11 Starbucks Ground Coffee Flavors Ranked Worst To Best

Whether you love it or you hate it, it's hard to argue with Starbucks' omnipresence on the coffee scene. In the time since the very first Starbucks opened in Seattle in 1971, this coffee chain has become so ubiquitous as to be a running joke. And while for many, Starbucks is all about the extras — the super-sweet Frappuccinos, the ultra-tailored orders mocked in "You've Got Mail," the somewhat other-worldly ability baristas have for mucking up people's names – for others, Starbucks' major plus is its coffee.

Starbucks has become the coffee of choice for many coffee lovers, who brew the chain's beans at home to bring a bit of the coffee house into their living rooms. But as for which blend to select ... well, therein lies the rub. Starbucks boasts three basic roast categories — blond, medium, and dark — though it's no secret that many believe the latter is just a euphemism for burnt

Taking into account the swaths of differing opinions (and girding our loins against potential vitriolic responses for fans of some of the less palatable brews), here are Starbucks' coffees ranked from worst to best.

11. French Roast

Alienating some right out of the gate, we're sure, but French Roast is a pretty divisive blend! This coffee is one of Starbucks' darkest roasts, with a deep black color and almost greasy allure. As for its flavor? Pretty burned ... and it also has the unfortunate, odd trait of smelling like tuna fish, fish food, or even ashtrays, depending on who you ask.

Despite its odd aroma (which Starbucks dubs "smoky"), French Roast was a fan fave before the Starbucks stores stopped selling it. To wit, one customer wrrote that the "best aromatherapy is to fine grind a fresh bag of Starbucks French Roast coffee beans just before a showing for your house sale or guests arrive ... Now if they'd only make Starbucks French Roast wax melts," they added.

Still others, however, assert that "This coffee tasted like straight up cigarettes." You can still find it in jumbo bags at Costco or online, but why would you want to?

10. Espresso Roast

Many of Starbucks' darker blends can seem fairly oily, something that occurs due to Starbucks' propensity for deep, dark roasts. As coffee beans are roasted, the natural oils present in the beans come to the surface, giving the beans an almost greasy sheen. While this isn't necessarily a problem — and is indeed sought after by some who prefer Starbucks' darker roasts — the issue certainly comes to a head with its Espresso Roast, which ends up ... not really doing what it says on the bag.

You see, oily beans are not great for your espresso machine, gumming up the works and contributing to an increased need for cleaning and even servicing. Using Starbucks' Espresso Roast in your espresso machine can therefore be a recipe for lots of extra work. In short, it's best to follow the advice of the Italian experts and brew your espresso with a medium blend. Leave this ultra-dark, ultra-oily coffee on the shelf.

9. Veranda Blend

If you prefer your coffee gently caress you awake rather than drop-kick you in the face, the mild Veranda Blend may be just the coffee for you. Coffee reviewer Barry Bizarre notes that Veranda is one of Starbucks' most popular blends and one of the first in its blonde category, first launched in 2012. According to Barry, it took almost 80 tries to get this blend just right. Light and mellow, it boasts cocoa and toasted nut aromas and, given its mild flavor, has a pretty consequential caffeine hit (as most blond roasts do).

The only downside to this coffee? It may be just too mellow for some who have grown accustomed to the bitter flavors of most Starbucks blends. "It is very, very soft," says Bizarre, who notes that the promised cocoa and nutty notes are "very light." Bizarre added, "If you're a fan of bold coffees, this is not your blend."

8. Italian Roast

Starbucks' Italian Roast is one of our better-ranked dark roasts thanks in large part to its balance. It boasts some of the bitterness one comes to expect from the chain's bolder blends without the smokiness and rather burnt flavor of French Roast. It also boasts a touch of sweetness (which the brand dubs "caramelized sugar" notes) and some chocolatey hints that come through even when milk or creamer is added.

For reviewer Jerry Fort, this coffee has a "light to medium roasty kind of aroma" and "a little bit of nuttiness in there — not a whole lot." For fans of coffee with a super intense olfactory hit, be forewarned: according to Fort, this coffee's taste is far stronger than its milder smell. He also notes that the sweetness promised is in reality "very, very, very light."

Overall, if you're looking for a dark roast that doesn't taste burned, this blend might be the one for you.

7. Breakfast Blend

Starbucks' Breakfast Blend comes in both a blonde and medium roast. The blonde iteration boasts a slight citrusy hint, perfect for enjoying first thing in the morning. But it can be divisive among coffee connoisseurs!

One reviewer, for example, found the Breakfast Blend way too mild. "It was rather weak and had little character," they said before adding, "Wasn't full bodied at all. Seemed like the bottom fell out of this blend." Other reviewers, however, love the slightly milder flavor of this blend, with one noting that while other Starbucks coffees are "overpowering and bitter," this one really ticks all the boxes.

A word of warning, however: Since the classic Breakfast Blend is blonde, the medium version has inadvertently made a few enemies of those who prefer the milder blend. One blonde fan found the medium to have "a smokey burnt taste."

"The MEDIUM blend is absolutely awful," added another. "Don't waste your money on this one if you're a regular Breakfast Blend lover. The real/original Breakfast Blend is smooth and mellow with no bitterness and great taste. This MEDIUM (tastes) more like the institutional Maxwell House. I won't be ordering this again."

6. House Blend

Starbucks' very first offering, the House Blend is a medium roast with a nutty, cocoa flavor. The House Blend is the perfect all-rounder: it doesn't have nearly as many stalwart fans as some of the darker or milder roasts, but it tends to be a crowd pleaser in crowds with mixed palates.

"Overall, I like it," says Kayla of YouTube's Coffee Coffee Coffee Show. "It's not my favorite, but it's passable." For the pair behind the coffee reviewing channel, this blend does indeed boast the roasty, nutty, cocoa notes Starbucks promises, though it hangs out right on the edge of being bitter enough to be unpleasant.Overall, though, the pair note that it doesn't have nearly the oomph it should, especially given the price point in the upper echelons.

Bottom line? This Starbucks coffee probably isn't making any best friends, but it's also not going to make any enemies.

5. Sumatra

Sumatra is a standout among the dark roasts, with a rich flavor, low acidity, and very little oil as compared to the French or Italian Roasts, for example. Sumatra boasts an almost chocolatey flavor and a lovely, full body. YouTuber Mr. Coffee appreciates the strength of this single-origin Indonesian coffee, celebrating its complex cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove aromas and surprising tartness, not to mention its richness and earthiness. "A very dense and dark flavor to this," he says. "More spicy than anything else." He gives it an overall rating of eight out of ten, saying: "I'm not extremely impressed," he says, "but I do think this is high-quality coffee."

For one reviewer, Sumatra is "the best coffee I've ever tasted — when brewed cold." The reviewer even claims it tastes better than coffee ice cream!

Another reviewer dubs it the "best Sumatra I've found," noting that they "cold-brew the coffee from freshly ground beans. This has a more robust flavor and more interesting taste notes than the others."

4. Verona

Verona is definitely a fan favorite. A dark roast without the overwhelming bitterness of the French Roast, for example, Verona boasts a chocolatey undertone and a lovely, balanced flavor profile. One reviewer warmed to its  "almost dark chocolaty air" as well as its lack of bitterness. "This coffee is very bold, strong, and smooth," writes the reviewer. "I have to say that it is currently my favorite."

Another fan added, "If you are a coffee connoisseur who enjoys strong coffee, you will love Caffe Verona. It has a rich, robust flavor on the side of dark coffee, tinged with shades of cocoa." Yet another celebrates this "perfect blend of a dark roast with the mellow nature of a medium ground."

As an added bonus for those looking above all for the perfect morning jolt, this blend boasts one of the highest caffeine contents of any Starbucks coffee out there.

3. Morning Joe

Originally dubbed the Starbucks Gold Coast Blend, Morning Joe is a dark roast that pulls the last punch: instead of the deep, bitter, burnt flavors of many of the chain's other dark roasts, Morning Joe is known for its deeply sweet, almost caramel aromas. While for some, this roast isn't quite dark enough, for others, it's a sleeper hit that doesn't get nearly enough press.

On YouTube's Coffee Coffee Coffee Show, Kayla's immediate reaction was overwhelmingly positive. "Gotta say, I like this!" she said. The team echoed the packaging's promise for a "syrupy" flavor, noting that the coffee does indeed boast a sweetness and a stoutness without that bitter edge. J.R., in particular, was pleasantly surprised by how well balanced the coffee was after such a cloying description!

One reviewer commented on the video, adding, "I love this blend. Smooth texture, a balanced and even whole tongue experience, and dark. It has a clean after-taste. It's the perfect delicious normal cup of coffee."

2. Blonde Sunrise

Okay, here's a flavor you don't want to pass up. "Love this smooth chocolate flavor!" said one reviewer on the Starbucks website. "Every time I open the bag I can't help but inhale the beautiful fresh aroma. Makes for a beautiful bulletproof cup of coffee. I do add more than what's said as I do love my coffee on the stronger side. Try it with a splash of caramel syrup and you'll be thinking of enjoying another cup."

Another reviewer goes one step further, noting that this "smooth and bright" coffee "lights up your mouth with flavor and you pick up hints of nuts and chocolate," the reviewer adds. "Not dark chocolate, but some of that good stuff that makes your mouth want to party."

A party in your mouth? Sounds good to us! Unfortunately, this one is tough to find in stores, but you can still find it online!

1. Pike Place

Pike Place is Starbucks' top seller for a good reason. A medium roast, it marries the rich qualities of Starbucks coffee with toasted nut and chocolate aromas. It boasts one of the highest caffeine contents of any Starbucks coffee and a flavor that consumers just can't get enough of.

This blend manages to walk the perfect line between being smooth and balanced while also having a bold and strong body to its taste. And as the house blend at Starbucks shops (supplanting the actual House Blend), it's also super aromatic from the moment it starts percolating.

For a group of baristas from a Starbucks in Costa Rica, this coffee has strong chocolate and caramel aromas, with a roasty flavor and a balance that persists with every sip. One of the baristas even notes that this blend reflects the change that Starbucks engineered on the coffee drinking scene when it opened its doors back in 1971. Now that's a powerful coffee!