This one should be pretty obvious, but judging by the amount of individuals within the various offices during which I’ve worked who seem quite content to drink the uninspiring swill that's produced by various plastic pods and foil packets, maybe it doesn’t go without saying: Good coffee starts with good beans.
But finding good beans isn’t almost paying $20 for 350 grams of an area roast with a cute label, because you furthermore may need to just like the coffee that said beans produce. Through tons of trial and error, I’ve discovered the beans and roasts my palate prefers — specifically, darker, richer roasts with notes of chocolate, caramel, and honey; a smooth mouthfeel; an honest deal of bitterness. I recoil from light roasts, and particularly anything that describes itself with words like “bright” or, especially, “citrus.”
It’s worthwhile to shop for a bunch of various beans and brew them a couple of alternative ways to work out what kind you wish the foremost .
While it’s convenient to shop for pre-ground beans or get them ground at the shop , you’ll always get the freshest taste from beans you grind yourself — and occasional snobs swear by their burr grinders. In contrast to blade grinders, which pulverize the beans to bits very much like a blender would, the burr grinder uses two, er, burrs (which are often flat or cone-shaped) to grind the pieces to your required size, from big and gritty (suitable to be used during a French press) to powder-fine (essential for espressos).
The problem with burr grinders is that they will be very expensive. I received mine (made by Mr. Coffee) as a present from my wife about five years ago. The reviews are good, but a number of the haughtier ones suggest it isn’t a “true” burr grinder. Oh well: It’s around $50, but you'll spend tons more if you would like to. And even then, some swear you really recover results employing a hand grinder. But the last item i would like to try to to while a child is yelling at me at 7:30 a.m. is hand-grind beans for 10 minutes.