Dried Garbanzo beans (chickpeas
I have found that there is a difference in the texture of a quick hot soak then cooking and
soaking the chickpeas over night before cooking.
The over night soak makes for a softer smoother texture.
There is some debate as to which method results in the most nutritional legume, speaking
of legumes in general but that's another can of garbanzo beans.
I disagree. I've found no difference between brands, and no difference between bagged and bulk beans, no matter how old they might be. Beans that have been sitting in the pantry for a year make hummus that tastes as good as what's made with beans bought the same day. Here in SF the garbanzos in most Indian stores are smaller than those in the supermarkets or Mexican markets. If the beans at the Indian grocery seem fresher it might be because they are a different variety (or the growing conditions are different). So they may or may not be fresher, but might taste better to some.
I expect Cooks Illustrated warned against using canned beans, which is great, but until they do a side by side comparison of various dried garbanzos, I would not worry about finding the perfect dried bean.