When grinding the beans, gently rotate the grinder to ensure that the beans are evenly ground.

In a kettle, bring water to a boil, then let it stand for about a minute.

Use 2 level tablespoons of ground coffee for each 6 ounces of water, or 2 ounces per quart.

To achieve the freshest flavor, grind your coffee just before you brew it.

Small grinders are inexpensive and easy to find -- just be sure to wipe them out with a paper towel after each use.

I tried numerous online roasters, and typically got very fresh coffee, but not very well roasted, or of inconsistent quality. From Peet's Coffee & Tea website (see sidebar above on left) I learned that this characteristic is called "bloom." Bloom includes the bubbles in the brewed coffee, too.

Peet's has turned out to be a gold mine: every bag is masterfully roasted, and it always arrives at my door two days after roasting. One way to tell how fresh your coffee is (besides the flavor) is by looking at the grounds immediately after brewing. The exception that proves the rule, here, is aged coffees.

Founded in 1966, Peet's was one of the first companies in America to proffer specialty roasts of coffee and to insist on roasting it and serving it in their shops according to methods that guarantee the best cup possible.

Today, Jerry joins Martha to demonstrate the best way to store fresh-roasted beans and brew a sublime cup of coffee at home.

The purchase date of your coffee isn't nearly as important as the roasting date, so when buying coffee, look to be sure it was recently roasted.

Jerry recommends buying beans in small quantities to prevent them from sitting for too long in storage; any coffee you'll use within a couple of days can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator; the rest should find a spot in the freezer, where the beans will keep for up to a month.

If it bubbles, this is another sign of its freshness; fresh coffee releases gas as it comes into contact with hot water, a process called blooming.