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27 October 2021

Best ground coffee

What’s the best ground coffee for your French press, cafetiere or filter machine? We’ve pitted Costa, Starbucks and others against supermarket own brands, including Tesco, Aldi, Lidl and M&S, to find out
Michael Passingham

Whether it’s part of your morning ritual, or something you get out when you have guests over, ground coffee served in a cafetiere (also known as a French press) is a simple and tasty way to make your brew.

In September 2021 we tested ‘house’ or ‘signature’-blend ground coffee from big brands including Starbucks and Costa alongside supermarket own-brand house blends from the likes of M&S, Tesco, Waitrose and Lidl. 

We found that you don't have to spend big to get a tasty brew, with some supermarket blends getting the balance of great taste and value for money just right, plus our results reveal which branded options are best.

Best ground coffee

Below we’ve listed all the brands we tested, in alphabetical order. Sign up to Which? to gain access to our results, or log in if you’re already a Which? member.

Aldi Alcafé 3 House Blend Roast & Ground Coffee

£1.09 for 227g (48p per 100g)

Aldi Alcafe House Blend Coffee

Aldi’s coffee is the joint-cheapest on test, alongside Lidl's. Does this lead to a compromised brew or is it a cheap and cheerful option? 

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results.

Available from Aldi stores.

Asda House Blend Roast & Ground Coffee

£1.98 for 227g (87p per 100g)

Asda House Blend ground coffee

Asda’s grounds are made from 100% arabica beans, but is it worthy of your morning coffee? 

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results.

Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Asda.

Co-op House Blend Fairtrade Roast & Ground Coffee

£2.65 for 227g (£1.17 per 100g)

Co-op House Blend coffee

Co-op’s ground beans are among the pricier of the supermarket brands; are they worth the extra cost?

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results.

Available from Co-op stores.

Costa Signature Blend Ground Coffee

£3.80 for 200g (£1.90 per 100g)

Costa Signature Blend ground coffee

If you’re looking to recreate the Costa experience at home, these might be the beans to get.

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results.

Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Amazon (as a five-pack), Asda, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose

Lidl Bellarom House Blend Ground Coffee

£1.09 for 227g (48p per 100g)

This is the joint-cheapest coffee on test, along with Aldi's, so could be the ideal choice if you don’t want to splash out.

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results.

Available from Lidl stores.

M&S Fairtrade Classic Ground Coffee

£2.30 for 227g (£1.02 per 100g)

M&S Classic Ground Coffee

This coffee from M&S is Fairtrade-certified, but does it also satisfy when it comes to flavour?

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Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Ocado

Morrisons Anytime Ground Coffee

£1.59 for 227g (80p per 100g)

Morrisons Anytime Ground Coffee

Morrisons reckons you can drink this at any time of day, but does it actually taste good?

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Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Morrisons.

Sainsbury's Fairtrade House Blend Original Coffee

£2.30 for 227g (£1.02 per 100g)

Sainsbury's House Blend Coffee

There is nothing but arabica coffee beans in this Sainsbury’s blend, but is it the right coffee for your cafetiere?

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Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Sainsbury's.

Starbucks House Blend Ground Coffee

£3.50 for 200g (£1.75 per 100g)

Starbucks House Blend coffee

The biggest coffee shop chain in the world; but is bigger better? We reveal if its supermarket ground beans hit the mark. 

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Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Amazon (as a six-pack), Asda, Morrisons and Tesco

Taylors Lazy Sunday Ground Coffee

£3.75 for 227g (£1.66 per 100g)

Taylors Lazy Sunday ground coffee

Whether it’s a lazy Sunday or a manic Monday, is Taylors the ideal brew?

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results.

Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Asda, Morrisons, Ocado, Tesco and Waitrose.

Tesco House Roast & Ground Coffee

£2.30 for 227g (£1.02 per 100g)

Tesco House Blend ground coffee

100% arabica beans make up this ground coffee from Tesco, but see if our tasters noticed the difference.

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results.

Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Tesco.

Waitrose House Blend Ground Coffee

£3.25 for 227g (£1.44 per 100g)

Tesco House Blend Ground Coffee

This Waitrose coffee is the most expensive supermarket blend on test. Is it worth it?

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results.

Want to buy without reading our results? Available from Waitrose

How to use a French press: top cafetiere tips from coffee professionals

You can see our full brewing guide in our list of the best cafetieres, but here we've asked Tottenham-based coffee roastery Terrone & Co for its top tips on how to get the best from your French press.

Pouring coffee from a cafetiere

Edy Piro, founder of Terrone & Co coffee roasters, says that preheating your French press with hot water before making coffee will make a big difference to the quality of your brew. Remember to pour out this water before adding coffee.

In terms of the brewing process, he told us:

'Pour on enough water to cover the ground coffee and let it bloom for about one minute, then proceed to fill it up with the desired amount of water.' This helps to release trapped carbon dioxide caused by the roasting process.

'Let it brew for a further five to six minutes, then start plunging but don't push to the very bottom of the carafe, leave it a few centimetres from the surface of the coffee.'

Finally, he says, if you aren't planning to drink the whole lot straightaway, it's best to pour any extra into another container to stop the coffee over-brewing and becoming too strong and bitter.

Arabica vs robusta: what's the difference?

Coffee plant

You'll often see mention of the type of coffee bean in coffee advertising and packaging, but why does it matter?

Arabica is a more subtly-flavoured, acidic bean grown at higher altitudes than robusta. The taste and characteristics also vary considerably by where and how it is grown.

Robusta, meanwhile, has a lower acidity and its bitter notes are much more obvious than many arabicas. Robustas are more resistant to bad weather and disease, but the pronounced bitter taste of robusta and more complex flavours of arabica mean that arabica is considered a more desirable bean, which is reflected in its typically higher price. 

You can find out more about types of coffee and beans in our instant coffee buying guide.

How we test ground coffee

The ground coffees were brewed in the same way and blind-tasted by a large panel of consumers who regularly buy and consume ground coffee. The make-up of the panel broadly reflects the demographic profile of adults in the UK. 

The tasters were able to add their choice of milk and sugar to all the coffees - or drink them all without either - according to their usual preference, but they had to be consistent in the amounts they used for every coffee they tasted.

Each coffee was assessed by 64 people. The panellists rated the taste, mouthfeel, aroma and appearance of each product and told us what they liked and disliked about each one. 

The overall score is based on:

  • Taste 50%
  • Aroma 30%
  • Appearance 10%
  • Mouthfeel 10% 

The taste test was blind, so the panellists didn’t know which brand they were trying, and the order they sampled the coffees was fully rotated to avoid any bias. Each panellist had a private booth so they couldn’t discuss what they were tasting or be influenced by others.