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The Best Ground Coffee (Top 11 Picks)

Short on time? Our top choice is the Lifeboost Blonde Espresso Ground Coffee!

Pre-ground coffee is a finicky thing. And actually much different from buying whole bean coffee.

It ages quickly and can end up tasting old and stale.

So, what’s the best ground coffee? 

I’m glad you asked. After years of buying and working with coffee, I’ve picked up a thing or two about buying pre-ground coffee.

Let’s dive into a list of my top choices.

Best Ground Coffee: Top 11 Picks

Lifeboost Blonde Espresso Ground Coffee 

Lifeboost Blonde Espresso Ground Coffee 

This Lifeboost Blonde Espresso is the best coffee choice when it comes to ground coffee. It is a light roast, so it has a higher acidity that keeps a good flavor for a couple of weeks.

But it also comes in a nitro-flushed and resealable bag. That prevents Blonde Espresso from losing its flavor too fast.

What I like the most about this coffee is that it’s USDA Organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified. This means that the coffee was held to a high standard throughout the growing, roasting, and packaging processes.

Plus, it’s a single origin, so it has a distinct and unique profile of smooth citrus, specific for the country of growth.

However, they use coffee from different farms in Nicaragua, so it’s not a single farm origin. This leaves space for a bit different flavor profiles to blend in.

But the bottom line is that this Lifeboost Blonde Espresso is just tastier and easier to work with than most other ground coffees from the list.

Pros

  • The light roast will keep more flavor for longer when ground because of the higher acidity
  • The nitro-flushed and resealable bag means your ground coffee will last longer than it would in other kinds of bags
  • It’s a Central American coffee, so it has a distinct and unique profile that tastes like smooth citrus
  • It’s organic coffee and Rainforest Alliance certified, so you can be sure the coffee was held to a high standard during production

Cons

  • Although it’s a single-origin coffee, it doesn’t come from a single farm, so it might have some blended flavor notes
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Volcanica Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee 

Volcanica Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee 

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more consistently delicious coffee than Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. There’s a reason it’s a world-renown growing region.

And this coffee is no exception. It’s a phenomenal coffee that has notes of lemon, blueberry, and blackberry.

That rounded acidity is perfect for storing ground.

Plus, the medium/light roast will hold its flavor for longer because of the higher acidity that comes with a lighter roast.

And the washed processing of this Yirgacheffe means that you’ll get a crisp and clean cup no matter how you brew.

But maybe the best part is that this Yirgacheffe is a single-origin coffee. It all comes from the same farm in Ethiopia. That’s great because you get a full and complete flavor profile from one of the best regions in the world.

The only downside is that the Volcanica batch roasts its beans. You might not get fresh coffee when you buy it.

Pros

  • The Medium/light roast is perfect for holding flavor for longer because of the higher acidity
  • Notes of lemon, blueberry, and blackberry are great for keeping a punchier flavor when storing this coffee ground
  • The washed process keeps this coffee crisp and clean, which means you get a great taste no matter how you brew
  • It’s a single-origin coffee, so you get a specific and unique profile because all the beans come from the same farm

Cons

  • Volcanica batch roasts coffee, so you might not get the freshest bag possible when you order
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Koa Coffee Estate Medium Roast Ground 100% Kona Coffee 

Koa Coffee Estate Medium Roast Ground 100% Kona Coffee 

Hawaiian coffee is consistently among the best coffees grown anywhere in the world. It’s rare and usually commands a steep price tag.

This KOA is reasonably priced, and it’s also among the tastiest Hawaiian coffees on the market.

It’s a single-estate coffee, which means it comes from one farm. Sometimes Kona coffees are blended crops from different farms in the Kona region, but not this one. That means you get a specific flavor profile of one single farm.

Plus, it’s all Kona coffee. It isn’t mixed with other crops from other parts of Hawaii or other countries.

And the medium roast coffee beans keep everything nice and balanced. That means this coffee is not too bright and not too dark.

KOA is also a long-standing respected roaster, so you can be sure you’re getting a quality Kona with each bag.

The only thing to note is that it doesn’t come in a resealable bag. It’s best to store these grounds in a separate container.

Pros

  • It’s a single-estate coffee, so you get the full flavor profile of one specific Hawaiian coffee farm
  • It’s 100% Kona coffee, so this Hawaiian coffee isn’t mixed with other crops from other countries or farms
  • The medium roast keeps this coffee mellow without too much acidity or being too dark
  • It comes from a respected Hawaiian roaster, so you can be sure you’re getting quality coffee with each bag you buy

Cons

  • It doesn’t come in a nitro-flushed or resealable bag, so it’s best to store it in a separate container
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Illy Espresso Classico Ground Coffee

Illy Espresso Classico Ground Coffee

This Illy Espresso Classico is perfect for espresso.

This Illy blend works in pretty much every espresso machine, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility. It will almost certainly fit yours.

Plus, espresso grinders are expensive, so having them pre-ground is a great way to go for home brewing.

And this Illy blend is 100% Arabica, which is better and of higher quality than a Robusta/Arabica blend.

This coffee also comes in a resealable container instead of a bag. That means the degradation of the taste will happen much slower.

And it’s a dark roast, which means the degradation isn’t as drastic as in a lighter roast.

The only thing is that buying so much ground up front can mean that, towards the end, you’ll be drinking stale coffee. It’s usually better to buy bulk beans and grind them later.

Pros

  • It’s 100% Arabica beans, which means it’s tastier and higher quality than a Robusta/Arabica blend
  • The grind is fine enough for almost any espresso machine, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility
  • It comes in a sealable container, which helps keep your grinds fresh and tasty for longer than bag storage
  • The dark roast won’t degrade as much as a lighter roast, which means you’ll have similar-tasting coffee every time

Cons

  • Buying grounds in bulk often means you’ll have stale coffee by the end, it’s usually better to buy beans in bulk and grind them later
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Lavazza Qualita Rossa Ground Coffee 

Lavazza Qualita Rossa Ground Coffee 

It’s no secret that Arabica beans are better than Robusta beans. But there’s still a place for a blend of the two.

Like in this Lavazza Qualita Rossa. It’s a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans that shouldn’t be overlooked.

It has a rich and full-bodied flavor that is actually perfect for drinking with cream and sugar. It is, after all, a classic Italian blend.

Plus, the addition of Robusta beans means the beans won’t degrade as much as an all-Arabica blend. Especially when stored pre-ground.

If you’re looking for a bold brew every time, this Lavazza Qualita Rossa is an excellent choice. It’s also a good coffee to have on hand for those mornings when you run out of your regular brew.

And the Italian roast keeps everything nice and balanced. It maintains a rich and bold flavor.

This is a great coffee for the price.

But keep in mind that this is an extreme budget buy. There is similar coffee at a few dollars more. 

Pros

  • This is a full-bodied coffee with deep and rich flavors, which is perfect for drinking with cream and sugar
  • It’s a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans, so it won’t degrade as fast as an all-Arabica ground coffee
  • The Italian roast keeps things balanced with a rich and bold flavor, which means you’ll have an intense experience every time

Cons

  • It’s not the highest quality coffee on the market, there are much tastier coffee out there for just a few extra dollars
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Lifeboost Dark Roast Decaf 

Lifeboost Dark Roast Decaf 

Lifeboost does decaf coffees really well.

Most of that is because they use the Swiss Water decaffeination process. Basically, that means Lifeboost only uses water and not chemicals to decaffeinate. That keeps any chemical aftertaste out of your cup.

This decaf also comes in a nitro-flushed and resealable bag. The coffee won’t start to degrade until you pop the seal. And it will stay fresh because of the airtight seal. 

That means your coffee will stay fresher for longer than other types of coffee bags.

The dark roast of this decaf keeps everything nice and mellow. It isn’t too bright but also somehow isn’t too dark. It’s perfect for drinking with cream and sugar. But it also means you’ll get consistent results no matter how you brew.

The Central American blend means you get good citrus and chocolate notes.

The only downside is that the dark roast does take away some of the brighter flavors you’d find in a lighter roast.

Pros

  • The Swiss Water Process keeps this decaf coffee chemical-free, which means you get a better flavor
  • The nitro-flushed and resealable bag means your coffee will stay fresher for longer than other bag options
  • The dark roast keeps the coffee mellow without being too bright, perfect for adding cream and sugar
  • The Central American blend means you get a coffee with good citrus and smooth chocolatey notes

Cons

  • The dark roast does take away some of the unique and specific flavor notes you’d get in a lighter roast
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Death Wish Coffee Dark Roast Grounds 

Death Wish Coffee Dark Roast Grounds 

Death Wish Coffee has been around for a long time. And it seems to have a staying power in the dark roast market.

But that’s for a good reason. Death Wish produces some of the best dark roast coffees on the market.

It’s a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans, so it has a higher caffeine content than other coffees.

But the dark roast of this blend keeps everything pretty mellow. It certainly isn’t too bright and somehow isn’t too bold or burnt. It’s actually pleasantly balanced.

Plus, it has notes of cherry and chocolate, which comes across no matter how you brew. From French press to pour-over, this Death Wish will produce subtly tasty cups.

And it’s certified by USDA Organic and Fair Trade, so it was held to a high standard of production.

Just note that Death Wish isn’t for everyone. It’s very dark and very bold. Only for hardcore fans of dark roast coffees.

Pros

  • It’s got a higher caffeine content than most other coffees for an extra kick to get you going in the mornings
  • The dark roast keeps this coffee smooth and balanced since it isn’t too bright or too dark
  • It has notes of cherry and chocolate, which make it perfect for any type of brew
  • It’s certified USDA Organic and Fair Trade, so you can be sure it was held to a high production standard

Cons

  • Death Wish isn’t for everyone because it’s a dark coffee with a specific taste
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Stone Street Cold Brew Coffee 

Cold brew is one of the best ways to use pre-ground coffee. You can make big batches and don’t have to worry about your coffee losing its taste too fast.

And this Stone Street blend is a great cold brew option.

It’s 100% Arabica beans, which means that it’ll have a better taste and retain higher quality than an Arabica/Robusta blend.

And it’s a medium roast. The medium roast keeps the coffee balanced. It isn’t too bright and isn’t too strong, which is perfect for a cold brew.

Plus, it comes in a nitro-flushed and resealable bag. Your grounds won’t degrade as fast as some other storage options. 

This coffee comes from Colombia. Colombia is known for its sweet orange and subtle chocolate flavors.

Pre-ground coffee ages fast, so you’ll need to use the whole bag for the cold brew to avoid a stale or flat batch later on.

Pros

  • It’s a 100% Arabica coffee, so it’s tastier and of higher quality than an Arabica/Robusta blend
  • The medium roast keeps things balanced and mellow, which is perfect for cold brews that shouldn’t be too dark
  • It comes in a nitro-flushed and resealable bag, which means your grounds won’t degrade as fast as other types of storage bags
  • It comes from Colombia, so it has a nice orangey sweetness with a subtle chocolate finish, perfect for summer cold brews

Cons

  • Pre-ground coffee ages fast, so you need to use the entire bag quickly
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Starbucks Pike Place Roast Ground Coffee 

It’s no secret that Starbucks dominates the coffee shop world. And usually, I hesitate to recommend Starbucks coffee.

But they do ground coffee really, really well. The Pike Place roast is an especially good pre-ground coffee.

The medium roast keeps it nice and balanced. You don’t have to worry about strong flavors in either direction. It’s the definition of a mellow coffee.

And it’s 100% Arabica coffee. It’s better than any Arabica/Robusta blend.

Being a classic Starbucks roast, you know exactly what you’re getting. It doesn’t matter if you’re picking up a bag in a store or ordering online. You’ll get the same coffee every time.

And Pike Place was designed to have a classic flavor. That means that no matter your preferred brewing method, you’ll get consistent and great results.

But because it’s such a classic taste, there really isn’t anything unique or inspiring about it. It’s a very middle-ground coffee.

Pros

  • The medium roast keeps this coffee smooth and balanced, you won’t have to worry about strong flavors in either direction
  • It’s 100% Arabica coffee, which means it’s better than any Arabica/Robusta blend
  • It’s a classic Starbucks blend, so you’ll always know exactly what you’re getting no matter the location
  • Pike Place was designed to have a classic flavor, so no matter how your brew, you will get good results with this blend

Cons

  • Because it’s such a classic coffee, there really isn’t anything unique or inspiring about it
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Lifeboost French Vanilla 

Lifeboost French Vanilla 

Lifeboost has consistently surprised me with coffee in the last few months. And this French Vanilla is another winner.

It’s a medium roast. And the medium roast keeps everything smooth and balanced. It creates a great platform for the French Vanilla flavor to come through.

And it comes in a resealable bag that prevents flavor degradation from happening too fast.

It’s also a single-origin Nicaraguan coffee, which means it has a smooth citrus sweetness. But that sweetness doesn’t overpower the added vanilla flavoring.

And it’s 100% Arabica coffee beans. Arabica beans are better than Robusta, so this coffee will taste better than an Arabica/Robusta blend.

The only thing to note is that because it has added flavor, it will degrade a little faster than it would without added flavor.

Pros

  • The medium roast keeps everything balanced and smooth, it’s a great platform for the French Vanilla flavoring to come through
  • It comes in a resealable and nitro-flushed bag, which prevents too much degradation of flavor happening too fast
  • It’s a single-origin coffee from Nicaragua, which means it has a smooth citrus sweetness that doesn’t overpower the French Vanilla
  • This is a 100% Arabica coffee, which is better and of higher quality than any Arabica/Robusta blend

Cons

  • Because it’s a flavored coffee, it will lose its flavor faster once ground, so you should try to use up this coffee quickly
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Kicking Horse Kick Ass Dark Roast Ground Coffee 

Kicking Horse has been in the coffee game for a long time. And the signature black bags are borderline iconic in the coffee world.

Kick Ass Dark Roast is one of the classics. It’s a dark roast that has bold and intense flavors. It’s perfect for adding cream and sugar no matter your brewing method.

And it’s certified Organic and Fair Trade. You can be sure that throughout the growing, roasting, and packaging processes were held to a high standard.

The notes of molasses, chocolate malt, and licorice are solid and smooth. And those flavors don’t degrade over time when this coffee is pre-ground.

The blend of Indonesian and South American coffees also helps to keep this coffee stable when stored as grounds. The higher acidity means it keeps its flavor better and ages slower. 

The only thing is that it’s a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans. The flavor won’t be as crisp as an all-Arabica blend.

Pros

  • The dark roast means you get a bold and intense flavor that’s perfect for adding cream and sugar
  • It’s certified Fair Trade and Organic, so you can be sure it was held to a high standard during the growing and roasting processes
  • It has notes of chocolate malt, molasses, and licorice, so it won’t degrade as fast as a lighter roast with brighter acidity
  • It’s a blend of Indonesian and South American coffees, which means it is bold and pretty stable when stored as grounds

Cons

  • It’s a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans, so you won’t get as crisp a flavor as an all-Arabica blend
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What To Look For When Buying Ground Coffee

Buying ground coffee is actually quite different from buying whole beans. You have a few more variables to think about.

Let’s dive into what you should look for:

What roast level is best for ground coffee?

This is kind of down to personal taste.

You should note, though, that different roast levels lose their flavors in different ways once ground.

Lighter roasts will stay bright, but they will degrade a lot if they aren’t used in a week or so.

Darker roasts will stay relatively consistent. But they will lose their flavor faster, but they don’t lose as much flavor as lighter roasts.

BOTTOM LINE
If you don’t plan on using your grounds quickly, look for a darker roast. If you drink coffee fast, go for a lighter roast instead.

What grind size is best for ground coffee?

ground coffee and coffee beans

There isn’t a hard and fast rule about the grind size of ground coffee beans. It comes down to how you plan to brew.

If you brew a lot of French press coffee, then go for a slightly coarser grind size.

If you brew espresso, you’ll need a much finer grind.

But the thing to note is that the finer the grind, the fast your coffee grounds will lose flavor.

Think of it this way: the most surface area your coffee has exposed to the air, the quicker it will start to taste flat and bland.

With that in mind, it’s best to use up pre-ground coffee in about a week or so. I would recommend buying only as much coffee as will last no more than ten days at a time.

IN A NUTSHELL
Always get a grind size that matches your brewing method. And only buy as much pre-ground coffee as will last about ten days or so.

Does freshness matter a lot in pre-ground coffee?

Yes. Yes, it does.

You should really try to find the freshest possible roast when buying pre-ground coffee.

Once the coffee bean is ground, it starts to quickly lose its flavor. To combat that, getting the freshest possible pre-ground coffee is essential to having tasty brews for the whole bag.

If you don’t buy fresh, you’ll end up drinking bland and plain coffee by the end of your stash.

BOTTOM LINE
Always buy the freshest possible roast when getting pre-ground coffee.

My Final Verdict

I’m sticking with the Lifeboost Blonde Espresso Ground Coffee as my overall recommendation.

It’s a clean and tasty coffee that isn’t too bright despite being a light roast.

It comes in a nitro-flushed and resealable bag that helps retain your coffee’s freshness for longer than other types of storage.

And it’s a great Central American blend that keeps good citrus flavors.

Overall it’s a really solid coffee. You can’t go wrong.

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Craig Carey
Craig spent a year as a barista in Denver's specialty coffee world. He spends his days rock climbing, cycling, drinking espresso, and hanging around the Rocky Mountains. He still lives in Colorado.