Choosing the Best Ground Coffee - Expert Guide - Balance Coffee



Choosing the Best Ground Coffee – Expert Guide

If you’re living in the UK, the chances are you live a pretty busy life. Am I right? Thankfully, waking up and sipping on freshly ground coffee is critical to your productivity and energy levels. But not all coffees are equal. In this article, I share our expert recommendations so you can find coffee that’s […]

James Bellis
James Bellis

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If you’re living in the UK, the chances are you live a pretty busy life. Am I right? Thankfully, waking up and sipping on freshly ground coffee is critical to your productivity and energy levels.

But not all coffees are equal. In this article, I share our expert recommendations so you can find coffee that’s healthy, good for your body and the planet.

Quality Vs Commodity Explained

Before I explain where you can buy ground coffee, I wanted to break down some important information regarding the differences in quality available to help you choose the right coffee, for you.

Did you know? 95% of the coffee produced worldwide is susceptible to Mould, Mycotoxins and Pesticides. All of which can be harmful for your long term health.

You might be thinking, how on earth can coffee harm my health? Let us explain…

Unfortunately, commercial grade coffee accounts for 95% of coffee sold worldwide. It has been grown for mass production, large cooperations follow unethical farming practises that promotes fast growth utilising machinery and pesticides which are unnatural.

These are all harmful to humans and is something you’d rather you not experience in your morning cup. If you’re interested in learning more, you can read an article written by our coffee experts on the downsides to commercial grade coffee.

On a brighter note, there is a solution! Choosing a healthy coffee has tonnes of additional health benefits. Interested? Check out an interesting article on the health benefits of drinking quality coffee.


You might be thinking: Where can I buy fresh ground coffee?


If you’re looking to purchase your ground coffee online, it’s likely you enjoy a quick, hassle free solution. Buying ground coffee online allows you to check out in a few clicks and get your order shipped overnight.

I wrote an article on, coffee for cafetiere in case you’re looking for help choosing coffee.

Then simply add it your cafetiere and voila – its coffee time!

Looking to order coffee right now? You can head to our shop to buy award-winning ground coffee that’s healthy, naturally clean and free from nasties.

Alternatively, if you’d like an automatic ground coffee subscription then you can explore the benefits of the Balance subscription service.

At Balance, we only buy speciality grade coffee, and pride ourselves on healthy coffee that’s good for your body (and your taste buds!)


Some people prefer to buy things in-store and that’s okay. Personally, I prefer to buy clothes in a physical store because you get to really experience everything about that product first hand and before you buy it.

There are a number of places you can stock up on coffee supply at home. The supermarket is one, although generally the coffee is not as fresh as it should be via this route.

Our recommendation is to find a local independant cafe or coffee shop who’ll supply top quality fresh beans, Plus you’ll be supporting small businesses this way,

Ground Filter Coffee

Coffee prepared in a V60 Filter Maker

How to Choose the Best Ground Coffee

This is a big question. With coffee being highly subjective, it’s really all down to your personal taste preferences.

But is it solely about letting your tastebuds do all the work?

Well that’s up to you. Enjoying the flavour is a huge part of enjoying any product (especially food and drink) however, there are sustainable and ethical practises and to consider also.

Particularly if you care about what ingredients you put into your body and care about the people who produce it. In coffee, ethically traded coffee is paramount.

I thought it’d be useful to provide you with a shopping checklist so you can ensure you’re buying the best ground coffee in the UK.

You can thank us later.

Your Ground Coffee Buying Guide 

Flavour / Taste – you’ll be drinking ground coffee daily so it needs to taste incredible.

Healthy Coffee – Is it healthy? Is it free from nasties like Mould, Mycotoxins and Pesticides? Remember, only 5% of coffee produced worldwide is speciality quality and has adequate processing methods.

At Balance, our ground coffee is carefully sourced from top quality farmers to ensure we bring you a healthy cup. We pay a higher price (25%+) for this guarantee.We’re glad to be shipping healthy coffee to customers across the UK every day.

Freshness – Coffee freshness is similar to bread. Bread deteriorates rapidly when it has contact with oxygen. Ground coffee experiences the same drop in quality so a correctly packaged freshly roasted ground coffee is key.

Sustainability and Ethical Coffee – As ground coffee is a widely purchased product (due to the nature of its convenience), there are lots of places you can buy ground coffee online.

This means you’ll need to do your research before you decide on the best option.Always read reviews and look for a company’s sustainability practises to ensure it meets your personal standards.If you’d like to understand more about what makes a coffee ethical, you can read our guide to buying ethical coffee.

Shelf Life – if you’re buying your coffee ground, then you’ll need to understand that the shelf life on the product is greatly reduced. That’s because the small particles make it easier for oxygen to access which kick starts the ageing process.

Generally speaking, you’ll have around 4-8 weeks to consume ground coffee providing it’s correctly sealed in your bag or container. However, best enjoyed up to 4 weeks to maximum flavour.

Sam Brand - Pro Cyclist

Sam Brand – Pro Cyclist enjoying Balance

Types of Ground Coffee Available 

When buying ground coffee beans online you’ll be given a selection of grind sizes to choose from before you purchase. This can be quite confusing if you’re not used to purchasing your coffee online.

However, it’s just a case of matching up the grind type with the way you are brewing your coffee at home.

Before I delve into the three types of ground coffee, you’ll need to visualise some basic science. We’ll use the analogy that a course coffee grind is like ‘pebbles’ whilst a fine grind is like ‘sand’.

Coarsely Ground:

A coarse coffee grind uses larger particle sizes compared to medium and fine ground. This is because the brew methods that utilise this method require a brewing process called ‘immersion brewing’.

Brew Methods for Coarsely Ground Coffee include, Cafetière otherwise known as a French Press.

Want to know where to buy course ground coffee for french press? Visit our online coffee shop.

Finely ground coffee example

Medium Ground:

A medium ground coffee consists of medium sized particles. This sits pretty much in the middle between a cafetiere style grind and an espresso grind. These grind type is designed to work for brew methods that utilise gravity to extract the coffee via water.

Brew methods for Medium Ground Coffee include, Aeropress, Chemex, V60, Filter Coffee


Finely Ground:

A fine grind (see below), is designed for espresso coffee. Espresso uses applied force from your espresso machine or Moka pot vessel to push / pump water through the puck of ground coffee.

Brew methods for finely ground coffee generally include espresso coffee and the Moka pot (also known as the stovetop’. Check out our infographic below which demonstrates the process of water flow rising up through the vessel.

Own a Moka Pot? Check out our Moka Pot recipe guide.

Moka Pot Infographic

Ground Coffee Roast Style

The other consideration you’ll need to make is, what roast style to go for. Roast styles consist of light, medium, dark roasted coffee and can play an important role in the coffee you choose to buy online.

At Balance Coffee we roast medium and light coffees because it unlocks the naturally sweet and delicious characteristics inside the coffee bean.

Most companies offer a selection between espresso or filter coffee when you’re shopping for coffee online.

Buy Espresso Coffee – choose this option if you prefer chocolatey, rich notes from your coffee with a bit of a punch. Espresso option are generally coffee blends.

Buy Filter Coffee – choose this option if you prefer fruitier, more interesting flavour notes. Filter coffee options are generally single origins.

We wrote an entire piece on the difference between Light and Dark roasted coffee in case you’re interested in learning more.

Ground Coffee Vs Coffee Beans 

Coffee is delicious, we know that for certain. But are there any differences between roasted ground coffee and beans?

Absolutely. Here are some fun coffee facts:

Ground coffee has a shorter life span than coffee beans. But why? Well a coffee bean locks in all the flavour because the oxygen can’t access the individual particles. As soon as it’s ground it will deteriorate dramatically faster because the air is able to access more surface area.

Ever heard the term ‘grind fresh and brew’. It’s a top coffee tip if you’re looking to maximise on coffee flavour in your cup.

Coffee Beans require a grinder to correctly grind the beans to the perfect setting. This means you’ll need to invest in a coffee grinder which cost between £30-£350 depending on what you decide to buy. If you’re ready to upgrade then you can follow our coffee grinder tips here.

If you’re the type of person that likes things quickly without the faff, then ground coffee might be for you. Using Coffee beans requires some extra effort however, you’ll reap the rewards in terms of flavour upsides that’s for sure.

ground coffee vs beans

Ground Decaf Coffee

Decaf coffee get’s a lot of stick, but if you love the flavour of coffee, but you suffer from coffee jitters or simply cannot consume caffeine, then finding a quality ground decaf coffee is essential.

Luckily our decaf is rated 5 stars and is highly popular with our customers. You can order online and get it delivered to your door.

Want to know more? Read our detailed article explaining exactly how the caffeine is removed in our best decaf coffee article.

Coffee Storage

Storing coffee may be one of the most important topics to discuss if you care about your morning brew.

So how do you store ground coffee?

It’s first important to understand that when exposed to air, coffee faces a significant drop if quality and flavour. You should therefore do everything you can to avoid air contact.

Did you know, if exposed to the air for more than 20-30 minutes you will notice an obvious change compared to a freshly ground coffee.

Now you’ll see why it’s important you protect those beautiful grounds at all costs!

So what can you do about it?

Coffee Freshness Tips

So you’re about to buy amazing coffee online?

I recommend making sure your coffee is freshly roasted and shipped quickly. Why?

If your coffee has already lost freshness due to transportation or poor shelf life management (Ahem, supermarket coffee), then there is no chance.

This also highlights another issue surrounding expiry date. When looking at coffee life span, you should be using ‘roast date’ as the indicator of freshness instead of ‘expiry date’. Expiration is determined by the company meaning it could be a year old for all you know.

Coffee Storage Tips

Store coffee in an airtight jar with a suction lid. This will ensure no drop in quality.

Make sure the coffee brand you buy your coffee from uses a re-sealable, sturdy packaging. This will avoid air getting in. Don’t panic if you see a valve on the coffee bags,

Check out our guide to the best storage containers in the UK for the best selection of products.

Most bags have a one-way valve which is there to allow natural CO2 to escape which is an important part of the post-roasting degassing period.

Here are some more common questions around storing coffee.

Should I put coffee in the fridge?

Absolutely not! Unfortunately, this is one of those coffee myths which has circulated for a long time. When you add coffee into the fridge, it takes on moisture and unpleasant smells from other food products. (cheesy coffee No thanks!).

It’s best to store your ground coffee in a jar inside a cool, dry place away from sunlight.

Will room temperature affect your coffee?

Yes actually, Sunlight and temperature is another factor to consider when storing coffee correctly.

When the room temperature changes, your coffee changes density which can have a big impact on the coffee extraction. In other words, it can ruin the flavour. Another reason why storage is such an important part of brewing great coffee at home.


How to Brew for Ground?

One question we hear often is, Can you just add hot water to ground coffee?

You can get away with just pouring water over your coffee and get good results. However, if you’re wanting to really maximise the flavour from every cup, you can follow these steps to make coffee like a pro.

Enter coffee pro (that’s you).

First, you’ll need to invest in some coffee scales. Then, you can follow one of our brew recipes to perfect the measurements. You can start with our ultimate guide to cafetière coffee.

Once you’ve mastered this recipe you’re officially brewing coffee better than most people across the UK (congratulations in advance).

Do you need a coffee maker for ground coffee?

Yes, ground coffee requires a coffee maker which is used as a vessel to hold the coffee grounds. There are a wide range of coffee brewing devices you can choose from.

If you’re looking for something simple, then start with a cafetiere. Want to become a home barista?

Simply, upgrade to an Aeropress or another common coffee making device.

Which is healthier, ground coffee or instant?

Ground coffee is without doubt a healthier solution than instant coffee. Why? Simply put – its fresher and.has less chemical processes applied during the processing stage.

Instant coffee is made by freeze-drying and spray-drying the concentrated extract of coffee beans. Once brewed, the water is removed using evaporation techniques. The Instant is then frozen to create the coffee granules.

Once you pour boiling water on to the coffee powder, the coffee dissolves in your cup.

How much ground coffee per cup?

One common question I often get asked is, how much to use per cup? It will depend on what coffee brewing device you are using and what strength you prefer however, is a good all round guideline:

13-15 grams = Weaker
15-18 grams = Medium Strength
20-23 grams = Stronger

Can you use ground coffee as Instant?

Not exactly. Instant coffee is classed as ‘freeze dried’ coffee. This means, it’s soluble in hot water so the grounds pretty much disappear under the boiling temperature. Coffee grounds are particles which are ground coffee the beans fresh. This means there is residue left over in the cup after making coffee.

The result, a much cleaner, flavoursome cup compared to Instant Coffee. Can you drink ground coffee without a coffee machine?

Yes you can. In fact, for best results with a coffee machine, you should always use whole bean coffee as you’ll produce a better crema. It’s also better for flavour too. Our recommendation is that using ground generally works best for anything filter coffee related. For example, Cafetière, Aeropress, V60, Chemex and the Moka Pot is okay too.

Thanks so much for reading out article. I’d love to know what you think.

Did we miss anything? Drop us a note in the comments and we’d love to include your feedback.

You can follow us on our socials for more awesome coffee content.

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