Best Starbucks Coffee Beans: Top 10 Picks

In a hurry? Our top choice is the Starbucks Pike Place Roast Ground Coffee!

Starbucks has a lot of coffee out there.

From light roasts to the darkest roast possible, there’s something for everyone.

But how do you choose the best Starbucks coffee beans?

In this article, I’ll walk you through my top choices and explain how I go about choosing coffee beans from Starbucks.

Let’s get to it!

The Best Starbucks Coffee Beans: Top 10 Picks

Starbucks Pike Place Roast Ground Coffee

As the name suggests, this is a nod to Starbucks’ first ever store in Pike Place Market.

Starbucks released this blend back in 2008 in response to customers asking for an all-day style coffee.

And to be honest, it does the trick. It’s a medium roast coffee, meaning that it is pretty mellow in its acidity and bitterness.

Medium roast coffees are generally a good choice if you’re looking for a smooth, rich, but not too heavy coffee that’s drinkable any time of day.

This is a blend of Latin American coffees, so it will have some toasted nuts and cocoa flavors. But it doesn’t have a dominating flavor.

Most blends tend to lose their defining features. You don’t get as many unique tastes. The tradeoff is that you get a much smoother cup.

On the plus side, it’s an Arabica coffee blend. That means that you won’t get a lot of tarry or muddled flavors.

Pros

  • This Starbucks medium roast makes it perfect for drinking any time of day
  • The blend of Latin American coffees gives it nutty and cocoa flavors, which are great for any cup of coffee
  • Arabica beans blend, so you can be sure you’re getting a balanced and smooth flavor with each cup

Cons

  • It’s meant to be a standard coffee, so there aren’t any defining flavors or unique characteristics
  • It’s pre-ground, which means it will start to lose its flavors quicker than a whole coffee bean
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Starbucks French Roast Whole Bean Coffee

Starbucks says that “French roast is as dark as our dark roasts get.”

What does that mean?

That means your coffee drink will taste smoky and intense. It reminds me of the coffee my grandparents drank when I was growing up.

Think of Starbucks French Roast as the equivalent of a diner-style cup of coffee. It’s dark and smoky, perfect for adding cream and sugar.

The upsides to such a dark roast are that it has low acidity and a smooth body. This coffee comes from the Asia Pacific and Latin American regions.

Asia Pacific coffees are known for their smokier and earthier tastes. Latin America is known for its nuttier and chocolatey tastes.

The result in Starbucks’ French Roast is a nice dark roast that gets mellowed out by the Latin American beans.

The downside is that you lose a lot of unique flavors and end up with a pretty standard-tasting coffee that just tastes like, well, coffee.

Pros

  • The dark roast gives it a smoky, bold, and intense flavor, perfect for adding cream and sugar
  • The Asia Pacific and Latin American blend gives this coffee a more rounded flavor and body, which is great for a morning coffee drinker
  • The dark roast takes away a lot of acidity, meaning your cup will be smooth and mellow
  • It’s the whole bean, so your flavors will last longer than pre-ground coffee

Cons

  • Dark roast coffees lose unique flavors, so you’re coffee might taste plain if you like interesting flavors in your cup
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Starbucks Café Verona Coffee Beans

The Verona is one of the oldest blends in the Starbucks lineup. Starbucks created it back in the 1970s.

Why is it still around? Because it’s a great coffee.

It’s a dark roast that’s not too dark. In fact, I’d say it’s more on the medium side than the dark side. I tend not to like dark roast coffees that much, but Cafe Verona is an exception.

I like the smoothness of this coffee. It doesn’t feel too heavy or too bitter. Perfect for crisp fall mornings.

It has notes of dark cocoa and caramelized sugar. That’s a product of Asia Pacific and Latin American origins.

The darker roast also has the benefit of being slightly less acidic than light roasts.

Are there any downsides? Not really. Other than that dark roast coffees lose their unique flavors. So you’ll end up with a few dominating flavors instead.

Pros

  • It’s a medium-dark roast, which gives this coffee a smooth feel
  • The Latin American and the Asia Pacific blend give this coffee dark cocoa and caramelized sugar notes
  • Because it’s a darker roast, it has less acidity than lighter roast coffees

Cons

  • It loses some unique characteristics, so you’re left with only one or two flavors in your cup
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Starbucks Sumatra Dark Roast

The Sumatra island in Indonesia has become synonymous with good coffee. And for good reason.

This addition to the Starbucks espresso roast line is a single-origin coffee from Sumatra. Sumatran coffee has distinct characteristics. Most notable are the dried herbs and earthy flavors.

Don’t be scared off by earthy notes! They give this Sumatra a great mouthfeel and low acidity.

This is a medium-dark roast. That means it tastes smooth, bold, and doesn’t get bogged down in bitterness.

I do wish it was available in a medium-light roast so that more of the unique Sumatran flavors could come out.

That said, it’s still a great morning coffee. But I would recommend drinking it black.

Pros

  • Single-origin Sumatra gives this coffee unique flavors and characteristics
  • Dried herbs and earthy tasting notes shine in this roast, perfect for a great cup of black coffee
  • The medium-dark roast ensures you have a smooth mouthfeel and bold taste

Cons

  • It’s roasted a little too dark for all the interesting Sumatran flavors to come out
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Starbucks Breakfast Blend Medium Roast Ground Coffee

What do you drink on a hot summer morning when you don’t want an intense cup?

The Starbucks Breakfast Blend.

Okay, so it doesn’t actually have to be in the morning, but it’s a great morning coffee.

It’s a blend from Latin America, which gives this coffee great citrus and brown sugar notes. Plus, it’s a medium-light roast, so more of those unique flavors will make it into your cup.

Starbucks says that this is “more toasty than roasty,” and that definitely true. It’s a blend that’s approachable for any palate. 

If you’re a seasoned coffee drinker or just starting your journey, I’d recommend this blend.

The only downside is that it’s still a blended coffee. I wish there was a single-origin breakfast roast so that we could taste the unique flavors of each country.

It also will have more acidity than darker roasts.

Pros

  • The medium-light roast makes this a perfect mellow coffee 
  • Because of the roast, you get notes of brown sugar and orange, which make for an interesting profile
  • It’s an approachable coffee, perfect for any kind of coffee drinker
  • Fewer roasted flavors get into the cup, meaning you get a lighter mouthfeel

Cons

  • It’s still a blend, so the flavors aren’t as unique as other coffees
  • It has higher acidity because of the lighter roast
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Starbucks Veranda Blend Coffee

The Veranda Blend. The lightest roast in the Starbucks line.

I’m partial to light roast coffees. They have unique profiles and often offer the most interesting flavors.

The Veranda Blend is no different.

Starbucks says the notes are “toasted malt and baking chocolate.” But I would disagree. I always taste more mellow citrus and milk chocolate. There isn’t much bitterness to speak of.

It’s a Latin American blend, which puts this coffee on the less-earthy side of flavors. They usually have more character in terms of unique taste.

There is, however, a rather high acidity in this coffee because of the light roast.

In my opinion, this is a fine coffee. But I wish Starbucks spent more time developing their light roasts for people like me.

Pros

  • The lightly roasted coffee brings out more interesting flavors like mellow citrus and milk chocolate
  • It has a ton of character because of its Latin American origins, making this coffee really interesting
  • The light body and mouthfeel of this coffee make it a perfect summer coffee

Cons

  • The light roast means this has a higher acidity
  • It’s still a blend, so you won’t get all the characteristics of each origin country
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Starbucks Decaf House Blend Ground Coffee

The House Blend was the very first blend that Starbucks ever created. This is the decaf version of that original blend.

Decaf coffees tend to have earthier flavors, and this coffee is no different.

It has a nice dark cocoa and toffee taste. Perfect for a black coffee lover looking for less caffeine.

It’s a Latin American blend, meaning you’ll get a full flavor profile and nice tasting notes.

That said, it also goes well with cream and sugar.

The one downside is that Starbucks uses a solvent decaffeinating process. That means that they use chemicals to decaffeinate instead of natural processes.

This means that you’ll end up with a slightly chemically taste to your decaf beans.

Pros

  • It’s an original Starbucks blend, so you can rest assured it’s a good one
  • It’s a Latin American blend, which means you’ll get a nice full flavor profile of dark cocoa and toffee
  • It’s good black or with cream and sugar, making it a versatile daily drinker

Cons

  • The decaffeination process is chemical-based, so you’ll end up with a slightly chemically taste in your cup
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Starbucks Italian Roast Whole Bean Coffee

This is another dark roast entry in the Starbucks lineup. It’s not the darkest roast that Starbucks has, but it’s pretty close.

What’s the benefit of not being the darkest roast available? Well, you don’t get the smoky tang or the bitterness.

Instead, you’re left with a rich, full, and intense cup that has notes of dark chocolate and marshmallows. Think a dark chocolate s’more.

There’s a little sweetness to this coffee, which pairs super well with cream and sugar. I’d recommend adding cream but no sugar to this coffee if you aren’t used to the full-bodied profile of dark roast coffees.

The sweetness of the coffee itself is enough without adding sugar.

What I like most about the Italian roast is the depth. It’s a super rounded mouthfeel that covers your whole mouth and throat. That depth makes it a perfect winter morning coffee.

The only thing I don’t like as much is the multi-origin aspect. I think this level of roast would be best suited for just a Latin American blend instead of adding Asian Pacific coffees as well.

Pros

  • Not the darkest roast, so you’ll get a rich, smooth, and intense cup without the smoky tang
  • It retains a little sweetness in the cup, which makes it perfect for adding cream but no sugar
  • Super deep and rounded coffee, making it perfect for winter mornings or when you want a full-bodied coffee experience

Cons

  • Blend of multiple origins, so it loses some unique depth in the cup
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Starbucks Brazil Blend Whole Coffee Beans

For someone like me who likes smooth and rich coffees with a nice body, this is a great choice.

Brazilian coffee is known for its consistency, smoothness, and sweetness. This blend hits all those notes.

I’m a big fan of blends from regions that highlight specific countries. This is technically a Latin American blend, but most of the coffee comes from Brazil.

What does that change in your experience?

It adds notes of maple, vanilla, and nuts. Those notes make it an approachable cup for everyone.

It doesn’t have super high acidity and has a really smooth finish.

I would recommend drinking it black, but adding a splash of cream won’t take away from your experience.

The only thing I wish was different was the roast level. It’s a full medium roast. I wish it was a medium-light roast to highlight a little more of the special Brazilian flavors.

Pros

  • Because it’s a Brazilian blend, it’s consistent, smooth, and sweet
  • The notes of maple, vanilla, and nuts mean it pairs really well with a morning meal like pancakes, cinnamon rolls, or eggs and sausage
  • Not a super high acidity which means it can handle a splash of cream

Cons

  • The full medium roast takes away some of the special Brazilian characteristics
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Starbucks Ground Espresso Dark Roast Coffee

When we think of espresso, we tend to think of highly concentrated coffee that’s bitter and flat. This blend bucks that trend.

You’ll find a nice balance of body and flavor in this coffee. That’s whether you’re drinking it as espresso or as brewed coffee.

I’ll let you in on a secret: you don’t have to use espresso blends only for espresso.

This coffee actually does really well when brewed like other coffees.

However, it shines as an espresso.

You’ll find notes of molasses and caramelized sugars. Your mouth will feel coated with flavor after every sip.

And because this is an espresso blend, it’s designed to go well with cream and sugar.

That makes this coffee one of the more versatile coffees in the Starbucks line, despite the name.

It’s a mostly dark roast, but not too dark to lose flavor.

The only thing I’d like to see is the Asia Pacific-only espresso blend.

Pros

  • It works as espresso or brewed coffee, so it’s a really versatile choice
  • Notes of molasses and caramelized sugar mean your mouth will feel coated and full with every sip
  • As an espresso blend, it’s designed to go with cream and sugar

Cons

  • It’s Latin American and Asian Pacific coffees, so you lose some of the espresso characteristics common in Asian Pacific coffees
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My Starbucks Coffee Beans Buying Guide

When looking for Starbucks coffee beans, there’s a lot you should consider.

As always, coffee is a really personal thing. What tastes good to me might not be your cup of joe.

So, take this buying guide with a spoonful of sugar (or cream) and remember that you should follow your tastebuds to the right coffee.

How are you going to brew your coffee?

The brewing method makes a big difference in how it tastes in your cup.

Do you use a coffee pot? Or are you a pour-over kind of person?

I find that medium or dark roast coffees tend to do better in coffee pots. And pour-overs tend to bring out the best flavors in lighter roasted coffees.

If you use a coffee pot or automatic coffee maker, I’d recommend going for a medium roast coffee.

If you’re an espresso drinker, I’d recommend at least trying the espresso blend. It’s a really versatile coffee that goes really nicely with steamed milk.

Also, if you make a pot at a time, it might be best to buy pre-ground coffee. But if you make one cup at a time, you’ll get more flavor out of grinding beans yourself.

What kinds of flavors are you looking for?

If you’re looking for an easy cup of coffee and don’t want to worry too much about the origins or unique flavors, a medium roast is perfect.

It’s a great compromise of good flavors with a smooth body.

However, if you want to pull out more specific tastes, you should opt for a lighter roast or a single-origin coffee instead.

Lighter roast and single-origin coffees retain their flavor profiles better in your cup. That gives you a better flavor experience from cup to cup than a darker roast.

How much caffeine do you want?

The bottom line on caffeine is that, in Starbucks, the darker roasts have more caffeine.

Caffeine can play a big part in your coffee decisions. If you can’t handle a lot of caffeine, going for a decaf option is fine.

You can also try a lighter roast.

How much do you want to spend?

You’ll pay a premium for single-origin coffee. That’s just how the coffee world works.

So, if the price is a factor for you, opt for a solid blended coffee instead of a single-origin. What you sacrifice in unique flavors, you gain back in your wallet.

Personally, I still drink blended coffee, and they taste just fine. But every now and then, I like to splurge and pay extra for that single-origin cup.

My Final Thoughts

My top choice is still the Pike Place Roast.

It has the perfect balance of taste and roast level.

It’s a medium-light roast, which makes it perfect for drinking black or with cream and sugar.

The tasting notes of chocolate and toasted nut are spot on and come out strong in each cup.

Personally, it’s a daily drinker for any season and any weather.

Happy brewing!

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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.