HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Best Pre-Ground Coffee

Hey, so I know everybody's going to hate this, but I want to buy some pre-ground supermarket coffee that has as deep and rich a flavor as you can get given those restrictions. I go for quality foods in most areas, I'm just not that much of a coffee person, so I don't really intend on investing in a grinder, a french press, an espresso set-up, anything like that. Just got an old percolator and want to get some coffee to use with it.

So, what I'm looking for is a deep taste without being too bitter, something that goes well with breakfast meats, or like beef-and-beans type meals. So like, doesn't have to be smooth and like none of that latte stuff, something as dark as it could be without getting too acidic (yeah I know fresh-ground would be better for all that). The picture on that brand with the picture of the guy and his mule (Juan Valdez?) leads me to believe that that is the kind of coffee I want, but I know looks can be deceiving. Is there anything ya'll recommend?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I'm not sure why you want to use a percolator -- a drip coffee machine is only about $10 at Target, a drip cone and filters even less than that at the supermarket, and either one will make much better coffee than a percolator.
    I like Cafe Bustelo which is Cuban-style coffee made in Miami. Depending on where you live, some supermarkets carry it, sometimes in the Hispanic section. I even found it in Rhode Island. I get it at my local Mexican market where it is really cheap compared to other coffees.

    1. I recommend Melita Tradition or Melita Colombian Extra Fine Grind (fine for the percolator). Also very good: Lavazza in blu (not just any Lavazza).

      1. Yuban.

        French Press is $15 at Ikea.
        Camping drip pots can be gotten for $10 or less and will be on sale now that camping season is over.

        1. Try Illy Cafe Medium Roast- delicious, bold, full bodied, not bitter at all. enjoy fb

          1 Reply
          1. re: frankbooth

            I like the Illy Espresso Dark Roast - ditto on the bold, full bodied and not bitter!

          2. Thanks. I'll check to see which one my neighborhood supermarkets (in NY) carry, but I'm pretty sure I saw Yuban at least, and Illy.

            The percolator is just because I already have one, but I think I might be able to get a drip machine free so knowing there's a taste difference helps.

            1. I rhink you'd enjoy Folger's 100 percent Colombian, Great vavie. too.

              1. So weird - I just posted something to get the word out about Cafe Goya. At least where I am not every super market carries it, I think in NY though it should be common. I was a Cafe Bustelo devotee (all the good coffee from bodegas and Dominican bakeries is Cafe Bustelo) but Cafe Goya is smoother and still very rich.

                1. If you can find it, Cafe du Monde is pretty good.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: chowser

                    Several of the New Orleans/South Louisiana brands (in vacuum cans) are good. With or without chicory. French Market, Café du Monde (like the famous café au lait and beignets shop) or Community.
                    At least one of them has a note advising consumers to use half the regular amount of grounds when brewing so you might want to experiment.

                    1. re: MakingSense

                      I'd like to add from experience, I have become hooked on the French Market coffee with chicory, which seems to have fairly wide distribution in my area. Coffee purists would probably sneer, but I find it produces a rich, satisfying cup and you really don't need as much to produce a rich brew. No bitterness either, and the flavor stands up to milk well (although I drink it black as well)>
                      It seems a bit more pricey around my area, but if you notice, a pound can actually is really 16 oz. unlike the vast majority of coffees which are somewhere around 13 oz. or so. It works out so the cost difference is really minimal.

                      1. re: klieglight2

                        French Market Coffee with Chicory is our house brew. I started drinking it when I was about 4 years old.

                  2. Community Coffee out of Baton Rouge, LA is one of the best ground coffees available. And at $6/ lb is reasonably priced/

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jlawrence01

                      I like Community Coffee but it's not available where I live. I brought some back from LA on my last trip.

                      For plain old supermarket drip coffee, I like MJB Columbian.

                      1. re: bkhuna

                        I live in Chicago and its readily available ... shipped to me at home.


                        They occasionally offer free shipping.

                    2. Yuban is probably has the deepest taste wihout being acidic. I don't like Folgers, Eight O Clock or Chase and Sanborn. Maxwell House actually is a decent canned coffee.

                      I like the Latino coffees like Bustelo and Goya, however they are not as rich-tasting as some US brands. Bustelo is my least favorite actually but still ok and the price is good.

                      I'm also a fan of the New Orleans and chicory-based coffees. The are smoother and I like that chicory flavor.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: rworange

                        Cafe Bustelo and Goya are best made in a demitasse or percolator. They will taste watery from a drip.

                        1. re: fara

                          Thanks. I'll have to give that a try.

                      2. I like Yuban and Chock Full 'O Nuts.ommunity on the rare occasions i can get it

                        1. Green Mountain Lake and Lodge or French Roast. Just about every grocery store these days has a coffee grinder in the coffee isle. Buy the whole bean coffee, grind it there. Store it in the freezer when you get home.


                          1 Reply
                          1. re: steve999

                            Unfortunately most grocery stores don't have separate grinders for the nasty perfumed coffees and the plain. Or if they do, people do not pay attention to which grinder is for which.

                          2. We've been buying Seattle's Best, French Roast. A surprisingly deep flavor, very good value.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: BeeZee

                              Starbucks owns Seattles Best...it will be good. I never saw it pre-ground, but I end up buying the Starbucks beans in Costco and don't buy smaller bags any more.

                              1. re: BeeZee

                                I get Seattle's Best, Breakfast Blend or House. I can't find it in bean form at the store, so am forced to buy ground. I thing SB tastes less harsh in comparable flavors than Starbucks does (and I do realize that Starbucks owns them now)

                              2. When I first met DH, he was a coffee snob, buying only the most expensive stuff he could find, much of it from internet sources. On a trip to New Orleans, I talked him into trying Community Coffee, a brand I had enjoyed years before. Almost unbelievably, he was hooked. We now have a standing order with CC shipped to us monthly. Our favorite - after trying almost all of the blends - is Hotel Blend. Some of it we get pre-ground and some not. At holiday time CC offers a couple of special flavored blends that are very good, with none of that artificial or chemical flavor most brands have. Personally, I cannot abide the over-roasted brews that pass for coffee in all the trendy coffee houses. Coffee is supposed to taste rich and mellow, not bitter and burnt.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: rexsreine

                                  Was amazed at the quality and taste of the coffee at Louisiana convenience stores which serve CC.

                                  Personally, i like their dark roast and their mixture with chicory.

                                2. You can get a cheap conical burr grinder from Braun and a French Press or even a pour-over drip setup for less than $50. I'm sorry to say this but there is no reason to use a perk (which is the WORST method for making coffee since it entail boiling it) and to use pre-ground beans, which cost NO LESS THAN whole beans, is completely horrible. I spent almost $2000 on my home espresso bar set up but for regular brewed coffee, my machine cannot touch a $10 french press (but since I like espresso, this is what I prefer to use).

                                  No way should you or anyone use pre-ground unless you're travelling and you can't get to your grinder. There is no excuse for this. Coffee starts to stale the second it is ground- there is no way around it, and preground, no matter how good the whole-bean product was, is stale and nothing like even the cheapest whole-bean.

                                  If you don't like acid, go for a darker roast which by its nature is low-acid. Any decent Colombian or Central American, roasted med-dark, will taste better freshly ground than anything you can get ground.

                                  Coffee geeks normally demand that beans are less than, say, 14 days off the roast when they're purchased, but don't worry about that. Get a nice Latin American darker-roasted pound from any coffee house and like I say a cheap BURR grinder (not a blade grinder, which just hack the coffee to pieces). Happy drinking.

                                  1. **If you are limited to decaffeinated coffee try GOYA. It has a richer flavor than any US decaf I've tried. In Chicago I get it at one of the big Spanish supermarkets for $2.99 per 8 oz brick or $3.99 per 10 oz can.

                                    1. Dunkin Donuts regular ground coffee. My choice when I'm using a drip coffee maker.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: tlegray

                                        Hi TLEGRAY:

                                        When I'm out & about & am craving a quick cup of joe, I'll drive miles for a classic cup of Dunkin Donut's regular blend when I could easily walk a few blocks to a "one on every corner" Starbucks. I've tried their java many times, but it always tastes burnt. I do enjoy their iced tea however & have purchased a few music cd's...

                                      2. DEAN & DELUCA Medium Roast House Blend

                                        ...........& while you're there, pick up a few delectable loaves of Babka - OMG it's divine toasted with plugra smeared all over it ( cinnamon is my favorite, but the chocolate is great too ).

                                        1. I like Folger's 100 percent Colombian too.. I have some chemical sensitivities and some coffee seems to bother me. Folger's 100 percent Colombian doesn't seem to have that effect. Cheers R:)

                                          1. With all due respect, if you want to make coffee in a percolator then it makes no difference what kind of coffee you use.

                                            Most serious coffee drinkers know that any drip process delivers the best flavor by far. The reason is that in the drip process, the water temperature is kept 15 to 20 degrees below boiling which keeps the beans from releasing the bitter and acidic elements, leaving only the sweet essence extracted from the bean. When you use boiling water (which is exactly what the percolator does) to force the water up the stem, you will have very inferior tasting coffee. Also, the percolating process deposits coffee oils into the inside of the percolating water-delivery stem. If this is not washed off with detergent, using a skinny stem brush, after each use, the oil will turn rancid almost immediately and flavor every cup of coffee with that rancid taste forever until it is cleaned off. Glass post and disposble paper filters are the best way to keep the future brews free of this miserable taste.

                                            Keep in mind that percolators are re-cooking the coffee in the multiple squirts and washing the beans over and over with already cooked coffee. More bitter tastes will be released with every boiling bubble squirt that happens.

                                            You can save a lot of money and just go to a truck stop at 2:00am and drink a cup of stagnant, smelly, stewed-beyond-all--recognition so-called coffee for only 75¢.

                                            Please try any brew system that filters the water during one pass through the beans. You will love the taste and then you can experiment with the brands.

                                            For starters, try the inexpensive Chock Full-O-Nuts varieties. They're good and cheap.

                                            Use the percolator to keep fresh cut flowers in.

                                            (A screaming coffee nut)