The best coffee beans from light to dark roast

best coffee beans

by Stephanie Spencer |
Updated on

If you want to get the most flavour out of your morning cup, using the best coffee beans is the way to go. Whether you have a coffee machine at home or you prefer to use a Moka pot on the hob, grinding your own coffee will give you a fresher, tasty cup of coffee.

Coffee starts to lose its flavour once it’s ground, which is why the packaging of ground coffee is so important to lock in its taste and aroma, so using whole beans means you get that hit of flavour and it will last for longer as it’s straight from the bean. Plus using a coffee grinder is surprisingly satisfying!

You can also get bean to cup coffee machines to save yourself doing the grinding, if you’re concerned about the extra time it’ll take to prepare coffee from the bean before your morning commute.

Best coffee beans at a glance:

• Top pick: Paddy & Scott's Chit Chat Coffee - view on Paddy & Scott's**
•** Best light blend coffee beans: GRIND coffee - view on GRIND
 Best medium roast coffee beans: STARBUCKS Pike Place Roast Coffee Beans - view on Amazon
 Best dark roast coffee beans: Union Revelation Espresso Coffee Beans - view on Amazon

Another benefit of using coffee beans is you can try out and play around with different brewing methods to see which you prefer the most. You could even experiment with perfecting your own personalised blend! Here are the best coffee beans to buy, from supermarkets, online plus independent companies.

Best coffee beans

Top pick

Paddy & Scott's signature blend medium roast, is described as "perfect for sharing with friends… if you’re feeling generous! This ‘day-wine’ is the socially acceptable option when it’s just a little early for cracking open a bottle." Smooth, chocolatey, caramel flavours make this one to remember. Available as coffee beans and ground coffee, it's an easy-drinking coffee that's great in a latte or cappuccino, as well as for iced coffees.

Customer review: "Exactly as described and one of my favourite coffees to drink. What I really love about this is that it tastes great as both a normal and iced coffee. So no having to find different blends depending on what I fancy."


  • Coffee beans and ground coffee available
  • Suitable for all coffee equipment


  • Small bag, but subscriptions are available

Best light blend coffee beans

The Grind Coffee light blend is designed to be fruity and balanced. Grown in Colombia and Rwanda, it's perfect for making an espresso or long black with real depth and complexity. Grind Coffee comes in a delightful tin, which you can refill with your favourite, ethically-sourced coffee over and over again. You can also subscribe and save money.

Customer review: "Fantastic company with the most fantastic beans we've ever tasted… and we've sampled a lot! Great customer service too, thank you!"


  • Comes in tin, with refills available
  • 5 different blends to choose from


  • Some reviews said they couldn't taste the difference between the blends

Best medium roast coffee beans

Enjoy coffee-shop quality coffee at home with the Starbucks Pike Place Roast Coffee Beans as our medium roast top pick. They're medium roasted for a smooth mouthfeel, with chocolate notes and a hint of toasted nuts. Plus for a pack of four at 450g it's pretty good value. There's also a subscribe and save discount.

Customer review: "This coffee is very good quality and has a nice premium taste. Easy to use, it makes thick luxurious coffee with a balanced blend. Plus, it's a good price."


  • Great if you know you like a Starbucks coffee (and cheaper to do yourself!)
  • Work really well with a bean to cup machine


  • Packaging not resealable

Best dark roast coffee beans

Union's most popular espresso coffee bean is bold with hints of chocolate and treacle. Not only is this coffee speciality grade and always 100 per cent Arabica, but it would make the ideal gift for coffee lovers. As Union is a B-Corp company, its coffee is ethically sourced directly from smallholder farmers. As well as that, they pay a fair, sustainable price.

Customer review: "I am a self-confessed coffee addict and take my coffee purchases very seriously. This coffee is of really good quality, am using it in my new Jura A1 coffee machine and it tastes heavenly. What I really like: This coffee tastes rich, but with no specific aftertaste, so perfect for oat milk latte, espresso, large coffee with sugar - any option! I bought a large bag to make it more cost-effective and even though I’ve had it for a while, the coffee still tastes really fresh (which isn’t always the case after you open a bag of coffee)."


  • Speciality Grade 
  • Ethically Sourced


  • 500g bag - make sure to store this correctly for longevity

Best decaf coffee beans

Made from Brazilian Arabica decaffeinated beans, Presto's silky smooth blend boasts honeyed peanut and floral flavours with a crisp, elegant finish. It's simply perfect for those low-caffeine drinkers looking for a great-tasting brew. You don't have to miss out on premium coffee.

Customer review: "Delicious coffee. Probably the best I have tested on Amazon. Arrived very fresh. Beautiful aroma. Deep, complex flavour. Perfectly roasted, and seemed a touch lighter than other medium roasts. Great both with the Aeropress and with a pour-over. It’s holding up really well even 3 weeks after I received the beans. I’m getting consistently excellent results every morning."


  • Silky smooth 
  • Nutty and floral 
  • Recyclable packaging


  • Some reviews mentioned they preferred the old packaging

Best budget coffee beans

Suitable for all preparations, this 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 this 1kg bag of coffee seems not to be the highest quality, it's a good option if you're on a budget and love a milky coffee.

Customer review: "I love coffee, and this seemed a good deal, so I wasn't expecting much from it. However, it's a really good coffee. Nutty and chocolatey, and a creamy tasting blend. I would recommend this to any coffee lover."


  • Budget-friendly 
  • Rainforest Alliance Approved


  • Unsure when they're roasted

Best coffee bean bundle

Discover illy's authentic aroma and blend with this whole-bean coffee bundle. It includes two of illy's unique Intenso, as well as two pots of their Classico and Decaf roast coffees. This bundle set would make a great gift for a coffee lover, too.

Customer review: "Love the Intenso whole beans for my espresso machine. Illy is high quality and provides the perfect flavour. I've been using this product for a couple of years now. It's a great way to try their other varieties, but the Intenso is my favourite of them all."


  • Great value 
  • Can try all the different roasts


  • Make sure to store correctly for coffee to last

Best fruity coffee

Pact's Fruit and Nut Espresso blend is a "modern twist" on the traditional Italian espresso blend. Featuring fantastic coffee from Brazil and Rwanda, this coffee has notes of milk chocolate, dried fruit and almonds. Pact has given so much information about this coffee - from mouthfeel (creamy) to the altitude it was grown at (1200-1700m). We're impressed with Pact's dedication to bringing coffee to the UK ethically and responsibly.

Customer review: "Received my first subscription order. It tastes delicious would definitely recommend it. Great communication, first-class post and a fair price. I’ll happily stay subscribed for a long time."


  • Ethically Sourced 
  • Creamy


  • May be too sweet for some tastes

Best healthy coffee bean blend

Coming with great reviews, this small business has a wide range of coffees of all blends and varieties. The Stability Blend is one of the brand's best-selling healthy coffees. Sip delicious notes of milk chocolate, hazelnut and fig while boosting your wellbeing.

Customer review: "I am a ‘newbie’ to this! It’s the best thing ever – My own personal coffee shop! I purchased this starter kit and enjoyed all of them. Will definitely be ordering again."


  • Contains disease-fighting antioxidants 
  • Claims to help improve memory and cognitive function


  • Only available online

Best coffee bean for cold brew

Firehearts' catalogue of coffee is diverse and interesting with a huge range of flavour profiles and taste experiences. Originating from Honduras Maria Elvia is Fireheart's second certified organic coffee. It has a sweet and bright flavour profile with notes of Lemon Drops, Black Tea and Manuka Honey. Perfect brewed as a filter or extra tasty as cold brew. 

Customer review: "I like to try lots of different roasters, but Fireheart do seem to be doing something a bit special. I've enjoyed every wholebean so far that I've tried and the roast levels seem spot on to bring out the best in the coffee. The colourful branding also brightens up my day too!"


  • Sweet 
  • Unique flavour profile


  • Made with honey - not suitable for vegans

Best coffee beans FAQs

What are the main coffee bean types?

The four main coffee types are Arabica, Robusta, Excelsa, and Liberica and all four of them have radically different taste profiles. Arabica coffee beans are easily the most popular type of beans, making up about 60 per cent of the world's coffee production. These beloved beans originated in Ethiopia, where they're still grown today. They offer a sweet, complex flavour and are known for their smoothness.

What’s the difference between a blend and single-origin?

A coffee blend is a mixture of two or more different origin coffee beans that are mixed together. The idea behind blends is to take the best qualities from different origins to create a smooth, well-balanced-tasting coffee. You can also get coffee called single-origin, which means it uses beans from one location.

What does light, medium and dark roast mean?

Light roast coffees are less bitter, more sweet, and often tea-like. They also often have the highest acidity. This isn't necessarily a bad thing as acid carries flavour. The presence of acid in coffee is often described as bright.

Medium roasts are the healthiest roast of coffee, being most potent in the polyphenol chlorogenic acid (CGA), a powerful antioxidant that gives coffee its health-boosting benefits. CGA helps with everything from reducing inflammation to repairing cell damage, lowering cholesterol and improving your complexion.

Dark roast coffees are dark brown, even close to a blackened colour with a gloss to the surface. Coffee made from a Dark roast has a robust, full body. The flavours from the coffee's country of origin are almost entirely roasted out, taking on a very bold and smoky taste.

Stephanie Anthony is the Deputy Digital Editor of Having worked across a variety of topics, from travel and food to pharmaceuticals, she also has a particular interest in mental health and wellness. She has a house full of pets with two dogs and two cats.

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