I remember as a kid going into an icecream shop and actually stressing out because I couldn't make up my mind. Should I go with mint chocolate chip or something fruity?! Ice cream is hard to decide between, thats a fact. Even though most of us know what to expect from different flavours and have come to conclusions about what we like as we have grown up.
Coffee is likely not something you have experienced as an 11 year old so how do you possibly know what you like as you enter early adulthood and start to want to drink the stuff?!
The decision is not made easier with the different opinions about if "fresh" is important or not and whether to add milk and sugar or not?!
The short answer is fresh is best! Coffee is a fruit, it is a cherry originating in Africa and now grown all across the world and like all fruits, fresh tastes better. So how are we going to know what fresh coffee looks like? Look for beans that have a clear printed roast date on them. Any coffee that can’t tell you this information, probably doesn’t want to. So be very wary of any packaging that uses a ‘best before’ or has a ‘2014’ printed on it.
While we do suggest that you consume freshly roasted coffee within 3 weeks of purchase it is not a hard and fast rule. In Japan it has become popular to experiment with aging coffees... Maybe don't age your coffee for 10 years but also don't stress if it's been a whole month since roast date.
Espresso roast vs Filter roast? As the names suggest, coffees displaying these tags have been roasted with specific brewing methods in mind. An "espresso roast" coffee has, generally, been roaster longer increasing malty notes and "body", which suits being prepared on an espresso machine to extract delicious shots that blend excellently with milk. A filter roasted coffee has been more delicately in order to keep the sparkling acidity that a filtered cup of specialty coffee desires.
That is the typical difference between espresso and filter coffees but some roasters are enjoying the flavours they can extract from a lighter espresso roast.
At Merci Coffee Truck we typically use a more "medium espresso" as our main coffee with a lighter and more experimental coffee as a secondary option for those looking to expand their horizons.
There's literally hundreds of varietals and flavour profiles to coffee, so like ice cream, it's best to keep trying different origins/processing methods/and flavour profiles to develop your taste. After all, you probably didn't start your coffee journey as an 11 year old.