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'm 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 have better flavour. 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, but you could try 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 they're 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 similarly 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 gourmet coffee beans too, and at reasonable prices. Of course, there is always a 'Starbuck's' nearby. 'Starbucks' Espresso Roast' or any other Espresso beans are recommended for making any Espresso based beverages. The grind should be fine but not extra fine.