We’ve all heard it countless times: fresh is better. For years, the prevailing wisdom has been that anything less than super-fresh coffee is stale coffee. We’ve been told to buy less coffee at a time, but buy it more frequently, and use it quickly, so that it doesn’t go “bad”. It sounds right, since coffee is an agricultural product. But is this always true?
Roast dates—the guideposts we go by, printed on the bags of our precious coffee—are what most people use to determine whether or not a coffee is fresh. But it turns out that what makes a coffee fresh, and what makes a coffee good (or still good) can be chalked up to a variety of factors.