Picking coffee to try is fun! Some sources for coffee:
- Stop by your favorite coffee shop and pick up a bag.
- Buy some coffee on your travels and enjoy a bit of that city when you return home.
- Order coffee online (Palmpress sells featured coffees every month).
- Peruse the coffee aisle at the grocery store.
Wherever you get the coffee, here are things to consider:
Look for coffee bags that have a roast date on them - it’s an indication that the roaster cares enough to inform you about freshness. As for when to consume a coffee after its roast date, this differs coffee to coffee. But generally with whole beans it’s best to consume a few days after the roast date through a couple months from the roast date. If you prefer to buy pre-ground coffee, consider buying smaller amounts at a time so that you’re enjoying fresher coffee.
Generally speaking, roast refers to how long heat was applied to a coffee, which alludes to how it will taste. Many coffee roasters like to give their types of roasts special names, but they're also commonly categorized as light, medium, and dark. And the simplest way to identify the roast is by the light to dark color of the beans/grounds. The roasting time increases as you go from light to dark. The longer a coffee is roasted, the more the bitter/burnt flavors come out and the more the oils appear on the bean's surface. With less of this burnt flavor, lighter roasts tend to be more complex in flavor, showcasing the qualities of its bean and origin.
Some coffee bags will note flavors that you can spot in the coffee, just like how wine bottles might display flavor notes. These notes don’t mean that the roaster actually added flavors to the coffee (at least that’s not the norm); they just mean that the coffee might remind you of these flavors. Pay attention to these notes and over time you may realize what types of flavors you prefer. See the TASTING COFFEE section for more on flavors.
For the freshest coffee, purchase whole beans and, using a burr grinder, grind the amount you need just before brewing. If you prefer to purchase pre-ground coffee, make sure you have it ground to the correct size for your coffeemaker.
Palmpress is best with medium grind. If you’re purchasing coffee from a coffee shop, grab a bag of whole beans and ask the barista to grind it medium. If purchasing from a grocery store, many stores have a coffee-grinding machine you can use - do not choose "FINE," or "ESPRESSO" for Palmpress.