When you are looking for good ground coffee and beans there is a huge amount of choices.  Choose the right one and you have great tasting coffee, choose the wrong coffee and you will be left very disappointed.

The problem is that everyone is different, some people like strong espresso style beans, others like a softer, richer flavoured ground coffee.  You also have to factor in the time of day, the taste you crave in the morning, is likely completely different to what you enjoy in the middle of the afternoon.

So the question is not as simple as which is the best coffee beans or ground coffee, you should be asking, what is the best coffee beans or ground coffee for me?

Best coffee beans and ground coffee

To help, I have put together a great list of both ground coffee and coffee beans, so you can find the perfect taste for you.  All of these coffee beans (ground or whole) are available on Amazon (usually cheapest), or you can find them in your local supermarket.

Best Coffee Beans

There is an inherent pleasure in grinding your own coffee beans.  Somehow knowing that you have had control over the whole process from bean to cup gives an added pleasure to enjoying your cup of coffee.  On a practical level it also means less waste as you only grind what you need.

Since coffee beans keep longer than ground coffee it also results in a stronger flavour.  When a coffee bean is exposed to oxygen it starts to lose oils, leading to less aroma and flavour.  Obviously if you grind up your beans there is more surface area exposed to oxygen, leading to a loss of flavour.

Lavazza Qualita Rossa Coffee Beans, 1 kg (Pack of 1)
  • Suitable for all coffee makers
  • Italy's favourite coffee beans
  • Makes a great tasting cafetiere coffee
Amazon Brand - Happy Belly Coffee Beans "Caffè Soave" (12 x 500g)
  • Roasted coffee beans
  • Smooth & Rounded
  • Strength: 3/5
Lavazza Crema E Aroma Coffee Beans Espresso, 1kg
  • Crema & Aroma is a balanced blend of carefully selected Arabica and Robusta beans.
  • Its long-lasting creamy texture makes it ideal for your milk-based recipes and preparations.
  • Arabica and Robusta, Intensity: 8
illy Coffee, Classico Coffee Beans, Medium Roast, 100% Arabica Coffee
  • COFFEE BEANS: illy's whole bean coffee range is the perfect choice for coffee lovers who prefer grinding the beans to suit their own individual taste and preparation method
  • CLASSICO MEDIUM ROAST: Our delicious Classico coffee beans are a medium roast and have a lingering sweetness and delicate notes of caramel, orange blossom and jasmine
  • 100 PERCENT ARABICA COFFEE BEANS: illy's distinctive smooth, rich and full-bodied taste is created from the skilful blending of 100 Percent sustainably-grown Arabica beans, selected from different...
Spiller & Tait Signature Blend Coffee Beans - 1kg Bag - Multi Award Winning Roasted in Small Batches in the UK - Espresso Blend Suitable for All Coffee Machines
  • AWARD WINNING FLAVOUR – a rich and full-bodied tasting coffee which is smooth and with only a hint of bitterness. Prestigious Great Taste Award 2017 and Taste of the West Awards 2014. Simply...
  • PREMIUM QUALITY – an espresso blend of premium quality Arabica beans sourced from Columbia, Brazil, Kenya, Ethiopia and India. Roasted regularly in the UK in small batches for consistent freshness,...
  • SUITABLE FOR ALL COFFEE MAKERS – excellent for use in filter, percolators, Aeropress, siphons, automated espresso machines and stove-top espresso makers. Makes especially good cafetiere coffee
Coffee Masters Triple Certified, Organic, Fairtrade, Arabica Coffee Beans 1kg - Great Taste Award Winner 2018
  • Perfect for espresso coffee machines and making cold brew coffee
  • 100% Organic, Arabica coffee beans
  • Fairtrade & Rainforest Alliance accredited
Coffee Masters Exclusive Master Blend of 100% Arabica Espresso Coffee Beans 1kg
  • 100% ARABICA Coffee Beans. Perfect for espresso coffee machines
  • A complex balance of Arabica coffees from around the world - Rich and full bodied with dark chocolate sweetness, nutty notes and subtle sweet lemony overtones, suitable for any time of day
  • Rain Forest Alliance accredited
STARBUCKS Pike Place Roast Medium Roast Whole Bean Coffee, 200 g (Pack of 6)
  • STARBUCKS whole bean coffee, smooth with chocolate notes
  • Well-rounded with subtle notes of cocoa and toasted nuts balancing the smooth mouthfeel
  • Enjoy STARBUCKS at home. The coffee you love without leaving the house
Brown Bear Blue Mountain Blend, Medium Roast, Coffee Beans, 1 kg, 5% of Sales donated to Free The Bears UK
  • Sweet and malty flavour - your perfect daytime coffee. Caramel and toffee notes.
  • 5% of sales donated to Free the Bears UK Charity with over 950 bears rescued & bear sanctuaries across SE Asia.
  • Suitable for all coffee brewing equipment.

How fine you grind your beans depends on what method you are using to make your coffee.  If you are using a cafetiere or French press you can have quite coarse ground coffee.  If you are using some kind of drip method it needs to be finer.  If you want an espresso then you need to grind it as fine as you possibly can!

Best Ground Coffee Beans

Not everyone has a coffee bean grinder, or wants the hassle of having to grind beans to the perfect coarseness before they can make themselves an espresso or pot of filter coffee.  I for one do not grind my coffee for every cup I drink, and when I do not have the time, or simply cannot be bothered, I grab my favourite ground coffee.

Below are some of my favourites and the best sellers on Amazon.

Kirkland Signature Café 100 Percent Colombiano, 1.36 kg
  • 100% Colombian Filter Coffee
  • Supremo Beans Dark Roast
  • Fine Grind Kosher
Illy Coffee, Classico Ground Coffee for Moka Pots, Medium Roast, 100% Arabica Coffee Beans, 250 g
  • GROUND COFFEE: illy's ground coffee for moka pot stovetop preparation is an easy-to-prepare morning ritual in most Italian households. The small two-chambered moka pots produce a full-bodied coffee,...
  • CLASSICO MEDIUM ROAST: Our delicious Classico espresso coffee is a medium roast and has a lingering sweetness and delicate notes of caramel, orange blossom and jasmine
  • 100 PERCENT ARABICA COFFEE BEANS: illy's distinctive smooth, rich and full-bodied taste is created from the skilful blending of 100 Percent sustainably-grown Arabica beans, selected from different...
Amazon Brand - Happy Belly Ground Coffee "BRASILE" (4 x 250g)
  • Roast Ground Coffee
  • Soft & Smooth
  • 100% Arabica
Taylors of Harrogate - Rich Italian Ground Coffee, 227 g (Pack of 6)
  • Roast 4- Rich & Refined, 100% Arabica Coffee
  • Ciao amici - this elegant coffee takes you to the cobbles of Northern Italy
  • Inspired by the local roast style, it delivers rich flavours of dark chocolate and almond
Premium Organic Ground Coffee - 100% Arabica Spanish Espresso Blend from Award Winning Café Saula 500g (2X 250g)
  • PREMIUM QUALITY: An espresso blend of four premium quality varieties of Arabica beans, grown using organic methods.
  • ORGANICALLY GROWN: From crops grown in the country of origin using organic methods that care for the environment.
  • HAND HARVESTED: Ensures only the very best fruits at the optimal point of ripeness are chosen for this premium coffee.
illy Decaffeinated Ground Coffee, 250 g (Packaging may vary)
  • Decaffeinated ground coffee
  • A distinctive blend of fine Arabica coffees with a smooth, rich and full-bodied taste
  • Packed in an air-free, pressurized can that enhances and seals in the precious aromas and oils
Lavazza Qualità Rossa, Ground Coffee Espresso, 250 g (Pack of 12)
  • Qualità Rossa is the pleasure of good coffee that Italian families keep close by on their coffee breaks. With an unmistakable aroma to happily recharge your batteries and share magic moments.
  • Roasting: Medium
  • Arabica and Robusta, Intensity: 5
Solimo Ground Coffee Aroma, 1.36kg
  • This coffee was grown by UTZ certified farmers who implement better farming practices, with respect for people and planet
  • Roast and Ground Coffee
  • Mild & delicate - Strength: 3/5
Cafédirect Machu Picchu Organic Fairtrade Ground Arabica Coffee 227g (Pack of 6)
  • Organic Fairtrade ground coffee
  • Strength 4 - Arabica Coffee
  • Ground for filter and cafetiere
STARBUCKS House Blend Medium Roast Ground Coffee, 200 g (Pack of 6)
  • STARBUCKS ground coffee, rich with toffee notes
  • Aroma, body and flavour all in balance with tastes of nuts and cocoa
  • Enjoy STARBUCKS at home. The coffee you love without leaving the house
illy Classico Medium Roast Filter Coffee, 250g
  • FILTER COFFEE: illy's Ground coffee, also known as drip coffee or American coffee is more coarsely ground for optimal extraction with drip coffee makers and French presses.
  • CLASSICO MEDIUM ROAST: Our delicious Classico Ground coffee is a medium roast and has a lingering sweetness and delicate notes of caramel, orange blossom and jasmine
  • 100 PERCENT ARABICA COFFEE BEANS: illy's distinctive smooth, rich and full-bodied taste is created from the skilful blending of 100 Percent sustainably-grown Arabica beans, selected from different...
Spiller & Tait Signature Blend - Ground Coffee 500g Bag – Multi Award Winning - Roasted in Small Batches in The UK – Suitable for Filter/Aeropress/Cafetiere
  • AWARD WINNING FLAVOUR – a rich and full-bodied tasting coffee which is smooth and with only a hint of bitterness. Prestigious Great Taste Award 2017 and Silver in 2014 Taste of the West Awards.
  • PREMIUM QUALITY – an espresso blend of premium quality Arabica beans sourced from Columbia, Brazil, Kenya, Ethiopia and India. Roasted regularly in the UK in small batches for consistent freshness,...
  • SUITABLE FOR FRENCH PRESS, FILTER, PERCOLATOR AND VACUUMS – this omni-grind coffee is ground specifically for use in filter, percolators, Aeropress and siphons. It makes especially good cafetiere...
Strong Coffee to Wake the Dead - 500g Ground Coffee | Intense Body and Full Flavour | High Caffeine | Natural Strong Coffee
  • ARTISAN - HAND ROASTED: We take great care in our roasting process, roasted by hand in small quantities, only the highest quality beans are found in our very original coffee. Our small batch roastory...
  • EXTREME STRENGTH: Strong and bold robusta coffee. A highly intense and rich flavour, this coffee will make your taste buds sing a different tune.
  • POWERFUL CAFFEINE: Enough to awaken you from the deepest slumber, designed to get you through the morning ordeal.

Whats the Difference between Arabica and Robusta?

While both widely cultivated, Coffee Arabica (Arabica) and Coffee Canephora (Robusta) display marked differences. The coffee beans are different. The plants are different. And consequently, the use varies as well.

Arabica is grown at higher altitudes. Its cultivation demands great care, and it can be likened to the finest grapes grown at the world’s leading vineyards. Its rich flavour and smooth tastes. Its no bitterness. Its usually not real strong either.

Robusta, as the name suggests, is a hardier plant, and it displays greater resistance to climate and weather conditions, diseases and heat. Its strong flavours and harshness, It can be bitterness and strong aftertastes. Its lots of flavour.

Perhaps the most significant difference rests in the cup.

Arabica is distinctly milder and more aromatic. It possesses fewer sharp and bitter tastes than Robusta, and it is therefore considered the superior species by those who cultivate specialty coffees, single estates and varietals. Its also rarer and more expensive.

Robusta is renowned for its higher caffeine content, which is why Italians began using it for espresso. Its hardy flavour. Its easier to grow and can be grown at low and high altitudes.

The coffees are also botanically different. Arabica’s greater complexity derives from its 44 chromosomes – twice the number of Robusta. An Arabica bean is flatter and more elongated; in addition, and the furrow on its flat surface is elongated. It is relatively deep green in colour before roasting, sometimes with a bluish tinge.

Robusta coffee beans

The Robusta bean is more convex and roundish. The bean’s furrow is straight, and it is pale green with grey or brownish tinges.

Arabica coffee beans

Arabica is the more expensive of the two, another factor in why Robusta is sometimes used in blends. Most large coffee companies use both beans in their blends and signatures. The blends often has more Arabica than robusta. Using the robusta bean as a blend – its also why some coffee are bitter or burnt tasting and leave a strong aftertaste.

Why is coffee from Costa Rica so good?

Given the quality of Costa Rica’s coffee and in a continuing effort to improve quality, the producers of some of the best coffees have joined in creating the Specialty Coffee Association of Costa Rica. The primary objective of this group is to promote Costa Rica’s coffee on the international gourmet market, thereby projecting not only the image of the product and the country but also encouraging the production and consumption of specialty coffees around the world.

The environmental conditions under which coffee is grown influence the physical characteristics of the seeds, the quality of which is well known to coffee connoisseurs. The altitude at which coffee is grown and the amount of water available to the plants are crucial. In Costa Rica, rainfall, relative humidity and temperature are lower at higher altitudes. There is also a difference between conditions in the Atlantic and Pacific watersheds. These differences, as well as the care with which processing and other operations are carried out, have given the Costa Rican specialty coffees high marks among international buyers.

For gourmets only

Coffee produced according to the standards of the Specialty Coffee Association of Costa Rica satisfies even the most demanding taste buds, thanks to the observance of strict guidelines at every stage of production from sowing of the seed to harvesting and commercialisation.

Specialty coffee producers throughout the country have been trained to harvest only red cherries of uniform size, in order to produce a full-bodied cup of coffee which occurs once the cherries have been put through a special roasting process.

  • In order to qualify specialty coffee the following specifications must be met: At least ninety-nine percent (99%) of each batch must consist of ripe red cherries.
  • One hundred percent (100%) of the coffee beans are put through special treatment processes to control and prevent contamination.
  • The maximum permissible roasting temperature is 122° F, which guarantees a longer drying period without forcing the outer texture of the coffee cherry.
  • Each batch must be sorted after drying, so as to eliminate defective cherries before storing the parchment.
  • Each lot of coffee beans must be approved by an expert cupping panel (at least 7 panel members per session), working in blind sessions. At least two samples of other coffees from the same area must be included for purposes of comparison.
  • In order to be approved, a batch must score at least 32 points out of 40, or be graded with a score of eighty percent (80%) for aroma, acidity, body and taste.
  • The coffee must be prepared according to the standards of the Specialty Coffee Association of America, in terms of bean texture, colour and size.
  • An external agent must supervise the processing of each lot.
  • Processing details and methods are recorded in a separate log for each lot. Such logs provide consumers with accurate information on the entire process, from the time the coffee is picked to the time it is shipped.

Environment Coffee – Coffee With a Green Thumb And A Big Heart

Costa Rica is a land of abundant and diverse natural resources. The measures the country has taken to set aside one third of its territory for protected zones and national parks have not been in vain. In this land of men and women who understand the importance of preserving nature, coffee planting and industrialisation have been carried out in accordance with the values of the people, using clean production systems.

A commitment to “green” concerns

It used to be that coffee production caused serious pollution of rivers, but now all producers are committed to cleaning up the waterways and properly disposing of the solid waste created by coffee-processing operations.

In August 1992, the Costa Rican Coffee Institute (ICAFE), acting on behalf of the coffee processors, the Ministry of Health, the Costa Rican Water and Sewage Institute (Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados – A y A), and the National Electric Power Service (Servicio Nacional de Electricidad, currently ARESEP) signed the Inter-institutional Agreement on Waste Water Treatment and Solid Waste Management in Coffee Processing.

The waste produced as a result of coffee-processing operations (water used in pulping, flushing the residue and discarding pulp) was tested in order to develop ecologically acceptable solutions. The goal was to achieve an 80% reduction in the level of pollution caused by this agroindustry over a six-year period.

The new practices, which are now obligatory, entailed making major changes in processing operations, e.g., using less water, straining or filtering solid pulp waste and sedimentation of smaller materials in special tanks. Finally, mucilage waste, which is water-soluble, is broken down in secondary water-treatment systems, mainly by using anaerobic reagents or anaerobic containers (which work without oxygen, using bacteria that feed on the organic waste).

The Inter-institutional Agreement stipulates that water cannot be emptied into the river until its pollution levels have been reduced by this treatment process.

Successes of the Agreement

Over an eight-year period, the coffee sector has invested over $100 million (without financing) in the Environmental Management Program.

Dry pulping and waterless transport of pulp prevents 50% of pollutants from being emptied into rivers.

Primary treatment (straining and sedimentation) reduces COD (chemical oxygen demand) by 30%.

Savings in water use amounted to 90%, and even more in some processing plants.

Eco-friendly coffee

At first only a few coffee growers were concerned about protecting the environment, but as Costa Ricans became more aware of ecological issues, and being a people who strongly believe that they have a duty to care for the planet, more and more coffee producers and processors joined forces to ensure that coffee production does not damage the environment.

Throughout the country, where thousands of small-scale farmers earn their livelihood by planting coffee, many growers now use strictly organic production methods, eliminating all chemicals, pesticides and artificial fertilisers from their fields.

Converting to green technology

It is neither easy nor cheap to be a friend of nature, but it is necessary. Thus, in its uncompromising commitment to the country’s environmental philosophy and its own objective of generating the greatest possible benefits, the Costa Rican coffee industry has spent $100 million on wastewater clean-up and treatment of coffee-processing waste since 1992.

Without exception all the country’s coffee processing plants comply with environmental legislation through their adherence to the first agreement on inter-institutional cooperation, whereby all processing plants undertake to safeguard the country’s ecosystems.

The plants also have wastewater treatment systems and have helped reduce the amount of water required for coffee processing by 75%. This reduction has been possible thanks to the use of a technique whereby the coffee beans are first taken to a dry processing station. In addition, special pulp-removal and pulp-disposal methods are used.

The wastewater from coffee processing is used to produce biogas, a result of the degradation of sugar and other organic elements contained in the coffee pulp and mucilage.

The most important use for biogas is the generation of electric power, consumption of which has been reduced by one third in the processing plants, thus creating a cleaner environment.

Additionally, the coffee pulp and other byproducts are used as fertiliser on the coffee plantations themselves, as well as for other crops. This has generated additional profits for the coffee-processing plants, which are able to offer 100-percent natural fertilisers.

The country’s commitment to quality is such that several of its processing plants have been granted ISO 14000 International Certification for their efforts to preserve and protect the environment.

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