The Best Coffee Beans You Can Find at the Grocery Store, According to Baristas

published Aug 25, 2021
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coffee grinds sit in a coffee grinder
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

Considering how many local coffee roasters and mail-order coffee bean subscriptions there are in the world, you may think that these are your only viable options when it comes to shopping for beans. Maybe you even turn your nose up at the coffees on the shelf at your local grocery store? Well, I’d like to take a minute (actually, the rest of this post) to appreciate the humble bags at the grocery store. It’s true: There are plenty of delicious, affordable, and readily available bags of coffee beans just waiting for you on the supermarket shelf.

I asked a collection of longtime baristas and fellow coffee professionals to tell me about their go-to brands. Because yes, even folks who work in the coffee industry buy their coffee at the grocery store … even if it’s just once in a while.

1. Peet’s Coffee

“My vote is for Peet’s. They do a great job sourcing and invest in sustainability. I really like the Big Bang blend. Also, their sourcing team is two humans named Emily and Emily, so of course, they are amazing,” says Emily Smith from Mercon Specialty Coffee Importers.

Buy: Peet’s Big Bang, $12.99 for 18 ounces

2. Dunkin’

“I very definitely have a bag of Dunkin’ on my counter right now,” says Johnny Kemnitz, longtime barista and coffee tech services guru in Rochester, New York. He loves that it’s an approachable and convenient option that doesn’t require too much overthinking.

3. Tim Horton’s Single-Serve Pods

A case for coffee pods! “Tim Horton’s Coffee pods are my wife’s coffee of choice for something quick and easy in the morning,” says Outpost Coffee Roasters’ Adam LeBlanc.

4. Kahawa 1893

“I pick Kahawa 1893 now that they are available at Trader Joe’s,” says Israel Serna, a digital marketing strategist who has worked for the Specialty Coffee Association. “Besides their delicious coffees, I love that it’s woman-owned and that the founder is carrying the legacy of her family.”

Buy: Safari Blend, $16.95 for 12 ounces at Kahawa 1893

5. Gevalia 

Colombian Coffee producer Jack Ray goes for the Gevalia Traditional. It is a light roast and features 100 percent Arabica coffee beans

6. Good & Gather Signature

“They have decent sourcing practices and pretty tasty medium roasts,” says Nathanael May, who works as a customer marketing manager for specialty coffee at Pacific Foods

Buy: Good & Gather Signature Three Region Blend, $7.59 for 12 ounces at Target

7. Kirkland and Allegro 

Siobhan Gottlieb, quality control manager for Volcafe Specialty, chooses between “Kirkland for value and quality,” and “Allegro for selection and sustainable efforts.”

Buy: Kirkland Signature Dark Roast 100% Colombian Coffee, $10.99 for 3 pounds at Costco

Buy: Allegro Coffee Costa Rica Sumava, $11.69 for 12 ounces

8. Folgers

“It’s not incredibly burnt-tasting and it’s a really good grind size for general coffee pots. It’s not the best, but it’s consistent and affordable,” says Cale Guidry, general manager at Rêve Coffee Roasters.

Buy: Folgers Breakfast Blend, $6.47 for 25.4 ounces

9. Great Value Organic Ethiopia Ground Coffee

“This Ethiopian coffee from Walmart is really delicious and only $6. You can actually detect some nice fruity notes, which is hard to find from a cheap grocery-store brand,” says former Evoke Coffee barista Mallory Budig.

10. Lavazza ¡Tierra! Organic

David Hill is a communications professional for World Vision, which does development work in the coffeelands, and he goes for Lavazza ¡Tierra¡ because he likes their ethical sourcing. He first got it because it was on sale at his local store, but he ended up loving the mild roast but full flavor. “We still get others, but if we’re running short, we know we can get this close by and have a good cup.” 

Buy: Lavazza ¡Tierra¡ Organic Light Roast, $14.92 for a 2.2-pound bag