Ground coffee is roasted coffee beans that have been ground down to be brewed for coffee, much like flour is ground wheat to be used for baking. There are many ways of brewing your coffee whether you prefer to use a coffee machine or cafetière, but they all require ground coffee beans and water.
For the best flavour, ground coffee should be filtered rather than just pouring hot water over it - as you would to make instant coffee - it's best prepared either in a cafetière or French press, using a coffee filter (whether a traditional paper dripper or a filter coffee machine), or even a dzezva (Turkish coffee pot) or Italian stovetop coffee pot - also known as a Moka pot. You can drink ground coffee without filtering it, but the above methods will help to filter out the worst of the leftover granules, for a much smoother brew.
Best ground coffee at a glance:
Best overall: Taylors Of Harrogate Rich Italian Ground Coffee - view on Waitrose
Best decaf ground coffee: Cafédirect Decaf Machu Picchu Fairtrade Ground Coffee - view on Amazon UK
Best for espresso: Lavazza Qualità Rossa, Ground Coffee Espresso - view on Amazon UK
A key thing to look out for in a good ground coffee is the packaging - how it is packaged matters to the quality of the coffee as the flavour can be directly affected by light and oxygen. Therefore, you should only look for ground coffee that comes in an air-tight container, sealed with foil paper with a valve which allows you to smell the coffee.
If you're looking for a flavourful good-quality cup, ground coffee can help you get close to the taste of your favourite coffee shop from the comfort of your kitchen. We've chosen the best ground coffee on the market, from independent companies to coffee subscriptions and supermarket options.
Best ground coffee UK
Best for a Moka pot
Enhance your morning coffee ritual with this popular Italian coffee that is specially ground to
- Reusable tin that keeps the coffee fresh
- Popular pick
- Rich and full-bodied taste
- Be aware this is for Moka preparation
Best for espresso
If you want to drink coffee like the Italians do, then Lavazza is for you. Lavazza Qualità Rossa,
- Authentic, great for espresso
- Fine grind
- Premium taste for good value
- Strong and intense, so may not be suitable for all drinkers
Best independent coffee brand
Wether you're french pressing, espressoing, areopressing, or extracting Paddy & Scotts original
- Available as ground coffee and as coffee beans
- Bags are not resealable
Best premium coffee
CafePod offers a good range of strong, decaf and flavoured coffees that are available in pods,
- Good price, great variety
- Bridges the gap between an everyday coffee lover and a connoisseur
- Range of coffee accessories available
- Packaging on ground and whole bean coffee is not yet recyclable
Best strong coffee
The Mount Blend is an award-winning espresso that encapsulates the rich flavours of South American
- Great taste, flexible subscription
- Range of quantities available
- Comprehensive information on provenance
- Some reviews didn't find it as strong as they'd expected
Best decaf ground coffee
Rich and smooth with a subtle orange finish, Machu Picchu coffee is Cafédirect's bestseller and is
- Can be prepared in a cafetière or filtered
- Smooth taste
- Full-flavoured despite being decaf
- Some reviews found it bitter
Best ground coffee subscription
It's a club for coffee lovers that delivers speciality coffees and so much more. With an ingenious
- Lots of information about the roastery
- Delicious taste and incredible aroma
- Quality, resealable and economical packaging
- Couldn't find much information on the coffee beans or farmers
Types of ground coffee
When buying ground coffee beans you’ll sometimes see a selection of grind sizes to choose from. The trick is to match up your grind type with how you're making coffee at home. For example, if you're making french press coffee, choose a cafetiere/ French press grind option.
Coffee grind sizes
1). Coarsely ground
A coarse coffee grind setting has larger coffee particle sizes compared to medium and finely ground. This is because the brew methods like the cafetiere require a brewing process called 'immersion brewing'. In other words, the coffee and hot water are infused together for a longer period of time (5-10 minutes), and that is how the flavour is extracted.
By comparison, if you were to use a fine grind setting with the cafetiere brew method, you'd likely experience bitterness as a result of something called 'over extraction'.
2). Medium ground
A medium-ground coffee consists of medium-sized particles. This sits pretty much in the middle between a cafetiere style grind and an espresso grind. These grind type is designed to work for brew methods like filtering, that utilise gravity to extract the coffee via water.
3). Finely ground
A fine grind is designed for espresso coffee. Espresso uses applied force from your espresso machine, Turkish brew or Moka potto push/pump water through the puck of ground coffee.
How to choose the best ground coffee
With coffee being highly subjective, it’s really all down to your personal taste preferences, so that means experimenting until you find a coffee you like. There are other factors to consider, however. For example, taste, quality, price, reliability and support from your roaster.
There are also sustainable and ethical practices to consider.
How long will ground coffee keep?
Unopened ground coffee will stay fresh until its best-by date. Opened or freshly ground coffee should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature away from heat, light, and moisture. For maximum freshness, consume within 1–2 weeks.
Stephanie Anthony is the Deputy Digital Editor of Yours.co.uk. 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.