writes "For a while I've been making coffee using home-ground whole beans and a standard drip maker. I settled on this method for its simplicity and good taste even after trying numerous others such as French press, gravity and pressure percolators, each coupled with either preground or whole beans. So far, the fresh ground beans are the only factor that made a significant difference in taste. However, when I recently spotted a site that vaguely extols freshness, I began to wonder how much the freshness of even the whole beans themselves affects quality. Normally I thought the whole beans would retain the quality far longer due to less surface area exposed to air, but clearly there still must be a decline; worse yet, it is difficult to gauge that decline since the sellers usually do not advertise the age of the beans. For this reason, I would like to throw out two questions to you, Slashdot readers, about our favorite beverage. 1) what is your preferred coffee-making method, and how does it compare to other methods you tried? 2) What are your favorite beans? Specifically, not just the varietal, but also the source and the age (if known)."