Over the last few years, ground coffee has gotten kind of a bad rap. That’s because grinding your own beans has become a popular activity lately. And while I agree that grinding your own beans is a good way to control a coffee’s freshness, it’s by no means the only way to do it. A good store bought coffee grounds can be equal to or even superior to home ground beans.
The trick, of course, is to buy the best ground coffee available. Which usually takes a little bit of research as there are about a hundred different brands currently available. Fortunately for you, I’ve reduced some of your research time by testing out some of the brands. After I did that, I then listed the top ten brands currently available in the following list. I hope you enjoy it.
My Picks for The 10 Best Ground Coffees
#10 Kauai Coffee Koloa Estate Medium Roast
Made from a blend of 100% Arabica beans which are grown in Hawaii and roasted until a nice medium-roast, this coffee is one that’s sure to surprise and delight. It has an extremely bright aroma with just a touch of sweet floral notes and is extremely smooth. What’s truly amazing about this coffee, however, is the way it’s grown and processed. Unlike many other types of coffee, this brand uses sustainable environmentally-friendly methods to grow, roast and package their coffee, so consumers can rest assured that they’re not only enjoying a nice cup of Joe but are not harming the planet in the process.
#9 Peet’s Coffee Major Dickenson’s Dark Roast
Although Peet’s Coffee makes several different types of coffee, and all of them are pretty good, by far their best coffee is their Major Dickason’s Blend of dark roast coffee. It’s a not-so-typical French Roast that has full-bodied notes and has a taste that’s bright and fruity, but still has that smokey flavor that characterizes a dark roast coffee. Sure, it doesn’t have as much caffeine as lighter roasted brands, but that’s a positive and not a negative. After drinking several cups of this coffee, I never felt jittery or developed a sore stomach. It was smooth, bold, smokey and a great cup of Java to have with a morning doughnut.
#8 Kicking Horse Coffee Medium Roast
Roasted at the base of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, this coffee is sure to warm your body and your soul on cold winter nights. It brews up nicely with a very pleasant aroma and with a pleasant taste that’s resplendent with notes of red currants and chocolate. It’s a great coffee to be brewed in a standard drip coffee machine, but it can also be used with great effect in cold brews and pour over coffee brewing methods. One of the great things about this coffee, however, is how environmentally conscious its manufacturer is. This product is certified organic and kosher and is labeled as a Fair Trade product.
#7 Caribou Coffee Medium Roast Caribou Blend
Anyone looking for a light breakfast coffee blend may want to take a closer look at Caribou Blend Medium Roast Coffee. That’s because this product has a nice caramel flavor profile it with a finish that’s very reminiscent of fresh nuts. It’s an easy-to-drink blend that’s easy on the tummy and can be enjoyed any time of the day or evening. It’s a coffee that doesn’t skimp on the caffeine level, but also doesn’t overpower you with too much caffeine. Overall, it’s a product that’s good for drinking while you’re watching the sun come up or while chatting with good friends.
#6 Eight O’Clock Medium Roast
Like many other people my age, I have fond memories of watching my grandparents enjoy Eight O’Clock Coffee. I even remember the little metal container the coffee used to be packed in because my grandfather used it every day as a bank. So needless to say, I was excited to try out this Columbian blend of coffee. Made with nothing but 100% Colombian beans, this product delivers a smooth coffee that has wine notes and has an amazing full-body finish. It also has an elegant aroma that reminds me of my childhood and continues from the moment you begin to brew this coffee until the last drop you drink.
#5 Gevalia House Blend Medium Roast
Gevalia has been making coffee for the past 150-years, and their skill and craftsmanship really shows up in their House Blend Coffee. This product is made from 100% Arabica beans that have been roasted to a nice, medium-roast and then ground, so it can be brewed. These coffee grounds produce a smooth and never bitter cup of coffee that not only has nice caramel notes but also finishes with a subtle citrus taste at the end. Which makes this coffee an extremely unique blend that’s extremely nice to drink in the morning, but can really be enjoyed at any time of the day.
#4 New England Coffee Donut Shop Blend
Marketed as a Donut Blend Coffee, this high-quality coffee has been lightly roasted and is quite easy to drink. It’s roasted in the USA using 100% Arabica beans and has a light, mellow flavor to it that makes it the perfect beverage to have with donuts, toast or even a light lunch. It’s never bitter and has a fine taste that doesn’t overpower your taste buds. Although this coffee isn’t capable of whisking you away to New England, it does do a fine job of recreating the experience. This product might not be the best ground coffee I’ve ever had, but it’s extremely close.
#3 Starbucks Breakfast Blend Medium Roast
This medium-roasted breakfast blend delivers a nice toasty flavor but does it without any bitter notes hanging around its finish. It’s as good as the coffee you can buy in any Starbuck store, if not better, and having a cup is a great way of starting your day. These grounds are also exceptionally easy to brew and are just about foolproof. That means that no matter how you brew it, it’s sure to provide you with a nice smooth flavor with just enough caffeine in it to get you out the door. It’s also smooth and rich and makes a cup of coffee that’s extremely satisfying to drink.
#2 Death Wish Ground Coffee
In all honesty, I really didn’t think that I would like this coffee before I tried it. I assumed that since it’s marketed as the “World’s Strongest Coffee” that it would be too overpowering or just too darn strong to drink. Fortunately, I was wrong. Although this dark roast coffee does have a strong caffeine kick to it, it’s still easy to drink. This coffee has a nice bold taste that I don’t think can be found anywhere else, and it has an aroma that’s capable of filling your home with its aromatic notes. Another thing I like about this coffee is that it’s obvious that it’s packed after it’s roasted and immediately shipped because the batch I received was very fresh.
#1 Tim Horton’s Original Blend
Up until I tried out this blend of coffee, I wasn’t too familiar with Tim Horton’s coffee. However, I have to say that after trying it I am extremely impressed. It’s one of the best ground coffee blends I’ve ever tried and is not only not bitter but also has some nice subtle coffee notes to it. It brewed up perfectly in my automatic coffee maker and not only had a medium body but also finished quite smoothly. I’m not exactly sure where they’re sourcing their beans, but I have to say that wherever they get them, they need to keep it up because this is truly an exceptional coffee.
More products also worth checking out:
If you look on the Internet, then you’re likely to find approximately a thousand guides on how to brew the best coffee. Almost all of these guides recommend using whole coffee beans to grind at home. And while grinding coffee may be fine for some people, it certainly doesn’t always work so well for me. I don’t know about you but I’m extremely busy, and I don’t have the time or the inclination to grind my own beans at home. Which I suspect is the case for most people, if the varieties of coffee grounds available are any indication of their popularity. All of which is why I decided to write this guide indicating how to get the most out of our coffee grounds.
If I’m to be perfectly honest, I think there are some “experts” who feel like they can look down their noses at us common ground coffee users. Which is unfortunate because it’s my experience that you can make great coffee using only store-bought ground coffee. I think this is partly due to better packaging methods by coffee manufacturers and the super-fast shipping that’s now available. Regardless, I know for a fact you can brew a fantastic cup of coffee using pre-ground coffee, and I’m going to tell you how.
Buy a Quality Ground Coffee
The first rule of making a good cup of coffee is to start off with the best quality coffee grounds that you can afford to buy. I’ve listed some of my favorites in the above list if you’re interested in buying high-quality coffee. Don’t expect to brew a great cup of coffee if you buy a generic inexpensive coffee, however. It’s just not going to happen. Starting off with high-quality grounds will result in brewing a high-quality coffee.
Keep Your Coffee Maker Clean
For the purpose of this guide, I’m going to assume that you’re using an automatic drip coffee maker. If that’s the case, then make sure that you keep your machine in good running condition. I would suggest that at least once every two-weeks you clean out the machine using 8-cups of cold water and 1-cup of white vinegar. This will ensure that your machine is as clean as possible and will prevent old bitter coffee tastes from lingering.
Don’t Let Your Coffee Run All Day
Coffee can get extremely bitter in automatic coffee makers because the water is constantly condensing, reforming and then pouring through the grounds. It will do this all day, and this will result in the coffee gradually becoming bitter as the day wears on. It’s best to get the coffee while it’s fresh and then turn the machine off when you’re done.
Properly Shut Off Your Machine
It’s extremely important that you shut your coffee maker properly when you are done brewing coffee. This means turning it off, removing the coffee filter and grounds and emptying out any remaining coffee from the carafe. On some machines, it also means that you should leave the lid up on the machine so any excess water can evaporate. Excess water in the tank can lead to mold growth which doesn’t make for a great cup of coffee.
Use Filtered Water
Another thing that can make all the difference between a decent cup of coffee and a great cup of coffee is the quality of the water used to brew it. There can be a variety of problems with tap water, which includes having a musty taste, being too hard, or having too much of a chlorine taste. All of these can make your average cup of coffee taste pretty bad, so be sure to use water you’ve filtered yourself or at least, store bought distilled water for best results.
Use a Scale Not a Scoop
Most people use measuring spoon or tablespoons to measure out their coffee. However, that’s not really a reliable method of dosing coffee grounds. That’s because the amount of coffee in a spoon of coffee can vary depending on how finely it’s ground, what company manufacturers it and how it’s roasted. This can result in the coffee being weak one day and strong the next. Therefore, it’s best to weigh out your coffee grounds to get a uniform amount of coffee each time. This will allow you to get the correct ratio for your coffee—either an 18:1 ratio of water to coffee or a 14:1 ratio of water to coffee, depending on your tastes.
Store Your Coffee Grounds Properly
Keep your coffee in an airtight, opaque container in a dark corner of your cupboards. Don’t store it in direct sunlight, and don’t put it into a warm area. Oxygen, heat, light, and humidity are just some of the things which can affect coffee performance, so make sure that you protect your grounds from as many of these factors as possible.
You should also avoid freezing your grounds. Yes, I know that it’s a common practice and many people believe that it will help preserve their coffee, but in fact, freezing your coffee will result in the exact opposite happening. It will actually cause your coffee to go stale, so make sure that you keep your coffee at room temperature.
Pre-Infuse Your Grounds
Yes, you’ve read that correctly; I’m suggesting that you pre-infuse your coffee grounds for the best brewing results. That’s because I think most of the problems that can be associated with using coffee grounds actually result from the method the grounds are brewed, and not from the actual grounds themselves. High-quality machines will pre-infuse your coffee, and this will allow it to bloom, but automatic drip coffee makers don’t allow enough time for this to happen. So I suggest placing a coffee filter into your machine and placing the appropriate amount of coffee grounds into it.
Once that’s been done, then heat a 1/4-cup of water up to 200-degrees Fahrenheit. When the water reaches that temperature, and no higher, then pour it over your coffee grounds and let it sit for 30-seconds to 45-seconds before brewing. With some machines that have a “sneak a cup” feature, you may have to remove the carafe before doing this, or else the coffee will just pass through it. When the 30 or 45-seconds has elapsed, then start brewing your coffee as you normally would.