Coffee lovers are skipping coffee shops to brew their own store-bought coffee at home and at the workplace.
Convenience-wise and budget-wise, it makes sense to buy and brew grocery store coffee. But, can it be done without giving up the satisfaction factor? Surveys and professional taste-testers say yes, but there’s only one way to be sure. Try it!
We have narrowed down a few that we think are worth considering. So, on your next trip to the supermarket or online retailer, consider choosing one of our top picks for the best grocery store coffee brands to brew at home and at work.
1. Folgers Black Silk Coffee
- Dark Roast
- Bold and Smooth Flavors
We think Folgers Black Silk is the best tasting grocery store coffee! It’s a very bold dark roast that’s stronger and intended to satisfy most coffee drinkers, including those with the coffee-house habit.
SEE ALSO: How To Make Coffee Stronger
Did you know that coffee shops usually serve bold, dark roasts with intense (and memorable!) flavor?
The taste then sets the bar for quality in the consumers’ minds so there seems to be no real comparison when having coffee at home, the office, or the local diner. Unless, of course, the coffee lover finds a similar roast on the supermarket shelf!
Prefer a more subtle flavor? Suit your taste by making adjustments with cream and sweetener without losing any coffee flavor. After all, it’s what the baristas do!
Or, perhaps try Folgers Simply Smooth medium roast.
The Folgers brand also offers House, Breakfast, Classic, or Decaf blends. If they aren’t quite what you’re looking for, how about the flavored varieties that include Cinnamon, French Vanilla and Chocolate Silk (yes, you read that right… chocolate silk!).
Folgers – America’s #1 Favorite Coffee
Approaching a trillion dollars in annual sales, excluding the Gourmet and Single-Serve blends, Folgers is determined to have something to satisfy most consumers.
Mrs. Olsen, the friendly neighbor in yesteryear’s Folgers’ television commercials, advised housewives who were struggling to make a decent cup of coffee to buy the ‘foolproof coffee’ – Folgers.
Today, Folgers is still viewed as the shortest and surest path to the best cup.
SEE ALSO: Folgers Coffee Review
2) Maxwell House The Original Roast
- Medium Roast (The Original Roast)
- Smooth Flavor
Does the quality live up to its popularity? Not really. It seems to be stuck in the ‘fair’ category for all of their blends, including the Maxwell House original roast.
However, Americans typically favor medium roasts and this one is clearly preferred by those who prefer to drink it black. It’s really the best way because the flavor gets totally washed out when it’s served with creamer and/or sugar.
On the plus side, unlike most brands, there’s no bitterness or acidity as the Maxwell House coffee sits and cools. From this perspective, it lives up to its slogan – ‘good to the last drop’ and it’s perfect for those who want to relax and linger over a cup.
Maxwell House – America’s Top Choice For Black Coffee
Maxwell House had the distinction of being the best seller in the U.S. until the 1980’s. With nearly half a billion dollars in annual sales, this familiar brand is now in 2nd Place and rising. Its continued success has been taste-driven from the start, with the help of some very clever marketing.
In 1892, a Nashville hotel, the Maxwell House, was given 20 lbs. of a specialty blend of coffee at no cost. They served it to their guests until the supply was exhausted. Reverting back to their previous house blend, the hotel patrons squawked loud and clear for the specialty blend. Of course, it was brought back.
Savvy marketing has continually shored up consumer loyalty. In 1942, Maxwell House issued their newly formulated instant coffee to the US military. It created great publicity along with a substantial base of loyal followers for the eventual introduction of instant java into mainstream America.
In 1976, Maxwell House heavily advertised a blend called ADC – Automatic Drip Coffee – to go along with the revolutionary and highly-successful Mr. Coffee machine that had hit the stores a few years prior. The promotion couldn’t have been timed better and sales of both the coffee maker and the ADC coffee skyrocketed!
Moving right along with the clever marketing strategies, Maxwell House was the first brand to be certified Kosher and promoted to Jewish consumers for Passover. The ‘coffee bean’ was presented as a ‘coffee berry’ to gain acceptance. It’s now the primary brand that’s offered at Seders held at the White House and around the globe.
SEE ALSO: Maxwell House Coffee Review
3) Chock Full o’Nuts Coffee
- Medium Roast (The Original Roast)
- Smooth Nutty Flavor
As for the taste, Chock Full o’Nuts isn’t anywhere near ‘heavenly’ but, like it’s famous sandwich, it falls on the nutty and sweet side. It’s subtle enough to be enjoyed black.
No nuts? What’s with the name? The brand’s shops in New York City started out by selling nuts ‘sans shell’ in Times Square and all around the Big Apple. As the Depression lingered, the nuts were no longer affordable for many and sales steadily declined. Then, a stroke of marketing genius!
Chock Full o’ Nuts – Affordability Brings Loyalty
The nut shops were converted into casual lunch counters where consumers could enjoy a cup of coffee and a sandwich for only 5 cents. The sandwiches were unique, made of cream cheese with crushed nuts between toasted slices of raisin bread.
They were put together with tongs and promoted as ‘untouched’ sandwiches. Healthy – Nourishing – Affordable! And, perfect for sharing with a friend.
Early lyrics of their famous jingle noted that Rockefeller’s money couldn’t buy better coffee. Nelson Rockefeller, the Governor of NY State and an investor in coffee, sued to end the use of his family name. He won, but so did Chock Full o’ Nuts. The publicity and the brand message were priceless!
The shops disappeared by the late 1970’s; the brand’s message remained in the hearts and minds of its loyal followers. In 2010, a Chock Full o’ Nuts opened its doors in NYC again, like a friend coming home after a long time away.
There are plans to dot the cityscape with at least 50 more in the near future. Yes, nut sandwiches are on the menu. And, affordable coffee served with a splash of nostalgia!
In-store, there is a wide selection available in medium and dark blends. There’s also a Half Caffeine blend, an Energy Blend with 20% more caffeine for an added kick and Organic coffee.
4) Melitta Classic Blend Medium Roast Ground Coffee
- Medium Roast
- Smooth Nutty and Fruity Flavor
Promising the taste of ‘Europe in every cup’ may not be far-fetched for this German-based coffee group. They’ve been perfecting coffee blends and brewing techniques for over a century.
In fact, thanks goes to Melitta for introducing the coffee filter! They’ve since developed and introduced several types that are eco-friendly.
Melitta promoted its non-bleached plain brown coffee filters in 1989 to lessen the processing impact on soil and water.
Economical and Eco-Friendly
After discovering that consumers really don’t like to use brown paper, they introduced white filters that were bleached with oxygen in lieu of chemicals. In 2007, the bamboo coffee filter entered the market. This brand is always striving to deliver something better!
It has a reputation for being on the pricey side. But is it really? Melitta coffee is a very fine grind that aims to release the most flavor during the brewing process. This makes it highly budget-friendly when considering that it takes less coffee to brew a cup.
As well as providing a rich, dark roast, Melitta makes the smooth, nutty, and fruity medium roast that’s best served black. It’s ideal as a pour-over coffee but it’s also suitable as an automatic drip. Along with a variety of coffees, they offer coffee-making machines and accessories. When it comes to coffee, they’re all in!
5) Eight O’Clock Whole Bean Coffee
- Whole Bean
- Medium Roast
- Smooth Nutty and Fruity Flavor
There was no branding when the A&P supermarket chain introduced these coffee beans in 1859. They were simply generic beans that were sold by the bag.
Best Selling Whole Bean Coffee
The brand was the result of a 1919 survey that inquired about the favorite time of the day for consumers to drink coffee. There were two overwhelmingly distinct times chosen – 8 o’clock in the morning and 8 o’clock at night. A brand was born!
Until 2003, the company continued to market only whole coffee beans. They then introduced a very subtle, medium grind selection that had a hint of chocolate and slight sweetness.
This roast actually leans towards being a darker roast, so it satisfies on both sides of the fence. Eight O’ Clock’s 100% Colombian Roast has been named the ‘best buy’ of all ground coffees.
Nothing beats the convenience of having coffee on-demand right where you are. There’s no need to run out to a commercial location, wait in line, place an order and pay an exorbitant price for the experience every time you have the urge for a cup of Joe.
As for the affordability of brewing coffee at home, one of the easiest ways to trim the fat off the household budget is to eliminate, in part or whole, the recurring expenses that are made of habit rather than necessity.
Try bypassing the coffee baristas for just one week and count your savings. Calculate doing this for a month. Surprised?
We’re constantly testing and trying new coffees, so be sure to come back to see what’s new and let us know in the comments with your favorite grocery store coffee brands and why.
13 thoughts on “Best Coffee To Buy At The Grocery Store”
Folgers and Maxwell House coffees are TERRIBLE. The best “grocery store” coffee that I’ve found is Community Coffee which is much more popular in the southern states. Where I live in PA, only Food Lion sells it. But, it’s the only “grocery store” coffee I’ll buy and guests constantly rave about how good it is for home brewed coffee.
I have found that Peet’s Dark Roast Coffee is my preferred choice for store bought coffee.
OK, here’s the truth. I’ve tried many grocery store brands of ground coffee and I can recommend 2 that are very good:
1. Cafe Bustelo (sold in the hard brick, not the can);
2. Seattle’s Best #5.
Could be that these 2 coffees excel because they’re very finely ground and allow more flavor to be drawn than from coarse grinds that are better for French coffee presses. Best to use a filter and a finely-ground (even Turkish grind) coffee because water runs through other grinds too fast and leaves flavor behind.
Thanks so much, we’ll have to test these out! How do you prefer to drink your coffee? Sugar, milk, cream or just black?
Maxwell House is better than Folgers or I noticed not listed – Nabob; both which are too acidic for me. Seattle’s Best is great also. I have also found in a pinch a can of Western Family (Save-On Foods store brand [Western Canada]) tastes good. My dad being Austrian prefers Melitta. I like it as well.
Costco’s Kirkland brand is easily better than any of the above choices. The only coffee that may be better than it, is McDonald’s which is a lot more expensive.
Doesn’t anyone drink Hills Brothers anymore? It still comes in a metal can and there was a sister brand called Master Chef that until recently you could buy at Wal-Mart for about half the price of the big brands. I remember as a kid whenever there were church functions or picnics, there was always cans of Hills Brothers by the 30-cup coffee urns. My grandma told me it was because it was mellower and easier on old folks’ stomachs. Myself, whenever I can, I prefer to fresh grind beans right before brewing. I used to get Gevalia delivered back when I could afford it, and my favorite was the Costa Rica Peaberry. I used to buy so much they’d send me a free brewer every year. I still think if you drink it black like I do it’s one of the most economical beverages around. I have never once bought a $5 (or more) cup of coffee from any coffee shop and can’t believe the younger generation who isn’t even aware that you actually can make coffee at home. Even the slowest brewers can make a pot in 10 minutes. And if you set it up with the automatic timer before you go to sleep (set it for 10 minutes before your alarm clock goes off) it will be ready when you roll out of bed. Oh, and I don’t believe in pod coffee either, too expensive, too time consuming. Make a while pot for crying out loud, when I get up I need at least 3 cups to get me going. Making them one at a time would seem stupid to me.
Thanks so much for stopping by! We haven’t tried Hills Brothers, but it is added to our list of coffee to check out. Perhaps it is easier on the stomach because it is less acidic than other coffees. Peaberry coffees from around the world are indeed quite delicious! Also, there are some pod coffee makers that can make an entire carafe at once. However, the price per cup is still expensive. It just offers some convenience in return, however small it may be. Agreed, fresh is always best! Take care!
Illy coffee from Italy (medium roast) is delicious. It’s sold in a vacuum sealed can in either whole bean or ground form. It’s available in grocery stores in California as well as Illy cafes.
The best one my wife and I have found is Red Diamond’s Colombian 100% Arabica and our second choice is Caribou Mahogany. Both of these choices leave very little after taste.
For many years I purchased whole bean coffee from a local coffee emporium. It was good, but also expensive. I alternated between 100% Columbian and Kona, but preferred the Columbian for its nutty, smooth taste. Then I read an article in a popular consumer magazine in which they evaluated coffee makers. In the article they mentioned that they “of course” used only Eight O’Clock Columbian coffee in their tests. So, I purchased a bag to try it for myself and discovered that it was as good as (or better than) any coffee shop coffee I had ever tried. I have been on the Eight O’Clock bandwagon ever since. If you try it, buy the whole bean 100% Columbian. I think you might be surprised at how good it is. Of course, coffee is a lot like pizza – everyone has a favorite.
Thanks so much Don!
I totally agree that everyone has their favorite. Experimenting with different coffees is a great way to find a new found love. As you mentioned, there may be a significant difference between whole bean and ground coffee. There are so many factors that can change the way a cup of coffee tastes, so thanks again for your experiences and recommendation!
The picks here are mostly personal tastes, so to each their own.
I use keurig cups that you fill with your own coffee.
I like coffee that has a natural chocolate/cocoa taste that doesn’t need cream or sugar to make it taste better. The brands I prefer are Lavazza Gran Selezione and Peet’s Brazil Minas Naturais. They can be more expensive, but they are often on sale.
Choc Full O Nuts, Eight O’clock and Dunkin Donuts are the old fashioned coffee/donut shop brands that have stood the test of time.
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