Updated: Jul 27, 2020
The two popular bean types are Robusta and Arabica. Arabica is generally considered to be the better tasting of the two. Robusta can have twice the caffeine content though.
That said, freshly roasted beans (ideally within 6 days to a month of roasting), ground freshly, not more than 10–15 mins before your brew, will taste the best.
Expertly roasted single origin coffee beans, where one can identify the source of beans down to a farm and the processing method used, almost always taste better than the grocery store variants, since the entire chain from farmer to roaster is focused on creating great tasting coffee consistently.
From there on, the results in your cup lie entirely in your hands - in your choice of the bean, the brewing equipment and the actual preparation method used.
The famous Italian 4M’s of good espresso, apply equally to other brew methods too:
“miscela” (the blend) The use of a good coffee blend is the essential starting point for preparing a perfect Espresso.
“macinadosatore” (The grinder-doser) The grinder-doser is an essential operational tool that grinds the coffee beans into powder and delivers the correct dose for extraction of the Espresso.
“Macchina per espresso” (The espresso machine) The Espresso machine is the other key operational tool allowing us to make Espresso,
“MANO” (A GOOD HAND) Despite the fact that nowadays highly sophisticated equipment is available, the barista’s expertise and manual skill are still key components in making a perfect Espresso or Cappuccino.