The 5 Best Cheap Coffee Beans (The Best Coffee For Money)

While there are many artisanal coffee brands to choose from, those beans or specialized drinks often come at a high price. Sometimes you just want a regular smooth cup of coffee without paying $5 per cup.

There are many good cheap coffee brands out there. I have been drinking a few of them for several years and continue to do so.

Some of these beans may be a medium roast or dark roast. Either way, they can provide a very smooth and reliable cup of coffee. Odds are you have probably heard of several or all of these coffee brands. 

Dunkin Donuts Whole Bean, Medium Roast

Dunkin' Original Blend Medium Roast Whole Bean Coffee, 12 Ounces
$8.49
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11/30/2021 12:17 am GMT

Dunkin Donuts is a coffee brand that originated in Massachusetts and has gone on to have an international presence.  I have been drinking Dunkin Donuts for the majority of my life and I must say this brand has always provided a consistent smooth cup of coffee.

Many coffee reviews often refer to Dunkin Donuts’ consistently smooth taste and praise it for tasting better than Starbucks coffee. Users note the low acidity and smoothness in both the home brew and the coffee shop brew.

It also goes perfectly with a donut. While I tend to prefer a darker roast when possible, you can’t go wrong with a Dunkin Donuts medium roast. 

Needless to say, I was excited when Dunkin Donuts made their coffee beans available in stores years ago. Whether you feel like going to the coffee shop or not, you can always have an enjoyable cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee at home.

You have several purchasing options if you want to bring home a bag of Dunkin Donuts coffee. You can go into one of the several Dunkin Donut coffee shops and pick up a bag of whole bean or ground coffee. Amazon, Target, and Walmart are also reliable sources for a bag of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.

If you want a powerful dark roast to make an espresso, you should also pick up a bag of Midnight Roast. The Midnight Roast has replaced Dunkin Donuts’ old dark roast coffee and it is outstanding. It is available for a similar price point to the medium roast beans.

Pros

  • This coffee is known for its consistent taste quality. It is usually very easy to find a Dunkin’ Donuts, in the US and in many foreign countries. You have several options for buying beans at the stores or online. Their dark roast is on par with their medium.

Cons

  • Some people may mistakenly be snobbish about purchasing this coffee because it is a part of such a large chain.

Lion Coffee French Roast

Lion Coffee, French Roast - Whole Bean Coffee, 24 Ounce Bag
$19.07
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11/30/2021 12:25 am GMT

Speaking of dark roast, Lion French Roast coffee is a cheap but delicious dark roast that you may enjoy. Unlike some French roasts, you should not taste any bitterness on your palate.

This coffee has a unique complex taste and rich flavor from the volcanic soil of Hawaii. In other words, you get a chance to try an exotic coffee that was actually grown in the United States. While many products that come from an island can be expensive, you won’t pay a high price for this coffee. 

This dark roast is not as dark as the Midnight Roast from Dunkin’ Donuts, as it runs toward a more medium level on a dark scale. Many reviewers have described the coffee as smooth and rich.

If you do invest in a bulk bag of the ground version, ensure that you have proper storage. Grab an opaque airtight container and store your bulk coffee on your pantry shelf. Contrary to popular belief, freezing your coffee may not be the ideal way to keep it fresh unless you are storing whole coffee beans.

Pros

  • This is a dark roast with no bitterness. It combines exoticness while still being a domestic coffee.

Cons

  • If you buy in bulk, double check that you have whole beans if you don’t want it ground already.  It is hard for ground coffee to stay fresh for too long.

Lavazza Super Crema

Lavazza Super Crema Espresso Whole Bean Coffee, 2.2-pound Bag 2-pack
$38.00
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11/30/2021 08:41 am GMT

Do you love Italian coffee? The only thing better than Italian coffee is cheap Italian coffee.

Lavazza is known for reliably delicious coffee drinks. I have enjoyed several of their blends over the years, and I definitely enjoyed their dark roast coffee as well.

This particular brand offers tantalizing notes of almonds, brown sugar, and honey. The whole beans come in an affordable bulk bag. 

While I have not attempted to use this in an espresso machine, apparently this blend can work as an espresso or coffee. Since the beans are less oily, you can make it as espresso.

For regular coffee, it is recommended that you just use a drip coffee maker. Regardless of which machine you use for preparation, you should walk away with a robust, rich, and balanced cup of dark roast coffee. 

This all sounds like a good deal. Some coffee drinkers have rated this particular coffee blend as the best overall for cheap coffee. 

Pros

  • Quality Italian coffee at a discount rate

Cons

  • I am not sure about promoting this coffee as being used as espresso. Some reviewers claim the lack of oils makes it good for an espresso machine.

Tim Horton’s Original

Tim Hortons is a well-known coffee brand from Canada. I discovered this Northern coffee years ago when I lived in California. This is significant for me because at the time, it was so hard trying to find a coffee shop that just sold regular coffee.

What I have always liked about this coffee is it is just a nice simple medium blend. It is very smooth and non-acidic. While Tim Horton’s is not my first choice to wake up in the morning, I can enjoy it as a second cup of coffee –  particularly at midday.  This is a type of coffee I can drink a few cups in a row without feeling jittery. 

Whether you go into a Tim Horton’s cafe or buy the whole beans, you can sip a pleasant and no-frills cup of coffee. Its simplicity and normal flavor remind me of a lighter version of Folger’s. I would even consider it the Canadian Foldgers.

Apparently, the company has a secret recipe that only three people know. They roast their beans in small batches until the light medium flavor is achieved. Regardless of how they make their patches, reviewers consistently agree Tim Hortons is just good simple coffee.

While some independent coffee roasters are trying to be more conscious now, Tim Hortons led the way years ago.

The company buys its beans from places such as Guatemala, Colombia, Honduras, and Brazil. It has launched partnerships to serve these host communities.

Pros

  • Recognizable brand of simple good coffee

Cons

  • Due to the rise of artisanal coffee, the simple taste of Tim Horton’s may be undervalued by some. 

McCafe Ground Medium

McCafe Premium Roast, Medium Roast Ground Coffee, 30 oz Canister
$9.66
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11/30/2021 12:34 am GMT

Unfortunately, when we hear the name McDonald’s, we don’t always associate it with quality foods. However, if you do want a good cup of quality coffee that is also quite cheap, look no further.

McDonald’s coffee has helped people to wake up for many years. Luckily, you no longer have to step foot inside a McDonald’s or go through their drive-thru to sip their java.  You can easily brew your own aromatic McCafe coffee from the comfort of your own home.

Some people refer to this brew as acidic but fruity and smooth. Overall, I find McCafe coffee very balanced, slightly nutty, and consistent. It can have a slight bitterness, but it is not overpowering.

Like Dunkin’ Donuts, in my travels, I’ve often gone to McDonald’s just for a cup of coffee. The coffee seems to be consistent regardless of geography. Maybe they also have a secret recipe like Tim Hortons.

If you wonder where McDonald’s coffee comes from or what is in it, you don’t have to worry about pink slime. The coffee is top-notch –  quite frankly, it’s gourmet. McDonald’s coffee is supplied by Gavina.

Its Arabica beans come from high-ranking coffee-producing countries such as Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Brazil.

Pros

  • Overall, consistently good coffee. McDonald’s is all over the world so you always have a place to get a cup already made. The coffee itself is easily available online and in grocery stores.

Cons

  • Associated with McDonalds

What To Look For When Buying Cheap Coffee Beans

There are many recognizable brands that can supply coffee lovers with consistent cheap coffee.  Some of these well-known brands, like Dunkin Donuts, McDonald’s, and Tim Hortons have coffee shops or kiosk locations in bigger stores.

You always have the option of getting your brew ready made at one of these places. For the price of a large latte, you can bring home a bag of these cheap beans to brew yourself.

While some may disagree, I often find these cheap brands are better for my palate than some artisanal brands.

A cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee or McDonald’s coffee is just as much of an option for me as a cup of Starbucks or an espresso concoction.

My coffee choice depends on my mood and accessibility. I’ve drunk too much good cheap coffee as well as high-end coffee to know that one is not automatically better than the other.

Despite the good taste, some people will never drink cheap coffee, no matter how good it is.

In the case of a brand like McDonald’s, the coffee may suffer some guilt by association. However, there are many people like me who easily opt-out of eating at McDonald’s but frequently go there just for a cup of joe.

Buying in bulk is very tempting when you are looking at the prices of those cheap coffee bags. However, doing so may end up costing you more in the long run. If you buy coffee in bulk that you do not have proper storage for, it may end up losing its taste.

There is no point in drinking coffee once you can no longer taste the actual coffee or get a little jolt of caffeine. At least with artisanal coffees, they tend to come in smaller bags, so they are less likely to go to waste. At least the cheap coffee has a smaller price tag.