Best Coffee Beans for Drip Coffee Makers in 2021: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

By: | Updated: April 13, 2021

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If you rely on coffee to kick-start your day, it’s understandable that you’d be picky about the kind of coffee beans to buy.

With so many brews and roast types, it gets a little complicated to pick one kind of coffee beans for your daily caffeine boost.

What you’re sure of, though, is that you don’t want to get it wrong.

To help you out, we tried 10 of the best coffee beans for drip coffee makers. Each of these options boasts a delicious taste and intense aroma.


Best Coffee Beans for Drip Coffee Maker

Comparison Chart

Eight O’Clock Whole Bean Coffee, The Original Decaf, 24 Ounce
Lavazza Espresso Italiano Whole Bean Coffee Blend, Medium Roast, 2.2 Pound Bag (Packaging May Vary)
AmazonFresh Colombia Whole Bean Coffee, Medium Roast, 12 Ounce
Lavazza Espresso Barista Gran Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend, Medium Espresso Roast, Oz Bag (Packaging May Vary) Barista Gran Crema – 2.2 LB, 35.2 Ounce
Kicking Horse Coffee, Decaf, Swiss Water Process, Dark Roast, Whole Bean, 2.2 Pound – Certified Organic, Fairtrade, Kosher Coffee, 35.2 Ounce

1. Eight O’Clock Whole Bean Coffee

Eight O’Clock has been supplying coffee in the U.S. since 1859 and has mastered the art of roasting coffee.

If you have survived this long in any industry, as Eight O’Clock has, then you must be doing something right.

With over a century of experience, you can trust that they have got the flavors just right. This particular selection is a blend of Arabica coffee beans at a medium roast.

Product Highlights

Being whole bean coffee, this option from Eight O’Clock has a signature aroma that hints at a bold undertone.

It boasts the authentic taste of coffee from a century ago, which features a smooth and unburnt flavor.

Despite packing such a flavorful experience, these coffee beans are much more reasonably priced than most artisan blends.

The Good

These coffee beans are Kosher-certified and made by roasting experts, so there’s no compromise on quality.

Although strong enough to prepare you for a long day ahead, the coffee doesn’t taste bitter or burnt.

The Bad

One thing we noticed is that this Eight O’Clock coffee does not have an aroma, which is a downer for most coffee lovers.

Aside from that, although advertised as a medium roast, the flavor and color are much closer to dark roast coffee beans.

PROS

  • Much cheaper than the competition
  • Available in decaf variety too
  • Does not taste bitter

CONS

  • No significant aroma
  • Harsher than other medium roast coffee beans
  • Requires more beans than average to make a serving

2. Lavazza Espresso Italiano Whole Bean Coffee Blend

Like the previous option, this is a whole bean blend of 100% Arabica coffee at a medium roast.

Although it’s most suitable for espresso makers, you can prepare it in any coffee maker.

The Lavazza coffee beans are sourced from South America, Africa, and Central America but are processed in Italy.

Product Highlights

While most coffee makers only focus on flavor and tend to ignore the aroma, Lavazza has perfected the fragrance in these beans.

These coffee beans have highly aromatic notes that sit well in combination with a rich and flavorful taste.

They have an intensity of five out of 10, making them an excellent choice for getting an energy boost in the morning.

These beans are best for drinking straight without milk. In contrast, the Gold selection whips up delicious, creamy lattes.

The Good

Lavazza sources coffee beans from different countries and blends them in Italy, keeping the quality high.

We also like that these coffee beans are completely devoid of any GMOs, making them 100% natural and healthy.

The Bad

Initially, the coffee has a very flavorful taste but leaves an unpleasant aftertaste. Also, this metallic taste lingers for quite long.

The beans are too big for some drip coffee makers, too, so you may end up clogging or breaking your machine in the process.

Sadly, some of the coffee bags have a processing and packaging date from a year or two ago. Consequently, they taste like old, leftover coffee.

PROS

  • No use of GMOs
  • Have a rich, creamy flavor
  • High caffeine intensity

CONS

  • Leave an unpleasant aftertaste
  • Beans are bigger than average size
  • Poor post-packaging regulation by the company

3. AmazonFresh Colombia Whole Bean Coffee

These coffee beans from Amazon are similar to the first two we tried. They are Arabica coffee beans at a medium roast, so the flavor and aroma are balanced and full-bodied.

They come in different formats, including ground, whole bean, and K-cup. This means you can use a Keurig to make fresh Colombian coffee.

Product Highlights

The coffee beans are freshly roasted before packaging, so every cup has a satisfying, original flavor.

Passing through the one-way freshness valve, the coffee beans reach their flavorful best.

Besides, they are expertly roasted in individual batches to impart the signature flavor and aroma to every bean.

The medium roast has moderate acidity but a fuller body and a rich fragrance.

The Good

The aroma is undoubtedly the best feature, as it hits you as soon as you open the bag.

Moreover, the beans are fresh and yield smooth coffee for people who don’t want a caffeine hit that is too strong.

Since they come in a pack of three, you’re sorted for a month at a reasonable price.

The Bad

Although the “Colombia” origin written on the pack sets high expectations, the blend fails to meet them.

The resulting coffee is fresh but lacks the flavor and richness of Columbian quality. It’s rather mild and bitter.

PROS

  • Has a strong aroma
  • Easy to brew
  • A budget-friendly option

CONS

  • Has a mild and bitter flavor
  • Lacks the richness of a Colombian blend
  • Too weak to give an energy boost

4. Lavazza Espresso Barista Gran Crema Coffee Blend

While the Arabica beans come from South America, the Robusta is a product of Southeast Asian farms.

Blended in Italy, the coffee beans boast the expertise of Italian master roasters. This is a 2.2-pound bag of whole bean coffee blend with a medium roast.

Product Highlights

Being one of the best coffee beans for drip coffee machines, the Lavazza Gran Crema has a full body and rich scents.

Arabica and Robusta beans are slowly roasted and infused with the aroma of baked goods to get the final result.

Thus, the beans have a chocolatey and rich fragrance of freshly-baked goods and a crema flavor that lingers on the taste buds.

They are best for people who need a strong cup of coffee in the morning. With an eight out of 10 intensity, the coffee is bound to wake you up.

You can blend these coffee beans in an espresso machine to get a full-bodied drip.

The Good

The beans are a perfect blend of Arabica and Robusta, so you get the best of both worlds in a single cup.

We also like that the beans have an amazing aroma that will fill up your house and awaken your senses.

The Bad

Although the aroma is hard to beat, the taste of these coffee beans isn’t exactly as described by the company.

As written on the pack, the taste is “rich and chocolatey.” In reality, though, it’s much weaker than what you’d expect of a crema blend.

Also, in some cases, Lavazza’s questionable quality control is evident from their products, as some of their bags have a year-old packaging date.

As a result, sometimes, the coffee tastes old and stale, lacking the flavor promised on the bag.

PROS

  • A blend of two varieties of coffee beans
  • Has a pleasing aroma of baked goods
  • Makes a good cappuccino and latte

CONS

  • Thin crema
  • Poor quality control
  • Does not have a fruity flavor as described

5. Kicking Horse Coffee

This is a 2.2-pound pack of whole bean coffee with a dark roast. If you prefer coffee with a strong taste and densely-flavored notes, this is the one for you.

Sourced from Central America, Indonesia, and South America, these coffee beans are grown in an environment-friendly setting.

Product Highlights

This dark roast blend has an aroma of cocoa nibs and peat with a hint of nutmeg. Made with Arabica beans, the final blend has lasting earthy and black licorice notes.

You can brew it in a drip, pour-over, French press, or cold brew coffee maker.

Since they’re organic and fair trade, the coffee beans are good for the drinkers, farmers, and the planet.

The Good

If you care about the environment, you’d be happy to learn that the company uses sustainable growing methods.

Additionally, the coffee beans have a velvety and earthy taste that lingers for long on the palate.

More importantly, the beans do not leave a layer of volatile oils on the coffee. Thus, they’re healthy and won’t cause stomach issues.

Despite being strong, coffee made from these beans isn’t bitter. Instead, they impart perfect acidity that is neither too flat nor too burnt.

The Bad

The coffee beans are much pricier than other similar blends, and the price keeps increasing every few months.

Lately, the company has slacked in terms of quality control, and the recently-packed beans are somewhat oily and bitter.

PROS

  • Doesn’t have an excessive amount of oils
  • No burnt or bitter aftertaste
  • No digestive side effects

CONS

  • Poor quality control recently
  • Pricier than the competition
  • The non-resealable bag may make the beans stale

Buyer’s Guide

If everyone’s taste buds and preferences were the same, we’d just have one kind of coffee beans.

Then again, that isn’t the case. Your selection of the best coffee beans will be different from someone else’s.

With that said, it’s important to know how you can choose the right coffee beans to satisfy your needs.

It might seem like the taste and aroma are the only defining characteristics of coffee beans. In truth, the roast and type also determine the final blend.

Let’s talk about these features in detail to have a better idea of how to select the best coffee beans for drip coffee makers.

1. Coffee Bean Type (Arabica vs. Robusta)

Although there are dozens of coffee bean varieties, Arabica and Robusta are the most common ones.

The major differences between the two are in terms of growing conditions, cost, and taste.

While Arabica beans have a sweeter and softer taste, the Robusta has a more potent and harsher flavor.

Arabica beans have an undertone of berries and sugar in their taste. Thus, they have higher acidity with wine-like overtones.

On the contrary, Robusta beans leave a peanut-y taste on your tongue and have undertones of grain in their flavor.

Also, they’re more caffeine-rich than Arabica beans and are often thought to be of lower quality.

Still, some Robusta blends have a high-quality finish, making them suitable for espressos.

When it comes to price, Arabica beans are more expensive than Robusta because of their cultivational needs.

Robusta beans can quickly grow at lower altitudes and survive most weather conditions.

However, Arabica grows in higher altitudes and is more vulnerable to harsh weather. Besides, they are easy targets of pests, while Robusta crops are more resistant.

Robusta trees yield more crops than Arabica trees and are ready for harvest much sooner. Therefore, their produce is cheaper comparatively, as they take a few years to mature.

At the end of the day, the choice falls on your taste. Keep in mind that Robusta is twice as caffeinated as Arabica, so it will have a stronger effect.

If you prefer a dark and harsh flavor in your coffee, opt for Arabica. On the other hand, if a smoother, grainier taste is your liking, choose Robusta.

Alternatively, you can also find coffees that have a blend of both kinds. For instance, the Lavazza Espresso Barista Gran Crema Coffee Blend contains both varieties.

2. Level of Roast

The degree of roast determines the taste of any coffee.

Before roasting, all coffee beans are soft and tasteless. Roasting makes the coffee beans develop a distinct flavor and aroma.

Despite being roasted to the same level, two coffee beans from different environments or origins can taste different.

This means that there isn’t a standard taste for each roast level. Still, you can get a rough idea by looking at the color of the coffee beans.

As a rule of thumb, the darker the beans, the higher the roast level. This is because coffee beans develop a darker color as they’re roasted.

Generally, coffee beans are categorized into three roast levels; light, medium, and dark.

Light Roast

Light roast coffee beans are light brown and have a lighter body than medium or dark roast.

Also, they have little or no oil on the surface because they haven’t absorbed a lot of heat during roasting.

A blend with lighter roast also has more caffeine than the other two levels and features a significant acidity.

Medium Roast

Medium roast coffee beans are slightly darker than light roasts and have a heavier body. They’re similar to light roast beans in terms of oil retention on the surface.

Usually, these beans are best for people who have trouble sleeping or get an upset stomach after drinking coffee.

The lack of volatile oils makes medium and light roast beans suitable for non-avid drinkers.

Additionally, medium roast does not have a grainy flavor like a light roast but has a pronounced aroma.

Instead, these coffee beans have a balanced flavor, which isn’t too bitter nor too flat.

Since they’re roasted for a longer time than light roasts, they have a lesser amount of caffeine.

Some common names for medium roast coffee beans are breakfast roast and regular roast.

Dark Roast

Dark roast coffee beans have the darkest color and richest body. They’re almost black rather than brown and have a prominent oil sheen on the surface.

When you make a coffee with dark roast beans, you’d see a layer of oil on the top.

Longer roasting times also impart a burnt and bitter taste to the coffee. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but some people enjoy the smoky overtones.

Also, dark roast beans have the least amount of caffeine of the three levels.

They have some other common names, too, including Italian roast, Spanish roast, and Fresh roast.

3. Single Origin Beans vs. Coffee Blends

Coffee blends allow you to experience mixed flavors, but single-origin beans have a distinctive finish.

Precisely, they have an unaltered and bolder flavor. On the contrary, coffee blends have a balanced flavor of two or more complimentary beans.

Because coffee blends come from different origins, they can be used to make different milk-based drinks.

Still, single-origin beans are comparatively purer and yield a crisp and original drink.

If you’ve been drinking single-origin beans and feel that their consistency differs in each pack, it’s because of the seasonal conditions.

Depending on the season, one batch of single-origin beans might taste different from the other.

In contrast, coffee blends have a mellower taste. Due to the combination of different kinds, the overall taste remains relatively consistent.

4. Certification (Fairtrade, USDA, Organic)

Fairtrade and USDA certifications are a guarantee that the coffee beans are made in compliance with specific regulations.

Similarly, some companies claim to use sustainable and environment-friendly farming methods.

Fairtrade certification means that the rights of coffee growers and farmers have been protected in the production process.

It helps improve the lives of farmers and gives smaller industries a chance to flourish.

Likewise, organic coffee beans promise healthy standards of production and eco-friendly farming.

It’s better to opt for companies that are passionate about ethical coffee production.  Their practices are in favor of coffee producers and farms.


Coffee Beans for Drip Coffee Maker FAQs

1. What beans make the best coffee?

There is no standard description of the best coffee or coffee beans. You can choose the best coffee beans for your taste according to their level of roast and type.

If you like a harsh and bitter taste, dark roast coffee beans will be the best.

However, if your taste buds are more inclined to sweeter and milder flavors, go for medium or light roast coffee beans.

You can also choose beans based on their caffeine levels. Robusta beans are highly caffeinated as compared to Arabica varieties.

2. Which is better: coffee beans or ground coffee?

Coffee beans give a more pronounced flavor to the coffee because they’re fresher.

This is particularly prominent in the case of dark roast beans. It’s the oil on the surface that gives dark roast beans their distinct, smoky flavor.

Upon grinding, the beans start losing their flavor and freshness. Thus, they get weaker and flatter in terms of taste.

On the other hand, ground coffee doesn’t taste as fresh or as strong as whole bean coffee.

Thankfully, pre-ground coffee takes the work and time out of the coffee-making process.

Making coffee using whole beans requires some expertise to get the coarseness just right. Also, you have to clean the coffee maker later.

The coarseness is pre-defined with ground coffee, and you can make a cup without any added work.

In the end, the choice depends on you.

If you have enough time on your hands to prepare coffee and like to savor the original taste, choose coffee beans.

Otherwise, go for ground coffee if you’re in a rush every morning.

3. Where are the best coffee beans from?

The countries producing the highest-quality coffee beans are Colombia, Jamaica, Ethiopia, Costa Rica, and Guatemala.

4. What is the least strong coffee?

As the coffee roast level goes higher, the caffeine amount gets lower.

Therefore, dark roast coffee beans are the least strong, with espresso being the weakest coffee.

If you want the least amount of caffeine in your coffee, opt for decaf coffee beans.

5. Is buying coffee beans cheaper?

Buying coffee beans is more expensive than using ground coffee. This is due to two main reasons.

Firstly, coffee beans pack much more quality than ground coffee. They’re a product of better crops and tend to be fresher.

Additionally, they have a more pronounced flavor and stronger aromas as compared to pre-ground coffee.

Secondly, coffee beans have all the characteristics of pure coffee harvest, which is what ground coffee lacks.

Most of the flavor and aroma are lost during grinding, so the consumer doesn’t notice anything even if the company uses low-quality beans.

In contrast, consumers grind whole coffee beans at home, releasing the aroma and taste. Because of this, companies are bound to use high-quality beans.

If you find ground coffee for an unbelievably low price, it’s probably made of poor-quality coffee beans.

Coffee beans are, therefore, more expensive because every bean is worth the price.


Final Verdict

Making and enjoying different kinds of coffee is an art in itself, but only if you get the right coffee beans.

A flavor that pleases your taste buds might not be someone else’s cup of coffee, though.

Hence, when it comes to choosing coffee, it’s best to try different brands and flavors until you’ve found the one.

If you’re still new at coffee selection, you can start with the brands in this review, as they’re trusted and approved by coffee lovers.

Joakim
by Joakim
Joakim is a coffee connoisseur who loves all types of coffee, no matter the type or region of origin. He loves writing about his coffee experience, sharing with readers the tastes, methods of making, and more.