Can Anybody Tell Me If There Is A Certain Type Of Coffee To Use For A Cappuccino/Espresso Machine?

Q: I want to buy a Cappuccino/Espresso machine, but I am not familiar with how to make it. I wanted to know if there are a certain type and/or consistency of beans to get? If you live in Maryland, let me know where I can buy these coffee beans. Any help would be appreciated.

A: You need a dark roasted bean usually from Africa or Columbia, but the African beans flavor better. A French Press is the best manner to get the coffee's full flavor. You want coffee beans that are named Espresso roast. It is best to get whole bean and ground yourself. Usually, Starbucks has a nice variety, or any specialty coffee shop. You can buy from them or get it from their supplier online. Stay away from National Brand coffee and Espresso offerings, they are the cheaper white bean from poorer parts of the world, and not the best quality. Espresso coffee is more finely ground than drip or percolator grind, but not as fine as Turkish grind. Turkish grind will clog your machine. Drip grind is too coarse for full extraction but will work in the machine. Espresso coffee is usually a medium-dark or dark roast, but not as dark as French or Turkish roast. If you are not familiar with the various roasts, you should buy a small amount, say 1/4 pound, of a medium dark roast and go from there. The darker the roast, the more it will taste like overdone toast. There are basically only 2 types of coffee beans found on the market today: Aribica, and Robusta. Robusta is used in the very inexpensive coffees. Aribica is used in the better/best coffees. The origin of the bean will also affect the acidity of the bean. A treatise on the origins is too involved for this venue. Go to several different Espresso shops and chat with the baristas. You'll get a start on how to make a selection. Of course a web search will afford you some info. If I remember correctly, there is a Gloria's or similar named coffee purveyor in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area. I've purchased coffee from them in the Springfield-Franconia Mall, and was very satisfied with their coffee. Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Books-a-Million have coffee shops, some of which sell beans. Health Food Stores often have very nice coffee selections as does Trader Joe's and Trader Vic's. Though not for the more discerning coffee lovers, most supermarkets have goumet coffee beans too, and at reasonable prices. Of course there is always a 'Starbuck's' nearby.