mind to help you describe coffee aroma and flavours. So, soon you'll be adept at discerning tasting notes. Get a fully-caffeinated conversation going by tasting a number of coffees, comparing the characteristics, just remember to sip or you'll be buzzing.

Natalie Knowles is a Homes & Garden Product Writer for A Modern Kitchen, specialising in kitchen appliances. When she's not testing coffee machines, she flexes her creative flair as an artist.

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