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8 Best Grocery Store Coffee Brands You Can Buy in 2021

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The phrase “grocery store coffee” is sometimes bandied about by coffee snobs who use it in a derogatory manner to indicate low-quality coffee. Most people see through this snobbery, but just to set the record straight, we’re here to tell you that you can find some darn good coffee in your local grocery store, no matter what some people might try to tell you.

In this article, we’re going to share our eight favorite coffees with you that you can likely find in your local grocery store. We love high-quality boutique coffee as much as the next specialty coffee enthusiast, but there’s a lot of great coffee that is less expensive and more available than most roasted to order coffee. Without further ado, let’s begin.

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1. Eight O’Clock Original – Best Overall

Eight O'Clock Whole Bean Coffee

Eight O’Clock coffee is a cut above other major grocery store coffee brands primarily because of their consistency. Every bag of Original Eight O’Clock coffee we’ve ever bought has been nearly identical. Consistency is important for coffee since you don’t have to dial in your coffee again with each new bag. The Original variety is a medium roast that works well in any brew method. The French Roast and Colombian beans are also very good.

We recommend getting the whole bean coffee if you have a coffee grinder at home. Whole bean coffee is fresher than pre-ground coffee and tastes better for longer. Some grocery stores have public grinders in the coffee aisle for customers to use. If you don’t have a grinder at home, grinding whole beans in the store is a better option than buying the pre-ground version.


2. Dunkin’ Donuts Original – Great Value

Dunkin' Donuts Ground Coffee

Dunkin’ Donuts has become one of the biggest retail coffee stores in the world, even outselling some dedicated coffee shops. If you love Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, we have some good news for you: you can buy it in almost any grocery store. It’s not quite as good as Eight O’Clock, but it is still quite good, and it’s cheaper. If you can find the whole bean version, you should get that, but they also sell pre-ground bags.

Whenever we’re buying a large amount of coffee for a dinner party or for when we’re having overnight guests, we go with Dunkin’ Donuts Original to save a few bucks without compromising on quality.


3. Stumptown Hair Bender – Delicious Premium Choice

Stumptown Coffee, Hair Bender

The reason grocery store coffee sometimes gets a bad rap is freshness. Most coffee you find on the shelf in a grocery store doesn’t have a “roasted on” date, so you can’t tell if it’s been sitting there for a day, a week, or several months. Stumptown’s coffee is different, and even the bags of their original Hair Bender roast that get shipped to grocery stores come with a “roasted on” date printed on the bag.

Using fresh coffee beans is essential if you want to make delicious, flavorful coffee, and we appreciate Stumptown’s dedication to giving their customers the information they need to get the most out of their coffee. Hair Bender is a solid roast that works well in a pour-over but can also be used in an automatic drip machine with good results. The only downside is the price — it’s not cheap. Still, you get what you pay for, and in this case, that is delicious coffee.


4. Café Bustelo – Perfect for Espresso

Even if you own a coffee grinder, unless it’s an expensive fancy grinder, you probably won’t be able to grind fine enough and consistently enough to make good espresso. Luckily, Café Bustelo makes top-notch pre-ground coffee that is perfect for making espresso. For all but the most discerning espresso-lovers, we recommend picking up one of Café Bustelo’s iconic cans and using it in all your at-home espresso drinks.


5. Caribou Coffee’s Seasonal Blends

Caribou Coffee, Flavored Chocolate Wonder

Caribou coffee stands out from the crowd by making unusual – but excellent – seasonal blends. We never pass up an opportunity to try the latest flavor from Caribou Coffee, and we’ve yet to be disappointed. Chocolate Wonder and the Reindeer Blend are two particularly delicious options, and we highly recommend you pick them up if you see them on the shelves at your local market. You can’t go wrong with any of Caribou Coffee’s offerings as they’re all flavorful and work well in a variety of brewers.


6. Wide Awake Coffee Co. Donut Shop Blend

Wide Awake Coffee Donut Shop Blend Ground Coffee

Wide Awake’s Donut Shop Blend is some of the best coffee-flavored coffee we’ve ever found in a grocery store, and we mean that as a compliment. We’re willing to bet that your traditional, no-nonsense grandfather will like this coffee just as much as the local coffee expert. It’s a crowd-pleasing coffee that’s great black or with milk. It’s one of the most versatile coffees we’ve had, and we haven’t met someone who didn’t like it yet.


7. Peet’s Coffee French Roast

Peet’s Coffee is a well-known Berkeley-based coffee company that makes an impressive array of different coffees. Our favorite Peet’s offering is the French roast, a bold, dark in-your-face coffee that makes a killer French press or cold brew. We love using dark roasts in immersion-style brewers, and Peet’s French Roast is a prime example. The cold brew we made with this coffee was chocolatey and smooth and an excellent example of why we love it.


8. Starbucks Veranda Blend

Starbucks Veranda Blend Whole Bean Coffee Whole Bean

Rounding out our list, we have the only entry from Starbucks to make our list. Starbucks’ coffee is slightly expensive, but the Veranda Blend lives up to its price and is our favorite coffee from the coffee titan. Unlike the last entry, this is a light roast that is best suited for pour-overs and automatic drip machines. It’s bright, packed with caffeine, and a great way to start your day. It is pretty acidic, which is typical of light roasts, but not overly so. Still, if you’re sensitive to high acidity in coffee, you better steer clear of this one.

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Conclusion

Buying coffee from a dedicated roaster will always be the best way to get high-quality, fresh beans, but it will also always be the most expensive way to purchase coffee. Grocery store coffee has a bad reputation, but you can find some diamonds in the rough if you know where to look. We hope our list will help you find better coffee the next time you go shopping and convince you that good coffee doesn’t have to be exorbitantly expensive. Give some of these coffees a try; you won’t be disappointed!

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Featured Image: George Rudy, Shutterstock

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Sean Brennan

Sean’s obsession with coffee started when he received his first French press as a gift almost ten years ago. Since then, his love of coffee – and the number of coffee gadgets he owns – has grown considerably. A scientist by training, there is no stone he has left unturned in the never-ending quest for the perfect cup of coffee. He has spent many hours tuning his pour-over technique, thinking about how to best compare grind quality, and worrying about whether the Nicaraguan or Kenyan beans will make the best cold brew. These days he favors the Hario V60, and starts each day by hand grinding his coffee before enjoying a cup prepared with care and attention to detail.

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