Most coffee drinkers don't give much though to the coffee they drink. They drink whatever coffee is cheap and nearby. When shopping for coffee most people buy whatever is cheapest. The coffee most people drink is weak and tastes alarmingly like cardboard. There are those out there who have finer taste in that lovely dark elixir made from what are, in fact, berries.
These gourmet coffee lovers don't just drink their coffee to give them a jolt in the morning (or afternoon, or evening); these coffee connoisseurs drink coffee because they savor the rich flavor and subtle tones of this increasingly popular drink. It used to be difficult to for people who enjoyed good coffee to find the quality they were searching for. Some popular coffee shop chains have changed all that.
Now, all but the most backwoods of towns, has at least one coffee shop, whether a chain or local business, which serves up high quality brew. This kind of coffee often costs more than convenience store brown water sold as coffee, but to the coffee drink with class, the extra money spent is well worth it. In addition to coffee shops, which offer already brewed gourmet coffee and bags of gourmet coffee to bring home, more and more grocery stores and supermarkets are carrying it as well. You can get gourmet coffee already ground or you can buy whole beans and grind them at home. You can also get whole beans and grind them with the in-store grinder which accompanies almost all decent gourmet coffee displays.
Don't be afraid of the machine. It won't chop your fingers off. They're easy to use.
You just select the coarseness of the grind, dump your coffee in the machine, load a bag below, and push the button. In seconds you have fresh-ground coffee. If you want to grind gourmet coffee at home, there are a variety of home coffee grinders on the market. Most are pretty cheap and will last a long time.
The grind of the coffee is important and needs to selected based on what method you'll be using to brew your coffee. Standard drip coffeemakers work best with a medium grind. If you're making espresso, which is very strong-tasting condensed coffee, you use a fine grind. If you're going to use a french press, you'll want a fairly coarse grind. You can also get good coffee from specialty shops which are springing up even in the smallest of markets. The proprietors of these establishments are always happy to give helpful advice and they love to share their knowledge with others.
These kinds of shops are probably the best place to go to learn about coffee. They're run by people who truly love what they're doing and who have a ton of information about gourmet coffee. If you have any questions about what kind of coffee to get or which roast is best or what grind you should use, the people at gourmet coffee shops will provide all the advice you need. The darkness of the roast is probably more important to the taste than the grind.
If you don't know if you prefer light, medium, or dark roast, experiment! Try all sorts of coffee. Try coffee from different places around the world. Even if roasted and ground the same, coffee from Colombia will taste different than coffee from Sumatra. Half the fun of gourmet coffee is trying new types. Some you won't like, but you'll find most gourmet coffee, no matter where it's from, is infinitely superior to the shoddy stuff found in most kitchens and doughnut shops.
Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Florida. Find more about this as well as gourmet giftbaskets at http://www.finegourmetgiftbaskets.com