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9 Best Ground Coffee for Espresso Machines in 2024

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This is our review of the best ground coffees for espresso machines in 2024. 

I’m Tim, a coffee connoisseur. I make espressos drinks several times every week, and after years of testing, I have learned what types of grounds are best. 

Our number one choice of coffee grounds for espresso machines is Illy Classico Espresso Ground Coffee, Medium Roast. Because it tastes great, is fresh, and is ethically sourced. It has a fantastic flavor with notes of caramel, orange blossom, and jasmine. 

illy classico espresso ground coffee medium roast

Illy Classico Espresso Ground: Best Overall

  • Roast: Medium
  • Flavor profile:
    • Caramel, orange blossom and jasmine
  • Available In: 8.8-ounce can
  • Grind size: Fine
  • Price: $$
  • Origin: Multiple Origin
  • Organic: N/A

But tastes in espresso vary significantly from person to person. For example, you might like different beans or roast levels. 

So to help cover everyone’s preferences, we compiled and evaluated a list of the top nine ground coffee products.

So keep reading to learn which option is best for you.

Top 9 Ground Coffees for Espresso Machines

  1. Illy Classico Espresso Ground Best Overall for Espresso
  2. Lavazza Espresso Italiano Ground – Runner Up
  3. Lifeboost Coffee Espresso GroundBest Espresso Grounds for Delonghi Machine
  4. Starbucks Ground Coffee Espresso Best Starbucks Ground Coffee for Espresso
  5. Lavazza Espresso Decaffeinated GroundBest Decaf Espresso Grounds
  6. Cafe Bustelo Cafe Espresso Molido Best Espresso Grounds UK
  7. Grinders Coffee, Rich EspressoBest Espresso Grounds Australia 
  8. Volcanica Espresso Dark RoastBest Espresso Grounds for Breville
  9. Cafe Bustelo, Espresso Style Dark RoastBest Espresso Grounds in Supermarket

9 Best Ground Coffee for Espresso Machines in 2024

Here are our reviews for the best ground coffee for espresso machines.

1. Illy Classico Espresso Ground – Best Overall

illy classico espresso ground coffee medium roast
Flavor profileCaramel, orange blossom and jasmine
Available In8.8 ounce can
Grind sizeFine
OriginMultiple Origin


  • Balanced flavor 
  • Low acid
  • Great packaging


  • Medium roast may not be strong enough for some espresso drinkers

The Illy Classico Espresso Medium Roast ground coffee is our top choice for espresso grounds because it is well-balanced, all-natural, and tastes great.

It is made from 100% Arabica coffee beans from multiple origins. It is a medium roast, so it doesn’t taste overly powerful or weak and has tasting notes of caramel and chocolate. 

Illy does not use any preservatives and is a 10-time honoree for the “World’s Most Ethical Companies” list. This means you can rest assured that this coffee is ethically farmed and sourced. 

The flavor of these espresso grounds is smooth and strong. But, being a medium roast, they are not strong enough for some pallets.  Besides chocolate and caramel, it has some notes of orange blossom and jasmine, making it an appealing drink. 

It comes in an 8.8-ounce air-sealed tin, which keeps the espresso grounds pretty fresh (until you open it). 

The only downside of the Illy Classico Espresso Ground Coffee is that it goes stale fast after you open it. But that’s true of any espresso grounds. 

Illy has a long track record of quality coffee. The company has been producing sustainable coffee for over three decades and roasting beans since 1933. 

If Illy’s medium roast doesn’t sound like the espresso grounds for you, perhaps our runner-up does. 

2. Lavazza Espresso Italiano Blend – Runner Up

lavazza espresso italiano ground coffee blend
Flavor profileFull body with creamy & caramel flavors
Available In1.25 lb bag, 8 oz can (4 pack)
Grind sizeFine
OriginMultiple origins– Southeast Asia, Africa, Central America, South America


  • Rich aromatic flavors
  • Made in Italy
  • Available in most grocery and online stores


  • Not intense enough for some
  • Too acidic for some drinkers

Lavazza Espresso Italiano Ground Coffee Blend has a pleasant and smooth flavor profile that is perfect for your everyday espresso drink.

It is a well-balanced medium roast with floral and fruity tasting notes. It has lower acidity than dark roasts and is stronger than light roasts. It isn’t overly robust or bitter. 

It is made from 100% Arabica coffee beans sourced from Southeast Asia, Africa, Central America, and South America. 

As such, it has several tasting notes that are expertly blended to provide aromatic tasting notes that pair well with any espresso beverage. 

If you’re a fan of medium roasts, you’ll definitely enjoy the  Lavazza Espresso Italiano grounds too. It tastes great on its own (as a shot of espresso), and if you mix it into an Americano, Latte, Cappuccino, etc.

Lavazza Espresso Italiano grounds are a medium roast, and while it has a strong flavor, it is not intense enough for a few espresso drinkers. If you want more intensity, I suggest getting a darker roast. 

It is available in multiple sizes: a 1.25 lb bag and an 8 oz 4-pack. Both sizes are available on Amazon, other online retailers, and your local grocery store.

Additionally, whether you purchase a bag or can, these espresso grounds are well-sealed to preserve freshness. 

If this ground espresso doesn’t sound like it is your jam, the Lifeboost Coffee Espresso Ground Coffee may be a better choice.

3. Lifeboost Coffee Espresso Ground – Best Certified Organic

lifeboost coffee espresso ground coffee
Flavor profileChocolate, caramel, and fruit
Available In12 oz bag
Grind sizeFine
OriginSingle origin – Central America (Nicaragua)
OrganicUSDA Certified Organic


  • Low acid
  • No additives
  • Grown at high altitude (more richness/flavor)


  • Cost more than other espresso grounds
  • Too strong for some

The Lifeboost Coffee Espresso ground coffee is ideal for those who want a strong and bold flavor in their espresso drinks

This espresso ground coffee has less acid than other brands. This is due to the beans growing in a high-altitude environment. This allows the coffee bean to absorb more nutrients, which boosts its flavor. 

These espresso grounds have a rich and powerful flavor, perfect for espresso fanatics. It is bold, rich, smooth, and has low acid. The flavor easily withstands the addition of milk, creamers, and sugars without masking its flavor profile. 

This Lifeboost Coffee Espresso ground coffee comes in a 12 oz bag, which clearly indicates the roast date for freshness. 

Additionally, it is both USDA Certified Organic (by NFC) and is third-party tested for mycotoxins and pesticides. This makes it one of the cleanest/most natural espresso grounds on the market. 

Most people enjoy the Lifeboost espresso grounds taste, but it may be too strong for some people. So, get a medium roast if you want something less robust. 

Another drawback is its price– it is more expensive than other comparable espresso grounds. But it is grown in a special environment– the high-altitude mountains in Nicaragua (which boosts its nutrient absorption, flavor, and richness). 

If the Lifeboost espresso grounds are too pricey for your wallet, the Starbucks Ground Coffee Espresso Roast might fit the bill.

4. Starbucks Ground Espresso Roast – Best Starbucks Espresso Coffee

starbucks espresso roast
Flavor profileRich molasses and caramel
Available In28 oz bag
OriginMutli-origin, Asia Pacific and Latin America


  • Consistent grind size for espresso machines
  • Ethically sourced
  • Rich tasting notes of molasses and caramel


  • Large bag (28 oz)
  • Too weak for some espresso drinkers

The Starbucks Espresso Roast coffee grounds are best for people who want a familiar taste in their flat whites, americanos, cappuccinos, lattes, etc. It is the best ground espresso from Starbucks. 

This strong roast has a pleasant taste with tasting notes of rich molasses and caramel. It is strong enough for most espresso drinkers (including me) besides a select few.

Compared to espresso grounds from other brands, the Starbucks Espresso grounds are fairly priced. That said, they are slightly higher than average. 

As with all Starbucks coffee, these espresso grounds are ethically sourced from several countries in the “Coffee Belt.” 

Ethically sourced means Starbucks only uses farms that don’t use harmful environmental practices or unfair labor practices growing the beans. 

One downside is that these espresso grounds only come in 28 oz bags, just like other ground coffee from Starbucks. That’s so much espresso grounds it may be difficult for you to get through before it goes stale. 

If Starbucks isn’t your favorite or you’d like something decaffeinated, look at Lavazza. 

5. Lavazza Decaffeinated Coffee – Best Decaf

lavazza espresso decaffeinated ground coffee
Flavor profileSweet and fruity
Available In8 oz can, 8.8 oz bag


  • 99.9% caffeine removed via CO2 decaffeination process
  • Full body and rich flavor


  • Too bitter for some

Lavazza Espresso Decaffeinated Ground Coffee is a medium roast that is decaffeinated, making it a great option for those who want to enjoy espresso without the effects of caffeine.

To remove the caffeine, Lavazza uses a natural method to remove the caffeine– the CO2 decaffeination process. It is a chemical-free process that removes 99.9% of the caffeine while maintaining the flavor and other properties. 

That way, you can enjoy a rich, full-body espresso without getting hyped up on caffeine. 

The 8 oz can of the Lavazza Espresso Decaffeinated Ground Coffee has a taste that is on par with leading caffeinated espresso grounds. 

And it has a fair price point compared to other decaf ground espressos. It’s slightly more expensive, but its quality and flavor justify the cost.

The Lavazza Espresso Decaffeinated Ground Coffee is a fantastic choice for those seeking a tasty, caffeine-free espresso drink.

That said,  if you need your caffeine fix, look at the Cafe Bustelo Cafe Espresso Molido – Espresso Ground Coffee.

6. Cafe Bustelo Cafe Molido – Best Espresso Grounds UK

cafe bustelo cafe espresso molido espresso ground coffee brick
Flavor profileStrong body, chocolate notes
Available In283 g Brick


  • Vacuumed sealed for maximum freshness
  • Low acid


  • More expensive than other options
  • Bag can easily puncture, breaking the vacuum seal

The Cafe Bustelo Cafe Espresso Molido grounds are a great option for espresso aficionados in the United Kingdom. It is available in local grocers and online marketplaces like Amazon

It is an espresso roast and is a dark, bold, pure, and powerful blend comprised of several different coffee beans. It has a strong taste, which is expected for espresso, but it isn’t bitter. It’s smooth and great tasting in all types of espresso drinks.

Compared to other ground espresso available in the UK, it is slightly more expensive. This is likely partially due to being imported from the United States, but its great taste and quality make up for it. 

These espresso grounds are made from coffee beans sourced from around the world, meaning you will experience several different tasting notes in this unique blend. It comes in vacuum-sealed, 283-gram bricks, which maintain freshness. 

That said, the brick can easily be punctured, ruining the vacuum seal (and potentially making the grounds stale early). It is uncommon, but a few online customers received bricks that were damaged.

The Cafe Bustelo Cafe Espresso Molido grounds have low acidity with a strong flavor, making it a repeat choice for many UK espresso drinkers. Even after considering its higher-than-average price. 

Looking for the best espresso ground in Australia instead? Check out our Grinders Coffee, Rich Espresso, Ground Coffee. 

7. Grinders Coffee, Rich Espresso, Ground Coffee – Best Espresso Grounds Australia 

grinders coffee rich espresso ground coffee
Flavor profileChocolate and fruit
Available In200 g bag


  • Full-bodied with a long, smooth, and earthy finish
  • Roasted in Melbourne


  • Not strong enough for some

The Grinders Coffee, Rich Espresso, Ground Coffee is our top choice for espresso grounds in Australia. 

It is a medium-dark roast and is an exceptional blend of Arabica and Robusta beans, creating a full-bodied coffee with a smooth, earthy finish. It’s best for espresso drinkers in Australia that prefer strong tastes and lasting flavors. 

Compared to other ground espresso beans in Australia, it is reasonably affordable– about average costs. The beans it uses are from multiple origins but are roasted locally in Melbourne. 

It is available in a single size, a 200-gram bag of freshly ground espresso beans.  

Grinders Coffee is Rainforest Alliance Certified, which means the farms their beans come from only use sustainable, environmentally-friendly farming practices

Since these espresso grounds are roasted in Melbourne, it is fresher than other imported coffee grounds. And while these grounds are reasonably strong, they aren’t strong enough for some picky espresso drinkers. 

Looking for the best ground espresso beans for your Delonghi machine? Read on. 

8. Volcanica Espresso Dark Roast Coffee – Best for Breville & Delonghi Machines

volcanica espresso dark roast coffee
Flavor profileCaramel
Available In16 oz bag


  • Caramel tasting notes with signature intensity
  • Complex, spicy aroma
  • Rainforest Alliance Certified and Fair-Trade Certified


  • Too acidic for some

Volcanica Espresso Dark Roast espresso grounds are the best for those with Breville and Delonghi espresso machines. Like other coffees in this list, the Volcanica is pre-ground and ready to load into your machine. 

It is a dark roast with tasting notes of caramel and powerful intensity, which most expect out of their espresso. Additionally, it is mildly acidic and has a unique spicy aroma. 

Compared to other espresso grounds, the Volcanica Espresso Dark Roast espresso grounds are rather pricey– one of the most expensive on this list. 

But these grounds make such a great-tasting unique espresso that the higher price is worth it. What sets these grounds apart from the others is how it is grown– Volcanica grows their coffee beans only at high elevations in volcanic regions. 

This growing environment allows the coffee plant to absorb more nutrients and unique minerals, giving it its exotic, wonderful taste. A perfect pair to your Breville or Delonghi– impress your guest with this high-quality espresso, or enjoy it yourself.

It comes in a 16-ounce bag– Volcanica recommends on the label that you transfer it to an airtight, opaque container and store it at room temperature to preserve the freshness. 

Even though these espresso grounds have low acid, it is too acidic for some reviewers. That said, I suspect these reviewers are drinking stale grounds (i.e. they didn’t store it in an airtight container or waited too long to use it). 

The Volcanica Espresso dark roast (and all coffee from Volcanica) is Rainforest Alliance Certified and Fair-Trade Certified. This means its coffee is ethically sourced, farmed, and processed. 

Volcanica out of your budget or not available locally? Cafe Bustelo’s ground espresso is more cost-effective and available at most supermarkets. 

9. Cafe Bustelo, Espresso Style Dark Roast – Best Espresso Grounds in Supermarket

cafe bustelo espresso style dark roast ground coffee
Flavor profileSweet and fruity
Available In10 oz, 1.37 lb, 2.25 lb can


  • Inexpensive
  • Available at most grocery stores/supermarkets


  • Flavor too mild for some

The Cafe Bustelo, Espresso Style Dark Roast is the best espresso grounds available in most supermarkets. It is perfect for everyday espresso drinkers who want to save money while enjoying their daily fix. 

The Cafe Bustelo is a multi-origin coffee made with several different beans. This gives it a mild flavor and intensity but is still strong enough for your espressos. 

Compared to other espresso grounds, it is incredibly affordable– one of the most inexpensive on the market. And it is available in several sizes– 10 oz, 1.37 lb, and 2.25 lb cans. But be careful getting the larger cans, as fine-grind coffee can go stale fast. 

You can pick the Cafe Bustelo, Espresso Style Dark Roast grounds up from almost every grocery store or supermarket in the US. And it is readily available at several online retailers like Amazon and Walmart. 

One potential downside is that these espresso grounds are too mild for some drinkers. I somewhat agree– I usually prefer stronger. But every now and then, a less intense espresso hits the spot. 

Espresso Machine Ground Coffee Buying Guide

Here are the top considerations when you are looking for ground coffee to purchase for your espresso machine. For more information, see our full coffee-buying guide

What to considerWhy it’s important
RoastDark roast makes a more intense espresso than light and medium roasts
Grind SizeEspresso machines need fine grind.
The right type for your beverageDifferent bean types, caffeine levels, and other factors play a role in people’s coffee preferences
Certifications Organic, fairtrade, etc., are important to many
Price/BudgetGrounds for espresso machines range from low-cost to expensive
Single vs multi-originSingle-origin espresso grounds usually have a more consistent flavor than multi-origin 
Packaging/roast dateA more recent roast date means the espresso grounds are fresher


The espresso grounds’ roast level– blonde, light, medium, dark– is one of the most important considerations for espresso machines. Most espresso drinkers, including me, recommend darker roasts. 

Dark roasts have more intensity, bolder flavors, and more strength that is expected from espresso.  

However, use your personal preference for which roasts you like the best for espresso machines.

RoastFlavorBest for 
Light roastMild to mediumCoffee drinks
Medium roastMedium Coffee drinks, cold brew
Dark roastStrongCoffee, cold brew, and espresso drinks
Espresso roastVery strongEspresso drinks

Grind size

When selecting your coffee grounds for an espresso machine, the most important factor is the grind size. This impacts the speed at which the water and coffee mix during brewing and the rate the flavor extracts from the beans.

For espresso machines, you need to use a fine grind size. Medium and coarse grounds won’t work for espresso machines. 

Larger grind sizes don’t have enough surface area to absorb enough water to make an espresso shot. Plus, they could clog up your espresso machine and eventually damage it.  

Learn more details about this in our coffee grind size guide

Grind SizeBest for 
FineEspresso machines and Moka Pots
MediumDrip machines, cold brew, and pour over
Medium-coarseDrip machines, pour over, cold brew, and French press
CoarseFrench press and cold brew


When you are looking for ground coffee for your espresso machine, you should consider its certifications, such as organic or Fair Trade. 

A Fair Trade mark signifies that your ground coffee is sustainably grown and harvested. Plus, it supports the farmers and local communities that cultivate it.

On the other hand, USDA-certified organic coffee means the coffee doesn’t have any artificial flavors, preservatives, colors, or other additives.

So, if you want the most natural coffee possible for your espressos, get a brand with this certification.


When searching for ground coffee for espresso, you need to consider the price and quality. 

Generally, inexpensive espresso grounds are low quality, and more expensive ones are higher quality. 

An 8-10 oz of espresso ground coffee usually costs between $8 and $25, depending on the quantity and quality. 

Single-origin vs. Multi-origin

Another important consideration for ground espresso coffee is whether it is “single-origin” or “multi-origin” beans.

Multi-origin espresso grounds are made from beans sourced from two or more locations. This can create unique and complex flavors. But it can also lead to inconsistent flavors and poor taste. But most often, it is a less expensive coffee.

On the other hand, single-origin coffee is only made from beans from one location. It can be a single country, region, or even one farm

Single-origin coffee emphasizes the flavor of the single bean, creating a stronger and more consistent flavor. This differentiates it from other coffee beans, and it often costs more.

One is better than the other as they have different tasting experiences. Single-origin is a  more consistent flavor with one to two tasting notes. Multiple-origin coffee may have several different tasting notes.

Packaging date

When choosing pre-ground espresso, you should look at its packaging date closely. For the best taste and freshness, get some that was made relatively recently. 

This is even more important for espresso grounds because they go stale faster than coffee grounds (espresso’s fine grind has more surface area, which makes them absorb more air and go bad quicker). 

When purchasing ground espresso from online retailers, verifying the packaging date isn’t always possible. But you can try contacting the seller and ask them to send a fresh batch instead of one that’s been sitting on their shelf. 

Best brands

When you’re looking for pre-ground espresso beans, you should look at options from the best brands. These include Starbucks, Lifeboost, Lavazza, and Illy.

Starbucks offers a range of single-origin espresso grounds with various flavor profiles. Plus, you can buy all variations of pre-ground or whole beans. 

Other brands like Lavazza and Illy have several different roasts along with whole beans and different grind sizes available. 

Our Verdict

Here are the top 3 choices. All three have great tastes, quality, and the perfect roast level and grind size for espressos. 

illy classico espresso ground coffee medium roast

Illy Classico Espresso Ground: Best Overall

  • Roast: Medium
  • Flavor profile:
    • Caramel, orange blossom, and jasmine
  • Available In: 8.8-ounce can
  • Grind size: Fine
  • Price: $$
  • Origin: Multiple Origin
  • Organic: N/A
Photo of author


Tim Lee is, as you might have guessed the founder of He is a former barista and a professional web publisher. He has now combined his knowledge and expertise in both subjects to create
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