markov_chain asks: "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 other methods (such as the French press, gravity percolators, and pressure percolators), each coupled with either pre-ground 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 a site that vaguely extols freshness, I began to wonder how much the freshness of the beans themselves affects the 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. I would now like to pose a few questions. What is your preferred coffee-making method, and how does it compare to other methods you've tried? What are your favorite beans?"