Why Fresh is Better?
Fresh roasted coffee maintains the distinct and more subtle flavors of the coffee, and it keeps the coffee from becoming stale and bitter. Another benefit to fresh roasted coffee is that it maintains higher levels of anti-oxidants.
"Fresh" Means Different things to Different People
The other day I was talking to a fellow vendor at the farmers market, and explaining that I hoped the day picked up because we would not be able to sell our coffee as fresh if it did not sell that day. She was surprised by this, and questioned if we were being too strict in our definition of "fresh." She supported her argument by noting that other roasters leave their products on retailers shelves for quite some time before it sells. She was absolutely right. Even many local roasters have their products on the shelves for weeks. When it comes to larger roasting companies the coffees often sits for months.
Last week I was at a large retail store and noticed a sale on a big "high-end" coffee. This roasting company guaranteed that their product was fresh by putting the roast date on the bag (this is a big deal! most large roasters don't want to do that). I was surprised to see that the coffee however was considered fresh for up to 3 months after the roast date! That is actually pretty good for a large company that ships to retailers. Other large and well known companies place expiration dates there coffee, and often times those dates are over 6 months beyond the date when the coffee reaches the shelf at the store!
So, the more I think about it I guess we do have a very strict standard on the meaning of "fresh." But, we are proud of that and do not plan to change it. We want you to enjoy great fresh cups of coffee! Therefore we recommend that you only buy the amount of coffee you will use in a month. If your coffee is less than a month old you don't have to worry too much about storing it - just keep it in the bag or an air tight container and out of the sun.