Best Coffee Beans in the UK

The UK has access to some of the best coffee beans in the world, making us one of the luckiest nations of coffee drinkers. From Peru to Rwanda, roasters across the UK have provided us with a coffee utopia where we can be as specific as we want when it comes to our coffee beans.

But what’s the best coffee beans for you? Do you prefer your beans to be dark roasted? Perhaps you want coffee beans that are great for espressos. Whatever you want, you can probably find it!

Just to make your job slightly easier, we’ve compiled a list of the amazing coffee beans available in the UK based on our own testing and thousands of UK consumer reviews.

Why Are Coffee Beans Better Than Ground?

Coffee can be enjoyed in all forms, whether that’s as an espresso or as a cappuccino. The one thing all coffees have in common however is that they’re always best when made from fresh coffee beans.

Whilst there are some great coffees in instant coffee and ground coffee form, there’s nothing quite like grinding your own coffee beans and taking in all the wonderful, fresh flavours.

With that being said, you might be wondering why are coffee beans better than instant or ground coffee? Well, it’s all to do with the oxidation. As soon as the protective casing around the coffee bean is cracked, oxidation speeds up.

What is oxidation?

Oxidation is essentially the addition of oxygen. Coffee gets its distinctive taste and aroma because of various chemical compounds, oils and acids. When exposed to oxygen, the aroma and taste of these solubles can change and it’s not for the better.

By only grinding your beans when you’re ready to use them, the best aroma and taste will remain intact.

Now you know the science behind why coffee beans are better than ground, let’s take a look at some of the best coffee beans available to buy in the UK.

Best Coffee Beans Overall: Spiller and Tait (9.8/10)

Spiller and Tait best coffee beans

The award winning Spiller and Tait’s Signature Blend gets our vote for the best coffee beans available in the UK. From taste, freshness and value for money, they tick every box. These beans are very versatile and are suitable for any type of coffee machine or maker.

Taste – 10/10

What you get from Spiller and Tait’s Signature Blend is a smooth and full bodied coffee. It’s rich and smoky with undertones of roasted almonds and caramelised demerara sugar. Spiller and Tait roast their coffee with an emphasis on reducing bitterness and truly understand the British palette as exemplified by this wonderful coffee.

Freshness – 10/10

Spiller and Tait understand how too make the best coffee at home and part of this is how fresh their beans are. They roast their beans regularly in small batches to ensure you’re getting the freshest coffee beans possible.

Value for Money – 10/10

For the price you pay, you more than get your money’s worth. Per gram, these coffee beans are around the same price you’d typically expect to pay but with added quality.

Customer Reviews – 9.2/10

Across thousands of reviews, it’s fairly unanimous that people are happy with the coffee beans they receive from Spiller and Tait. That’s hardly surprising to us as when we tested them they really were incredible!

Final Verdict

Spiller and Tait go way beyond just the quality and taste of the coffee. Follow up customer service with helpful guides and tips on how to brew your coffee show a level of customer care not often found elsewhere. If you’re looking for the best coffee in the UK, you’ve found it.

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Best Coffee Beans for Espresso: Starbucks Blonde (9.7/10)

Starbucks were one of the first companies to take arabica coffee and make it appeal to the masses so it’s no surprise that they’ve wound up on this list. Their Blonde Espresso roast is grown and roasted specifically for espresso coffee and it doesn’t disappoint.

Taste – 9.5/10

What you get from Starbucks’ Blonde Espresso Roast is a light-bodied and mellow coffee that is soft and balanced. The beans have been carefully roasted to bring out sweet, vibrant notes without having a roasty edge.

Freshness – 10/10

As you’d expect from a company who sells A LOT of coffee, fresh beans are frequently roasted. This means you’re almost guaranteed to get a fresh batch when you order.

Value for Money – 10/10

Per gram, these coffee beans are slightly cheaper than you can expect to pay individual roasters who are unable to save on costs at the same level as Starbucks can. If you opt for a subscription, the cost is even cheaper (between 10% – 15% off).

Customer Reviews – 9.4/10

50 years of roasting experience is on the side of Starbucks and they’ve really grasped everything from the taste to the aroma that coffee consumers want. As some might know, all Starbucks employees are made shareholders of the company meaning they’re more likely to take extra care when making the perfect coffee beans.

Final Verdict

Sometimes it’s best not to bet against experience and that’s the case here. Starbucks’ Blonde Espresso Roast is, in our opinion, the best coffee beans for espresso.

Best Dark Roast: Union Coffee (9/10)

union coffee

If you’ve yet to try the award winning Union coffee, you’re missing out. They’ve won the Best European Specialty Roaster award on 3 separate occasions and that’s testament to the high quality of not only their 100% Arabica beans but the quality of their roasting too. This particular Daily Roast blend gets our vote for the best dark roast.

Taste – 9/10

The taste is well rounded with low acidity which I prefer for coffee in general, as it works with small amounts and large amounts of milk, but just as well as a black coffee without bitterness. In terms of specifics, expect dominant dark chocolate notes with a treacle sweetness which adds a degree of depth and complexity.

Freshness – 9/10

Union regularly roast their coffee beans in small batches so you can expect to get freshly roasted beans when you order from them. There have been occasions where customers have been delivered bags that were roasted a few weeks previously which isn’t ideal but we didn’t have such problems when we ordered ours.

Value for Money – 9/10

Union is a little bit more expensive per gram than their competitors but in general, the quality of the coffee is better. The reason the coffee costs slightly more is because of the fair price they pay farmers to harvest the beans. We’re OK paying a little extra for this reason but it’s really a personal preference.

Customer Reviews – 9/10

Across thousands of reviews, Union score a 9 out of 10 which is the highest we’ve found for the quantity of ratings they’ve received. Customers tend to rave about how great this coffee is in bean-to-cup machines in particular.

Final Verdict

Union are an ethically driven company who make fantastic, award winning coffee. This particular dark roast is the best of the bunch for us and can be enjoyed with or without milk. Try using in a bean-to-cup machine to really get the best out of it.

Best Medium Roast: Good Life Coffee (9.2/10)

Good Life Coffee haven’t been around long but they’ve already accomplished more than most coffee roasters could ever hope to. They’ve won the Great Taste award for the last 2 years and their Bloom single origin coffee gets our vote as the best medium roast coffee beans on the market.

Taste – 10/10

The taste is rich with the aroma to go with it. It’s crisp yet delicate and you can expect sweet notes of nectarine and raspberry with a splash of citrusy lemon. This is one of the best medium roasts we’ve ever tasted and that’s a testament to the thorough research Good Life Coffee put into the cultivation of their beans.

Freshness – 10/10

Good Life Coffee are independent roasters and regularly roast small batches. To go along with this, delivery is speedy to ensure you’re getting the freshest beans possible.

Value for Money – 8/10

This is a tough one to evaluate. When it comes to taste and freshness, it’s tough to get better than Good Life Coffee. However, the price is very expensive per gram. This comes down to what you can afford but this coffee might be more of a treat than a regular fixture in your coffee routine.

Customer Reviews – 8.6/10

Whilst there aren’t a load of reviews out there for this coffee, our team enjoyed it so much that we felt it needed to be on this list. Beyond our reviews, customers rated this on average 8.6/10. As mentioned above, it is expensive and you’ll find that many consumers rate it down due to its price tag.

Final Verdict

Bloom is one of the best coffees if you like medium roasts and is only ever so slightly let down by its price. If you can afford it, go ahead. If not, we’d recommend treating yourself now and again!

Best Light Roast: Brown Bear (8.7/10)

best coffee beans light roast

If you’re someone who prefers to wake up to a nice light roast, Brown Bear’s Breakfast Blend (say that quickly 10 times) is the coffee for you. Landing at 1 on the strength scale, it’s lovely tasting with barely any acidity.

Beyond the coffee, Brown Bear commits 5% of all sales to Free the Bears who rescue bears.

Taste – 8/10

The taste is not overly complicated and is well balanced. Expect a light coffee with a refreshing malty and nutty blend. For a stronger taste, we’d recommend using more than the recommended one rounded tablespoon per mug.

Freshness – 9/10

All of their coffees are freshly roasted and the Breakfast Blend is no different. The coffee is stored immediately in an air tight and resealable bag ensuring oxidation is fended off until you’re ready to grind the beans.

Value for Money – 9/10

Brown Bear are very reasonably priced per gram. Whilst it’s not a high grade cup of coffee, Brown Bear pride themselves on maintaining the middle-ground between being expensive coffee and a cost-effective solution to home brewing.

Customer Reviews – 8.8/10

Across hundreds of reviews, Brown Bear’s Breakfast Blend scores a high 8.8/10. Coffee consumers rave about the light roast that doesn’t drain the beans of their colour or taste. Across the board, our testers are pretty much aligned with reviewers and would give this coffee a 9/10.

Final Verdict

Depending on your tastes and preferences, this might be one of the best coffees for you. With hints of chocolate and a nice aroma, it’s great as a latte or as a black coffee.

Best Coffee Beans Gift Set: Quirky Coffee Co (9.8/10)

quirky coffee beans gift set

Quirky Coffee Co are relatively new to the coffee scene but they consistently great incredible single origin coffees and amazing blends. Their coffee beans gift set makes for a great gift for the coffee lover in your life. Each box comes with 3 different bags from their artisan range.

Moreover, they’re letterbox friendly so you could get your loved one a year’s subscription delivered to their door each month.

Taste – 10/10

We can’t comment on individual coffees but having tried them all, you won’t be disappointed.

Freshness – 10/10

Quirky Coffee Co roast their coffee in small batches at regular intervals. Once a customer has placed an order, it’s usually with you within a couple of days. Quirky Coffee Co are really committed to ensuring they make the best home coffee and they more than deliver (no pun intended).

Value for Money – 9/10

The cost of the coffee beans gift set is £12 or £10.80 on subscription. For this, you get 240g in total of 3 different varieties. Whilst a regular 250g bag might set you back around £8 from Quirky Coffee Co, you should always expect to pay a little more for a gift set.

Definitely worth the money as a unique gift.

Customer Reviews – 10/10

Customers and our testers alike are unanimously in agreement that QCC score a 10/10 overall. Customers rave about the fact that there are 3 different bags at a size big enough to get a feel for the coffee. Many customers end up subscribing which shows how great these coffee bean gift sets are.

Final Verdict

Ever since trying Quirky Coffee Co around 6 months ago, I’ve been a huge fan of their specialty coffee and this coffee beans gift set is the ideal way to introduce a loved one to the wonders of Quirky’s coffee. Look out for their seasonal gift boxes as they tend to create one for most occasions!

Best Coffee Beans for Cafetiere: Crazy Cat (9.5/10)

This rich medium roast from Crazy Cat Coffee is at its best when brewed in a cafetiere.

The beans are grown in warm and fertile volcanic soil in Colombia. Once processed and milled, it’s exported to the UK where Crazy Cat’s roaster uses his 30 years of experience to produce some of the best coffee beans for cafetieres known to man!

Taste – 9/10

The Colombian Coffee Beans are a medium roast that isn’t too strong but still packs a punch. Expect a strength and boldness for energy and clarity yet a creaminess and richness that gives ‘reading a book by the fire’ vibes.

In terms of the flavour profile, expect delicate fruity notes complimented with slight chocolate tones.

We’d give the taste a high 9/10.

Freshness – 10/10

You can expect to get freshly roasted beans when you order from Crazy Cat Coffee as they roast their coffee beans in small batches. They’re quite strict when it comes to the limited window of freshness and believe this is the defining factor in a great tasting coffee.

Value for Money – 10/10

The quality of the beans makes this coffee very reasonably priced. It’s cheaper per gram than the majority of coffee beans to make our list yet tastes just as good, especially when brewed in a cafetiere.

We’re giving Crazy Cat Coffee the best 10/10 in the value for money category.

Customer Reviews – 9/10

Across hundreds of reviews, consumers gave Crazy Cat Coffee on average a 9/10 score. Many consumers appreciated the smoothness of the coffee and complimented the lack of bitterness. On the basis of taste, cost and overall value for money we’re in agreement with this and think that the rating is about right.

Final Verdict

These are some of the best coffee beans for cafetiere and we’d recommend them if that’s your brew method of choice. You can be confident that you’ll be getting a great tasting coffee at a very reasonable price and if you’re one of the few that doesn’t like them, you can get refunded in full. On that basis, they’re definitely worth a try!

Summary

If you’re looking for some of the best coffee beans in the world, you don’t have to deviate too far from this article. In our opinion, coffee is always at its best when freshly ground just before you brew it and these companies have mastered the art at growing and roasting the best coffee beans.

Want to learn more about different coffees? Feel free to take a look at our recent “best ground coffee” guide!